Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Highest Duty (Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger)

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong? The bus never comes to pick up your kids. Your umbrella blows inside out during a torrential rainstorm. You accidentally staple your finger. Your airplane hits a numerous amount of birds in flight and loses thrust in both engines. On a day when you have lost all faith in humanity, pick up this book.

Co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow, this is the story of Sully, the pilot of Flight 1549, which landed in the Hudson River with nary a life lost. Beginning with the first flight by himself when he was very young and ending with the nailbiting, armchair-gripping account of the crash, Captain Sullenberger writes a very honest portrayal of his vocation in life...flying. Along the way, we are introduced to his devoted wife, Lorrie, and two daughters, Kate and Kelly.

Captain Sullenberger makes sure that the reader understands that he did not pilot that plane into the Hudson by himself. His entire crew saved lives that day. He lets us read some of the letters he has received from both passengers and everyday Americans who were affected by Flight 1549. One of the letters comes from a man who says Sully is not a hero. He was just immensely prepared for his job, did it well, and all of us are very thankful for that.


This review can also be found on

Currently reading - "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Katherine Howe)

Since historical fiction is my favorite genre, I was eager to read "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane". Taking the reader back in time to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Katherine Howe's book had a lot of promise. I sat down to begin reading it one Sunday afternoon about two weeks ago and could not put it down. It all went downhill from there.

Howe does what seems to be the trend nowadays began by the master, Jodi Picoult...interweaving two or more narratives. Howe's take on it is more ambitious...not only going back and forth between stories but also between time periods. Connie Goodwin is a Harvard grad student beginning her dissertation in 1991. Her esteemed professor suggests that she find a unique primary source that no one has ever seen before. As she is cleaning out her deceased grandmother's home, Connie finds the name, Deliverance Dane, in a Bible. She eventually comes to realize that Dane authored a physick book back in the days of Salem, so her mission becomes finding that. Howe's other story is the actual story of Dane, along with her daughter and granddaughter.

This book had so much going for it in the beginning, but just couldn't get there. I found it harder and harder to pick up, because eventually it just got too wordy. If Howe had concentrated more on Deliverance's story, it would have made for a far more interesting tale. Instead, she got hung up on Connie's story. The ending is like a Scooby Doo cartoon, when the criminal is finally revealed. Pick up "The Crucible" instead.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Food You Crave:Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life (Ellie Krieger)

I decided to expand my repertoire a little when it comes to reviewing and every now and then, review another passion of mine...great cookbooks. For someone who used to mistakenly put cabbage, instead of lettuce, on her nephew's sandwich, and stuck a whole can of tomato soup in the microwave without water, something finally clicked when I moved to Philadelphia. No longer does my poor husband get a 3-course meal of meat, potato, and vegetable served 15 minutes apart. Now I pride myself on being able to put a delicious, healthy meal on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Ellie Krieger's "The Food You Crave:Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life" is by far, my favorite cookbook. Ellie is a Food Network personality, but first and foremost, a nutritionist. She believes that food can be healthy and full of flavor if you just make some minor adjustments. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store, and revel in all of the delicious fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, seafood, and dairy. Who wants to eat the "chemistry experiments" in the middle of the store? If you can't pronounce it, don't put it in your body.

My favorite recipes include Apple-Pecan Muffins (with applesauce substituting for butter), Scrumptious Scramble, Blueberry Blast Smoothie (which my husband asks for all the time), the Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (which I use with chicken), Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp, Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce, and Vanilla Hot Cocoa (once you taste this, your days of drinking the powdery stuff will be over).

Many recipes include a picture for easy following. Here's to your health. You will not be disappointed.


Currently reading..."The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" (Katherine Howe)