Along with cornbread dip and a can of cranberry sauce, my Thanksgiving traditions include giving thanks for book lovers, for the words, the pages, the stories that change our lives. Every year there is a long list to choose from, and this year I give a special thanks:
A Gratitude Ladle for Cookbooks
I am not, as they say, a very good cook. But I love cookbooks. They help me in the kitchen, of course. They offer a glimpse into varied lifestyles and cultures. They make great gifts. And cookbook writers have a charming fondness for their subject matter.
Which brings me to a recent favorite: “What can I bring? Cookbook: Over 200 Delicious, Easy-To-Go Dishes for Parties, Picnics, Potlucks, Backyard BBQs, Holiday Dinners, and Any Gathering” by Anne Byrn. This is a popular book that is fun to read and makes you want to be treated to a potluck so you can show it off.
What will I bring to our Thanksgiving gathering? Cornbread dressing, from a Becky Wassom recipe in an old cookbook from Shreveport’s Parkview Baptist Church, and banana pudding, the rich kind, from a recipe at Magnolia Bakery in New York City.
Although not a cookbook, I am also attached to www.OutoftheBoxBaking.com, a delicious blog from Houston author Janice Thompson, a fabulous baker who has written 150 novels and nonfiction books. Her new blog is full of recipes you’ll want to make or, better yet, eat.
Local writers with great book deals.
I’m delighted with the number of books published by North Louisiana writers, and two jump to the top of the list this season: Ashley Elston, whose first adult novel, “First Lie Wins,” will be published next year with Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books. , and Kayvion Lewis, whose second novel, “Thieves’ Gambit,” will be published next fall by Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books.
Fun books, with a bonus for books by local writers
Shreveporter Betsy St. Amant Haddox writes fun, food-heavy romance novels (good for a day when you’ve had too much to eat but aren’t quite ready to stop thinking about food). Her latest release is a peer-to-peer compilation, “The 80s Rom-Com Club,” about a group of digital friends living out their love stories reminiscent of their favorite rom-coms.
Always a delight is Shreveport’s Liz Talley, whose new cozy mystery, “If the Dress Fits,” is a sequel to “Deconstructed” (though you don’t need to read the former to enjoy the latter). This novel features Shreveport locations, spot-on descriptions of local events and people, and a lively mystery with an engaging romantic thread. I enjoyed it very much.
I am grateful to hear what someone is reading and why they like it. And it’s a special treat when a recommendation arrives in the mail, as Shreveport attorney Gordon Rountree recently did: “I highly recommend Laney’s ‘The Cruelest Miles (The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic)’ and Gay Salisbury. Anyone who likes dogs will love this book. It is a true story of an unfortunate diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska, in 1925… The serum had to be transported by dog sled some 674 miles from southeast Alaska to Nome…”
Recommending a book is an act of generosity. We read differently. The variety of books, fiction and nonfiction, and their readership is a blessing.
praise of libraries
Libraries in our area are constantly upping their game with books and activities and excellent customer service. If you are a user of social networks, especially Facebook, follow the activities and be surprised. Thanks, Libraries.
A few days ago, I received a surprise in the mail from an old friend, a copy of “How the Post Office Created America” by Winifred Gallagher. The book is described as “a masterful history of the United States Postal Service and an examination of how this remarkable organization helped create the America of today.” Even sweeter, the friend also sent his wife, my letter writer friend, a copy so we could read it together.
Email me the titles you are giving this season
Some make sure that each person on their list gets at least one book every Hanukkah or Christmas. What book will you give away this year or have you given away in previous years? Email me before November 30 to help your fellow shoppers: [email protected]
Nominate 2022 Book Lover of the Year
Over the years, we’ve celebrated energetic book club leaders, academic readers with large personal libraries, a great lady of books at a local independent living center, and more as Book Lovers of the Year. Tell me who brings you the joy of books. Email your nomination for the Shreveport Times 2022 Book Lover of the Year, just say who you’re nominating and why. Email [email protected] by 5 pm on December 6.
Happy Thanksgiving with a heart full of gratitude for the love of books.
Book columnist Judy Christie is the author of 18 books and co-authored with Lisa Wingate “Before and After: The Incredible True Stories of Orphan Survivors at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society,” the nonfiction sequel to the novel Wingate’s bestseller “Before We Were Yours,” For more information, see: www.judychristie.com. Follow her on Facebook at JudyChristie/Autor.