Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

Category: Giftable Books

A fun and giftable cookbook featuring meatloaf

Rarely do I find a useful cookbook that is also fun to read, but this one is both:  A Meatloaf in Every Oven: Two Chatty Cooks, One Iconic Dish and Dozens of Recipes – from Mom’s to Mario Batali’s.

A sampling of the passion these authors have for meatloaf:

“Show us a person’s meatloaf and we’ll show you that person’s soul. Meatloaf is a mirror: You are how you loaf.”


“Meatloaf is a metaphor: It’s life made loaf. You take what’s precious (in this case, the meat) and stretch it as far as it’ll go.”

This cookbook obviously focuses on meatloaf but it includes recipes from traditional to vegetarian to cultural favorites. The recipes include favorites from several famous chefs to politicians on both sides of the aisle. In total you get about 50 meatloaf recipes grouped into categories with dialogue and commentary included. There is a section at the end that includes yummy sides.

The book also provides helpful basic tips and techniques that span loaves:

Continue reading

Born to Run – Part I

I’m reading the new Bruce Springsteen memoir Born to Run slowly, savoring it.

A third of the way through, I’m to the point where he has released his first album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

A tidbit of what he says about his Asbury Park album:

…the lyrics and spirit of Greetings come from an unself-consicous place. Your early songs emerge from a moment when you’re writing with no sure prospect of ever being heard. Up until then, it’s been just you and your music. This only happens once.

I listened to the album again and heard it differently than before – an awesome experience with this new insight.

So far I’ve learned about his childhood, his relationship with his parents and grandparents, his inspirations,  and the source of some of his songs, for example “The River” is a tribute to his sister and brother-in-law.

I’ve learned how hard he truly worked for his first opportunities. Natural talent – yes he had that – but he worked his a$$ off to get better. He was so focused and he didn’t even have a drink of alcohol until after he recorded his first album (the funny story of his drinking Tequila for the first time is what I just read about!).

Continue reading

Beyond the Bookcase: The Hidden Life of Trees

One of my goals for the new year is to read at least six environmental books. My first was a beautiful book about how trees in a forest feel and communicate: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World. Did you know research shows trees behave like human families and human communities? Tree parents live with their children, communicating and supporting them. The trees in a undisturbed forest also function socially, helping the sick and warning each other of dangers.

The author Peter Wohlleben is a forester in Germany; his book was recently translated into English due to high demand.

The book starts out like a love song to trees and forests (and this was my favorite part!) and then it continues on like a layman’s textbook teaching how trees grow, survive, and die. Most interesting (to me ) is that the trees in forests work together for the success of all.

Continue reading

Gift ideas for book lovers, aka what I’m asking for

I love giving (and receiving) books as gifts. And don’t forget to sign the inside cover with a short message, your name, and the year. I love seeing these inscriptions as the years pass.

OK I admit this list is based on my own wishes; but I’ve separated the list out into my various reading personalities so you can find gifts for the different types of readers in your life:

For the ex-English major:

As I previously posted, A Gentleman in Moscow was my favorite book of the year so I MUST put it on this list. And Rules of Civility was the author Amor Towles’ first book which has equally good reviews, so I think it’s a safe bet as well for gifting. I’ve already requested both of these so I can keep them in my library forever!

For the Downton Abbey fan:

I know I’m not the only one missing Downton Abbey. The book Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia is by the show’s creator so I’m hoping it will fill some of the void. I plan to read it with my Downtown Abbey group in the new year.

Continue reading

My unexpected testimonial for Hands Free Mama

First let me admit I initially avoided reading Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!

This book only ended up in my possession because a friend had it on her baby registry…so I gave it a quick read before passing it on to her as a gift. I know this is sort of tacky but she is such a good friend that if she is reading this hopefully she is laughing and won’t mind! (Now I can finally get it in the mail hahaha!!)

Anyway, I avoided this book because I thought I knew what it would say…”just put down your phone,” right?…and I was correct, but I certainly didn’t know how she would say this and how it would affect me.

Already I have made changes in my life that I can attribute to this book. And I promise when you make these changes, however minor they may be, when you see someone else doing what you used to do, you will feel so good about your new habits that you will stick to them! At least this has been my experience so far.

So…I’m going to summarize some of her points below, but if technology addiction/distraction applies to you at all, I recommend picking the book up and reading it yourself.

Here are just ten thoughts and quotes from this powerful book:

Continue reading

My go-to baby gift book

I’ve been invited to two baby showers lately where the hostess asks us to “sign a book instead of a card.”

I love this idea! Of course I usually give books for baby gifts anyway, at least as part of my gift.

Over and over, I buy the same book for new babies. So now I need to order two more(If I am invited to your shower stop reading now, and if you were invited to the same shower as me save this info. for next time! 😉

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever is super nostalgic for me, but that’s not the only reason I think it’s the perfect book to give at a baby shower or to a new baby!

Continue reading

Father’s Day picks from my bookcase

Books are always a great gift for the fathers in your life…(except for my dad who has already read everything and my husband who rarely finishes a book anymore…) But for everyone else…here are five recommendations from my own bookcase for Father’s Day gifts:

For someone having Walking Dead withdrawals:World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. If he’s seen the movie, don’t worry because the book is totally different. I read this in a graduate literature class, and my husband (a big walking dead fan) picked it up during a previous off-season and loved how it allows the reader to experience an outbreak from multiple perspectives.

Continue reading

Dr. Suess and the power of a gift

Beyond the immense power of words and themes, a gifted book carries even more emotional weight.

Dr. Suess’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go was a gift from my fifth grade teacher; he brought it to my high school graduation. He brought this and a roll of toilet paper, signed by my fifth grade class, but that’s a whole other story.

Continue reading

© 2018 Leslie's Bookcase

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑