Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Michele Is Recommending:
In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as “the telling room.” Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets—usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine.

It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese. An unusual piece of cheese. Made from an old family recipe, Ambrosio’s cheese was reputed to be among the finest in the world, and was said to hold mystical qualities. Eating it, some claimed, conjured long-lost memories. But then, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong. . . .

By the time the two men exited the telling room that evening, Paterniti was hooked. Soon he was fully embroiled in village life, relocating his young family to Guzmán in order to chase the truth about this cheese and explore the fairy tale–like place where the villagers conversed with farm animals, lived by an ancient Castilian code of honor, and made their wine and food by hand, from the grapes growing on a nearby hill and the flocks of sheep floating over the Meseta.

What Paterniti ultimately discovers there in the highlands of Castile is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he first imagined. Instead, he’s sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot. As the village begins to spill its long-held secrets, Paterniti finds himself implicated in the very story he is writing.

Equal parts mystery and memoir, travelogue and history, The Telling Room is an astonishing work of literary nonfiction by one of our most accomplished storytellers. A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.
Told simultaneously from the perspective of humans and chimpanzees, set in a Vermont home and a Florida primate research facility, A Beautiful Truth—at times brutal, at others deeply moving—is about the simple truths that transcend species, the meaning of family, the lure of belonging, and the capacity for survival.

A portion of this book's proceeds benefits Save the Chimps, the world's largest chimpanzee sanctuary.

A powerful and haunting meditation on human nature told from the dual perspectives of a Vermont family that has adopted a chimp as a surrogate son, and a group of chimpanzees in a Florida research institute.

Looee, a chimp raised by a well-meaning and compassionate human couple who cannot conceive a baby of their own, is forever set apart. He’s not human, but with his peculiar upbringing he is no longer like other chimps. One tragic night Looee’s two natures collide and their unique family is forever changed.

At the Girdish Institute in Florida, a group of chimpanzees has been studied for decades. The work at Girdish has proven that chimps have memories and solve problems, that they can learn language and need friends, and that they build complex cultures. They are political, altruistic, get angry, and forgive. When Looee is moved to the Institute, he is forced to try to find a place in their world.

A Beautiful Truth is an epic and heartfelt story about parenthood, friendship, loneliness, fear and conflict, about the things we hold sacred as humans and how much we have in common with our animal relatives. A novel of great heart and wisdom from a literary master, it exposes the yearnings, cruelty, and resilience of all great apes.
Blind psychiatrist Mark Angelotti has just enrolled in a drug trial that holds out hope of restoring his eyesight when he is enlisted to act as an expert witness in a case that is rocking the Chicago legal community.

Attorney Jane Barrett knows all about Lucitrol. She defended the manufacturer of the powerful antipsychotic drug against product liability claims. So when Barrett's lover, investigative journalist Rory Gallagher, collapses from a fatal dose of the same drug, it falls to Hallie Sanchez, Barrett's oldest friend, to defend her on murder charges.

Could Barrett be guilty of what prosecutors are calling the perfect crime? Or is something afoot in the world of Big Pharma that someone was desperate to keep Gallagher from bringing to light?

Amid growing doubts about Barrett's innocence, Hallie recruits blind psychiatrist Mark Angelotti to help her discredit the testimony of a crucial eyewitness. The pair succeeds in obtaining Barrett's release, but at a dreadful price.
Farm City meets The Omnivore's Dilemma in Cold Antler Farm, a collection of essays on raising food on a small homestead , while honoring the natural cycle of the "lost" holidays of the agricultural calendar.

Author Jenna Woginrich is mistress of her one-woman farm and is well known for her essays on the mud and mess, the beautiful and tragic, the grime and passion that accompany homesteading. In Cold Antler Farm, her fifth book, she draws our attention to the flow and cycle not of the calendar year, but of the ancient agricultural year: holidays, celebrations, seasonal touchstones, and astronomical events that mark sacred turning points in the seasons.
Amidst the "lost" holidays of the equinoxes, May Day, Hallowmas, and Yule, we learn the life stories of her beloved animals and crops--chicken, pig, lamb, apples, basil, tomatoes. May apple blossoms are sweet fruit for rambunctious sheep in June. And come September, the harvest draws together neighbors for cider making under the waning summer sun. The living beings she is tending fuel one another--and the community--day to day, season by season.
By examining what eating seasonally really means, the "ancient" reclaimed calendar becomes a source of wisdom. How do we set down roots and break new ground in spring? How to best nourish body and soul in the heat of deep summer? And what can we learn by simply paying more attention to weather patterns than to our social network feeds? Cold Antler Farm encourages us to eat and live well with respect to for the natural rhythm of the seasons. In turn we learn what it means to be truly connected, not super-networked.

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