Archive for February, 2012

Are You Hungry for a Mystery?

If you’re looking for a fun, easy read, check out a cozy mystery. Cozies are “softer” mysteries; they are often set in smaller towns, involve amateurs rather than professional detectives, and focus on the characters as the plot moves along. Think of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries as a sort of template (or the television show, Murder She Wrote).

Within this subset of mysteries are what I like to call the quirky mysteries. They are usually set around a theme – say, knitting or tea shops. They are generally series books, and it’s always fun to see how our amateur detectives will get out of the latest problem. Today, we’ll feature some of the quirkies with a food-based or culinary theme; some even include recipes!


Authors of Culinary Mysteries


JoAnna Carl – Chocoholic Series

Sammi Carter – Candy Shop Series

Laura Childs – Tea Shop Series

Cleo Coyle – Coffeeshop Series

Philip Craig – Martha’s Vineyard Series

Isis Crawford – Catered Series

Diane Mott Davidson – Goldy Schulz Series

Nancy Fairbanks – Carolyn Blue Series

Jerrilyn Farmer – Madeline Bean Series

Joanna Fluke – Hannah Swensen Series

Tamar Myers – Pennsylvania Dutch Series

Katherine Hall Page – Faith Fairchild Series

Joanne Pence – Angie Amalfi Series

Virginia Rich & Nancy Pickard – Eugenia Potter Series

Susan Wittig Albert – China Bayles Series


P is for Presidents

Since Presidents’ Day is just around the corner, it seems a reasonable time to take a look at the men who have filled the position for the past 223 years. Of course, there are some who are household names – I doubt there’s anyone in America who can’t name at least 5 – but there are a few who are definitely less well-known (quick – tell me about Chester Arthur).

Still, it is interesting to see the different qualities we Americans have looked for in our leaders over time. At times we’ve wanted executives who are steadfast, yet not afraid to be unconventional; likeable, yet someone others might fear; strong, yet able to express emotion. With such elaborate expectations, is it any wonder it now takes us 3 years to go through the election process?

So, in honor of the day, here are biographies for all 44. Since a few have had more than their fair share of attention (I’m looking at you, Honest Abe), I’ve limited some to just two.

(1) George Washington

(2) John Adams

(3) Thomas Jefferson

(4) James Madison

(5) James Monroe

(6) John Quincy Adams

(7) Andrew Jackson

(8) Martin Van Buren

(9) William Harrison

(10) John Tyler

(11) James K. Polk

(12) Zachary Taylor

(13) Millard Fillmore

(14) Franklin Pierce

(15) James Buchanan

(16) Abraham Lincoln

(17) Andrew Johnson

(18) Ulysses S. Grant

(19) Rutherford B. Hayes

(20) James A. Garfield

(21) Chester A. Arthur

(22, 24) Grover Cleveland

(23) Benjamin Harrison

(25) William McKinley

(26) Theodore Roosevelt

(27) William Taft

(28) Woodrow Wilson

(29) Warren G. Harding

(30) Calvin Coolidge

(31) Herbert Hoover

(32) Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(33) Harry S. Truman

(34) Dwight D. Eisenhower

(35) John F. Kennedy

(36) Lyndon B. Johnson

(37) Richard Nixon

(38) Gerald Ford

(39) Jimmy Carter

(40) Ronald Reagan

(41) George Bush

(42) Bill Clinton

(43) George W. Bush

(44) Barack Obama


The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1978

This week, let’s get in our Pacers and travel back to 1978. That was the year in which Annie Hall won the Best Picture Oscar (April), the comic strip Garfield debuted (June), and the Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel were signed (September).

For some reason, it was not a good year for serial murderers. Ted Bundy was captured (for the last time) in February, the Hillside Strangler(s) claimed their last victim in February, the Son of Sam was sentenced to life in prison in June, and John Wayne Gacy was arrested in December. Everyone must have breathed a sigh of relief when 1979 rolled around…

But let’s concentrate on some good times. For a true blast from the past, pick up one of these New York Times Best Sellers for the week of February 12, 1978:



1 – The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

 2 – The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough

 3 – The Black Marble by Joseph Wambaugh

 4 – The Honorable Schoolboy by John Le Carré

5 – Bloodline by Sidney Sheldon

 6 – Illusions by Richard Bach

 7 – The Women’s Room by Marilyn French

8 – Daniel Martin by John Fowles

 9 – Dreams Die First by Harold Robbins

 10 – The Immigrants by Howard Fast

 11 – Beggarman, Thief by Irwin Shaw

 12 – The Book of Merlyn by Terence H. White

 13 – Dynasty by Robert S. Elegant

 14 – Delta of Venus by Anais Nin

 15 – KG 200 by J.D. Gilman and John Clive



1 – All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot

 2 – The Complete Book of Running by James F. Fixx

 3 – The Second Ring of Power by Carlos Castaneda

 4 – The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

 5 – Coming Into the Country by John Mcphee

 6 – Gnomes by Wil Huygen, Illustrated by Rien Poortvliet

 7 – The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

 8 – My Mother/My Self by Nancy Friday

 9 – Looking Out for Number One by Robert Ringer

 10 – Inner Skiing by W. Timothy Gallwey and Robert Kriegel

 11 – Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White

 12 – The Book of Lists by David Wallechhinsky, Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace

 13 – The Woman’s Dress for Success Book by John Malloy

 14 – Arnold: The Education of a Body Builder by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Douglas Kent Hall

 15 – Designing Your Face by Way Bandy

Ready for Some Football?

So, there’s this sports game this weekend – not sure if you’ve heard about it – it’s called the Super Bowl. And beyond the ads, the tailgating, the parties, the rivalries, the grandstanding, and the hype, there is a game that’s been popular in America for over 100 years – good old North American football.

If you don’t get your fill of the game on Sunday (go Giants!), you’ll have to wait until the fall…. or check out one of these titles. With fiction and nonfiction, there are enough titles here to tide you through until next season.



4th & Fixed – Reggie Rivers

Balls – Nanci Kincaid

Deal Breaker – Harlan Coben

Double Reverse – Tim Green

Firecracker – Ray Shannon

Hometown Legend – Jerry B. Jenkins

The Mighty Johns – ed. Otto Penzler

Mr. Irrelevant – Jerry Marshall

Passing Game – Christopher Brookhouse

Playing for Pizza – John Grisham

Red Zone – Mike Lupica

Rough and Tumble – Mark Bavaro

Sudden Death – David Rosenfelt



America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation – Michael MacCambridge

The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football – John J. Miller

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game – Michael Lewis

Bloody Sundays: Inside the Dazzling, Rough-and-Tumble World of the NFL – Michael Freeman

Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty – Jeff Pearlman

A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL – Stefan Fatsis

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Dream, and a Team – H. G. Bissinger

The Games that Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays – Ron Jaworski

Gang Green: An Irreverent Look Behind the Scenes at Thirty-Eight (Well, Thirty-Seven) Seasons of New York Jets Football Futility – Gerald Eskenazi

The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever – Frank Gifford

Rammer, Jammer, Yellow, Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania – Warren St. John

The Real All Americans: The Team that Changed a Game, a People, a Nation – Sally Jenkins

That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory – John Eisenberg