I was leaving the South
To fling myself into the unknown…
I was taking a part of the South
To transplant in alien soil,
To see if it could grow differently,
If it could drink of new and cool rains,
Bend in strange winds,
Respond to the warmth of other suns
And, perhaps, to bloom.
The Warmth of Other Suns (Isabel Wilkerson) – I have heard nothing but praise for this book. Book clubs, book reviews, educators all laud it. If you have not read it, read it. It follows the stories of Ida Mae Gladney, who leaves Mississippi for Chicago, George Starling, who leaves Florida for Harlem and Dr. Robert Foster, who leaves Louisiana for Los Angeles, where he spends time as Ray Charles’ personal physician. The story of millions of African Americans are also followed as the reader learns of the southern black dreams delivered and dashed in the new lands of the North and West. I found the story particularly fascinating because of my parents’ experiences near the end of the great migration and how similar they were, nearly half a century after it started.
An Object of Beauty (Steve Martin)– Be careful who you call your friends. Be even more careful about granting them favors. Daniel Franks tells the story of his friend, Lacey Yeager, a woman who sets out to conquer the art world. Unfortunately Lacey believes that the ends (her own gallery) justifies the means,(which are often immoral, illegal and both) and the outcomes are catastrophic for Daniel and Lacey in ways that neither of them could have anticipated. I’ve always loved art so this was an especially fascinating story for me.
A Toast Before Dying (Grace F. Edwards) – Would you kill to keep your deepest secret? Mali Anderson, a former police officer in the process of filing suit against the NYPD, finds herself in the middle of drama and danger in her stomping grounds of Harlem when her friend Kendrick Ruffin is accused of the murder of his girlfriend. Thea was a local barmaid and a big keeper of secrets, one of which proves deadly for her and several others. Is it the married politican running for re-election, the owner of the bar where Thea works, who entertains women and men in his private office after hours? her sister, a financier of the theatrical community (and a woman interested in Kendrick)? It could even be her own mother, who has spent all of Thea’s life in turmoil, living just a few streets away as a white woman, living in fear of being found out. While Mali puts the pieces together (and squeezes in time with her boyfriend, officer Tad Honeywell), the reader is taken on an exciting ride through all of the worlds that intersect at the Half Moon Bar.
The Lean Belly Prescription (Travis Stork, M.D.) – I’m always on the lookout for the latest information on diet and exercise so that I can exchange things found to be less effective for things that are more effective. This book was really great for me. It had all kinds of great information on nutrients in everyday foods and a lot of mealtime options within its four-week eating plan complete with shopping list and recipes. It also had exercises and other health factoids, and is very clear on the benefits of pursuing better health, but it shows small ways that can make big changes, too.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1 and 2 (Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, Sidonie Coryn) I got volume 2 before I got volume 1 and the first recipe featured my favorite vegetable – cream of asparagus soup I knew it was just meant to be in my life. I’ve seen so many recipes that I like, now all I have to do is sit still and cook some of them – and find something for my kids to do in the meantime.