Growing up our home was always filled with books. My mom was always a reader and cultivated a love for reading in us. From Brown Bear, Brown Bear to Anne of Green Gables to the Wizard of Oz. She took us to the library, to used book stores, filled out our Scholastic Book Fair forms our reading lives were off to a good start.
Now, from time to time my mom will mention a book she is interested in or being the book pusher I am – I will send her a book I have read and enjoyed and want to to dish about it with her. Here is a sampling of the books I’ve sent my mom in the last few years.
My mom mentioned this book as something she saw an article on – and since I’m always feeding the curiosity monster I sent this to her. I remember hearing her “Where were you when” story about experiencing life after the assassination of JFK
On two consecutive days in June 1963, in two lyrical speeches, John F. Kennedy pivots dramatically and boldly on the two greatest issues of his time: nuclear arms and civil rights. In language unheard in lily white, Cold War America, he appeals to Americans to see both the Russians and the “Negroes” as human beings. His speech on June 10 leads to the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963; his speech on June 11 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Based on new material — hours of recently uncovered documentary film shot in the White House and the Justice Department, fresh interviews, and a rediscovered draft speech — Two Days in June captures Kennedy at the high noon of his presidency in startling, granular detail which biographer Sally Bedell Smith calls “a seamless and riveting narrative, beautifully written, weaving together the consequential and the quotidian, with verve and authority.” Moment by moment, JFK’s feverish forty-eight hours unspools in cinematic clarity as he addresses “peace and freedom.” In the tick-tock of the American presidency, we see Kennedy facing down George Wallace over the integration of the University of Alabama, talking obsessively about sex and politics at a dinner party in Georgetown, recoiling at a newspaper photograph of a burning monk in Saigon, planning a secret diplomatic mission to Indonesia, and reeling from the midnight murder of Medgar Evers.
There were 1,036 days in the presidency of John F. Kennedy. This is the story of two of them.
I’m not sure if she wants me to share this with you, but my mom loves her sci-fiction and fantasy. I remember her watching Star Trek & Battlestar Galactica on weekend afternoons. When I read the Martian, I knew she would love it.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Thoroughbred horse racing is one of our things. We would watch the races together and then we would watch horse related movies together. Even last weekend after the race, we called each other to talk about the 2019 Kentucky Derby Upset.
Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.
Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:
Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon.
Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.
Beyond just a love for books – my mom exposed us to a love of art. We would watercolor at the kitchen table, visit the art museums and flip through the art themed coffee table books. I read this book and then sent it my mom. It is a mystery and revolves around an art heist and then reproductions. I’ve read it and listened to the audio and it’s a fun story.
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art, today worth over $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.
Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum — in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.
Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.
The next two picks are for my Mom the Foodie. She is great at finding new recipes to try or talking about what adjustments she made on a favorite staple dish to elevate it. I know she will love this book about Ruth Reichle’s career as a food critic.
Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world–a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us–along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews–her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.
I moved to Chicago 6 years ago and had never had Indian food before. Now I live near Devon Avenue – the Little India of Chicago and I love Indian Food. I rave about it and eat Indian food on a regular basis. She has recently started venturing into Indian cuisine and I sent her this cookbook.