Archive for the ‘Most Popular Books on Special Occasions’ Category

12 Books to Give Mom This Year

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

It’s again the special time to shower all your love and care to your mom. This mother’s day gift her a beautiful present, which is permanent and worthy, like herself. Generally, mothers don’t wish for gifts but can empty all her coffer to fulfill the wish of her children. This time surprise her as nothing can be more endearing to her than a sweet memorable gift from her daughter or son. If you are still racking your brain thinking of what to gift your mom, bring a smile on her face by gifting a book that she’ll really treasure.

We have compiled here a list of books from cookery, memoirs, romance, and health to business books. You can gift one of these books or wrap up the entire collection for your mom, grandma or wife.

Cookbook

The Heart of the Plate Vegetarian Recipes for A New GenerationThe Heart of the Plate Vegetarian Recipes for A New Generation: If your mom loves cooking, you can give her Mollie Katzen’s, The Heart of the Plate. In this book, the author has revealed a selection of simple, healthy and mouthwatering dishes. Vibrantly illustrated with neat and clear photographs, the book contains the recipes of all savory dishes that can help mom experiment with new ways to make food.

The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings, The Kinfolk Tableby Nathan  Williams: If your mom is a fan of minimalist aesthetic, The Knifolk Table by Nathan Williams is a perfect gift for her. From the creators of the magazine, this gorgeous coffee-table-style book comprises simple and creative traditional recipes along with beautiful pictures.

Fiction

Still LIfe with Bread CrumbsStill LIfe with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Your mom will love to read #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen’s, “Still life with bread crumbs”. This book shows the inner life of a woman photographer, Rebecca Winter, whose best work made her an unlikely heroine for many women, finding her way after her husband betrays her.  

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer: Your mom will love to read thisThe Interestings skillfully written novel, admired by fans and critics. Wide in scope and filled with extremely captivating characters, this book by Meg Wolitzer tells the story of six friends who come together and apart in a changing New York City. The Interestings investigates the nature of envy; meaning of talent; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and slope suddenly over the course of a friendship and a life.

History

ZealotZealot The Life And Times of Jesus Of Nazareth by Reza Aslan:

Allow your mother to immerse herself in this charming, provocative, and carefully researched biography of Jesus of Nazareth and the birth of a religion. From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God, this amazingly written book gives a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told. Also the book sheds light on the sweeping and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission.

Health book

How Not to Look Old Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10How Not to Look Old Fast Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better by Charla Krupp

Give a gift of good health to your mom! This fantastic book by Krupp, the former beauty director for Glamour and the style expert for Today Show provides the secrets for looking stylish and fabulous. Filled with eye-opening details on hair color, brows, lipstick, etc, this is a perfect treat for all women of a certain age; who cannot spend much money on her looks to high maintenance or women who believe in looking fabulous at any price.

Romance book

The Movement of Stars by Amy BrillThe Movement of Stars by Amy Brill:

Give your mom an escape into the love story of the first professional female astronomer in America, Hannah Gardner and a strange man who understands and tries to fulfill her dreams. Set in 1845 Nantucket Beautifully written and hugely impressive, this Debut novel by Amy Brill contains themes of love, science, motherhood and women’s history.

Business book

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg:

If your mom works in a company, she must aware about the gender Lean In by Sheryl Sandberginequality in the workplace. From the chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl comes a book explaining the gender parity faced by women in workplace. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques to fix things. Written with wisdom and humor, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a perfect read for any working women.   

Short story collection

Dear Life by Alice MunroDear Life by Alice Munro:

Recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize for literature, Dear Life is a short story collection book from the master storyteller, Alice Munro. This book will give your mom emotional narratives-ranging from bittersweet to completely heart-trending. Exalted by Munro’s sharp insight and her matchless gift for storytelling, Dear Life demonstrates how extraordinary and terrifying life can be.

Home Décor book

The Plant Recipe Book: 100 Living Arrangements for AnyThe Plant Recipe Book Home in Any Season, by Baylor Chapman

If your mom has ever mentioned that she wants to learn how to create stunning living plant décor, this is the book for her. The Plant Recipe Book is the follow up to the most popular Flower Recipe Book containing all the basic planting techniques, expert advice, sourcing, plant care and exquisite arrangements that will suit every kind of light and décor.

Memoir

Everybody's Got Something by Robin RobertsEverybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

This is a wonderful memoir by Good Morning America anchor, Robin Robert’s in which she tells about her incredible journey that’s been her life so far. Through this book, Robin shares the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned along the way. This is an inspiring story of a woman who with her wisdom, hope and encouragement overcomes breast cancer and the pain and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away.  

A House in the Sky A Memoir by  Amanda Lindhout, SaraA house Corbett

This is an impressive and suspenseful memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a lady who embark on a journey to the world’s most attractive, perilous and remote places. Working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, Amanda has a dream to travel the globe. She went to Latin America, Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh, India, Laos, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries to understand the sympathy in the face of incredible adversity.

Wishing all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!

10 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin-Luther-KingAn apostle of peace and a preacher of universal love, harmony and brotherhood- Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in the U.S. history whose mission in life was to serve others. One of the greatest orators in the history of America, King was a charismatic figure who both amazed and uplifted people by his clear sense of purpose, his commitment to social transform and the brilliance of his insights. For his non-violent movements to eradicate racial prejudices and segregations in America, he was awarded with the Noble Peace Prize in 1964.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929, Martin would not bow his head in apathy and, with his outstanding efforts, gave hope to the poor and strengthened the lives of millions of mistreated and downtrodden people. US Civil rights leader, Dr. King also authored many books, including Why We Can’t Wait, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, The Measure of a Man, I Have a Dream Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, and many more.

There’s no doubt that most of us are pretty familiar with his civil rights movement and his eloquent oratory skills, but there are indeed some facts that have slipped under the radar. In honor of a great man and leader, we have dug up some interesting and lesser-known facts about the legendary icon that you probably may not be aware of.

1. King’s Birth Name Was Michael, Not Martin.

The original name of this civil rights leader was “Michael King, Jr.” In 1931, when his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany, he changed his name to Martin Luther in homage to the German Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther as well as that of his 5-year-old son. But no records documenting a formal name change and hence until his death he officially remained Michael King, Jr.

2. Martin Skipped the 9th and 12th grades

Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a bright student that he skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grades and entered Morehouse College at the tender age of 15. By the age of 19, he graduated college with a degree in sociology. King also received a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological seminary and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1955 from Boston University. The title of his theses was “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

3. King Was Jailed 29 Times

According to the King Center, King was arrested and sent to prison nearly 30 times over the course of his life. Most of the reasons he was arrested were for acts of civil disobedience. In 1963, he was taken to jail in the consequence of the Birmingham confrontation with the municipal authorities. He wrote a prose, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that ranks among most important American documents written. He was also ridiculously jailed for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956.

4. The Youngest Person To Receive Noble Prize

King won a Noble Peace Prize at the age of 35. In 1964 when he received the Noble Prize, he was the youngest overall for the Peace Prize. He earned $54,123 (about $400,000 today) for his Noble Peace Prize but donated all his money to the Civil Rights movement. Moreover, he was the first African American to be named Man of the Year by Time Magazine in 1963.

5. King Was Nearly Assassinated A Decade Before His Death

Assassination new

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated by James Earl Ray but it was not the first assassination attempt. While King was on a book tour in Blumstein’s department store, signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” on September 20, 1958, he was approached by a black woman, Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked him if he was Martin Luther King Jr., which he obviously replied yes. After he gave affirmative answer, she said, “I have been looking for you for five years,” and then pulled out a seven-inch steel letter opener and stabbed him in his chest. The sharp point end of the blade came on the edge of his aorta, and King underwent hours of emergency chest surgery.

6. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech on the Steps of The Lincoln Memorial Was Not His First.

Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream” on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial was considered as one of the finest addresses ever delivered to a public audience. About 250,000 people attended and listened to his immortal speech. Although this outstanding speech was not King’s first at Lincoln Memorial. His first national address was delivered on the topic of voting rights at the monument.

7. There are Over 1,000 streets Around the World Named After Him

street

You might not know that there are more than 1,000 streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr. all over the world so far. Presently, over 730 streets have named after king can be found in nearly every major city in America.

 8. MLK Is the Only Non-President With A National Holiday In His Honor

To date, there are George Washington and Christopher Columbus are the only other two people in American history that have national holidays honoring them. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the only non-president native-born United States citizen to have had his birthday observed as a federal holiday. In 1983, Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday as a national holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Each year MLK day, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the King’s birthday, January 15.

9. King’s Last Words

According to Jesse Jackson, who was also present at the assassination, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last words were:”Ben, make sure you play: Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” to musician Ben Branch, who would be playing at Dr. King’s speech that night. On the day King was assassinated, he was out on the balcony for a smoke. Later, the last words spoken by him became his last wish as at his funeral, his good friend Mahaila Jackson sang the same hymn for him.

10. King’s Heart was 20 Year Older Than Him

Martin’s autopsy results revealed that although he was only thirty-nine at the time of his death, he had the heart of a sixty-year-old man. It can be assumed that it was a consequence of the lot of stress he was gone through during thirteen years of civil rights movement. King once himself had verbally predicted that he would not live to see forty.  

Best Books to Give This Christmas

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

As the Christmas is just around the corner, we have compiled here a list of some fabulous and fascinating titles you can give as gift on this holiday season. You may pick one or more titles from the list as it contains books from all genres that some people will appreciate as they read in the New Year. So, make 2014 a year of inspiring and engaging study for someone by giving thoughtful and worthwhile books.

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds

Published in 2012 by Little, Brown, The Yellow Birds is a perfect gift for anyone who loves history, politics or war writing. Kevin has conjured a poignant and devastating tale of war’s deep impact on the individuals. Written with profound emotional insight, this is an enormously powerful debut novel from an Iraq War veteran. A perfect amalgamation of love, courage and extraordinary human survival, this book is already being hailed as a modern classic.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Anyone, who love thriller must like reading Gillian’s amazing novel. It is an utterly gripping thriller about a wife who disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary. And her husband Nick Dunne comes under police scrutiny as the prime suspect. The novel is told from alternating viewpoints — the wife’s diary and the husband who searches for his wife. With this book, you may give the present of a page-turning abduction mystery this Christmas. 

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Luminaries

Curl up in front of a warm fire with this captivating and impressive story of 19th-century New Zealand. Set amongst the New Zealand gold fields in the 1866, this meticulously constructed mystery opens with Walter Moody who stumbles across a group of ten people discussing a series of unsolved crimes. Canada-born author, Eleanor Catton, has proved with this wonderfully vivid book that she really deserves the Man Booker Prize.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Fangirl is neither thrilling nor drama ridden, just exquisitely and cleverly plotted tale by Rainbow Rowell. It revolves around Cath, the protagonist of the story, and her freshman year of college away from her father and twin sister. Unlike other YA novels, it is not a story just about romance but it is a tale that looks at family and the complex relationships between kids, parents and siblings. A coming-of-age tale with convincing starting, middle, and end, this is a refreshing pick for anyone who is looking for a light read this holiday.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The ocean at the end of the lane

Anyone who is wishing to give the gift of emotion this Christmas, this book may be the best choice. As it is Gaiman’s first new novel for adults, but it will feel as though your childhood is reading it as well. This is an enchanting and well-written story of growing up, sacrifice with enough dream and emotion to attract readers of all tastes. 

The Fields by Kevin Maher

The Fields

Some books managed to capture the Christmas spirit without actually being about Christmas and Kevin Maher’s debut novel is one of them. The Fields is an entertaining, often hilarious, touching and coming-of-age-story by an amazing new voice. Filled with pin-sharp period detail, this Irish novel is funny and heart-warming. Convincingly portraying the uncertainty and trouble of being a teenage boy, this is a book that readers won’t want to put down.

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Celebrating Jane Austen’s 238th Birth Anniversary

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Today is 238th birth anniversary of Jane Austen, one of the most celebrated and widely read authors of English literature. Born on December 16, 1775, Austen was the seventh of the eight children of the rector of Steventor, Hampshire. She Jane Austenlived her entire life as a part of a supportive family that let her to learn the custom and the lifestyle of the middle class, upper class and the gentry. At a very early age she started writing stories, sketches and satires of the most acclaimed novels for her family’s entertainment.

Though the realm of Austen’s works was as circumscribed as her life, her biting irony, social commentary and keen observation made her equal of one of a handful of authors who have found enduring fame with both popular and academic readers. She was known for addressing the issues of class-consciousness and gender politics through her well-plotted characters and storyline. On her birthday, let’ remember this legendary soul through the works of literature. Here we have compiled the most popular major and minor works of Jane Austen, dating from her early life to the last incomplete works of her later years.  

She earned a huge fame as a published writer with her four major works:

Sense and Sensibility (1811):

Sense and SensibilityThough Sense and Sensibility was not the first novel written by Jane Austen, it was the first published novel in 1811 under the pseudonym “A Lady”. Set in the Southwest England, this novel revolves around the dreams, love, romance, desires and deeds of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne.  

 

Pride and Prejudice (1813):

Pride and Prejudice

Sold more than 20 Million copies all over the world to date, this is one of the most popular published works in English literature. A romantic novel set in the early 1800′s, Pride and Prejudice was initially entitled “First Impressions.” This much admired love story centers on the main protagonist Elizabeth Bennet who deals with the issues of family, education, women, class-distinctions, manners, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England.

Mansfield Park (1814):  

Mansfield Park

Written at Chawton Cottage between 1812 and 1814, Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound. After undergoing several revisions and corrections, the novel was finally published in May 1814 by Thomas Egerton.

Emma (1816):

Emma

A well written and an enormously funny Jane Austen’s novel Emma explores the concerns and intricacies of well-intentioned women living in 19th-century English village. Her finely drawn personalities along with a lively comedy of provincial manners make this one of Jane Austen’s finest novels.

 

These two additional novels were published posthumously in 1818:

Northanger Abbey (1817):

Northanger

One of Jane Austen’s earliest novels, Northanger Abbey was brought out posthumously in late 1818. Of all her highly acclaimed novels, this one is the most explicitly literary in that it is primarily concerned with books and with readers. The novel concerns over the matters of courtship and marriage. Throughout the novel, Austen elaborates the economic importance of marriage: in 18th century England, fortunes were built through family alliances.

Persuasion (1818):

Persuasion

Published in 1818, this is the last finished novel by Jane Austen. Set partly in Bath, a fashionable city with which the author was well acquainted, this novel chronicles the story of the Austen’s most appealing heroine Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth and their meeting after years of separation; Anne declined the proposal of Captain in order to satisfy familial and social duties.

Minor Works:

The Watsons (1803, 1805):

The Watsons

The Watsons is an uncompleted novel by Jane Austen. Jane started penning down this novel circa 1803 and probably stopped writing it after her father’s death in January 1805. Austen’s niece, Catherine Hubback completed this untitled and unfinished manuscript in the mid 19th century. Catherine gave the title Younger sister to this approximately 18000 words long novel.

Sanditon (1817):

Sanditon

Austen began writing this book on the 17th January 1817 and abandoned it on 18th March 1817. This is the last unfinished novel by Jane Austen set in a newly established seaside resort, offers a wonderful cast of speculators, and presents an author considering the great social commotions of the industrial revolution with a blend of skepticism and delight. The original title of the manuscript was “The Brothers” likely after the Parker brothers in the story. Later, after the death of Jane Austen, her family renamed it “Sanditon”. The original manuscript includes only the first eleven chapters of the story.

Unfinished works:

Lady Susan (1794, 1805):

Lady Susan

Lady Susan is a short epistolary novel by Jane Austen depicts the behavior of the main protagonist- the widowed Lady Susan- who engages in affairs and seeks a new suitable husband for herself, and one for her younger daughter. This novel was possibly written in 1794 but the author never submitted it for publication.

Happy 238th Birthday, Jane Austen! On this special day we remember one of the most beloved writers of all time with all our heartwarming wishes.

 

RIP Elmore Leonard- The ‘Dickens of Detroit’

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

elmoreThe legendary American crime novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard passed away on Tuesday at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan following complications from a stroke at the age of 87.  

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1925 the great crime novelist began his career in the Navy, where he served with the Seabees, just after graduating from the University of Detroit in 1943. His pared down style and sparse use of dialogue was admired by celebrated writers and his works left an indelible imprint on many film adaptations and popular crime genres. His many admirers had often dubbed Leonard as “The Dickens of Detroit” because of his intimate portrayal of people from the town.

Starting out his writing career in the early fifties, the prolific author Leonard—or “Dutch,” as he often called- wrote more than forty books a couple of screenplays. However, he got first giant success in 1951 when an American pulp magazine “Argosy” published his short story “Trail of the Apaches“. He wrote several short stories primarily in pulp Westerns. Eventually, he turned his writing to crime, and more topical genres, as well as screenwriting in the 1960 as he earned his status for creating memorable characters and strong dialogue.

He credited author George V. Higgins for inspiring him to write mystery novels. He often considered Ernest Hemingway as one of his leading inspirations, and simultaneously criticized Hemingway for sternness. Among his acclaimed works are “Get Shorty,” Hombre, “,”52 Pick Up” “Mr. Majestyk” and “Rum Punch,” which was adapted into a movie titled Jackie Brown. Two of his Western stories The Tall T and 3:10 to Yuma were translated into movies. His 1953 Western short story 3:10 to Yuma was remade into a film starring Russell Crowe in 2007 while his book The Switch being in production into a film starring Jennifer Aniston and Tim Robbins is scheduled to debut this year as Life of Crime. His gallant character US Marshal Raylan Givensm, inspired the current TV series on FX, “Justified.”

He won numerous awards including the Grand Master Edgar Award in 1992, the Louisiana Writer Award in 2006, the F Scott Fitzgerald award in 2008, and Peabody Award for his FX’s Justified in 2011. He received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Leonard said he did not intend to end his life’s work after achieving further National Book Award lifetime achievement last year .

Commended by critics for his sly, calm, humorous and sometimes surprising voice, Mr. Leonard at times took liberties with language rules in the concern of pacing with the story. His “10 Rules for Writing” published in the New York Times in 2001, contained such constructive admonishments that are essential to any serious author and editor. His 10 rules should be pinned above the writing desk of everyone who terms himself or herself a writer.  

He survived by five children– three daughters and two sons, all born from his first wife Beverly Claire Cline before divorcing in 1977, as well as 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He married and divorced his third wife Christine in 2012. At the time of his hospitalization for a stroke earlier this month, he was working on his yet another novel.

Our earnest condolences and best wishes go out to Leonard’s family, colleagues and fans all around the world.

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