A parenting-relationships book recommendation: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2bd1y6v.
The book is a fast, light read, but it is made poignant by the understanding that Isabel’s life is still on an upward swing — things get better, she finds love, she begins to move on — while Edward is heading toward his slow decline.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple–a nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter–engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves her own Edward–and everyone deserves to read this book.” –Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire   When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.” “A dinner with Edward is nothing to demur. Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.” –George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir  
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 1875 ratings. See 408 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd0L5G.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pPdvVq.

A nature book recommendation: The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2essGxr.
When you’re done with “The Home Place,” it won’t be done with you. Its wonders will linger like everything luminous.
Book description from Google Books:
“In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emergesThe Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham. Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina–a place “easy to pass by on the way somewhere else”–has been home to generations of Lanhams. InThe Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity.” By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking,The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South–and in America today.
The book is rated 4.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 86 ratings. See 21 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dA8vjh.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sqUbig.

A self-help book recommendation: Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2bd1y6v.
The book is a fast, light read, but it is made poignant by the understanding that Isabel’s life is still on an upward swing — things get better, she finds love, she begins to move on — while Edward is heading toward his slow decline.
Book description from Google Books:
“Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple–a nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter–engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book . . . Everyone deserves her own Edward–and everyone deserves to read this book.” –Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire   When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, “sustain us against the hungers of the world.” “A dinner with Edward is nothing to demur. Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.” –George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir  
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 1875 ratings. See 408 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd0L5G.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pPdvVq.

A sport book recommendation: Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son by Paul Dickson

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wM58w7.
Whether he was brawling on the field or hosting his own television variety show, Leo Durocher was a modern culture shaper, and Paul Dickson tells this complicated story with verve, sympathy and a keen eye.
Book description from Google Books:
From the Casey Award–winning author of Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, the first full biography of Leo Durocher, one of the most colorful and important figures in baseball history.Leo Durocher (1906–1991) was baseball’s all-time leading cocky, flamboyant, and galvanizing character, casting a shadow across several eras, from the time of Babe Ruth to the Space Age Astrodome, from Prohibition through the Vietnam War. For more than forty years, he was at the forefront of the game, with a Zelig-like ability to be present as a player or manager for some of the greatest teams and defining baseball moments of the twentieth century. A rugged, combative shortstop and a three-time All-Star, he became a legendary manager, winning three pennants and a World Series in 1954. Durocher performed on three main stages: New York, Chicago, and Hollywood. He entered from the wings, strode to where the lights were brightest, and then took a poke at anyone who tried to upstage him. On occasion he would share the limelight, but only with Hollywood friends such as actor Danny Kaye, tough-guy and sometime roommate George Raft, Frank Sinatra, and his third wife, movie star Laraine Day.As he did with Bill Veeck, Dickson explores Durocher’s life and times through primary source materials, interviews with those who knew him, and original newspaper files. A superb addition to baseball literature, Leo Durocher offers fascinating and fresh insights into the racial integration of baseball, Durocher’s unprecedented suspension from the game, the two clubhouse revolts staged against him in Brooklyn and Chicago, and Durocher’s vibrant life off the field.
The book is rated 4.21/5 at goodreads.com, from 77 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wMenMC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wLKzQh.

A crime book recommendation: Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2lhP3MK.
Unlike most Reacher books, which start at breathless velocity and then wind up having to work through huge, empty action scenes later, this one gets better as it goes along. Its complexity pays off with a better than usual MacGuffin and real teamwork against a global enemy.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – The incomparable hero of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back takes readers to school in his most explosive novel yet. After eleven straight global #1 bestsellers, discover the thrillers that The New York Times calls “utterly addictive.” It’s 1996, and Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Out of sight, out of mind. Two other men are in the classroom–an FBI agent and a CIA analyst. Each is a first-rate operator, each is fresh off a big win, and each is wondering what the hell they are doing there. Then they find out: A Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor–a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. A CIA asset, undercover inside the cell, has overheard the courier whisper a chilling message: “The American wants a hundred million dollars.” For what? And who from? Reacher and his two new friends are told to find the American. Reacher recruits the best soldier he has ever worked with: Sergeant Frances Neagley. Their mission heats up in more ways than one, while always keeping their eyes on the prize: If they don’t get their man, the world will suffer an epic act of terrorism. From Langley to Hamburg, Jalalabad to Kiev, Night School moves like a bullet through a treacherous landscape of double crosses, faked identities, and new and terrible enemies, as Reacher maneuvers inside the game and outside the law. Praise for Night School “The prose is crisp and clean, and the fighting is realistic. . . . This latest installment has all the classic ingredients: a great setting (Hamburg), a good villain, and a mystery that draws you in efficiently, escalates unpredictably, and has a satisfying resolution.”–The New Yorker “Another timely tour de force . . . The taut thriller is textbook [Lee] Child: fast-paced and topical with a ‘ripped from the headlines’ feel.”–Minneapolis Star-Tribune “As gripping as ever.”–The Florida Times-Union Praise for #1 bestselling author Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series “Reacher [is] one of this century’s most original, tantalizing pop-fiction heroes.”–The Washington Post
The book is rated 3.96/5 at goodreads.com, from 29277 ratings. See 2528 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2kvawh4.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tpZ8f2.

A comic book recommendation: Cousin Joseph: A Graphic Novel by Jules Feiffer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cuUYcl.
Feiffer skates around characters, circling closer, retreating and returning to them, weaving the plot tighter until the pieces fall into place. This is pulp at its best.
Book description from Google Books:
With the New York Times bestseller Kill My Mother, legendary cartoonist Jules Feiffer began an epic saga of American noir fiction. With Cousin Joseph, a prequel that introduces us to bare-knuckled Detective Sam Hannigan, head of the Bay City’s Red Squad and patriarch of the Hannigan family featured in Kill My Mother, Feiffer brings us the second installment in this highly anticipated graphic trilogy.Our story opens in Bay City in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression. Big Sam sees himself as a righteous, truth-seeking patriot, defending the American way, as his Irish immigrant father would have wanted, against a rising tide of left-wing unionism, strikes, and disruption that plague his home town. At the same time he makes monthly, secret overnight trips on behalf of Cousin Joseph, a mysterious man on the phone he has never laid eyes on, to pay off Hollywood producers to ensure that they will film only upbeat films that idealize a mythic America: no warts, no injustice uncorrected, only happy endings.But Sam, himself, is not in for a happy ending, as step by step the secret of his unseen mentor’s duplicity is revealed to him. Fast-moving action, violence, and murder in the noir style of pulps and forties films are melded in the satiric, sociopolitical Feifferian style to dig up the buried fearmongering of the past and expose how closely it matches the headlines, happenings, and violence of today.With Cousin Joseph, Feiffer builds on his late-life conversion to cinematic noir, bowing, as ever, to youthful heroes Will Eisner and Milton Caniff, but ultimately creating a masterpiece that through his unique perspective and comic-strip noir style illuminates the very origins of Hollywood and its role in creating the bipolar nation we’ve become.
The book is rated 3.32/5 at goodreads.com, from 180 ratings. See 39 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cWLJ1R.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2mfmqhm.