Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Tea Cup is delicious beyond words

Every so often we come across a book that is total escapism. When I read Hollywood actor Reese Witherspoon's Whiskey in a Tea Cup I was released into a world of southern ladies preparing high-calorie comfort foods and relaxing on wide, breezy porches sipping mint juleps. The title is a metaphor for strong southern ladies in delicate, feminine packaging. Same idea as steel magnolias. This is one of those books that embraces you right from the get-go. It's a combination of lifestyle, memoir, decorating, fashion, culture and down-home cooking in…

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Spoiler alert: Punjabi widows are not always what they seem

If you enjoyed the movie *The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel and you’re up for a bit of naughty, then you’ll love reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. When we start reading a new book we usually have an idea of what it’s about from reading a book review or getting a recommendation from a friend. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was a title that kept popping up but I had no idea what it was about when I downloaded it and was wonderfully…

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Old Victorian house is major character in Barbara Kingsolver novel

When I read Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible (which I absolutely loved) several years ago, it was the first time I'd heard of the author and immediately became a fan. Her newest book, Unsheltered is not quite as engrossing but it's still a wonderful read. It's the story of life's plan not working out quite the way the characters hoped it would but coping and adapting along the way. Normal life. Willa Knox is a middle-aged science writer married to a university professor who never quite makes the tenure track.…

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Princess Margaret comes alive once again in detailed tell-all

If you're someone who enjoys reading salacious gossip about royalty, then you'll love Ninety-nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret written by British author and journalist Craig Brown. To be honest, when I downloaded the book, I thought it was a picture book—a photographic retrospective of the life of the Queen's younger sister. The title was a bit misleading. As it turns out, there were relatively few pictures and hundreds of pages of stories, observations, first-hand accounts and general information about Princess Margaret, her lifestyle, her friends, enemies and her vices. And…

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For a good time . . . read Adam Resnick

I've just finished reading Adam Resnick's autobiographical Will Not Attend, Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation. Resnick, who dislikes socializing (hence the title) and considers himself a misfit sounds like a downer but it's laugh-out-loud funny. His writing reminded me of David Sedaris. The author's self-deprecating humour and gift for understatement leaves the reader sympathetic and understanding of his struggles in life, while at the same time rooting for him throughout his misadventures. Children from large families often have correspondingly large personalities. Perhaps it's the result of competing for parental…

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French Exit nearly had me exiting the book, but I’m glad I didn’t

Any book set in Paris is irresistible to me. French Exit by Patrick deWitt, who also wrote The Sisters Brothers, is a contemporary novel that reads like a 1930's farce. When I first started reading, the language struck me as peculiar; the characters were caricatures and the plot implausible. But the further into it I got, the more intrigued I became. French Exit was short-listed for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, so there were obviously people much smarter than I am who thought the book worth finishing so I soldiered…

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