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Granny Reads: Review of "Hester," a Novel by Laurie Lico Albanese

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese  <-- link to Amazon My rating: 4 of 5 stars Laurie Lico Albanese has written Hester an historical novel based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's *The Scarlet Letter*. She presents her book's heroine, Hester, as the imagined victim of Hawthorne's assaults, a parallel with his story except that he does not identify himself as the character of the deceiving minister and all the notes and unpublished manuscript pages for *The Scarlet Letter* have been lost, likely burned. ( click image above to link to Amazon ) The story involves a history of 'witches,' both in Scotland, where Hester originated with a predecessor (aunt) who was persecuted as a witch, and in Salem in America, where the famous Puritan witch persecutions had taken place. The story is quite gripping and full of surprises. Hester is a gifted seamstress/embroidery artist and I found myself intrigued by Albanese's descriptions of the needlework she does, and how its artistry is hi

Granny Reviews: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser My rating: 5 of 5 stars  (click above or on book image to go to This is a fat, academic-standard biography by Caroline Fraser about one of my favorite childhood writers, Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I was in third grade the teacher, Mrs. Kathleen Turtle, read a chapter out of one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books after lunch each day. I likely checked the books out of the library since I do not recall owning any of her books. But she definitely left an impression. I recall sitting in my desk and relaxing, just letting my mind follow the story set on the prairie in the USA, like our prairies in Canada, to which, as a Saskatchewan rural farmgirl, I could relate. I day-dreamed about my maternal grandmother as a child because she had actually been born in North Dakota, coming up to Saskatchewan "in the Early Days" with her parents and eight of her siblings. You can

Granny Reads: Review of "Bare-Faced Messiah" by Russell Miller

Bare-Faced Messiah: The classic exposé of the extraordinary true life of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology by Russell Miller My rating: 4 of 5 stars Bare-Faced Messiah by British journalist, Russell Miller, is, as the subtitle explains, "the classic expos é  of the extraordinary true life of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology." The last book I finished, "A Billion Years: My Escape from Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology" was a memoir by Mike Rinder, ex-Scientologist, who referred to the "Bare-Faced Messiah" as a shocking confirmation of the red flags and conscious recognition of the delusional and dangerous narcissist leadership of L. Ron Hubbard. Rinder's story involved a close look at his many-years involvement with Scientology, particularly the years that he spent from his teens and onwards in the exclusive "Sea Org" leadership group and other high ranking experiences in the cult. He makes quite a few references to L. Ron

Granny Reads: North of Normal, a Book Review

North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person My rating: 5 of 5 stars Inspite of this memoir being a salacious story of the author's growing up years in the counter-culture of the late 1960s-1990s, I caution anyone against judging the narrator and her writing gifts before reading at least a good portion of her book. I found it difficult to pick up sometimes, so triggering some of the stories of parental neglect were. But the fact is that the abuse and neglect that Cea experienced--often both personally and vicariously, through her parent-child role with young mother-- is balanced with unexpected courage and resourcefulness that makes for a great desire of the reader to see how things work out. So, stick with the book. Most of us chuckled our way through the comedy-series "Schitz Creek" with its fuzzy, uncertain parental-offspring roles. Some of the same narcissism shows up in "North of Normal.

Granny Reads: Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay by Stephanie Land, a Review

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land My rating: 4 of 5 stars Stefanie Land was a woman in her twenties, living in the Port Angeles region of Washington State (the Pacific Northwest) and dreaming of moving to Missoula, Montana to study writing at the University there. She met Jamie and they moved into his trailer. Within a short time, she found that she was pregnant. Jamie was adamant that she have an abortion. She decided to have the baby. He ultimately demanded that she leave and take the baby with her. Thanks to Land's willingness to work hard at a low-paying job as a maid, she and her little girl survived a cycle of ongoing sadness, fear, stress, illness, financial exploitation, betrayal, abuse, and other trials and horrific misfortunes. This book came to be through the author's desire to record her story of desperation and obstacles as a poor single mother in the representation of-- giving voice to-- thousands of others on the

Recipe for Oat-Aquafaba Waffles--Easy-Peasy Vegan

These oat-aquafaba waffles are a dream. Great as a part of breakfast or a savory meal. Aquafaba is becoming quite trendy with vegan bakers. It is, of course, just bean juice-- what is left over in the can when you take out the beans (usually chick peas or northern beans, although ALL beans make aquafaba when you cook them in water.) Aquafaba works very much like egg white in recipes, so it is a great egg replacer for vegan items such as meringues, macrons, marshmallows, and in angel food cake (I have yet to try that!) It does not smell or taste beanie in the baked item, but if you overdo it you may find that you suffer from some of the effects of over-eating beans, so take it easy.  Less is more.  Amazingly, a quarter cup of aquafaba, what you find in a 14 oz. can of beans, is enough to lighten and puff up 5-10 waffles in this recipe. Try it and see what you think! Aquafaba is best if it does not contain salt and other additives. Check the ingredients on the can when you buy it. You ca

Granny Reads: Review of Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich

Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich My rating: 4 of 5 stars As many of the previous reviewers have suggested, this book by Ehrenreich is a series of essays with a general theme related to taking a more realistic approach to life and death than our selfist, sentimental, superficial generations are generally willing to take (my impression of the author's impression of today's people). Every essay in the book had at least a kernel of information that was gold for me-- something I had never before thought about, and that seemingly explained some conundrum that had come up in my life or reading/thinking. While there were invaluable learnings for me in this book-- virtually the masterful distillation of wisdom from dozens of books and academic manuscripts-- there was also an almost verboten (or maybe, almost unfamiliar) negativity and cynicism that permeated the text. I live with a kind, joyful