Nixon in China by Margaret MacMillan

Neither Nixon, nor China, have a particularly Christmassy sound.
Yet this new book by Margaret MacMillan is a wonderful Christmas
present. Written in the clear,crisp style of the best-selling author of
Paris l9l9, it gives an enthralling picture of the week in February,
l972, when U.S. President Nixon went to China and met its leaders.
The very fact of the visit changed diplomatic relations in all
directions – especially with the Soviet Union. MacMillan builds on this
one week to give background history of China which is very relevant to
events of today.

MacMillan is a Canadian who did her graduate work at Oxford, and
returned to Canada to teach (Chinese history among other things ) at
Ryerson, Toronto. She says history is story-telling and “is
very often about how a fascinating event changes people..it should be
entertaining.” MacMillan herself went on to become Provost of Trinity
College and professor of history at the University of Toronto. In 2007,
she will become the Warden of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University.

We are fortunate that she has been able to get Nixon in China
published in the midst of such a busy academic career. It is
interesting that she makes Nixon as sympathetic as she does. She finds
him a lonely, tortured man with a longing to “dare greatly” on the world
stage combined with self-doubt and bombast which led to the notorious
Watergate lying and cheating. His meeting with Chairman Mao is quite
memorable, as described in her book.

The visit is described intimately. The Chinese were fascinated by
the preparations for the American press. They had never seen a Xerox
copier and had to be sure, for example,that there would be phone lines
at the Great Wall. Two chartered planes carried the reporters, camera
crews and support staff, just ahead of Nixon.

And then MacMillan sums up the week that changed the world -how it
affected events in the Soviet Union, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, as well as
the two main countries, the U.S. and China. As we try to keep our
footing in our own fast-changing world, this is a book that helps you
get your bearings.

Review by Anne McDougall

Piano, Piano, Pieno

Piano, Piano, Pieno Authentic Food From A Tuscan Farm by Susan McKenna Grant Translated, the title means “Slowly, Slowly, Full.” And this offering from another Canadian turned property owner in Tuscany is a fine offering in the world of cookbooks that also try to mingle regional history and recipes. Susan McKenna Grant covers meat, fish, poultry, pasta, and deserts. Bread making, salad dressings, various stuffings, and making gnochi are featured as well.

Piano, Piano, Pieno offers recipes for those who like to cook with seasonal sensibilities and for those cooks who have no hang-ups producing a bechamel sauce for a summer’s evening dinner.

With over 420 pages of Tuscan treats Piano, Piano, Pieno covers so many culinary areas it may replace a few of your other Italian cook books. And you won’t get ‘full’ trying!

Ciao!
Thanks to Gary M. for the review!

The King’s English

The King's Englishby Betsy Burton. The title of this book is the name of a long-established independent bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. Written by one of the founders, it is an engaging account of bookselling: its ups and downs and its often very humourous situations. Tales of famous authors who have visited the store add to the charm of this very interesting book and it discusses the struggle of the independent stores in modern times. A wonderful added feature are many booklists covering various genres, bestsellers and childrens’ books etc. through the years.

Cyrano

Cyranoby Geraldine McCaughrean. Romantic and heroic this beautiful re-telling of the story of Cyrano de Bergerac is a treat for young adults and adults alike – a real treasure!

 

 

The Left Bank

The Left Bankby Kate Muir. This is a wonderful, funny and bittersweet book which tells the story of the marriage of Madison and Olivier and of their daughter; it is so Parisien in its descriptions both geographical, culinary and socially and is hard to put down.

Bound to be a store favourite!

Angels in the Gloom

Angels in the Gloomby Anne Perry. Set in England, it continues the story of the Reavley brothers’ search for the Peacemaker who killed their parent and plots to reshape Europe and the world. It is filled with tension and excitement and peoples’ relationships in a time of strife and horror and grips one to the very end.

The Various Haunts of Men

The Various Haunts of Menby Susan Hill. In the vein of Ruth Rendell and P.D.James this book is much more than just a murder mystery; filled with interesting characters and situations it grips the reader until the very unexpected ending. It is available in paperback.

 

A Small Weeping

A Small Weeping is a most satisfactory mystery set in Glasgow and the Isle of Lewis by Alex Gray, a welcome new member of the Tartan noir pack which includes Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. It is a taut, gripping whodonit with great character development.

 

Girls In Pants – The Third Summer of the Sister

Girls In Pantsby Ann Brashares This book comes from a good series so obviously it’s good. It’s about Carmen, Lens, Bridget and Tibby. Three summers ago, the sisterhood was going to dive into their first summer apart. Now they are entering their third. Lena is trying to find out who she is. She has a job & is going to art school. Her nasty old grandmother (the one who tried to get her & Kostos together the first summer) has been living with Lena since Babi, her grandgather died. Carmen want a job so she volunteers her time to look after Lena’s grandmother. She immediately regrets this decision because while at tan ice cream shop, she meets a guy she wants to date. Bridget is off to soccer camp again. You’ll never guess who she sees there & once more Bridget is crazy in love. Finally Tibby. She’s figuring out what the pants have trying to tell her all this time. And trying to figure Brian out as well. Girls In Pants, part 3, fits in great with the other 2 in the series. I hope there will be more. Ages 12 and up.

Reviewed by Gabby Belyea, age 11