Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bookshelf: More Christmas books

Some quick reviews of the Christmas books I've read so far:
  • The True History of Chocolate: (from my parents) I'm a chocolate freak (as we know), and I found this book on Amazon awhile back. The authors trace the history of chocolate from its roots in Middle America to the fashionable cafes of Europe to Hershey Park, as well as the evolution of chocolate and cacao from pods to drinks to solid bars. The book is well-researched, but shows a definite slant in opinion, so that made the book a bit irritating at time (for example, the authors always write "Columbus 'discovered' America", or some such thing.). But, if you're a foodie or a chocolate lover, it's a good book to read. 
  • The Sugarless Plum:A memoir by Zippora Karz, a New York City Ballet soloist who was diagnosed with diabetes at the height of her career. I found this book very interesting, since I love dance and I'm diabetic, and Karz addresses the problems faced by diabetics forthrightly and honestly. Although she was diagnosed in the 1980s (and a lot has changed since then), she also includes up-to-date materials. She retired from NYCB in 2002, and is now gives talk on diabetes and activity and is involved with diabetes awareness efforts. I found the book inspirational and informative, an excellent blend of dance and medicine--perfect for me!
  • St. Francis: (from my parents) a Continuation of my 2009 Patron Saint reading, this novel by the author of Zorba the Greek combines fact, legend, and fiction to create a stunning portrait of one of the most famous and beloved saints. Through the eyes of Brother Leo, a poor beggar and eventual confidante of Francis, Francis' dramatic conversion from wealthy Italian playboy to stigmatist saint is documented. A great read. 
  • The Annotated Christmas Carol : (from mom and dad) MUST have for any library. Dickens' classic story is supplemented with copious notes, a detailed introduction and full-color illustrations. All of the Norton Annotated's are worth having, but this might be my favorite. A really lovely and beautiful book. 
  • Film (from my brother): A guide to the top 100 movies, top directors, and foreign films. If you're a movie buff like me this is perfect for your library.
  • Speak: (Bryan again) A YA book my brother's 8th graders read (He's a middle school language arts teacher). I love YA lit, and I loved this well-written book. 
  • Giada's Kitchen: (also from Bryan) A new cookbook, because it's not Christmas without one. Still determining what to make first from it--so much looks good. 

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