Is getting hitched on your horizon? Take some of the stress and expense out of your planning with DK's Style Your Perfect Wedding. Need some hanging floral decorations or centerpieces for your reception tables? With your favorite color of hydrangea on hand, this simple project can be completed in just three steps.
You will need...
Step 1 Immerse the foam ring in water for about three minutes, until no more bubbles rise and the foam is soaked through and feels heavy. Start adding the hydrangeas to the ring. For the inner and outer edges, insert the florets at an upward angle. For the top of the ring push them in vertically.
Step 2 Build up each section.
Step 3 Fill in any gaps.
These beautiful wreaths make a perfect surround for a pillar candle in a glass container. Use them as centerpieces for your tables.
Big news announced today by Harper publishing: Harper Lee will be publishing her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, on July 14, 2015. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which has become a classic piece of American literature, and has yet to publish another book. Lee, now 88 years old, said in a statement issued by the publisher:
"In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became To Kill a Mockingbird) from the point of view of the young Scout.
I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn't realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years."
Go Set a Watchman is set in 1950s Maycomb, Alabama, 20 years after the events of To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel will follow Scout as she returns home from New York to visit her father, the beloved Atticus Finch. Scout must come to terms with her father’s ideas about a changing society, as well as form her own opinions about her hometown.
"This is a remarkable literary event," Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham said in a statement. "The existence of Go Set a Watchman was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of To Kill a Mockingbird. Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee's classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter's relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s."
This announcement comes on the heels of Marja Mills’ memoir The Mockingbird Next Door, published last July, which redoubled interest in the intensely private Lee.
And yes, we checked the calendar. It is not April Fool's Day. What do you think, readers? You can see more about the new novel from Harper publishing here.
Ah, February, the season of love. Or not. If you're lacking a flesh-and-blood Valentine, we've selected the best novels about love from the past year to sweep you off your feet. Because really, what's more reliable than a book?
Ruddy is a former football star, current car thief and has one friend—a lethargic Basset hound. And then the voices start. No, this is not a dismal journey into a depressed man's psyche; it's a humorous, romantic romp of a novel. With comedy and wit, Ruddy attempts to revamp his life, solve a murder mystery and woo a woman. Read more>>
Want your love story to have a literary spin? Zevin's breakout hit about a crotchety bookstore owner named A.J. and a perpetually upbeat book peddler fits the bill. However, their road to romantic bliss is roadblocked by a baby on the doorstep, dismal books sales and A.J.'s own stubbornness.
Tom Putnam is in a rut. As an English professor in a small Southern college town, he spends his days teaching and his nights with his fragile wife. He's in need of a shake-up. And that's exactly what he gets when plucky Rose, a new employee at the local bookstore, and the 10-year-old son he never knew he had come to town. If you enjoyed Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, you're sure to enjoy this charming story.
Don't be alarmed by the fact that this novel was written by one of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York. This is a smart, funny and surprisingly moving story about redefining yourself when your other half is gone. After the shocking death of her famous (and philandering) author husband, Claire Byrne feels lost without his formidable shadow to stand behind. But slowly, Claire finds that she can thrive on her own. Read more>>
If a lover from your past called you, would you pick up? What if this past lover is your present lover? That's the issue Georgie faces when she discovers that she can dial her husband, Neal—or rather, college-age Neal—on a magical telephone. Can Georgie’s conversations with the Neal of the past prevent their present-day marriage problems? Read more>>
When Sophie Collingwood receives two requests for an obscure old book while working in an antiquarian bookshop, she's intrigued. Little does she know, her research into the novel will cast doubt on the patron saint of literary love, Jane Austen, and bring romance into her own life. Read more>>
What goes together better than road trips and romance? Well, a lot of things actually. But that doesn't stop the charmingly mismatched pair of single mom Jess and millionaire Ed from unexpectedly falling in love as they journey to Scotland to give Jess' daughter a shot at a scholarship. Read more>>
In this darkly romantic tale, a talented musician falls for two strange and alluring brothers during her freshman year at college. As she is drawn deeper into their seductive world, she discovers that the Bulgarian myths of her childhood might hold truth. Read more>>
In the sequel to the bestseller The Rosie Project, Simsion delves into what happens after the happily ever after. Don and Rosie are a mismatched pair—but that's always been part of what makes them work. Unfortunately, their differences have been getting in the way, and Don knows that if they don't do something soon, the offbeat pair will completely fall apart. Will the lovably quirky Rosie and Don make it work? Read more>>
What do you think, readers? In the mood to pick up one of these love stories this Valentine's season?
Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards, with several of the BookPage Best Children's and YA Books of 2014 receiving well-earned nods.
Standouts include Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, which was our favorite to win the Newbery Medal but picked up a Newbery Honor, a Sibert Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award. The Right Word by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet also received recognition as the Sibert Award winner as well as a Caldecott Honor. This One Summer's Printz Honor came as no surprise, but we were tickled to discover that it also garnered a Caldecott Honor. And congratulations to Sharon Draper, who won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults!
Read on for all the winners:
NEWBERY: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (HMH)
Newbery Honor Books:
CALDECOTT: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat (Little, Brown)
Caldecott Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING AUTHOR BOOK AWARD: Jacqueline Woodson for Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen)
King Author Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING ILLUSTRATOR BOOK AWARD: Christopher Myers for Firebird, written by Misty Copeland (Putnam)
King Illustrator Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING/JOHN STEPTOE NEW TALENT AUTHOR AWARD: When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum)
PRINTZ: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Dial)
Printz Honor Books:
SIBERT AWARD for most distinguished informational book for children: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans)
Sibert Honor Books:
THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL AWARD for distinguished beginning reader book: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant (Two Lions)
Geisel Honor Books:
MORRIS AWARD for first-time YA author: Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (Cinco Puntos)
Click here to view all the winners, including the Alex Awards (the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences), the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Stonewall Book Award (books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience), the Pura Belpre Awards for Latino authors and illustrators and more.
Did your favorite children's or YA book pick up an award this year?
In her debut collection of short stories, Single, Carefree, Mellow, Katherine Heiny writes about women stuck in a variety of relationship issues with heartbreaking humor. Our reviewer writes, "[Single, Carefree, Mellow is a] smart exploration of love and betrayal, and that fine line between happiness and pain." (Read the review here.)
We asked Heiny to tell us about three books she's been reading lately, and she graciously agreed to share.
I often read for comfort, especially when I’m writing, which means I reread constantly. It’s like comfort food: I need something familiar and delicious and satisfying—and superbly written.
It’s always a pleasure to lose myself in this novel and realize once again that I haven’t lost my fascination for the post-apocalyptic world described here, or my desire to know the characters even better. King is so smart, so talented, so inventive—sometimes I think he must be a little more highly evolved than everyone else.
Last weekend I re-read Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin and I was completely captivated—you would never guess it was my fifth or sixth read. The economy of the language, the subtlety of the horror, the brilliance of the final reveal—it knocks me out every single time.
I keep a copy of Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler on my desk, and often when I’m struggling, I’ll pick it up and read a chapter at random, just to remind myself of how beautifully it’s put together. The sense of humor and the depth of character and the descriptions that make me realize I hadn’t seen the world clearly up until that point. Tyler’s work is everything—everything—you could ever want fiction to be.
Thank you, Katherine! See any books you'd like to pick up, readers?
(Author photo by Leila Barbaro)
Andrea Laurence's latest series, Brides and Belles, focuses on the women behind the romance: wedding planners. And we'll admit that we're doubly intrigued by this series because it takes place in Nashville, home of BookPage! In this guest blog post, Laurence writes about her inspiration behind the series and the favorite wedding details.
This January, I was very excited to kick off my new Brides and Belles miniseries with Harlequin Desire. It’s the first of four books that follow the love lives of a group of Nashville wedding specialists. I came up with the idea several years ago when I was going through a period when all my friends were getting married. Every wedding was different; every one was special in its own way. It’s also very stressful. While I love the concept of weddings—picking out cake flavors and dresses—the reality is hard work.
It made me wonder about the people who manage weddings for a living. I couldn’t imagine the stress of creating someone’s perfect day each and every week. There’s always drama: The bride can be a handful, and so many little pieces have to fall in place perfectly to pull it off. Hats off to the folks who make these days happen! It got me thinking that it probably takes a toll on their personal lives.
Oh, the irony of being in the wedding industry and incapable of finding someone to marry! That’s where the story began for me. I picked four different women who join together as friends to become business partners. They each have their own specialty—planning, catering, photography and decor. They also each have their own relationship drama.
I started with Bree, the photographer, and asked myself what the single most uncomfortable thing would be for her to do. The answer was to take engagement photos of her ex and his new fiancée. Ouch, right? And so Snowed In with Her Ex was born. In the second book, Amelia, the caterer, is the one who has always wanted the big, fancy wedding. What was the worst thing she could do? Elope in Vegas with her best friend! That’s where my February release, Thirty Days to Win His Wife, starts.
I’m currently finishing up the last two books in the series, and I have to say that writing about weddings and the people who plan them is so much fun. I really do enjoy all the wedding details. It’s hard for me to narrow down my favorite part, but I would have to say it’s seeing which dress each bride chose and what her wedding cake looked like. I think those details tell a lot about the bride and the couple as a whole.
What’s your favorite part of a wedding?
Thanks Andrea! You can visit Andrea's website and find more titles by Andrea Laurence here: BAM | B&N | Indiebound | Amazon
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How deep does you bacon allegiance run? Are you ready to take it to the next level and learn how to cure your own at home? Cathy Barrow makes it all too easy with her recipe for Maple-Bourbon Bacon from her newest cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry. Your dreams of all-bacon everything are about to become a reality.
makes: 11/2 pounds
active time: 30 minutes
curing time: 7 days plus 2 hours
cooking time: 1 hour
When I first made bacon, the taste of good pork was the first flavor I encountered—not salt. And there were no nagging concerns about how the pork was raised, because I had purchased the pork belly from a farmer I knew. There are a million reasons to make bacon at home but you need to know only one: it will be better than any bacon you have ever eaten.
I regularly make two styles of bacon. This one, cured with maple syrup, bourbon and coffee, has a dash of the sweet and smoky booze as an undertone. I think the bourbon makes it sing Hallelujah, but omit it if you are not a fan. The other version is cured with plenty of black pepper, rosemary and garlic and then smoked. I store both in the freezer in vacuum-sealed 4-ounce packets, sliced the way I like it, thick and ready to line up on top of the sliced tomato in a BLT or to serve with sunny-side up eggs for breakfast. I cut up any pieces that can’t slice into pretty rashers and store them in 2-ounce packets, to be crisped and scattered on top of soup or salad.
And that’s just the beginning of why bacon should always be part of your practical pantry. Use it to garnish deviled eggs, pan-roasted fish or chicken. Candy it (see page 296). Add it to baked goods like muffins or scones. Be weekend or brunch-ready.
1. Wearing gloves, mix the salts in a small bowl. Rub the salt cure all over the pork belly and place it in a 1 gallon zip-lock bag in a single layer (cut the meat into 2 large pieces if necessary). Stir together the coffee, maple syrup and liquor in a small bowl and add to the bag. Seal the bag and smoosh the liquid around. Open the bag slightly and press out the excess air, then zip it closed and lay it flat on a middle shelf in the refrigerator.
2. Let the bacon cure for 7 days. Every day, turn the bag over to redistribute the cure, and rub the belly through the bag, introducing all those nice flavors. Over the course of the week, the meat will exude juice and the cure will move through the cells of the meat; turning the bag ensures an even cure. Count the days and imagine the bacon.
3. After 7 days, remove the pork belly from the bag. It will be firmer than it was a week ago, a sign the cure has worked. Rinse the meat thoroughly and dry with paper towels. (Discard the cure.) Place the soon-to-be bacon on a rack set over a baking sheet and place it, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours. This resting period helps move the cure through the meat and equalize the salt and flavors.
4. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting, usually around 200°F.
5. Place the bacon, still on the rack on the baking sheet, in the center of the oven and cook for about 1 hour, until the internal temperature measures 150°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bacon from the oven and let cool, then wrap well in butcher’s paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
6. Once the bacon has chilled, slice it thick or thin, as you like it. Stack the slices on butcher’s paper or parchment, then vacuum-seal or place in zip-lock bags in portion sizes to suit your household. Bacon is always cooked before eating.
The bacon will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Both lamb and goat belly make terrific, deeply flavored bacon. Sometimes this cut is called breast—the current fondness for pork belly has some people renaming parts. The cut is thinner, with less fat, so it requires only 4 days in the salt and spices before cooking or smoking.
TIP: Salty Like the (Dead) Sea
Oops? Did you cure your meat or fish longer than you should have? Put it in a bowl, cover with cool water, soak it for about 8 hours, changing the water two or three times. Drain and dry well, then roast or smoke as directed. That should fix it.
A publication date has finally been set for the authorized sequel to the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Journalist Mikael Blomqvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander return in That Which Does Not Kill, to be released in at least 35 countries on August 27, 2015, the Guardian reports.
First announced in 2013, the 500-page volume was completed in November by Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz.
It will be published by Knopf in North America under a different title. We're guessing it will continue with The Girl ________ format consistent with all the English titles, and the publisher promises it will "have at least one four-letter word." (Which, based on some BookPage readers' responses to the title of Jens Lapidus' 2013 thriller, will cause NO PROBLEMS AT ALL.) The cover will be designed by Peter Mendelsund.
At the time of the author's death of a heart attack in 2004, Larsson left behind an uncompleted manuscript for a fifth volume in a conceived 10-book series. This new book will introduce "some new characters, including several high profile Americans (one a security manager from the NSA) and a Swedish professor of computer science from Silicon Valley."
Speaking for the Stieg Larsson estate, Joakim and Erland Larsson (Stieg's brother and father) commented:
"By letting David Lagercrantz write his own Millennium novel we keep the characters and the universe Stieg Larsson created alive. This new work hews closely to the first three Millennium novels and is faithful to those characters; it is wholly new and contemporary—the perfect way for readers to resume their acquaintance with Lisbeth and Mikael."
The series has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide and seen multiple film adaptations. As for this new book, Swedish publisher Nordstedts expects a "global splash" to rival The Da Vinci Code.
A novel about female wrestlers in the 1950s? Sign this jaded fiction editor up—that's not a summary I read every day. In Angelina Mirabella's winning (ha) debut novel, 17-year-old Leonie is stuck in Philly, waiting tables and caring for her aging father. But then a wrestling promoter walks into her diner and her life is changed forever—she's off to Florida to train at Joe Pospisil's School for Lady Grappling.
Mirabella tells her story in the second person, allowing the reader to fully step into Leonie's shoes, like a choose-your-own-adventure. Here's Leonie in the ring for the first time, with a fellow trainee and friend, Peggy.
"I'm sorry. What do you want us to do?" [Peggy] ventures.
"What do you mean, what do I want you to do?" Joe asks, his hands extended in front of him. "This is a match. You are opponents. So wrestle, damn it."
"Oh," you say, blinking back at Peggy. The two of you stare at each other for a while, each waiting for the other to begin, to offer up some clue as to how this might go. Thankfully, Peggy steps forward and takes you by the soulders, granting you permission to do the same. It is a strange sensation, to be locked in ref's position with her—not just another woman, but a buddy. It is a decidedly tentative press, and it makes you tentative, too. How real should this be? What are the boundaries? And what is she to you, exactly? Is she your colleague, or your rival?
"Well, this is boring," says Joe. "Would either of you care to do anything that might keep a paying customer from walking out?"
"Like this?" says Peggy, and she drops down and grabs your legs out from under you.
What are you reading this week?