From Rosalia Milan:
This book was extremely interesting. Steve Almond basically visits several factories that are owned and run by regional candy makers. The descriptions of the candy’s themselves and the people he meets are extremely honest and captivating. Many of the stories regarding his childhood and candy disputes between him and his brothers are very amusing. Unfortunately towards the end of the book when Almond starts to theorize on his reasons for taking this trip, he goes into a depressed state discussing his own depression in a way that makes the reader (or me at least) get annoyed with his whininess. I didn’t read this book to listen to someone whine about miserable they are. Fortunately it really doesn’t last long and it’s only towards the very end.

The Housekeeper and the Professor

From Rosalia Milan:

The Housekeeper and the Professor, by Yoko Ogawa

This book was an unexpected pleasure. I have never been a big fan of math so I was afraid large portions of this book would confuse and annoy me, however the explanations of mathematical principles and formulas are so elegant even I could understand them. The entire story is elegantly told and the relationships formed and the importance each of the characters have in each other’s lives makes for a beautiful story about relationships.

Jane Austen, lost and found

From Rosalia Milan:

Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, by Syrie James

This work takes known facts from Jane Austen’s life and combines them with a great imagination. It tells the story of how Jane Austen almost got married to the man of her dreams. The most fun and creative part of the book is how familiar situations and characters from Jane Austen’s work (with different names of course) weave their way into the tale and become inspiration for characters, places and plot lines we know and love (or hate)like Mr. Collins, Pemberly and the oh so awkward scene in Pride and Prejuidice where Mr. Darcy finds Elizabeth Bennet touring his home. Fans of Jane Austen will love this work for making the much beloved author come alive.

Spaghetti, Men, and Nancy Drew

From Rosalia Milan:

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci

In this autobiography the author talks about her loves and their connections to food. The first chapter, devoted to her first real boyfriend, felt extremely rushed, and I remember thinking uh oh this is going to kind of suck. But the second chapter, devoted to Giulia’s father (and extremely moving) had much better flow and things seriously improved from there. I love the recipes, which all seem relatively simple and easy to follow and can’t wait to try some of them out.

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak

This book about the woman who created Nancy Drew really helps the reader appreciate how truly ahead of her time Nancy Drew actually was. It gives the history of the two woman behind Nancy Drew, Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Stratermyer Adams. Harriet was most likely the first female C.E.O. and Mildred was a female pilot, journalist and writer of not only tons of books for the syndicate besides Nancy Drews but several of her own series. Anyone who has ever picked up a Nancy Drew and loved it, will love this book, it really cements Nancy Drew as a feminist icon.

Art and Physics

From Ellen Druda:

Art & Physics, by Leonard Shlain

I heard about the author after his recent death on a BoingBoing blog post, and decided to give him a try.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Shlain spends most of the book supporting his thesis about artists expressing ideas about light, space, and time years before the physicists express the same ideas using science and math.  He takes us from the Greeks and Romans up through the 20th century, carefully paralleling the movements in painting and sculpture with the discoveries of Newton, Einstein, and beyond.  Because the author was so well versed in art, he was able to explain some of the more intangible ideas in physics in terms that were a bit easier to picture.  What does the world look like when you travel at the speed of light?  Now I know.

What I loved about this book was the way it stretched my mind trying to grasp the connections, and the theories about the collective mind Shlain puts forth at the end of the book.  A brave and brilliant work.