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Style by the Book – Anne of Green Gables

I grew up adoring the 1980s Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea TV mini-series. In my opinion, Megan Follows will forever be the perfect Anne Shirley. As a child it was a treat to catch it on my local PBS station (and luck… this was before the days of channel guides and DVR) and as an adult it’s my sick-day movie and never fails to comfort me. It wasn’t until much later in life that I read my way through L.M. Montgomery’s series starring the spirited Anne Shirley. As the book and mini-series can’t really be separated in my mind, this Style by the Book is inspired by both.

Anne of Green Gables

Want more Anne Shirley? The Library has Anne of Green Gables (J M76a) available in print and The Complete Chronicles of Avonlea as an e-book!

Do you have a favorite book that you want to see featured on Style by the Book? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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A Gourmet E-book


Eat like Don Quixote!

Writing for this blog has allowed me to explore many different instances of meals in books–but I am not the first (nor do I suspect, the last) to tackle this tasty literary project. Available as an E-book through the Wheelock library, The Literary Gourmet: Menus From Masterpieces takes on the task of creating menus based on passages in famous books, from the Bible, to Don Quixote, to The Importance of Being Earnest.

The author, Linda Wolfe, provides a brief synopsis of the story, then excerpts a scene from each book in which the selected food appears. She then creates a menu with the help of historical resources–relying on varied sources such as Biblical encyclopedias for the Red Pottage of Lentils, or two women’s conflicting chowder recipes from the 1800s to reflect New England Clam Chowder as it was known in the time of Moby Dick and as it is recognized now.

There are entrees, starters and desserts (who knew The Legend of Sleepy Hollow betrayed such a sweet tooth!) so you can create an entire meal spanning some of the world’s most famous works of literature. My only criticism of this book is that it could stand to broaden the diversity of authors to include women and people of color. Perhaps, inspired by this delicious text, one of you, readers, will take up that task!

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Style by the Book: Divergent

My summer reading includes finishing up the Divergent series. I loved the first book but sort of lost momentum with the second. As I plunge back into the world of factions, I thought it would be fun to imagine what each faction would wear if they existed today. Abnegation was the hardest and Candor was the most fun simply because I found panda shoes and when confronted with panda shoes, the answer is always yes.

Abnegation – The Selfless

The Selfless


Amity – The Peaceful

The Peaceful


Dauntless – The Brave

The Brave


Erudite – The Intelligent

The Intelligent


Candor – The Honest

The Honest


Which would you choose? I think I’m more of an Amity but Dauntless has cake and it’s pretty hard to compete with that.

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What’s on Your Summer Reading List?

Back in May, we asked our Library visitors, “What’s on your ‘summer reading’ list? (for school or for fun)”?  And we had a lot of suggestions (and suggestions about those suggestions)!

summerreadsI’ve found several of the titles available at the Library.  If you’re around for the summer, come check them out.  And if you’re not around, then stop by during the fall.  Reading for fun is a great way to relieve stress!

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (813 C64a) :  This book serves as both a story of a young shepherd boy who travels the Egypt in search of the treasure in his dreams, and a philosophy on how one could live one’s life by following dreams and watching out for signs.  It’s about dreaming big and enjoying the journey, not the destination.  It is often on people’s list of books that changed their lives.

bookrow1 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (available on ebook and in print): A 19th century man awakens in 6th Century England and proceeds to use his knowledge of history and technological inventions to improve and modern the lives around him.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (J G817f): The story of 16 year old cancer patient Hazel, and how she meets and falls in love with a boy named, Augustus Waters.  It is a surprisingly simple premise that has won the hearts and tears of its readers with its intelligent and vibrant characters.  The movie is now in theaters!

The Giver (J L95g): Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memories, taking in all the memories of his community’s past.  He realizes that the Sameness adopted by his community needs to end in order to restore happiness and the power of choice, and, with the Giver’s help, plots his escape.  The movie adaptation of this novel is coming out this summer.  Read the book before you watch it.


The Great Gatsby (available on ebook and in print):  While the main narrative is about a wealthy and enigmatic man named Jay Gatsby and his love for his former flame, socialite Daisy Buchanan, the book is really about the sense of possibility and the display of decadence of the early 1920s.  It’s a lot more enjoyable when you’re not reading it for school.

The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (J P28h): After a plane crash, Brian is stranded in the wilderness and must survive on his own with nothing but his hatchet.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein(823 T57zg): The titular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who loves staying at home and staying out of trouble, finds himself on a quest with a band of dwarves to sneak into the Lonely Mountain and retrieve a royal jewel from the dragon, Smaug.

Hop on Pop by Dr.Seuss(J-P Se9ho): There isn’t much of a story here (or maybe I’m just not seeing it), but the rhymes are fun.


Orange it the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman (365.43 K47o):  Piper recounts the 15 months she had spent in prison  – the codes of behavior, the failures of the prison system, and the incredible lives of the women around her.  The second season of the TV adaptation of the memoir is now available on Netflix for binge-watching.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom (378.12 AL1t): A memoir chronicling 14 Tuesdays Mitch Albom spent with his former sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, and the life lessons the older man imparted to his former pupil.  It is another one of those books that can change people’s outlook on life.

There were a few that weren’t in the Library, so we ordered them.  In the coming months, be on the lookout for Paper Towns by John Green, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, along with other popular reading titles.

So what’s on your summer reading list?  Personally, I’m planning to tackle Insurgent by Veronica Roth this coming week and thinking about revisiting Crime and Punishment (891.73 D74ca) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.


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Welcome to the Desert of the Real

I watch a lot of reality television.  My favorite show used to be Ace of Cakes, but like all shows I truly love, they stopped making new episodes.  I moved on to Cake Boss, but there was too much yelling in that one.  Dance Moms has a horribly hypnotic hold on me, as well as older episodes of Project Runway.  I have the recent discovery of a Roku Lifetime channel to thank for those latter two.

To compliment my penchant for “reality,” I have come upon a cache of reality television inspired YA.  If you, like me, try to vary your intake between the written word and unfortunate amounts of Real Housewives, here are a few book recommendations for you.

books 1Fans of Supernanny read: Reality Boy by A.S. King.  This book is so dark and angry in parts, you’d never know it was written by the same person who created Ask the Passengers.  The plot focuses on a boy who was featured on a Suppernanny-like program with devastating lasting effects.  It is frightening for how real the story could be.  I like to believe the seeds of hope planted at the end are just as likely to be real as well.

Fans of Top Chef read: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams.  Here is a more lighthearted story.  I’ve always liked food competitions (and books that feature food), because it less about voting someone off an island and more about becoming champion based on skill.  In Pizza, sixteen-year-old Sophie grew up working in her family’s restaurant.  Her best friend Alex convinces her to audition for “Teen Test Kitchen.”  Sophie is completely unprepared for the notoriety that follows.  I really wish Teen Test Kitchen were an actual show.

Fans of Jon and Kate Plus Eight or 19 Kids and Counting read: Something Real by Heather Demetrios (J D464s).  What happens when children like the Gosselin twins and sextuplets grow up and want nothing more than to be left alone?  That is the question posed in Demetrios’ debut book.  Oldest sister Bonnie™ Baker suffered a breakdown on air that led to the cancelation of her family’s reality show “Baker’s Dozen.”  Now Bonnie™ has managed to make a new life for herself, until her mother resurrects the show for a new series.  This is a dark book especially if you watched a fair amount of Jon and Kate Plus 8 like me.  It poses how damaging shows like this could be years from now.

books 2Fans of The Voice read:  The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer.  In this book, an awful reality show comes to take over titular Selwyn Academy.  Protagonist Ethan and his friends scheme to ruin the show’s nefarious plans.  I admit, as a writer, I have always wondered what a reality show about writing would be like.  “Boring” was my first thought.  Seeing a bunch of people sitting in front of notebooks or laptops and alternating between internal bouts of megalomania and self-loathing doesn’t really translate well to screen.  But in this book I was given a close second—artists taking down reality television as only they can.

Fans of the 7 Up series read:  You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle.  Five teenagers star in a documentary series about their everyday lives.  However, the result is a little like Schrodinger’s Cat:  does the observation of their lives fundamentally alter and determine what their lives are?  The perils and advantages of even small amounts of fame are masterfully explored in Castle’s take.  I’ve always enjoyed the 7 Up series, but as the children (now adults) chronicled reflect on the years gone by, it is interesting to see how “reality documentaries” can be difficult to actually live.

Fans of The Amazing Race read: For Real by Alison Cherry.  The only drawback to this book is that it’s not slated for release until December of 2014.  However, it’ll be worth the wait!  Claire has always been in older sister Miranda’s shadow.  However, when Miranda finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her, she and Claire decide to compete on a show much like The Amazing Race.  A surprise twist may mean love for Claire, or complete humiliation broadcast for the world to see.  My favorite part of the Amazing Race was always Phil Keoghan, but maybe if the show really had Miranda and Claire as competitors, I’d watch it with more interest.

Reality television is like candy for the soul.  I firmly believe if you watch too much, your spirit will rot.  However, reading is such an intellectual activity!  It’s good for you.  Read these for a good fix of fiction narrative.  Ore, arguably, something more real.

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