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Bake Offs: Tasty Books and Prize Winning Recipes for You to Try at Home

28 Nov

My son and I love to bake together; the weekend I wrote this post we made cookies for a class party.  But one thing we love almost as much as baking itself is to watch baking competitions together on TV.  Here are a few suggestions that you might enjoy if you too love the sweet taste of victory.

Great British Baking Show
GreatBritishBakingShow

I was curious to first checkout the Great British Baking Show because I was a fan of one of the hosts, Sue Perkins from the funny historical foodie show Supersizers Go…  I found this show just as delightful with contestants who are sweetly kind to one another rather than being cut throat like many reality competitions. They compete in three rounds: the first, a signature bake puts their unique spin on a classic, the second round where they must recreate one of the judge’s tricky bakes with minimal instructions, and a final show stopper round where the baked good frequently almost look too beautiful to eat. Even when disaster occurs and a contestant has a dreaded “soggy bottom” on one of their tarts the judges always have at least a kind word or two for the bakers. You’ll be rooting for your favorite baker and wishing you could taste the delicious looking treats they prepare.  Besides two of the seasons, Hoopla also has available Master Classes with Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood who show you how to make their special treats.

Plus you can get the behind the scenes scoop with The Story Of The Great British Bake Off by Anita Singh.  You can borrow seasons 1-5 on DVD and try out the recipes yourselves with The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking and The Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home by Linda Collister from BCCLS libraries.  Learn more about judge, Paul Hollywood, in his memoir/cookbook A Baker’s Life: From Childhood Bakes to Five-Star Excellence.

The Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Series

bestofpillsburydesserts

Image from Hoopla

The Great British Baking Show is titled The Great British Bake Off in the UK, but changed its name because of Pillsbury’s copyright on the phrase in the US .  The Bake Off sponsored by Pillsbury is one of the most legendary in this country.  You can borrow a variety of cook books from Hoopla divided into different dishes including one on desserts which covers yummy goodies from over 50 years of competition from 1957’s now classic French Silk Chocolate Pie to more modern winners.  The book also looks back at the history of the competition and how desserts have evolved.  Each recipe includes the contestant’s name, home town, and year they competed.  You can also borrow bake off books on casseroles and specifically on making my family’s favorites: cookies and bars.

The Bake-Off
by Beth Kendrick
bake off
The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick use a national bake-off as the setting that brings together two very different estranged sisters. Their grandmother thinks a top-secret family pie recipe will not just have them winning the competition but also find common ground. Of course, neither one is a baker, and if you’ve ever tried to bake one you might be questioning the phrase “easy as pie.”

If you are a fan of foodie fiction you can also check out All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant where aspiring baker Kat’s best friend Lucas Brannen signs her up for TV baking competition called Cupcake Combat; it seems like Kat may achieve her dreams, but Lucas is afraid he might lose Kat to the big city.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Super Science Fiction and Fantasy Reads: The Third Quarter of 2018 with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group

17 Oct

The summer of 2018 continued to be filled with a lot of enjoyable books for our Science Fiction and Fantasy Group.  We hope you can join us for future discussions.  On Monday, October 22nd we will be discussing the short stories of HP Lovecraft for our Halloween Read at 6 PM.  At 3 PM and 4:30 PM we will be showing two Classic Spooky Comedies.  Then in November we will be discussing Red Shirts by John Scalzi; stop by the reference desk to get a print or ebook copy.  We always welcome suggestions for what books the group reads!  Email hplwriters @ gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

Spellsinger
by Alan Dean Foster
Spellsinger
In July we discussed Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster in honor of the summer reading theme of “Reading Rocks.”  I had enjoyed the book as a teenager and was interested to see how it held up after so many years and what the group thought of it.  You may remember I referenced the series along with others in the funny fantasy genre in my post looking back on my favorite novels over the year.  It was a fun light read for summer focusing on an average guy who becomes a hero when he is accidentally sent to an alternate dimension where he can do magic by playing cover songs from earth. The book ends on a cliffhanger leading in to the second book in the series, but many of the group agreed that it felt like the novel came full circle on an emotional development with the main character expanding his definition on what it means to truly be a person.  The group watched the R rated animated sci-fi cult classic Heavy Metal before the discussion.  Besides being available in print, you can also borrow Spellsinger along with other books in the series, as ebooks from Hoopla.

The Three-Body Problem
by Cixin Liu
translated by Ken Liu
3BodyProblem
We had previously read another book in translation, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne which was originally written in French, but The Three-Body Problem was our first translation of a more modern science fiction novel.  Besides print you can borrow it as a digital audiobook from Hoopla.  The group on the whole found the beginning of the work with its exploration of China’s Cultural Revolution a bit slow, but felt it picked up as the main story of first alien contact was introduced.  Several members of the group planned to read the other two works in the trilogy The Dark Forest and Death’s End.  I thought Liu’s use of VR game technology in the novel was especially interesting in comparison to Ready Player One, which we had discussed previously and you can now see a movie adaptation on Blu-ray or DVD.  Unfortunately a planned movie adaptation of the novel, The Three-Body Problem, was shelved a few years ago so instead we watched the classic Forbidden Planet, which is available on Blu-ray and DVD.  The movie, though from the 50’s, holds up well in both look and plot and its retro vibe only adds to its charm.

Lady of the Forest
by Jennifer Roberson

LadyoftheForest

book cover from eLibraryNJ

We read Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson for our August book.  The book hooked readers with its suspenseful opening.  The group enjoyed that the book had many different characters’ perspectives and how it told the story of not just how Robin evolved into the character of myth and legends but how his merry men also met and joined him. The book especially focuses on Marian who goes from being an intelligent but more conservative, traditional lady of the day to finding her inner warrior.  It is an interesting twist on Robin, who is depicted as having PTSD from fighting in the crusades.  I think my favorite character was Eleanor, the sheriff’s daughter, who despite making several very bad decisions still intrigued me as a depiction of how a more independent oriented women would be treated in that era.  Besides print, Hoboken residents, can borrow the book from eLibraryNJ as an ebook.  Roberson also wrote a sequel Lady of Sherwood.  We watched the movie Robin and Marian which looked at the couple towards the end of their lives rather than the beginning of their adulthood in the book; it provided an interesting look at how their relationship would have evolved.  My heart still belongs to the animated Disney version, but I also enjoyed this more serious interpretation and thought Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn gave stellar performances in the title roles.  You can learn more about the history of the Robin Hood legend from Robin Hood–The Outlaw Hero, Episode 9 of Heroes and Legends, part of The Great Courses series of lectures available for streaming from Kanopy.

I hope you will join us for upcoming discussions.  And if you like mysteries check out the Hoboken Public Library’s New Mystery Book Club!  You can email rosary.vaningen @ hoboken.bccls.org for more info about the Mystery book club!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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