New England Book Blogger Meet-Up @LoryECBR @charlotteslib

Thanks to the organizing efforts of Lory (She’d be great at herding cats!) of The Emerald City Book Review, we had tri-state representation at the New England Book Blogger Meet-Up last Sunday in Boston. Lory came down from New Hampshire and Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library drove up from Rhode Island, and I (like Lory) got to Boston by car and subway.

Reservoir Station
I hadn’t started out on the Green Line in a long time and had to be shown how to insert my Charlie ticket on the train!
Exterior of Carrie Nation
We met at Carrie Nation for brunch, right down the street from the Boston Atheneum, our next stop.
Stairs leading to opening blocked off by red velvet curtains
The Carrie Nation restaurant, modeled after a Prohibition-era speakeasy, has a Cocktail Club in the back.
Asparagus & goat cheese omelette. Delicious!
Prohibition posters and a shoeshine stand
The hallway in the restaurant was full of photos and memorabilia.
The three of us at brunch
Yes, I was the annoying restaurant patron who asked our server to take a picture! L to R, me, Charlotte, and Lory. Not sure why I look like a giant compared to them in this shot!
photo of Lory and Charlotte at the table with books
Of course, we all brought books to exchange. I ended up going home with one more than I brought! #Konmarifail

After brunch, we walked up the block to the Boston Atheneum. The Art & Architecture tour we had hoped to take at 1:00 was filled up weeks in advance, so we just paid $5 each to take a look around the public spots (photography allowed) and the current art exhibit (no photos allowed in there.) I think I’ll do a separate post with my photos from the Atheneum, because I took so many, but here are a few, for now:

After the Atheneum visit, walked through the Granary Burying Ground nearby, where Paul Revere and several other famous Revolutionary figures are buried.

Next, we walked over to Caffè Nero, in case Katie of Bookish Illuminations had been able to meet us there, but no such luck! There were books there, too, though, and would be a nice place to have coffee sometime.

Bookshelves and comfy chairs
Inside Caffe Nero in Boston

Of course, no book blogger meet-up is complete without a visit to a bookstore! Commonwealth Books was the only store in the area open on Sunday. It was a great place to browse in, but not if you’ve got mobility issues, that’s for sure, due to the massive number of bookcases, packed in higgledy-piggledy!

After the visit to Commonwealth Books where (shh, don’t tell my husband) I bought two used books – Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White and The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksander Hemon.

My main contribution to the day was to lug an umbrella with me, thus guaranteeing that the sun would come out and stay out! I had hoped to get more Boston-area book bloggers to join us, including Audra of Unabridged Chick and Amanda of Opinions of a Wolf, but it didn’t work out to meet them in person this time. :(

Others who had hoped to come, but couldn’t make it, were:
Melissa of The Bookbinder’s Daughter,
Chris of Wildmoo Books, and
Brian of Babbling Books

We are hoping to have another New England Book Blogger Meet-Up at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 15, and will share details when we have them, in case anyone wants to join us for that!

Thank you, Lory, for a fun day!

Green Line subway train pulling in
After saying our goodbyes, it was back on the Green Line for me, lugging my bags of books!

Read Lory’s New England Book Bloggers Meet-Up recap here!

Your Massachusetts Library Advocacy Is Still Needed! @massbook @masslibassoc

Your local libraries need you again!

Thank you if you called or emailed your House representative about the library legislative FY2017 budget amendments that I posted about last month. Funding in the amount of $200,000 for the Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) was reinstated in the House budget, thanks to you and the many state reps who signed on to the budget amendment filed by Rep. Kate Hogan.

Now the Senate Ways & Means Committee has released its budget, and funding for the Massachusetts Center for the Book has been zeroed out again!

Other FY17 library line items have been level-funded, but because costs of library services have increased so much over the past several years, level-funded will not mean level services. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is focusing advocacy efforts on three budget line items, 7000-9101, 7000-9401, and 7000-9506, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book is 7000-9508, so there’s a total of four budget amendments that urgently need your support and the support of your senator!

The Senate budget debate begins tomorrow, so please contact your senator today! (Not sure how to contact your senator? Just plug in your zip code on the Mass. Library Association’s Engage site, and get the contact info for your legislator’s office in the state Senate.)

The three budget amendments for 7000-9101, 7000-9401, and 7000-9506 you can do easily through the Mass. Library Association’s Engage site, which has a prepared email ready to go. Please include an additional request to your senator to support Amendment 274 which will restore funding to line 7000-9508 Massachusetts Center for the Book, or send a separate email.

7000-9508  – Massachusetts Center for the Book – Reinstatement & $200,000 request filed by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D Leominster) and Sen. William Brownsberger (D Belmont). (Amendment #274) Ms. Flanagan and Mr. Brownsberger moved that the proposed new text be amended in Section 2, by inserting after item 7000-9506 the following item:

7000-9508 For the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc., chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; provided, that the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. shall continue its work as a public-private partnership ……………………………………..$200,000

If you’d rather phone your senator, and speak to him/her or his/her aide directly, instead of emailing, the amendments that have been filed are as follows:

Sponsor: Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives – Line 7000-9101- Board of Library Commissioners-move to amend the bill in section 2, in line item 7000-9101, by striking out the figures “$1,147,491” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$1,225,000”.

Sponsor: Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives – Line 7000-9506 – Technology and Resource Sharing – move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 7000-9506, by striking out the figures “$2,376,564” and inserting in place thereof the figures “2,729,238”.

Sponsor: Senator Michael Rush – Line 7000-9401 – State Aid to Regional Libraries – move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 7000-9401, by inserting after “provided further, that the board shall provide funds for the continued operation of a single regional library system to serve the different geographic regions of the commonwealth in both eastern and western Massachusetts to serve the residents of those regions”, in line 14 the following: “and provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the single regional library system shall not receive less than $1.3297 for each resident of the commonwealth;” and by striking out , in line 16, the words “40.7 cents per resident “ and inserting in place thereof the words “45 cents for each resident”; and in said item by striking out the figures “$9,883,482” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$10,940,475”

Remember, the Senate budget debate begins tomorrow, so please contact your senator today, if at all possible, but if not, as soon as you can!

Thank you!

Cute Cozy Culinary: Pies & Peril by Janel Gradowski #weekendcooking

cover image of Pies and PerilPies & Peril by Janel Gradowski – the first in the Culinary Competition cozy mystery series, set in Michigan – is a fun read for foodie mystery fans. Readers with a sweet tooth will drool over the descriptions of the prize-winning baked goods made by the main character Amy, such as Bumble Apple Crumble Pie, Lemon Cheesecake Muffins, and Hot Fudge and Pound Cake Trifle.

As in all cozy mysteries, the person found dead at the beginning of the story was someone who wasn’t much liked and won’t be missed much by anyone, but friendly, generous Amy, the perennial baking contest winner in town – at first a suspect, herself – quickly finds herself in danger of becoming the murderer’s next victim.

Here’s a short paragraph from the early part of the story, where Amy’s friend Carla is trying Amy’s latest “chocolate therapy” – a fresh-out-of-the-oven batch of Quadruple Chocolate Muffins – the morning after Amy discovered the dead body of her main competitor in the annual baking contest:

“Carla peeled the paper wrapper off a muffin and took a bite. Heavenly was too weak a word to describe the taste. Tender, intensely chocolate cake studded with pockets of gooey, melted chocolate. If there was a more decadent thing to eat for breakfast, she couldn’t think of one at the moment. Poor Amy was exhausted and stressed out, but she still turned out muffins that were ten times better than anything Maxson’s Bakery ever served.”

The recipes in the back of Pies & Peril are not on my diet, so I haven’t tried them, but they sound delicious!

Fruit & Nut Brownies
Savory Parmesan & Salami Muffins
Tomato Pies for Two
Spicy Maple Dipping Sauce

The Culinary Competition Mysteries series titles in order so far are:

  1. Pies & Peril
  2. Chicken Soup & Homicide
  3. Christmas Canapés & Sabotage
  4. Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes
  5. Fudge Brownies & Murder
  6. Banana Muffins & Mayhem (June 14, 2016)

Pies & Peril
Gradowski, Janel
Gemma Halliday, 2014

Disclosure: I won a free SmashWords download from the author in a Novel Meals giveaway in July 2014. I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but I like culinary ones the best, so I’m glad I finally got around to reading Pies & Peril!

Other opinions on Pies & Peril:
Joy’s Book Blog

Happy Weekend Cooking!

Weekend Cooking badgeLinked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click/tap image for Weekend Cooking posts from other bloggers.

Suggestions from a Massachusetts Librarian


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