Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Books I'm Grateful For

Mrs. Sharp has a knack for turning a mundane chore (like raking leaves) into a meaningful family ritual. The author of “Simple Abundance” writes about Victorian traditions that she and her family have adopted. And, as Mrs Sharp says, “Traditions are simple but festive homegrown celebrations that cement your family together with the mortar of loving memories.”

Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
You need a good cookbook around this time of year. This is my all-purpose go-to volume (at least this year!) It contains the recipes tested and formulated by Christopher Kimball and his America’s Test Kitchen crew, but adapted for ease and family use. I still like to read from “The New Best Recipe” because it gives more background about how the recipes were tested, but for practical use and quick reference, this one is the best.

The Material World by Peter Menzel
My son’s class room is studying “wants” and “needs” right now, so our copy of this book is in the care of his teacher at the moment. It features families around the world photographed in front of their homes with the contents of their home laid out for all to see. This edition was done in the early 90’s and it would be interesting to see it updated. A great book to help kids put things in perspective and raise their awareness of what they have and how others live.

I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Alison Jackson and Judith Byron Schachner
Instead of swallowing a fly and other barnyard animals, this old lady gorges on traditional Thanksgiving courses.

The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher
Why not curl up in front of the fire with this? Fisher is one of the best writers ever, and how lucky are we that she liked to write about food?! For those who haven’t read her work, this is a nice introduction. In it, she talks about some of her earliest and most memorable experiences with food and how she developed her palatte at home and abroad.

A Grateful Heart - Edited by MJ Ryan.
We keep this book by the dining room table for when we are compelled to say grace. It contains prayers and blessings from many different cultures and faiths. We like to just open it and read from it at random – you never know what you might find. Here’s today’s entry.

“A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances.
A complaining soul complains even if he lives in paradise.”
Listening Is An Act of Love by David Isay and the Storycorps Project
I’ve blogged about this book before – Probably my favorite book that I read this year and one that I’ll be wrapping up and giving as a gift to many of my own family members this Christmas. It’s a collection of interviews put together for The Storycorps Project. They tape people interviewing someone significant in their lives about their dreams, failures, challenges, life’s work, and defining moments. Often the tapes are archived at the Library of Congress. There are so many crucial lessons in this book, but the most important one is to treasure those around you, listen to them, let them know you love them and be grateful that they’re with you.


Squirrel said...

Thank you for the look at books-- I like reading children's books and cookbooks..and the material world book looks good .

tut-tut said...

I love MFK Fisher; thanks for pointing out the others. I was not familiar with some of them.

tina said...

You have a lot of reading to do-the Thanksgiving Holiday is the best time to read all these books? They look interesting.

Anna said...

I like your reviews--short and well said.

I don't know why she swallowed a fly--perhaps she'll kids loved the song but I didn't know it was a book. I got to get that for my grandkid--future. I'm already buying books for my unborn grandbabies.

Joanne said...

I like the idea of a prayer book in the dining room. We use our dining room a few times throughout the year, for holidays and special meals, and to have a prayer book at hand to read from sounds nice.

Pam J. said...

Thanks for mentioning the Material World book. It sounds wonderful--for people of all ages. I see that I can get a used copy for 8.50 on Amazon... this is why I have way too many books. Cheap used copies are so easy to get your hands on these days.

JGH said...

Squirrel - I like reading children's books too - even when I'm not with my kids.

Tut - another good one is "Conversations with MFK Fisher" - a collection of her interviews. Do you have that?

Hi Tina- hopefully I'll be able to pace myself a little better this holiday season and get more reading in.

Oh Anna - when they come along, I'll have to do another book post with my favorite baby books for you!

Joanne - we're trying to eat at the dining room table more often. It helps that there are 4 of us and only 3 seats at the kitchen island.

Pam - I know what you mean. With all those affiliated shops on Amazon selling used books for dirt cheap, whatareyagonnado?!!