Fireside Fall Favorites

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It’s that time of year when the hearth is warmed and the mugs are filled, and we all need a good book and a hot cup of goodness to curl up with and enjoy.


Here is a list of great books & drinks for fireside reading:

A Parchment of Leaves
by Silas House

Named Kentucky Novel of the Year and won a special achievement award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In 1917 rural Kentucky, Saul Sullivan marries a beautiful Cherokee woman named Vine. They weather the storm of prejudice, but when Saul temporarily moves away to work a better job, his younger brother makes advances on Vine that are not welcome and ultimately lead to tragedy.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Zesty Orange Mocha
A magical mix of cinnamon & orange in a mocha that’s to die for!
orange-mocha-recipe-1.jpgBrew strong coffee or pull 1 shot of epresso. Heat 4-5oz of milk in sauce pan to a gentle simmer & reduce heat, whisk in 3 squares of dark chocolate until smooth, add 2-3 drops of orange extract, add cinnamon to taste. Add mixture to your coffee. Top with marshmallows, garnish with orange zest & cinnamon.


Wuthering Heights

by Emily Bronte

Considered lurid and shocking by mid-19th-century standards, Wuthering Heights was initially thought to be such a publishing risk that its author, Emily Brontë, was asked to pay some of the publication costs. A somber tale of consuming passions and vengeance played out against the lonely moors of northern England, the book proved to be one of the most enduring classics of English literature.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Cinnamint Tea
Mint tea with a dash of cream sprinkled with cinnamon and/or a cinnamon stick.


The Thanksgiving Visitor

by Truman Capote

Another masterpiece by the great American writer Truman Capote is brought to an audience of all ages. Buddy and his closest friend, his eccentric, elderly cousin, Miss Sook – the memorable characters from Capote’s A Christmas Memory–love preparing their old country house for Thanksgiving. But there’s trouble in the air.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Pumpkin au lait
background-beans-caffeine-633481.jpgPull a shot of espresso add to mug (or 6-10oz of strong coffee & less milk.) In sauce pan heat 8oz of Milk (of choice) gently bring to simmer, whisk in 1tbsp of pumpkin (or pumpkin pie for sweet) puree, remove from heat, add mixture to mug & stir. Top with clove & cinnamon. 

The Hearth and Eagle
by Anya Seton

Seton embarked on a fervent search for her forebears that led her to Marblehead, Massachusetts, a “sea-girdled town of rocks and winding lanes and clustered old houses.” There she found not only an ancestor, but also the setting for this, her fourth novel.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Hazelnut Brew
Pick up some unsalted hazelnuts. Put the beans and nuts in a coffee grinder. Measure them out to a ratio of two parts beans to one part nuts (or to preference.) Brew together in a French press. Serve with warm or steamed milk/cream and top with vanilla bean powder & nutmeg.


Far from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, the soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy, and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak.
Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Countryside Cocoa
vegan-pumpkin-hot-chocolate-editedHeat and simmer milk of choice, melt/ mix in cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate, and dark brown sugar to taste. Add mix to a blender and spoon in apprx. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a dash of pumpkin spice, a drop or two of orange extract. Top with cream and a sprinkle of spice.

Mind of the Raven
by Bernd Heinrich

Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. But as animals can be spied on only by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a “raven father”, as well as observing them in their natural habitat. He studies their daily routines and, in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens’ world.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dark Delights
4.jpgNothing fancy on this one, just get some good quality Dark Roast Coffee and drink it black while nibbling on some delicious chocolate. My favorite is a dark chocolate bar with cranberry and sugared orange.

 

The Cider House Rules
by John Irving

among John Irving’s most beloved novels. Set in rural Maine in the first half of the twentieth century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch—saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Crisp Apple Chai
applepiechai.jpgIn saucepan heat up half water half apple juice or cider and simmer with green apple slices.  Add in Chai powder mixture or concentrate. Add mixture to blender and blend till smooth. Serve with garnish of apple and topped with whip and/or caramel, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

The Lay of the Land
by Richard Ford

Frank Bascombe has been many things to many people. His uncertain youth behind him, we follow him through three days during the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving. But as a presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him, Frank discovers that what he terms “the Permanent Period” is fraught with unforeseen perils.
Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

Espresso Canarian Espresso Zaperoco CoffeeBook Bean: Bourbon Bombón
Carefully pour sweet condensed milk in a small glass, Pour in 1 shot quality Bourbon, then top with espresso shot. Serve showing the layers, Stir before consuming.

 

A Patchwork Planet
by Anne Tyler

This novel introduces 30-year-old misfit Barnaby Gaitlin, a renegade who is actually a kind-hearted man struggling to turn his life around. A New York Times Notable Book.

David Morse’s reading in a calm, even tone reflects the unruffled attitude of the central character in this story.
Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Spiced Steamer
spiced-vanilla-pumpkin-milk-steamer-5-edited.jpgSteam or simmer rice milk (almond is also nice) over low heat. Mix in agave syrup, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, dash (very small) of cayenne, all to preferred taste. Pour in cup and sprinkle lightly with spices, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and let it warm your soul!

What are your Favorite Fall Books to Curl up with?

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America in Literature I

119001003406-originalThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here is my list of the top quintessential American literary works:

PART I of II

Common Sense
By Thomas Pain
Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Benjamin Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold and fight for independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist. Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


By Mark Twain

One of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language, Twain’s novel can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but what’s undisputed is the novel’s position as one of the most influential books in American literature.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com10ca59f648094240a32e3146b99bce6c

Book Bean: Iced Huckleberry Hibiscus
Brew some hibiscus tea add honey to taste and chill. Lightly crush a handful of fresh huckleberries (raspberries or marion/black berries are great too). Add berries and ice to a tall glass and pour in chilled tea.

The Scarlet Letter
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, and is considered to be Hawthorne’s “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

An anti-slavery novel published in 1852, the novel “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman.Wikipedia. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

green-spritzer-051-mbd109404_vertRated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Fitz Spritzer

Green tea chilled, fresh lime juice, sugar, and club soda. Pour mixture over ice and enjoy your own Green Rickey 😉 Make it fun, add an olive, lime wedges, and/or mint for garnish.


Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman

A visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Beloved

By Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery,  the novel is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Set after the American Civil War (1861-1865) this spellbinding novel transforms history into a powerful story as intimate as a lullaby.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck
A Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
California Frappe

Cut off peel and white pith from 2-3 orange wedges. Bring 1/2 cup of dry red wine, 2 Tsp. of sugar, a grate of orange zest, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon to a simmer, add the orange wedges and simmer for approx. 10 min. mixture should reduce to a syrup, let chill. Pull 2 shots of espresso (or use 4 oz of brewed coffee chilled.) In a blender add ice, coffee, syrup (for an easier option use marmalade 😉 ), and milk (to taste) blend and enjoy!Frappe-1080x631

Stay tuned for PART II this evening!

While you wait vote for you favorite American Author 

 Share with us about your vote, what do you love about this author, and what makes them “A Great” in American literature?