Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. If you’d like to get into the Irish spirit, check out the post I published earlier this week, On My Irish Bookshelf. It includes a list of recommended ebooks by Irish authors—historical fiction, fiction, non-fiction and cookbooks.

If you haven’t read Kindred by Octavia Butler, do it. This is one of those books that stays with you, so well done. And its premise is so g-d frightening, yet that was life for many. Makes you think. I finished it last weekend and plan to write more about it before it releases its grip on me.

I also finished Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope. I can only imagine how many people have left Iran in despair for their home country—and in fear of their lives. Hope? Not for the author who, I found out, now lives in London because her country is run by a bunch of Neanderthals. So sad, such a waste.

Next on my reading list…

  • The Leavers by Lisa Ko: “Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. It’s a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past.” (2017 National Book Award finalist and on many “best books” lists)
  • A Life of Spice: Stories of Food, Culture and Life by Monica Bhide: “[Cookbook author] Bhide explores her romance with food. The essays in this book show how food affects all the areas of our lives: family, friends, love, culture, faith, and more. They capture the delights of cooking as wooing and of food as nurturer, and the sadness of the heartbreak kitchen.” (only $2.99)
  • Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward: “Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward contends with the deaths of five young men dear to her, and the risk of being a black man in the rural South.”

As of earlier today, the ebooks listed below were on sale at $2 to $4 on Amazon—up to an 80% discount—but act quickly if you want a bargain. These deals may only last a day or a week, you never know. If you’re in the browsing mood, check out last week’s ebook deals too—some of those books may still be on sale.

fiction nonfiction cookbook ebook deals


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

Idaho by Emily Ruskin ($1.99)

I read this for book club. My love for this book snuck up on me. Although I had trouble with the protagonist Ann at the beginning, I ended up caring about all of them in the end. Bonus: the writing is beautiful.

Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho…With her husband’s memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade’s first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives—including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison—we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny’s lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character.

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry ($1.99)

An Irish author, Sebastian Barry is a two-time Booker award finalist.

Barry revisits County Sligo, Ireland, the setting for his previous three books, to tell the unforgettable story of Roseanne McNulty. Once one of the most beguiling women in Sligo, she is now a resident of Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital and nearing her hundredth year. Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is an engrossing tale of one woman’s life, and a poignant story of the cruelties of civil war and corrupted power.

Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar ($2.99, 78% off)

What if Virginia Woolf’s sister had kept a diary?…a spellbinding new story of the inseparable bond between Virginia and her sister, the gifted painter Vanessa Bell, and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family. Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “an uncanny success” and based on meticulous research, this stunning novel illuminates a little-known episode in the celebrated sisters’ glittering bohemian youth among the legendary Bloomsbury Group.

The Secret of the Nightingale Palace by Dana Sachs ($1.99)

I read this in the fall and enjoyed it. It’d make a good movie, but which one would get the Oscar?

After her husband dies from leukemia, Anna agrees to help hard-to-please Goldie [her rich grandmother] to bring a collection of valuable Japanese art from New York to California. Harboring a decades-old secret that could change Anna’s life forever, Goldie must learn to let go of her past so her granddaughter can move on and discover happiness and love. With a narrative that alternates between early 1940s San Francisco and the present day, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace is a beautiful story about the enduring power of love and family.

Villette by Charlotte Brontë (Oxford World’s Classics, $3.03)

“I am only just returned to a sense of the real world about me, for I have been reading Villette, a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre.” ~George Eliot

That’s high praise from the author of Middlemarch and other classics. I look forward to reading this one since I absolutely loved Brontë’s Jane Eyre (only $2.72).

Lucy Snowe, in flight from an unhappy past, leaves England and finds work as a teacher in Madame Beck’s school…Strongly drawn to the fiery autocratic schoolmaster Monsieur Paul Emanuel, Lucy is compelled by Madame Beck’s jealous interference to assert her right to love and be loved. Based in part on Charlotte Brontë’s experience in Brussels ten years earlier, Villette (1853) is a cogent and dramatic exploration of a woman’s response to the challenge of a constricting social environment. Its deployment of imagery comparable in power to that of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and its use of comedy—ironic or exuberant—in the service of an ultimately sombre vision, make Villette especially appealing to the modern reader.

fiction nonfiction cookbook ebook deals

Food & Cooking:

Caveat: Ebook sales like these sometimes only last a day or a week, so act quickly.

Check out my post, On My Irish Bookshelf, for a bunch of Irish cookbooks still on sale.

For a completely different direction…I don’t know anything about these cookbooks so you’re on your own, but at these prices, they’re worth the risk if you like cooking Thai, Chinese or Mexican.

Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen by Leela Punyaratabandhu ($1.99)

Pok Pok – The Drinking Food of Thailand: A Cookbook by Andy Ricker ($2.99)

The Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum and Other Restaurant Favorites by Naomi Imatome-Yun ($3.82)

Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak ($1.99)

Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails and More by Sara Deseran ($1.99)


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

Fractured Emerald: Ireland by Emily Hahn ($1.99, 80% off)

Emily Hahn was an American journalist and author. Considered an early feminist and called “a forgotten American literary treasure” by The New Yorker magazine.

In a magisterial combination of historical research and keen personal observation on the scene, Emily Hahn gives us a view of the whole of Ireland and its history, from the legends of the great kings and the heroes of myth to the Saint who converted Ireland to Christianity many centuries ago to modern times. She details the trials and tribulations of a conquered people as they rebel against their exploiters and fight and die for independence, eventually achieving their goal but only at the price of a bitter partition that haunts the country to this day [1971]. Hahn’s breadth of vision and acute sense of the telling detail paints the big picture while also pinpointing the small but important moments.

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman ($2.99, 73% off)

The relationship between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—Republican and Democrat, Christian and Jew, western rancher’s daughter and Brooklyn girl—transcends party, religion, region, and culture. Strengthened by each other’s presence, these groundbreaking judges, the first and second to serve on the highest court in the land, have transformed the Constitution and America itself, making it a more equal place for all women. Hirshman’s dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession—battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. She also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women’s lives.

Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature by Dorothy Allison ($1.99, 80% off)

Dorothy Allison is known for her bold and insightful writing on issues of class and sexuality. In Skin, she approaches these topics through twenty-three impassioned essays that explore her identity—from her childhood in a poor family in South Carolina to her adult life as a lesbian in the suburbs of New York—and her sexuality.

Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda Garelick ($1.99)

I read this last year and enjoyed learning about Chanel and taking in the history along the way. She had quite the life, but settle in, the book’s a long one.

Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person. Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century—throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth-shaking change—here brilliantly treated, for the first time, with wide-ranging and incisive historical scrutiny.

The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas ($2.99)

When she witnesses her housecat, Rajah, effortlessly scare off two fully-grown deer, acclaimed anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas starts studying the links that bind the feline family together. Immersing herself in the subtle differences of their social orders, feeding behaviors, and means of communication, Thomas explores the nature of the cat, both wild and domestic, and the resilient streak that has ensured its survival over thousands of years.

Creative Commons licensed photos by Elias Ehmann (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland) and David Brooks (abandoned building) on Unsplash.

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 )

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: