Dealing with Loss, Cool Cookbooks, Slowing Down, End-of-Life Issues | Xpress Reviews

Week ending July 18, 2014

Hastings, Wayne. The Way Back from Loss: Reassembling the Pieces of a Broken Life. Howard. Jul. 2014. 272p. bibliog. ISBN 9781476716985. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476716992. SELF-HELP
Acknowledging that loss comes in many forms, through the demise of a job, a pet, a relationship, etc., pastor Hastings (Grace Chapel, Leipers Fork, TN) offers hope on the journey from grief to recovery. The book’s format is comprised of a 60-day devotional organized into five progressive sections beginning with “Finding Peace in the Storm” and finishing with “Learning To Walk Again.” Each day’s devotion bases its message on a relevant Bible passage followed by insights, a prayer, and suggestions for further study through the Bible.
Verdict Hastings accomplishes his goal of providing guidelines and encouragement for anyone going through the grieving process. Recommended for those open to Christianity.—Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ

Hoffler, Alex & Stacey O’Gorman. Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make. Chronicle. 2014. 160p. photos. index. ISBN 9781452133539. $19.95. COOKING
First published in the UK, this rainbow-colored cookbook from Meringue Girls cofounders Hoffler and O’Gorman ( seeks to make notoriously difficult meringue cookies and desserts both foolproof and trendy. After introducing an easy base recipe that can be colored and piped into kisses, the authors share creative recipes and projects featuring unbaked, baked, and leftover meringue (also leftover egg yolks). Readers can use a smartphone and the Layar App ( to reveal supplementary videos and links; however, it’s much easier to retrieve these via the authors’ website. Noticeably absent are sources or recommendations for food colorings, referred to as “natural food coloring.” With powders, liquids, and gels to choose from, readers may be confused.
Verdict Like Harriet Hastings and Sarah Moore’s Biscuiteers Book of Ice Cookies and Jackie Alpers’s Sprinkles!, this striking single-subject title offers a wealth of decorating ideas and techniques. The rainbow wedding tier, a stunning seven-layer showpiece, would be a wonderful addition to any party.—Lisa Campbell, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor

Lowe, Paul (text) & Nina Dreyer Hensley & Jim Hensley (photos). Summer Food. Weldon Owen. 2014. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9781616288235. $32.50. COOKING
This seasonal collection from expert Lowe (Sweet Paul Eat & Make) and photographers Dreyer Hensley and Hensley presents simple summer recipes for breakfasts, lunches, appetizers, drinks, main dishes, and desserts. Though first published in Norway, where all three contributors have lived, the book seems more American than Norwegian, offering a prevalence of familiar comfort foods such as lobster rolls, strawberry margaritas, spareribs, and ice cream sandwiches. It is especially well suited to spur-of-the-moment cooking—each recipe is printed in a large typeface on a single page, and each facing page contains a gorgeous photograph of the finished dish. Readers won’t doubt their ability to re-create the depicted presentations, and they’ll be able to acquire most ingredients in just one trip to the grocery store.
Verdict Summer food has never looked better. Packed with visual inspiration, this book will thrill readers who love easy recipes with large photos.—Lisa Campbell, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor

Malloy, Dan & others. Slow Is Fast: On the Road at Home. Patagonia. 2014. 111p. photos. ISBN 9781938340291. pap. $30. TRAV
This homage to California’s coastal highway feels like a documentary companion piece or road trip memoir, with its supplemental yet accumulative bits. The “bits” include photos (color and black and white, macro/micro in exposition) that “make eye contact with you” and draw you in, interviews, poems inspired by locales or locals, and, in general, a meandering but acutely focused pensiveness. Malloy, Kanoa Zimmerman, and Kellen Keene, serving in this sense as producers or auteurs, let the function dictate form and present an assemblage that serves as a deconstructed—or slowed—film. All the components are disconnected (or unplugged) and spaced apart. And that is the point: slow thinking, slower, more deliberate living—thoughtfulness, to the point of rediscovery.
Verdict The only linear guide followed is the course—700 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway from Mendocino County to Sierra Madre Ridge—which the trio explore by foot and surfboard but primarily by bike. There could have perhaps been a tad more text, but the parsed images really do tell the story. Like any naturalistic journey, the narrative is about reconnecting with the elements and finding harmony within—slowing down to finish a sentence or complete a thought or at least feel comfortable with an ellipsis.—Benjamin Malczewski, Toledo–Lucas Cty. P.L.

starred review starSmith, Fran & Sheila Himmel. Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement. Viva Editions. 2014. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9781936740512. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781936740604. HEALTH
changingthewaywedie071814America avoids death. From our obsession with youth to our heroic medical model, death is often viewed as giving up. Yet despite a culture of denial, the hospice movement, which helps families face the last stage of life with intention, compassion, and respect, has continually grown since 1963. Free of the often torturous medical attempts to cure old age or terminal illness, hospice offers palliative home care and seeks to restore control and dignity to the dying while providing support and respite to their loved ones. Health-care writers and activists Smith and Himmel chronicle the hospice movement and share stories of the dying and their caregivers, illuminating the benefits of this model. Also delineated are the issues associated with the encroachment of for-profit hospice—Wall Street knowing a Medicare bonanza when it sees one. By explaining the hospice alternative to the more common hospital death, the authors ask us to consider our own deaths and how we will go about making decisions when end of life is not just inevitable but imminent. They propose that hospice offers choice, freedom from pain and suffering, and perhaps even joy during those last days.
Verdict This book belongs in every public and health-care library in America.—Janet Tapper, Univ. of Western States Lib., Portland, OR



  1. Julia Snyder says:

    Some interesting reads here. Dealing with loss is different for everyone. I had to immerse myself in others stories of loss to help me cope with mine. I am currently reading Darcy Mascarro’s Finding Vern, for info. She has a truly inspirational story of life after death and dealing with incredible loss. Great reads, all of these books!