Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Welcome to the weekend. Feel like shopping? I love buying books. Books are little promises of places you can go, times you can experience, and people you can get to know. I love them best when they’re cheap—we’re talking two or three bucks cheap. And I promise I won’t keep my discoveries from you.

As of earlier today, these ebooks at Amazon were marked down to $2 or $3 but act quickly if you want a bargain. Some may only be on sale a day or a week, you never know. If you’re in the browsing mood, check out last week’s ebook sales too—some of those books may still be on sale.

Book review:

One quick note before the list of ebook sales: I posted my first book review (trumpet sound!) this week, Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster. The lady’s maid in question worked for poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. If you’re a fan of Browning, check out Flush by Virginia Woolf in the fiction sales list below. He makes an appearance in Lady’s Maid too.

Lady's Maid by Margaret Forster book review


Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with Over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes by Deborah Madison ($2.99)

“In her latest cookbook, Deborah Madison, America’s leading authority on vegetarian cooking and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families, and how understanding these connections can help home cooks see everyday vegetables in new light…Destined to become the new standard reference for cooking vegetables…”

The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine by Erin French ($2.99)

“An entirely self-taught cook who used cookbooks to form her culinary education, she now helms her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, in a historic mill in [Freedom, Maine], creating meals that draw locals and visitors from around the world to a dining room that feels like an extension of her home kitchen. The food has been called ‘brilliant in its simplicity and honesty’ by Food & Wine, and it is exactly this pure approach that makes Erin’s cooking so appealing—and so easy to embrace at home.”

Sausage Making: The Definitive Guide with Recipes by Ryan Farr ($2.99)

“At San Francisco’s 4505 Meats, butcher Ryan Farr takes the craft of sausage making to a whole new level with his fiery chorizo, maple-bacon breakfast links, smoky bratwurst, creamy boudin blanc, and best-ever all-natural hot dogs. Sausage Making is Farr’s master course for all skill levels, featuring an overview of tools and ingredients, step-by-step sausage-making instructions, more than 175 full-color technique photos, and 50 recipes for his favorite classic and contemporary links.”

Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way by Oretta Zanini de Vita and Maureen B. Fant ($1.99)

Winner of the 2014 International Association of Culinary Association (IACP) Award for international cookbook: “this valuable work contains a vast body of culinary knowledge that can only be gained from an intimate attachment to the Italian way of life…a manual for proper cooking technique and the whys and wherefores of matching of pasta shapes to sauces.”

Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor by Peter Reinhart ($2.99)

“Beloved baking instructor Peter Reinhart…with his decades of experience crafting amazing artisanal breads, has made it his mission to create whole grain breads that are nothing short of incredible. And because his approach is also simpler and less labor intensive than conventional techniques, you’ll choose to make and eat these breads…Written in Reinhart’s famously clear style and accompanied by inspiring photographs, these recipes were perfected with the help of nearly 350 testers.”

ebooks on sale


Reminder: some of these books may only be on sale a few days so act quickly if you’re interested.

Flush by Virginia Woolf ($2.99)

An imaginative biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel: “Here Flush tells his story as well as the love story of Robert Browning and his wife, complete with horrid maids [Ed. note: What?!?], bullying fellow dogs, mysterious illnesses, and clandestine romance. Along the way, plenty of other topics are explored, including the barriers between man and animal, the miseries of London, and the oppression of women by ‘father and tyrants.’”

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

I read this years ago and loved it. “A modern classic…a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, about time, relativity and physics. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children…In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.”

Fallen Land by Taylor Brown ($2.99)

“This is American literature at its best, full of art and beauty and the exploration of all that is good and bad in the human spirit.” “Set in the final year of the Civil War, a young couple on horseback [is]…pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman’s March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives.”

Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Trilogy by Marie Vieux-Chauvet ($2.99)

Released in 1968 by the French publisher Gallimard, this novel was highly critical of Haiti’s oppressive Duvalier regime. Concerned about the reprisals the book could cause, the publisher withdrew it upon the author’s request, Vieux-Chauvet fled to New York in exile, and most of the remaining copies were destroyed. It became an underground classic and was released again in 2005—“an extraordinary, brave and graphic evocation of a country in turmoil.”

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ($2.99)

“Masterful chronicles of Earth’s settlement of the fourth world from the sun…a classic work of twentieth-century literature whose extraordinary power and imagination remain undimmed by time’s passage.”

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon ($2.99)

“An Agatha Christie–style page-turner exploring the unsolved mystery of the 1937 Hindenburg explosion.” “A fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster.” “Lawhon evokes the airborne luxury of the ship—the meals, the cocktails, the smoking room, and the service—in such detail that you end up feeling a little sad that the stately flight of the Hindenberg marked the end of passenger travel by airship forever. A clever, dramatic presentation of a tragic historical event. Suspenseful and fun.”

Hotel Moscow by Talia Carner ($1.99)

“An American woman—the daughter of Holocaust survivors…travels to Russia shortly after the fall of communism, and finds herself embroiled in a perilous mafia conspiracy that could irrevocably destroy her life…as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone…in a city where “capitalism” is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men…an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, family, and heritage.”

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay ($1.99)

Ballet and Russian history, click. “A famed ballerina’s jewelry auction in Boston reveals long-held secrets of love and family, friendship and rivalry, harkening back to Stalinist Russia.”

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman ($2.99)

I prefer novels to stories—I like to sink into a world—but everyone loves Gaiman. “In this new anthology, Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath.” “Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion.”

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray ($1.99)

“A compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources…the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph–a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.”

The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs ($2.99)

“Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution…the true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from passionate and tender beginnings of their romance to his fateful duel on the banks of the Hudson River.”

The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy ($2.99)

“When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers…She boldly embraces this calling after being told…she can’t bear children…Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child, moves to an old house and…the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance…Sarah and Eden’s woven lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.”

ebook sales

Ursula K. Le Guin


These books were on sale as of Saturday morning, but may not be on sale for long—act quickly.

Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin ($2.99)

For the writers: “A revised and updated guide to the essentials of a writer’s craft, presented by a brilliant practitioner of the art…Each chapter combines illustrative examples from the global canon with Le Guin’s own witty commentary and an exercise that the writer can do solo or in a group.”

Note: Le Guin died this past week. I’ve never read any of her work although she’s been on my list for a while. After I finish my book club read, I’ll start The Left Hand of Darkness. Some tributes to her this past week that give you a sense of the woman:

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon ($2.99)

“The authors make this unassuming, most studious woman come pulsing to life…[it] may be a playful project, but it asks to be read seriously.” “More than just a love letter. It draws on intimate access to Ginsburg’s family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself. An original hybrid of reported narrative, annotated dissents, rare archival photos and documents, and illustrations, the book tells a never-before-told story of an unusual and transformative woman who transcends generational divides.”

The White Album: Essays by Joan Didion ($2.99)

“In this landmark essay collection, Joan Didion brilliantly interweaves her own “bad dreams” with those of a nation confronting the dark underside of 1960s counterculture…Didion captures the paranoia and absurdity of the era with her signature blend of irony and insight…a masterpiece of literary reportage and a fearless work of autobiography…Its power to electrify and inform remains undiminished nearly forty years after it was first published.”

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium by Mark Kurlansky ($1.99)

“Warmly rendered and rich with the insights of an observer intimate with his subject, this paean to the city of Havana is as engaging as it is timely.” “An affectionate, richly detailed, brief biography of a unique city.” “Invokes the Cuban capital as an occasion to discuss the country’s history, politics, food, architecture, music, religion and passion for baseball.”

The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr ($1.99)

The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, bringing about a dramatic revival of the form…The New York Times bestselling, hilarious tale of Mary Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood.”

Nancy Wake by Peter FitzSimmons ($2.99)

“In the early 1930s, Nancy Wake was a young woman enjoying a bohemian life in Paris. By the end of the Second World War, she was the Gestapo’s most wanted person. As a young journalist, Nancy Wake witnessed a horrific scene of Nazi violence in a Viennese street. From that moment, she declared she would do everything in her power to rid Europe of the Nazis. What began as a courier job here and there became a highly successful escape network for Allied soldiers, perfectly camouflaged by Nancy’s high-society life in Marseille.”

On Living by Kerry Egan ($1.99)

“A hospice chaplain passes on wisdom on giving meaning to life, from those taking leave of it…This isn’t a book about dying—it’s a book about living.”

Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser ($1.99)

Considered one of the best biographies of Mary: “Here is her story, a queen who lost a throne for love, a monarch pampered and adored even as she was led to her beheading, the unforgettable woman who became a legend for all time.”

Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie ($2.99)

Critics say this is the best biography of Peter the Great. “Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia, unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great. He brought Russia from the darkness of its own Middle Ages into the Enlightenment and transformed it into the power that has its legacy in the Russia of our own century.”

You can see how I rated the books I’ve read recently on my Goodreads “Read” shelf.

Creative Commons photo of Ursula Le Guin from Oregon State University

Amazon book links are affiliate links which allow me to earn a small commission on any sales that result from clicking. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: