Blog Posts by Ultra Violet

Posted by Ultra Violet on 01/24/14
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Luscious, rich desserts that are easy to make, all natural and free of animal products!
I made three recipes from this book, Curry Truffles, Black Bottom Cupcakes and the Opera Cake, and they were all fabulous. The pictures are so enticing and the instructions are very easy to follow. Fran Costigan is pretty much the leading vegan baker in the universe, so all of the recipes are well-tested. She opens with an informative section about vegan sweeteners, dairy substitutes and different kinds of flours, which is helpful to anyone new to baking or new to veganism. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially to people who are thinking about cutting back on the animal products in their diets. Even the most die-hard dairy lover will fall in love this these treats.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 12/16/13
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William Bellman has always lived a charmed life. He is handsome, intelligent, strong and energetic.Even though he didn't know his father, who left William and his mother when he was small, he isn't resentful. He shares a close relationship with his sweet mother and is close with his cousin. He seems to get whatever he wants with minimal effort, every task is easy to him, he makes friends quickly with people from all social spheres and he has no problem attracting the attentions of beautiful women. He isn't spoiled by all of this good fortune. He works hard and loves accomplishing things.
 
The only blemish on his gilded life is an incident in his childhood. He and his friends were playing with their sling-shots and through a seemingly-miraculous shot, William strikes and kills a raven. The boys are amazed by the feat and go to see the gorgeous bird. Their awe is soon replaced with the macabre playfulness of young boys as they flap the lifeless wings and taunt each other. Will is unsettled. However, he quickly forgets the entire affair. He forgets it so completely that he barely notices how black birds haunt his dreams, and crows and ravens seem to appear out of nowhere whenever he loses someone dear.
 
William Bellman's perfect life starts to unravel as his begins to be visited by the mysterious Mr. Black. But Black may be just what Bellman needs.
 
A mysterious and beautifully descriptive homage to the spirit of the raven, told through a suitable moody Victorian tale.
S.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/19/13
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The authors called this their love letter to the written word. It is difficult to explain this book properly with being able to show it to you. And not just the cover, but the elegantly designed slipcase, the margin notes printed in different colors and in different hand-writings, the various postcards, doodled-on napkins and obituaries nestled between the pages at key points. S. is a collection of clues, there's even a decoder.
 
The story is about a woman who finds a book in the stacks of a library that has been written in. She responds to the notes and leaves the book for the owner to find. He responds to her, and the conversation begins. They are both interested in the author of the book they are writing in and their correspondence revolves around his mysterious life and career, at first. Eventually, they find a deeper connection.
 
J.J. Abrams is a Hollywood director and it shows. This is a thrilling mystery, full of cinematic intrigue. Both plots are compelling, though the contemporary story may attract more readers, the book they are writing in, The Ship of Theseus, is a very believable as an historical sea story in its own right.
 
This is such a fascinating format. It's well worth checking out just to thumb through, but it makes a very satisfying read if you can stay focused on the story with all that's going on.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 10/25/13
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This 2000 year history of paper is told through personal stories of paper-makers, fascinating historical tidbits, and the author's near-obsession with paper, books and the written word. It's not a perfectly linear history. Basbanes writes about a trip to China, and the amazing families of paper-makers he met there, and tells a bit of the paper-making history in that region, before going on to talking about Japan and the spiritual connection the Japanese people have with paper. He tells a story about how paper was a key component in the only deaths on American soil incurred during WWII because of an attack by the Japanese. I don't want to say too much about it, because it was quite a surprising story. Then it's on to France and the first manned hot air balloon flight, and a bit about how paper influenced the development of Islam.
 
On Paper is not just a dry history book, but a collection of stories about people from all over the world, and throughout the last 2000 years, who's lives have been changed by, or dedicated to, the art and craft of paper-making. From toilet tissue, to sticky notes, to handmade art paper, to ornate wrapping paper, we all use mass quantities of paper every day without a second thought. Knowing a bit about how it all came about and how all of the various types of paper are produced makes this a great book for readers who are interested in art or books, but also for people who are just interested in history in general. Nicholas Basbanes' conversational, story-telling style makes this book very readable for most people who enjoy nonfiction.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/16/13
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In this allegorical novel by Nobel Prize Winner, J.M. Coetzee, a six-year-old boy called, David, and a man of nondescript age called, Simon, are brought together as refugees on a ship sailing to a new life. They are greeted with bland "goodwill" from just about everyone they meet. They are assigned their new names and given an allowance and an apartment. Simon finds work as a stevedore even though he is much older than the other workers. He feels inadequate to the task, at first, but the others accept him and his slowness and frailty with "goodwill". Simon is frequently frustrated with the lack of passion in everyone around him.
 
Simon feels compelled to find David's "real mother" by which he means, not the woman who gave birth to him, but the woman who is destined to nurture him. He picks Ines, a thirtyish, spoiled woman who spends her days playing tennis and lounging. Surprisingly, Ines accepts David as her son. She and Simon go through many difficult times trying to deal with each other but they both always put David above all else.
 
The childhood of Jesus is a complex examination of such a wide varieties of issues we all face, but it never seems ponderous or plodding. The story of the man and child is enough to keep the interest while the deeper topics are slipped in the narrative as discussions between the characters. It is a thoughtful book for a time of uncertainty.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/21/13
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A Fatal Likeness is the second mystery with detective, Charles Maddox. It is a follow-up, though not sequel to, The Solitary House. In A Fatal Likeness, Maddox is called in to investigate a blackmail plot targeting the son of Percy Bysshe Shelley. 
 
Taking very liberal creative license with the lives of the poet and Mary Shelley, Shepherd weaves a convincing mystery while maintaining the linguistic feel of the time period. This is a fun mystery, but one may want to read The Solitary House first for some background on the character of Maddox. And avid fans of Shelley may want to read this novel with a hearty grain of salt. Still, an enjoyable read for historical mystery readers, like me.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 06/17/13
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Attention fans of BBC America's Supernatural Saturday! Coming in 2014 is a new series based on the historical fantasy novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
 
If you haven't read it, now's your chance. It's 782 pages, so you may want to start now. Two magicians are bringing magic back to England with their skills and knowledge of long forgotten lore. As the Napoleonic Wars rage on, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell find themselves pitted against a deliciously crafty fairy.
 
Fans of dark fairy tales and historical fantasy will enjoy this beautifully crafted story.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 05/24/13
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It's the last part of the 19th Century, and an evil Jewish mystic creates an incomparable golem who ends up lost and alone in New York City. Blending in to the human population is hard enough for Chava, but getting involved with Ahmad, a Jinni who has been cruelly trapped in human form thousands of years ago, causes even more complications. Their uneasy alliance stems from their shared situations, but their natures are so far from each other that they are constantly butting heads.When Chava's creator comes to America, Ahmad and Chava must fight for their lives and try and outwit a mastermind with no conscience.
 
The Golem and the Jinni is a fun, fast read with great details of 19th century New York, particularly the Jewish and Syrian neighborhoods and lifestyles. The Jewish tradition of the golem and the Middle Eastern stories of the jinni add a delightful twist.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 04/17/13
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You don't have to be a gardener or a drinker (although it wouldn't hurt) to appreciate this witty, fascinating account of the history of plants as they have been used to make alcohol. Amy Stewart has a conversational tone as she shares her enthusiasm for the seemingly endless diversity of the plant world and the equally boundless innovation of humans to make intoxicating beverages from said plants.
 
This beautiful edition has quick, engaging anecdotes for those of us with a short attention span, and it has gardening tips for cultivating many of the plants included. Stewart also includes many of her own recipes as well of those of people she has met from all over the globe. Some of the recipes are classics, and some are very edgy.
 
So if you want to explore the correct method for "dancing with the green fairy" or you just want a great non-fiction read, check out The Drunken Botanist.
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Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/15/12
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Thanksgiving is next week, but that doesn't have to mean turkey. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options for filling up your gang. Check out this podcast of Violet from Digital Services extolling the virtues of our library's extensive special diet cookbook selection. Her personal favorite is New Vegetarian.
 
Whether it is meatless, gluten-free or dairy-free, we have the book for you. Don't let tradition rule your eating! Let the library help you take control of your holidays.

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