Cookie Dreams

So now that things are gearing up for the holidays, it's time for me to start baking. By the end of December, I'll have participated in a couple of cookie swaps, and have handed out baskets of goodies to at least 2 dozen people. Last year, my husband kept on adding people that he worked with, even in other states! I am always looking for new recipes. I have my old favorites - Grandma cookies,-a family twist on Scottish shortbread, and my hubby's favorite the good ol' chocolate chip.

"Cookie Swap", by Lauren Chattman, Workman Publishing, offers plenty of choices. There are color photographs with each recipe. I don't know about you, but I like to know what my end product is "supposed" to look like. It doesn't always turn out that way, but as long as they taste good, they work. And my family gets to eat all of the "mistakes". Biscotti, Sesame Ginger Munchies, and Lemon-Poppy Seed Cornmeal Cookies along with Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies are all just calling out my name for me to bake them.

-Debbie Buck

Sci Fi & Fantasy Sale

Friday Surprise!
Big sale on Science Fiction and Fantasy today. $1.25 a piece for the paperbacks or 5 for $5.00. We also have a large selection of books on tape - buy one get two free - to choose from.

Also, we have cats. But not for sale, for looking.


Crochet for CATS!!

That is Henry.

Today we are featuring a Crochet for Cats event at Vintage Books.
People are welcome to come and hang out and help make kitty blankets for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. If you know how to crochet already, you can jump right in. If you don't, Stephaniejo--the organizer and mastermind behind the Crochet for Cats program--can teach you how to make a perfect blanket for a shelter cat.

If you would like to submit a blanket for the crochet for cats program you can email Stephaniejo (featured above) at stephaniejo333@hotmail.com.

The blankets should measure:
approx 8" x 17" Kitty Blanket 2 strands
Crochet size N or Knit size 15
Crochet: ch 20, work 19 sc for 46 r
Knit: CO 19 work garter st for 92 r

If you know what all of that means, you are way ahead of me and well on your way if you would like to submit a blanket for the animal shelter.

-Vintage Books

p.s. We have frequent crochet for cats events at our store. If you would like to be emailed about our events you can sign up for our newsletter. See details on our website at vintage-books.com


Not Horror, Ghost Story

I'm not sure whether it's the marketing I've been subjected to, or listening to King talk about writing, or because I read his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, but I have always respected King as a storyteller; the man can spin a yarn. There is an honesty to his writing earned by hard work and from experience - like the seasoned songwriter who understands his audience and eliminates the unnecessary for the compelling - that makes King easy to read. Even when King is long winded - like when a character's own mental narrative spirals out of control for pages and pages - at least he takes you somewhere. Bag of Bones takes you lots of places.

Bag of Bones is a love story, wrapped in a mystery, bundled in a ghost story. It is melancholy at times, shocking at others, and thoroughly wrapped in a wonderful gauze of eerie longing. Bestselling author Mike Noonan's love for his recently deceased wife, his intensely vivid memories of her, and his wakeful dream life, propels him into a rich narrative that extends deep in the town's unspoken history - a history of fraught race relations and a blanket of old time Yankee secretiveness. Noonan is a sweet, likable character and we feel bad that his world has fallen out from under him; we can't help but root and worry for him.
I love mysteries and I love ghost stories, and this is one of the most enjoyable, gripping books I have read in either genre. I have also listened to King read it on one of my long road trips. His wonderful "everyman" voice and delivery complements the first person narrative perfectly. Highly recommended.

The inside has lots of little words.

-Review by Tom


Great Playing Cards

I love these cards. Artist Viginijus Poshkus's images are light and clean. The formatting is simple and neat. I own the endangered species cards as well as the birds and trees.

The trees are my favorite.

These make great gifts and, at $6.00, a good bargain.

-Reviewed by Tom


No Self Help. Well...maybe one.

Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake up, Be mindful, and Live Intentionally, by Patti Digh

I don't read self-help books. They're endless, the whole process
is endless, I suspect. But this one was so brightly-colored, full
of collages and photos and quotations and diversions. I started it,
and couldn't put it down. Okay, and my daughter made me read it.

It's hilarious, and really insightful. You can't go through it without smiling, without getting teary-eyed. And she has this four-year old sweetie who continually steals the show (part Keystone Kop, part enlightened soul). Anyway, it all comes down to the little, everyday things, we know that. But because of this book, now whenever we see a bus, any old bus, my whole family says, WOWWWWW!!!!

(And Patti's new book, Creative is a Verb, is just out!)

- Reviewed by Pepper

More Mushrooms!

Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest by Steve Trudell & Joe Ammirati, Timber Press, 349 pp., $27.95

I have mushrooms on the brain right now. This guide to Pacific Northwest mushrooms is comprehensive, full of great color photographs, well bound, and has a nice sturdy glossy cover - great for resisting water as you're walking through the wet forest.

It also has a fancy ruler on the back cover for referencing fungi in the field. My thumb is only 3" long. I always thought it was longer.

Highly recommended. Great gift for a forager.
-Reviewed by Tom


Every Friday morning, we get our latest magazine titles in, and every Friday afternoon, I have to buy the latest editions of several of my favorites. My favorite titles right now are: "Food Network Magazine" What can I say? I am addicted to that channel. I consider myself a foodie, even though I probably wouldn't eat a lot of the stuff that they make on the shows, especially if it involves seafood or blue cheese. This month's issue includes some yummy looking cranberry sauces, Alton Brown's guide to making the best Turkey, and even a Chocolate-Toffee Pecan Tart.

Another favorite is "Real Simple". The fact that the main cover story is called "Feel Organized for the Holidays" is definitely one that I need to read, tells me that this is my kind of magazine. Of course, I am so unorganized, that I'm not sure where I put my copy of the magazine after I bought it. Hmm..maybe I need how to be organized every minute of the day? This magazine has everything, recipes, health helps, and fashion. I always enjoy looking at decorating ideas, not that I'll get to that, see the unorganized comment.

-Debbie Buck

Foraging, Then Cooking. My Favorite.

Pacific Feast: A Cook's Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cusine by Jennifer Hahn Skipstone, 223 pp., $21.95

I have recently become a mushroom forager. I enjoy romping through the wet forest; digging through the underbrush; the thrill of the hunt; and the dopamine induced rush brought on by the discovery of a white capped Matsutake. There is also the cleaning; brushing; and the preserving in numerous ways - freezing, drying, vacuum packing - all part and parcel under the wide umbrella of mushrooming. And, of course, I also love eating them - which helps to connect this voracious cycle.

Hunting for mushrooms has piqued my interest for other types of foraging, and Pacific Feast: A Cook's Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine, by Jennifer Hahn, is a perfect book for someone in my position: someone excited about the prospect of discovering foods in the wilds of the pacific northwest, but unenlightened to its bounty.

Pacific Feast features detailed notes on 40 species of flora and fauna. From kelp to shellfish, mushrooms to grapes, Pacific Feast is a great introduction to a variety of foods available for harvest and for cooking. The field notes include descriptions, locations, edible parts, harvest calender, and culinary uses. I have yet to cook any of the numerous recipes, but they appear simple and complementary to the foods they feature. Wonderful.

There is a separate fold out foraging guide that sells for $7.95.

Reviewed by Tom


Oh, boy. A world of cake. Wouldn't that be a great place?

A World of Cake: 150 Recipes for Sweet Traditions from Cultures Near and Far by Krystina Castella, Storey Publishing, 343 pp., $24.95

Mochi rice cakes in Japan; Nutmeg Cake in Armenia; almond pasty M'hanncha (Snake Cake-because it looks like a snake, not made of snake); and vibrant Pandan Cake in Indonesia.

A real world tour of a cake book. I would eat all of these cakes, and I would become very fat.

-Reviewed by Tom

FRIDAY SURPRISE! Surprise, lit. sale today!

$3.50 for a trade paperback, $ 6.00 for a hardcover, 3 hardcovers for $15.00
what a deal


Starter Vegetable Gardens, by Barbara Pleasant,
Storey Publishing, 179 pp., $19.95

Like all great gardening books, Starter Vegetable Gardens is about potential. There are a variety of different gardens featured in this book--from the simple yet fruitful beginner's garden--to family gardens and long-season gardens. Many of the gardens offer 3 year plans that build on skills and help the reader understand how their hard work will pay off in the future years--a helpful exercise for beginner gardeners who might overextend themselves, hoping for the one-season "wondergarden", and being disappointed with the results.

Starter Vegetable Gardens, offers promise for the patient, practical mind. Strongly illustrated with a mixture of hand drawn pictures and simple color photographs, its ideas are concise and well presented. There are numerous "tips" scattered throughout the book which help whet the reader's appetite for further study and at the end of the book there are 46 excellent recommendations on which vegetables to grow and tips on their cultivation and use. Its larger paperback format is lightweight and the pictures and text feel open and clean, easy to glance through and study in detail. Highly recommended.

-Reviewed by Tom


Death Come Knockin'

We posted this on facebook for Halloween, but here it is again for posterity.

We are going to start doing more book reviews in the coming months. Kicking off the new review section is one of my favorites: Pie, by Angela Boggiano. My friend bought a copy years ago and it's safe to say that I coveted it. Then, one sunny day in Oakland, California, while snooping around at Pegasus Books, my girlfriend's cousin became drawn to its tasty pastry cover.

I slipped him a fiver as a finder's fee and have since made numerous empanadillas; handpies; filled pastries; and, of course, pies. The "soccer pies", or "football pies"--to our friends across the pond--are my favorite. They are small, and you can make a lot of them for lunches, picnics, or indeed, soccer games: these are a perfect warm up for a cold night out. The picture below shows the size of the hand pies I'm talking about.

There is a range of influences in these recipes: empanadillas with a North African and Catalan influences; South Indian masala pasties; sweet pies; and many meat pies. Never boring, some challenging recipes, and all of them are definitely worth a try.

-Reviewed by Tom

New Calanders!

This is a favorite from my childhood. I now read it, along with the companion book featuring Elmo and Grover "Another Monster at the end of this Book", to my kids. We have a lot of fun with the voices. I'm not the greatest Grover or Elmo, but the kids enjoy the book just the same.
Debbie Buck

Loose your cool? Want to stomp that person who charged in front?
"The Cow in the Parking Lot" may be the best hour or two you've
spent in a long time. The simple, humorous, thoughtful process
for learning to rethink how we approach difficult situations is
a bonanza in a small book. I may not be "Zen", but I'll react
differently next time someone "swipes that parking spot."
-from Becky
The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger
Lenoard Scheff & Susan Edmiston
Workman Publishing

We brought AGAAT home from the Winter Institute. A coworker selected it
and was immediately caught up. She is a passionate supporter, and kept
at me until I read it. Amazing book!

P.S. We keep it on display near "Little Bee". Two very different
voices and stories of a world far from our experience but incredible
reads, both.


Agaat: savior, nurse, caregiver or demon and punisher to dying
white farm owner Milla? "Agaat" twists and turns and weaves through
time. It is a brutal South African tale, filled with beauty, love,
passion, hatred. Nothing is mellow, not even nature.

The storytelling is superb: poetic and full of mystery.