It’s February 1st and the countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun. Librarian and group book leader Lauren John, who facilitates The Book Discussion Group on the last Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm at the Menlo Park Public Library, weighs in with creative suggestions for gifts that come with covers:
“Buy a beautiful blank journal (moleskin, leather embossed, cloth) and write a loving note on the first page. Leave the rest for your sweetie to fill in with thoughts, plans, lists, etc.
“This is the year of Julia Child, thanks to the popularity of the film Julie and Julia. Julia Child’s biography, written with the help of her nephew is called My Life In France and it is a wonderful story about a woman finding her true calling – and a love story about Julia and her devoted husband Paul.
“If your sweetie cooks, he or she might enjoy the ALfred A Knopf reissue of the cookbooks Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volumes One and Two) which first appeared in 1961. The reissue, which is updated to include the food processor, contains an introduction written by Julia and co-author Simone Beck.
“A fun suggestion is to buy a book about a place that you intend to visit together – and include in your card a promise to go! Good choices are Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes or A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.
“Don’t have that kind of travel budget? Try Cannery Row by John Steinbeck and visit the Monterey Aquarium or a select a book of local hiking trails such as Jane Huber’s 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles and get out there!
“Another favorite is My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family and Big Sur by Romney Steele. Who can resist a trip to Big Sur!”
Note: the Menlo book group is reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout this month and will meet on February 22.