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Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

Title: Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York
Author: Sari Botton
Publisher: Seal Press
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
ISBN: 9781580054942
Number of Pages: 288
How I Got It: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary
In 1967, Joan Didion wrote an essay called Goodbye to All That, a work of such candid and penetrating prose that it soon became the gold standard for personal essays. Like no other story before it, Didion’s tale of loving and leaving New York captured the mesmerizing allure Manhattan has always had for writers, poets, and wandering spirits.

In this captivating collection, 28 writers take up Didion’s literary legacy by sharing their own New York stories. Their essays often begin as love stories do, with the passion of something newly discovered—the crush of subway crowds, the streets filled with manic energy, and the sudden, unblinking certainty that this is the only place on Earth where one can become exactly who she is meant to be.
They also share the grief that comes like a gut-punch, when the metropolis loses its magic and the pressures of New York’s frenetic life wear thin on even the most fervent dwellers. As friends move away, rents soar, and love—still— remains just out of reach, each writer’s goodbye to New York is singular and universal, like New York itself.
With Cheryl Strayed, Dani Shapiro, Emma Straub, Ann Hood, and more.

My Review: I wanted to live in New York when I was younger, so reading a collection of essays about leaving the city was bittersweet. I loved each writer's individual love story with the city and like most love stories, the eventual falling out. The final decisions of each writer to leave the city surpassed my initial jealousy of them getting to have the experience in the first place. New York is a mecca that calls to creative types and I am no different. I myself have wanted to live in that magical city surrounded by art, artists and inspiration at every turn. But alas, I am 36 years old with a husband and children, not twenty with fluid sexual proclivities and drug addictions. The collection of essays is depressing in the sense you know it will be due to the fact the writers eventually had enough and moved on (literally.) However, it is a valuable supplement to bookend the myriad stories of moving to New York to "find one's self" or "make it big." The statistical reality of these journeys is that many (most?) will not result in life long citizens of the city.  

**  I received this book in exchange for an honest review **

Bountiful Blessings Cookbook

Title: Bountiful Blessings Cookbook
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Publication Date: November 1, 2013
ISBN: 9781624167089
Number of Pages: 400 
How I Got It: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary: 
If you love creating in the kitchen, the Bountiful Blessings Cookbook is for you! Featuring hundreds of recipes—for main dishes, sides, desserts, and everything in between—that will surprise and delight for all seasons, this collection includes just the inspiration you need to create one simple dish or even a complete family feast!

My Review:
I grew up with my grandmother using and gifting church cookbooks.  The recipes were relatively simple and no-fail. They didn't contain fancy ingredients and had no qualms about including copious amounts of Crisco and butter. I especially loved that they were titled with the name of submitter (Betty Jean's Jell-O Fluff, Sheila Jone's Easter Casserole, Sally Pruitt's Christmas Ribbon Candy.)  I followed several recipes out of these compilations when I was first learning to cook and I have a few tried and true that I return to several times a year. The Bountiful Blessings Cookbook is sleek, updated version of the church cookbooks I grew up with. The recipes are straight-forward and no fuss.  The collection is separated into categories such as Main Dishes, Vegetables, Breads, Candies, etc. In a world full of fancy and complicated recipes, sometimes you just need to know how to make some deviled eggs! I will be referencing this collection for years to come in order to relive some forgotten childhood favorites and to try something new. Mayonnaise rolls anyone?

***  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***

Best Books of 2013

Any book lover will tell you that trying to pick a favorite book is nearly impossible. After much deliberation I have narrowed down my list for 2013 to my top 30 choices; divided into my top 6 and 24 honorable mentions (in no particular order.) Click the linked titles to read my reviews.

My #1 Read for 2013 is Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn


Maddadam by Margaret Atwood 

Historical Fiction


Drinking and Tweeting by Brandi Glanville    

Suspense / Thriller / Mystery

Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann
The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell 

Summer/ Beach



Irresistible Blueberry Bake Shop by Mary Simses    


Goodbye to All That by Sari Botton        
Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill    

Author to Watch

Braving the Fire

Title: Braving the Fire
Author: Jessica Handler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
ISBN: 9781250014559
Number of Pages: 256
How I Got It: from author

This review is on page 23 of the December issue of Buckhaven Lifetyle magazine

While the holidays bring joy, they can also bring sadness and grief. The memory of lost love ones is especially trying at this time of the year. Many people wish to memorialize the story of their grief in a memoir but just don't know how or where to start. Jessica Handler's memoire "Invisible Sisters" shared the story of the loss of her sisters. After its release, she spoke with many others about their grief. Her newest release, "Braving the Fire," is a gentle but knowledgeable approach to assist a memoirist in recording their story. She acknowledges the plethora of questions that accompany the decision, such as "where do I start, what if I hurt someone with my story, or what if I remember an event differently from someone else?" Her experience with both grief and the writing of a memoir allow her to guide a writer through their own story. Loosely based on the K├╝bler-Ross model of Five Stages of Grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, Handler provides a step by step guide to writing a grief memoir. Offering her own memories alongside writing exercises, pointers, author contributions and interviews makes a reader fell as if someone is holding their hand through the process. "Braving the Fire" explains how to fully immerse one's self into memories and produce the story within your heart and mind onto the page. For more information, visit JessicaHandler.com

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and submitted the review for publication based on my personal pitching criteria**