ON THE SHELF (01/2013)

Like clockwork, the start of the new year seems to bring some awfully frigid weather to this neck of the woods. Needless to say, I have gathered a fab pile of 'to reads' for those chilly Canuck nights that should not be tangled with!
(Don't forget to scroll to the end of the post for the giveaway!)

A tale of two brothers and the disturbing and dysfunctional twists that take hold of their lives, all served with a dash or two of dark humor and set in the morbid corners of the suburbs.
"Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution...May We Be Forgiven is an unnerving, funny tale of unexpected intimacies and of how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together."
(via Viking)

I couldn't get enough of Lesley M. M. Blume's first book, Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By so when I came across her name once again, and this time talking cocktails of days gone by, I knew this one had my name written all over it!
"Most books on vintage cocktails stick to the tried-and-true classics, but a new one fights for the underdog. The delightfully named Let's Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition: A Compendium of Impish, Romantic, Amusing, and Occasionally Appalling Potations from Bygone Eras by Lesley M. M. Blume is a humorous, illustrated book that lists recipes for lesser-known vintage drinks like the Laughing Soup, Gloom Lifter, and Battery Charger. " 
(via FineCooking.com)

Breakfast has got to be my favourite meal of the day (especially if someone has been kind enough to make it for me!) and I just love getting new ideas on how to keep it fresh. This book promises to inspire us past the old stand-by of bacon and eggs and onto exciting breakfast territory!
"For many, breakfast is the best meal of the day, and on the weekends when the pace of life slows down, there's nothing better than an indulgent brunch. The Perfect Start to Your Day is packed with fresh, tasty ideas for all sorts of treats - whether you're grabbing a quick bite or entertaining friends with a weekend brunch feast."
(via Ryland Peters & Small)

We Used to Own the Bronx: Memoirs of a Former Debutante
I have had a forever fascination with the debs of  'high society'. The porcelain-faced beauties in the flowing white dresses, all poised and pristine with lives of perfection...or so we always assume!
"Pell recollects her privileged East Coast upbringing and her gradual break with the affluence and expectations of her dynastic clan. As a young woman, Pell rode horses, spent time at her grandparents' Tuxedo Park villa ("with two enormous round towers and a long, splendid living room that you stepped down into from a double stairway") and shopped at Bergdorfs with relatives called Cooky, Pookie, Goody and Tinkie (Pell was nicknamed Topsy). Following her d├ębut, Pell went to college "to be interesting to my future husband and to pass the time until he showed up," and it wasn't until she graduated and moved to the West Coast that she escaped the overweening pressure to fill the family-standard "snobbish foxhunting debutante" mold."
(via Publisher's Weekly)

Tout Sweet: Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France
My dreams of running off to Paris and living the life 'a la Francais' were put to an abrupt halt when I said 'I do' and proceeded to have babies, so now I must live vicariously through any book chronicling the French life and all it's charm. Readers have been asking for a sequel to Karen Wheeler's 'journal of transition' ever since it debuted, touting it as a definite 'feel good' book so how could I pass this one up?!
"In her mid-thirties, fashion editor Karen has it all: a handsome boyfriend, a fab flat in west London, and an array of gorgeous shoes. But when her boyfriend, Eric, leaves she makes an unexpected decision: to hang up her Manolos and wave good-bye to her glamorous city lifestyle to go it alone in a run-down house in rural Poitou-Charentes, central western France.
Tout Sweet is the perfect read for anyone who dreams of chucking away their BlackBerry in favor of real blackberrying and down-shifting to a romantic, alluring locale where new friendships–and new loves–are just some of the treasures to be found amongst life's simple pleasures."
(via Sourcebooks)

Inventing Elsa Maxwell: How an Irrepressible Nobody Conquered High Society, Hollywood, the Press, and the World
Elsa Maxwell was known as one heck of a party-thrower but how a plain-jane from Iowa made it into the upper tiers of the rich and famous just by knowing how to host a super shin-dig is an absolute mystery. This biography spills the secrets on how she did just that!
"If you think elaborately scripted and themed parties are a contemporary phenomenon, think again. In the early- to mid-twentieth century, hostess Elsa Maxwell reigned supreme. Setting the standard for glamour and glitz, she herself was anything but glamorous and glitzy, professing herself to be “a short, fat, homely, piano player from Keokuk, Iowa.“ What Elsa lacked in stature and good looks, however, she more than made up for in sheer wit and audacity. Determined to be the hostess with the mostest, she threw legendary parties that attracted the rich, the famous, and the eccentric. An invitation to one of her bashes was a social coup, and both celebrities and wannabes jockeyed for invitations. As Staggs explores who she was, where she came from, and how she achieved infamy and acclaim, the extraordinarily revered, reviled, and remembered woman behind the parties is given her long overdue props."
(via Booklist)

Now onto our giveaway!
We will be giving away one book from this months reading list to a lucky winner.
Our winner will be randomly chosen from all the submitted entries and the winner will receive the book of their choice from the featured books on January's Reads (see above for reading list) 

How to enter:
1. Leave a comment below telling us what is on your reading list this month.
2. Become a GFC follower of this blog for one entry. (Find Google Friend Connect in the right sidebar. If you are already a follower, mention it in your comment to be counted as an entry)
3. 'Like' us on Facebook for one entry.
4. 'Follow' us on Twitter for one entry.

Contest ends on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST and the winner will be announced on Saturday, January 12, 2013.
Good luck!


  1. This January I plan to read Slow Love. I am a GFC follower, I have liked the facebook page, and I am a twitter follower

  2. 1. This month I am reading Mrs Queen Takes the Train and hopefully one more.
    2. I am a follower via GFC.

    THank you

  3. I follow you to the ends of the earth and back my love!!!
    The memoir, inventing Elsa maxwell... perhaps it would inspire me to get my 'rear in gear' regarding the stories of La Jolie Grandmere!

  4. 1. I'm reading "Ready Player One" and "Practical Demonkeeping" in January.
    2. I follow LL on GFC.

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  7. Love all these fabulous reads! I finished The Poisonwood Bible on the plane back to SF, so I'm rooting around in my Amazon Wishlist to see what'll be up next!

  8. I am a little behind on my reading. I finishing The Hobbit and my next read is What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
    I follow you on GFC and I like you on FB.

  9. A fabulously interesting list of reads. I like them all! My current discovery is P. S. James,who is helping me get through the cold dreary days with Commander Adam Dalgliesh who dunnits.

    Thank you for your always fascinating blog.

  10. I'm going to read Anna Karenina by Tolstoi next :)