Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting ready for winter with some November/December new reads

Now that we're finally having some real fall weather to enjoy, the planning for those chilly winter months ahead can begin. Stocking up on comfy sweaters, special brands of tea or hot chocolate and cozy throw blankets to wrap yourself up in are crucial for seasonal survival.

What's best to gather up for the winter,however, are great books. Plenty of good reading can be done during a cold snap or sudden snow fall, not to mention a certain gift giving holiday or two is just around the corner.

Hopefully, some of these upcoming November and December titles will warm your heart as well as your fingertips with rapid page turning there:

HAIL TO THE QUEEN: The third volume in Erika Johansen's epic trilogy will be out and about this November and in The Fate of the Tearling, we learn the fate of young Queen Kelsea, who has surrendered herself to the invading army of Mortmesne.

Being taken before her previously unseen enemy, the Red Queen, Kelsea has to use all of her strength and skills to find a way to truly bring peace to all. Part of the answer may lie in visions from the past, in the life of a woman named Katie who was there at the beginning of the Tear Kingdom.

 This saga that blends magic and power and has such a wonderful leading lady in Kelsea that it will be hard to see this story end but it's been a marvelous journey to take. I will be happy enough just to savor the showdown between these two queens in all of their grand glory(November):


 Fannie Flagg has shown herself to have quite a flair for small town life and in her upcoming new novel The Whole Town's Talking, she kicks things up a  paranormal notch or two.

The residents of Elmwood Springs, MO get more insight into the past than they ever expected as former townsfolk wake up from their graves and stick around to chat with their neighbors. No, this isn't a zombie invasion, more like a friendly haunting as the true ghosts of the past share their memories that make up the history of the town.

While keeping their distance from the living, there is a mysterious death that needs solving which brings the living and undead sections of Elmwood society together to find the truth out once and for all. As in any of Flagg's heartfelt stories, it's the people involved that keep the story telling conversation going and this one should be the talk of many a town indeed(November):

 If you prefer your small towns set in the actual past, then The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen may be the ideal literary location. Newly widowed Jane Bell has no choice but to take over the local inn as her deceased husband left a large amount of debt to be repaid.

With Jane not knowing anything about the business, upon which the village of Ivy Hill depends on, she reluctantly turns to her resentful mother-in-law Thora for much needed assistance. As this unlikely partnership develops, both ladies experience a change of heart and mind about each other.

Still, that growing friendship is met with plenty of challenges that affect more than the two of them. As outside interest in the inn(not to mention romantic interest for Thora) gets stronger, Jane must either trust her choices or trust in fate. Unlike Klassen's previous books, this is meant as the start of a series and judging by her engaging earlier novels, Ivy Hill promises to be a lovely place to visit on the bookshelf(December).


Elaine Khosrova takes us on a table side journey with Butter: A Rich History, a look at one of our most common culinary companions.

 From it's humble roots through the technological changes over time that made making this salty sweet spread readily available to the mistake that was margarine, this book highlights the many ways in which butter has become a major part of our eating lives.

Recipes are also included, along with a list of  words for butter in over 50 languages that only goes to show that the true universal language can be spoken by our taste buds(November):


 In Wally Lamb's I'll Take You There, film scholar Felix Funcello meets with a real Hollywood legend, silent film director Lois Weber. Trouble is, Lois is a ghost and she wants to show him a movie that showcases women from his past.

As these special screenings continue, Felix learns more about his older adopted sister Frances and her birth mother Verna, who was a fierce competitor for the title of Miss Reingold back in 1951. These insights help him connect with his grown daughter Aliza, a magazine writer who happens to be researching the Miss Reingold contests.

Bridging the past and present appears to be the ultimate goal of Felix's private film festival but will he truly appreciate the life lessons being shown to him on screen? This book is being published along side an interactive app, which adds to the meta-media vibe of the story.

 Since Felix is a character from an earlier book called Wishin' and Hopin' that was made into a movie, perhaps this follow-up will come full circle with a film version as well-here's hoping, anyway!(November):

Michael Chabon blends memoir with fiction in Moonglow, a novel written by a character named Mike who chronicles his grandparents' life stories.

His grandfather takes center stage at first, as his deathbed narrative goes over his time during WWII and the many outrageous acts done in private life, such as a battle with his business partner that came to physical blows.

Mike's grandmother has her own share of personal conflicts, as her war experiences triggered emotional injuries that she did manage to hide for as long as she could. Despite their tragic tales, Mike's grandparents prove to be vividly engaging people who made the best of what life handed them and this story, true or not, promises to be one of Chabon's hallmark pieces of prose(November).


 Amy Poeppel's debut novel, Small Admissions, introduces us to Kate Pearson, a young woman in New York who is disappointed in both life and love. She's even given up on her master's degree and is willing to spend the rest of her life wallowing in Sex and the City reruns.

 Much to her own surprise, she lands a job as an admissions officer at Hudson Day School, one of the most sought after private schools in Manhattan. Kate soon finds herself swamped by overanxious parents, nervous students and her own set of family and friends eager to add extra drama to her stack of new situations.

However, there is a chance at romance that might make Kate's life better but not in the way she expected. Can Kate mix and match up her life just as well as she matches up the right students for Hudson Day? Author Poeppel draws upon her own experience as a private school admissions officer to bring snappy life to a world most of us only know from Gilmore Girls and I do think this is the kind of fictional charmer that Lorelai herself would like(December):

Whatever you read this winter, one thing that will keep many of us warm is the Gilmore Girls revival coming to Netflix, which offers the perfect excuse for re-watching the entire series. That doesn't mean that you should neglect your books(Rory would so frown upon that!) but enjoying the snowy days to come is an absolute where Lorelai is concerned, so plan your pleasures of the season accordingly,folks:

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