Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I didn’t make as much time as I would have liked for books this week, so I’m still reading these three:

Next week, I’ll let you know what I thought of them.

As of earlier today, these ebooks at Amazon were on sale at $2 to $3—up to an 89% 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 sales too—some of those books may still be on sale. Book blurbs are from the Amazon page unless otherwise credited.

Fiction:

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

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline ($2.99, 76% off)

A stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World…Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists. Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan ($1.99, 85% off)

National Book Award Finalist, winner of many other awards and named to many Best of lists…When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb—one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world—detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb…Mahajan writes brilliantly about the effects of terrorism on victims and perpetrators, proving himself to be one of the most provocative and dynamic novelists of his generation.

Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier ($1.99)

Meet Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin—two women born centuries apart, yet bound by a fateful family legacy. When Ella and her husband move to a small town in France, Ella hopes to brush up on her French, qualify to practice as a midwife, and start a family of her own. Village life turns out to be less idyllic than she expected, however, and a peculiar dream of the color blue propels her on a quest to uncover her family’s French ancestry. As the novel unfolds—alternating between Ella’s story and that of Isabelle du Moulin four hundred years earlier—a common thread emerges that unexpectedly links the two women. Part detective story, part historical fiction, The Virgin Blue is a novel of passion and intrigue that compels readers to the very last page.

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean ($2.99)

A deeply lovely novel that evokes with uncommon deftness the terrible, heartbreaking beauty that is life in wartime. Like the glorious ghosts of the paintings in the Hermitage that lie at the heart of the story, Dean’s exquisite prose shimmers with a haunting glow, illuminating us to the notion that art itself is perhaps our most necessary nourishment…Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina’s grip on the everyday. An elderly Russian woman now living in America… Vivid images of her youth in war-torn Leningrad arise unbidden, carrying her back to the terrible fall of 1941, when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum and the German army’s approach signaled the beginning of what would be a long, torturous siege on the city. As the people braved starvation, bitter cold, and a relentless German onslaught, Marina joined other staff members in removing the museum’s priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, leaving the frames hanging empty on the walls to symbolize the artworks’ eventual return. As the Luftwaffe’s bombs pounded the proud, stricken city, Marina built a personal Hermitage in her mind—a refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more.

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund ($1.99)

Sena Naslund’s epic work of historical fiction [uses]…Melville’s Moby-Dick as looking glass into early-19th-century America. Through the eye of an outsider, a woman, she suggests that New England life was broader and richer than Melville’s manly world of men, ships, and whales…Una…flees to the New England coast from Kentucky to escape her father’s puritanism and to pursue a more exalted life. She gets whaling out of her system early: going to sea at 16 disguised as a boy…Una returns to land to pursue the life of the mind…Naslund exposes the reader to the unsung, real-life heroes of Melville’s world, including Margaret Fuller and her Boston salon, and Nantucket astronomer Maria Mitchell. There is a chance meeting with a veiled Nathaniel Hawthorne in the woods, and throughout the novel the story brims with references to the giants of literature: Shakespeare, Goethe, Coleridge, Keats, and Wordsworth.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain ($2.99)

I enjoyed this one—a book club read. Named to many Best of lists that year.

A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s—as a wife and as one’s own woman…A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures the love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley…Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

ebook deals - fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks

Food & Cooking:

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

Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner by Ashley Christensen ($1.99, 89% off)

Raleigh’s favorite chef and multiple James Beard Award winner… Ashley Christensen is the new face of Southern cooking, and her debut cookbook, Poole’s, honors the traditions of this celebrated cuisine, while introducing a new vernacular—elevated simple side dishes spiked with complex vinaigrettes, meatless mains showcasing vibrant vegetables, and intensified flavors through a cadre of back-pocket recipes that will become indispensable in your kitchen…Poole’s is also the story of how Christensen opened a restaurant, and in the process energized Raleigh’s downtown. By fostering a network of farmers, cooks, and guests, and taking care of her people by feeding them well, she built a powerful community around the restaurant.

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters ($2.99, 78% off)

The New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America’s most influential restaurant…Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, Coming to My Senses is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman’s evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila ($2.99, 57% off)

The Homemade Pantry was born of a tight budget…On a mission to kick their packaged-food habit, she learned that with a little determination, anything she could buy at the store could be made in her kitchen, and her homemade versions were more satisfying, easier to make than she expected, and tastier.

Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong ($1.99)

New York Times bestseller and one of the most praised Korean cookbooks of all time, you’ll explore the foods and flavors of Koreatowns across America through this collection of 100 recipes.

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin ($1.99)

In this delightful celebration of food, family, and friends, one of America’s most cherished kitchen companions shares her lifelong passion for cooking and entertaining. Interweaving essential tips and recipes with hilarious stories of meals both delectable and disastrous, Home Cooking is a masterwork of culinary memoir and an inspiration to novice cooks, expert chefs, and food lovers everywhere.

The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes by Dale DeGroff ($2.99)

The first real cookbook for cocktails, featuring 500 recipes from the world’s premier mixologist, Dale DeGroff…The Craft of the Cocktail provides much more than merely the same old recipes: it delves into history, personalities, and anecdotes; it shows you how to set up a bar, master important techniques, and use tools correctly; and it delivers unique concoctions, many featuring DeGroff’s signature use of fresh juices, as well as all the classics.

ebook deals - fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks

Nonfiction:

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

American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C. White Jr. ($1.99, 86% off)

On many Best of 2016 lists…Winner of the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography. Finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Military History Book Prize… White, a biographer exceptionally skilled at writing momentous history from the inside out, shows Grant to be a generous, curious, introspective man and leader—a willing delegator with a natural gift for managing the rampaging egos of his fellow officers. His wife, Julia Dent Grant, long marginalized in the historic record, emerges in her own right as a spirited and influential partner. Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government’s policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee ($2.99)

An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom. As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realize that she had been brainwashed her entire life…Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.

The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 by Richard J. Evans ($1.99)

An Economist Best Book of the Year… covering the period from the fall of Napoleon to the outbreak of World War I. Evans’s gripping narrative ranges across a century of social and national conflicts, from the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 to the unification of both Germany and Italy, from the Russo-Turkish wars to the Balkan upheavals that brought this era of relative peace and growing prosperity to an end. Among the great themes it discusses are the decline of religious belief and the rise of secular science and medicine, the journey of art, music, and literature from Romanticism to Modernism, the replacement of old-regime punishments by the modern prison, the end of aristocratic domination and the emergence of industrial society, and the dramatic struggle of feminists for women’s equality and emancipation. Uniting the era’s broad-ranging transformations was the pursuit of power in all segments of life, from the banker striving for economic power to the serf seeking to escape the power of his landlord, from the engineer asserting society’s power over the environment to the psychiatrist attempting to exert science’s power over human nature itself.

On sale today only – The Rival Queens: Catherine de’ Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom by Nancy Goldstone ($2.99)

Set in magnificent Renaissance France…Catherine de’ Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous “Queen Margot,” was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family…Goldstone’s narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, inter-national espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus.

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner ($1.99, 77% off)

Former New York Times Book Review editor and linguistic expert O’Conner…updates her bestselling guide to grammar, an invigorating and entertaining dissection of our ever-evolving language…With new chapters on spelling and punctuation, and fresh insights into the rights, wrongs, and maybes of English grammar and usage, Woe Is I offers down-to-earth explanations and plain-English solutions to the language mysteries that bedevil all of us.

Looking for more e-cookbook and ebook deals? Check out last week’s list, some of them are still on sale.

Creative Commons licensed images by Mike Licht: Blogging in the Afternoon, after Edouard Manet, and A Pompeian Beauty, Blogging, after Raffaele Giannetti on Flickr.

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

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