By Marci Tate
There’s Snow Better Time to Read! When you are trying frantically trying to get everything just right for the holiday season, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Everyone needs something besides the television for unwinding on a cold winter night!
For a quick and enjoyable holiday read, try Tis the Season by Lorna Landvik. The story is told entirely by reading emails, letters, and snippets from a gossip column. Caroline Dixon is an heiress who’s crashing under the eye of the paparazzi. She reaches out to two people from her past and they become everything she needs to get her life in order. One is her former nanny, who was a friend to a lonely, wealthy teenager. The other is a cowboy rancher who ran the dude ranch where she was forced to stay while her father was dying. Reading all of the correspondence is an unusual way to tell a story, but it works. This one can be finished within a few days and will allow your mind to relax from all of the holiday chores racing around in there!
I love good cookbooks and will keep one by the bed for light reading. I stumbled on a gem recently. It is not brand new, but somehow it skipped right by me after it was released. It’s from country superstar Trisha Yearwood. Called Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, this is one cookbook I did not expect to enjoy. I checked it out from the local library on a whim. I was completely surprised to find it wasn’t just a celebrity name attached to some recipes. I actually had to go out and buy the cookbook because I knew I would be making many of the recipes. Trisha, her mom and her sister, give details and family history about most of the dishes. The photographs accompanying the recipes are well done. I thought it was a nice cookbook to read and I can’t wait to try out the Tortilla Soup recipe. If you’re still shopping for a friend or family member who likes fairly simple recipes, this would be a great choice.
After the holiday rush, try Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. This is what I like to put in the “southern story” category. The two Waverley sisters are back together when younger sister Sydney returns home with daughter in tow. She is on the run from a bad situation and needs a safe place to land. Older sister Claire has been living a very ordinary, sheltered life creating fantastic foods using her special “gift”. The Waverley women all have this special gift, but Sydney has been running from it all her life. This is a magical sort of story, weaving together interesting characters from old friends to a new neighbor. It is easy to get caught up in their lives and little town. This is a great read from beginning to end. I say wait until the holiday rush is over so you can enjoy it without distraction.
If you are going to be home with the kids for a few weeks and you want to read something with them, consider City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau for the 3rd-6th grade ages. The movie does not do the book justice (but then you should never judge a book by its movie). As an adult, I could not put this one down when I read it a few years ago. It’s fast-paced, with well-drawn characters and enough intrigue to keep you up all night trying to find out what will happen next. This is a great book for boys and girls and works well as a read-aloud. If your child has not read this one in school, try it together because you will be pleasantly surprised. If you saw the movie then you need to put that out of your mind and give the book a fresh start.
For the preschool-1st grade crowd, consider the Trucktown series by Jon Scieszka. The books have simple text and wonderful illustrations. But the best part is the interactive website. There are games, activities, an excerpt video and more. The website is perfect for kids ages 4-7. Check out the Trucktown website HERE.
Submitted by Marci Tate of Fayetteville – busy wife and mom of two, avid reader (when time allows) and Library Media Specialist at Vandergriff Elementary School.