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By Edie Gross
A graphic novel, it follows the travails of a recently divorced wedding photographer who's trying to find her way in the World of Romance amid a cacophony of well-meaning but less-than-helpful
The protagonist is a redhead.
'STUFF EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW' BY DENISE KIERNAN AND JOSEPH D'AGNESE
This pocket-size hardback answers tons of fun questions like "Who invented blue jeans?" (and no, it wasn't Levi Strauss) and "Who played the first game of football?"
In the back are 10 questions from the official U.S. citizenship test. Luckily, you can't be deported for getting them wrong. Because you're going to get some of them wrong.
'THE TEX-MEX GRILL AND BACKYARD BARBACOA COOKBOOK' BY ROBB WALSH
This book, perfect for the strict vegetarian in your life, includes dozens of recipes--for sauces, rubs, margaritas, sides and main meat dishes--as well as grilling techniques, historical photos and interviews with Tex-Mex chefs.
It's a nice-looking cookbook, but it'll be better after each and every page is stained with homemade barbecue sauce and queso. If you think you're up to the task, stake--or steak, as the case may be--
'THE OUTSOURCED SELF:
We tend to think of outsourcing as a strictly commercial enterprise, but this author points out that increasingly, we're paying others to live even the most intimate parts of our lives for us.
We turn to love coaches and wedding planners to guide us romantically. We pay "nameologists" to help us pick names for our kids and then hire consultants to help us parent them. In some places, you can even hire professional mourners.
Written by a sociologist, it's a tad unnerving but probably eye-opening. If you pay me enough, I might be willing to read it for you.
'BRING UP THE BODIES'
This is the second book in the author's trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII. It focuses on Cromwell's role in helping Henry's wife Anne Boleyn lose her well-appointed head.
This historical novel includes a massive cast of characters and several family trees to help you sort things out. I've actually got two copies of this: a paperback advance copy and a proper hardback.
First dibs go to those who agree to read it with a British accent.
'LYON'S BRIDE, THE CHATTAN CURSE' BY CATHY MAXWELL
It wouldn't be a Wry Toast book giveaway without a romance novel featuring a bare-chested eligible bachelor on the cover.
This one comes to us from a prolific romance novelist and former naval intelligence officer who lives in Powhatan County, but the story itself takes place in 19th-century England. No British accent required.
'THE LAND OF DECORATION'
I know what you're thinking: Not another story narrated by a 10-year-old girl raised in a fundamentalist sect who creates a world of her own out of scraps she collects and ultimately believes she can work miracles.
I've actually had this on my desk for months, figuring maybe I'd read it if I had the time. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet.
If you claim it and you like it, maybe you can let me borrow it some time?
Edie Gross: 540/374-5428