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Book Reviews September 2016



The Little Book of Bonsai will make you an instant expert in the art of growing miniatures. It is packed with myth-busting surprises, the first of which is that growing bonsai isn’t really as hard as you might think. Malcolm and Kathy Hughes break down the subject into the clear sections: Getting Started, Ongoing Care and Species Profiles. Jargon-free text and a plethora of photographs and diagrams make this the ideal book for complete novices, as well as a handy companion for more experienced growers.




Do your dietary restrictions get in the way of your sweet tooth? Then Frozen Paleo is the dessert guide you’ve been searching for. Whether you are lactose intolerant, following a Paleo diet or just trying to make healthier choices, Pamela Braun’s book will help you make the desserts you love, but thought you couldn’t have. Find detailed instructions for ice creams and frozen desserts –– with or without an ice cream maker –– and all with easy-to-find ingredients like fresh fruit, coconut cream, eggs and dark chocolate. No more compromise between you and your love for dessert.




Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin bares all in the compelling memoir of Zen, motorcycles, rock-n-roll and competitive swimming. When he retired from swimming at age 22, Ervin had multiple world records, NCAA titles, world championships and an Olympic gold. His retirement allowed him to cultivate a new identity, but not without pushing through some darker challenges. In Chasing Water, coauthored by Ervin and Constantine Markides, Ervin shares his story of talent, turbulence and transformation as he trained for the 2016 Olympics.




Organized by president, this fun book is full of cocktail recipes, bar tips and hysterical drinking anecdotes from all Republican and Democratic White House administrations. Which president liked to mix whiskey, vodka and orange juice? Who had a trick for hiding the labels of cheap wine? Which Southern man drank Snakebites? How did Jackie O like her daquiris? Mark Will-Weber’s Drinking with Democrats and Drinking with Republicans are the bar guides with a twist that all political buffs will enjoy. Readers will discover favorite libations of each president, hilariious secret drinking stories and recipes for favorite presidential cocktails.




The Useful Book, by David and Sharon Bowers, features 201 practical projects and how-tos with step-by-step instructions and illustrations that will demystify common household repairs, empowering readers to do them on their own without the cost or hassle of hiring outside help. In the first half of the book there is a kitchen crash course, followed by Sewing 10, plus how to fold a sheet, tie a tie, get rid of bad stains, make a white shirt white again, fix a broken zipper and set a formal table for dinner. Also included is a 21st century shop class, do-it-yourself plumbing, car repair basics and home maintenance. This book is a modern encyclopedia of DIY with everything you’d have learned in home ec and shop.




Knitted cables, with their three-dimensional twists and turns, are a common element in many patterns –– but detailed instructions for executing them are not usually included. Cable Left, Cable Right, by expert knitter Judith Durant, clears up the mystery with photographic, step-by-step instructions for creating 94 different styles of cable, from perfectly plain to fantastically fancy. Knitters learn the fundamentals of cable technique, patterns suitable for covering an entire fabric surface, basic design options and clear advice on reading cable symbols and charts. Close-up photos and clear instructions teach knitters the techniques needed to make truly one-of-a-kind cables.

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