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The American Heiress

Book cover: american heiressDuring the ‘”Gilded Age”, the historical  period from mid nineteenth to early twentieth century, many daughters of wealthy  American  families travelled to Europe, seeking a husband with a title. Their money often saved their noble in-law from financial ruin. Such stories have been the subject of novels, movies and television programs including the recent Downton Abbey.picture of Consuelo Vanderbilt


Daisy Goodwin’s novel The American Heiress tells the story of Cora Cash wife of Ivo, Duke of Wareham and her introduction to the social scene of English nobility, with its ingrained and unstated manners and traditions. Daisy Goodwin’s model for Cora Cash was Consuelo Vanderbilt who became the Duchess of Marlborough.


You can read more about Consuelo in her autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold and in Consuelo: Portrait of an American Heiress by James Brough.  Consuelo and other luminaries of her time also feature in J.P. Morrissey’s mystery novel A Weekend at Blenheim.


Book Cover of Lady Almaina and the real Downton Abbey You can read more about the history of Highclere Castle, the setting for Downtown  Abbey in Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey : the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Carnarvon.

Art and Fashion go Hand in Hand

Currently, at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, there is an exciting exhibit about the extraordinary designer, Jean Paul Gaultier.  The exhibit, entitled "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier : From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk", covers his beginning career from the 1970s all the way up to 2010. 


While Gaultier is dubbed as fashion's enfant terrible, there is no doubt that he has influenced the fashion world.  He has created iconic looks from the catwalk to the red carpet. 


Interested in more about the fashion world in general?  Check out the library's collection!  We have a wide array of information; from amazing fashion/art coffee table books, fashion photography, how to create your own fashion looks and many more! 


Here are just a few that I find amazing:


Yves Saint Laurent Style Style StyleValentinoPicture of a dressPicture



Leaving India

Leaving India : my family's journey from five villages to five continents by  Minal Hajratwala.


cover title: leaving indiaFrom the Indian state of Gujarat, descendants of the Khatri clan have migrated and scattered aroundthe globe. Beginning with the story of her great grandfather who went to Fiji and became a successful merchant, Minal Hajratwaladescribes her extended family’s diaspora, focusing on a particular relative in each generation while discussing the historical, political and social issues that led to their leaving their home country and settling in another.  Her relatives in South Africa built their business under apartheid; an ancestor in India participated in Gandhi’s salt march.  Minal’s own family of origin, who eventually settled in the United States, highlights the complications of immigration: at one time each member travelled on a passport from a different country of birth.  At the end of the book, Minal’s relatives reside in India , Fiji, Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.  A fascinating story of immigration and the process of assimilation into new cultures and identities.


Cool Down With a History of Frozen Food

Cover of Birdseye by KurlanskyIn the heat of summer, we welcome any excuse to open up the freezer door and not have to turn on the oven to cook a meal. Why not spend a few hours learning more about the man who invented frozen food and introduced us to conveniences such as the frozen tater tot and out of season fruits and vegetables all year round?


Mark Kurlansky, author of other food tales such as Cod and Salt, has turned his eye towards Clarence Birdseye with his recent title Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man.  With a flair for writing about topics most of us wouldn't think about, Kurlansky is able to weave a tale about the man who brought perhaps one of the best food-related inventions of the early twentieth century. By observing that the Inuit often fish during the winter and freeze their catch instantly in the subzero air, Birdseye was inspired to pursue freezing as a viable technique for preserving food.


Most of us have used frozen food sometime in our lives - it's easy, it's convenient, and tastes great. Read this great biography to learn more about the man who invented frozen food and made modern life just that much easier.


Birdsye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky

The Language of Flowers

The language of flowers : a novel / Vanessa Diffenbaugh

cover title: The language of flowersVictoria Jones has spent her childhood in foster care and her teenage years in group homes. Now emancipated at eighteen, she seeks out a job as a florist’s assistant, using her knowledge of the meaning of flowers she learned from Elizabeth, her last foster mother. Though her arrangements change lives, she is hesitant to accept friendship from others, until an exchange with a flower vendor brings up memories from the past, challenging her ideas of the language of flowers. A tale of hope, love and forgiveness set in San Francisco.


If you’re interested in the meaning of flowers, popular in Victorian times, look for books on flower language in the catalog.


Storyteller of Marrakesh

cover title: Storyteller of MarrakeshThe Storyteller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya


An enigmatic pair of lovers arrives at Marrakesh’s Jemaa el Fna square, captivates merchants and onlookers, and mysteriously disappears.  Hassan the storyteller, whose brother is implicated in the crime, relates the event, while his listeners interrupt, giving their own memories and interpretations.  As the story progresses, fascinating details are revealed about the city of Marrakesh, its visitors and inhabitants.


Author Joydeep Roy Bhattacharya tells about the writing of the book in his interview here.