2017 Basketweave & Books Reading List

January – The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

February – South Toward Home by Margaret Eby

March – Tell No One by Harlan Coben

April – The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

May – The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore

June – It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh

July – The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

August – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

September – Voracious by Cara Nicoletti

October - Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

November – Red Notice by Bill Browder

December – Holiday Read Aloud

Moderator Debra Windham, has chosen a wide range of writing styles, first-time authors, and best-sellers, too! A little something for everyone this year. Join us as we explore the wonderful world of literature where books are treasures.

Basketweave & Books meets the third Thursday of each month, 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Needleworks. Since Basketweave and Books began four years ago, Debra has led the discussion and plans for ample stitching time and delicious refreshments for everyone to enjoy!

 

Memories from 2016...

BASKETWEAVE & BOOKS JULY SELECTION

Needleworks’ book club, Basketweave and Books will be reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd for the July meeting.
Please join us on Thursday, July 21, 2016 from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop. Bring a project to stitch and enjoy a night of food, fun and lively discussion led by Debra Windham. Everyone is welcome, just let us know you are coming by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191. We hope to see you there!

BASKETWEAVE & BOOKS JUNE SELECTION

Needleworks’book club, Basketweave and Books will be reading The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker for the June meeting. Set in Burma from the 1950’s to the present day, this beautiful love story follows the tale of a successful New York attorney who suddenly disappears. After finding a love letter he wrote years ago to a Burmese woman, his daughter travels to Burma to find him, learn more about his past and in the process discovers more than she ever imagined.

Please join us on Thursday, June 16, 2016 from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop. Bring a project to stitch and enjoy a night of food, fun and lively discussion led by Debra Windham. Everyone is welcome, just let us know you are coming by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191. We hope to see you there!


BASKETWEAVE & BOOKS

Joshilyn Jackson To Skype With Us During May Basketweave and Books

Paula Vauss, a successful divorce attorney in Atlanta, faces the past when an unexpected visitor turns up on her doorstep. Suddenly, Paula is an older sister instead of an only child. This turn of events leads her on journey to find her free-spirited mother, Kai, years after they were separated. In this novel we see how Paula, the expert at tearing families apart will try to learn how to weave her family back together.

Please join us for a live discussion with the author via Skype on Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop. Bring your stitching and get ready to enjoy a delightful evening. Please let us know you are coming by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191.

APRIL BOOK CLUB CAPTIVATED BY KIM CROSS

Author Kim Cross brought even more depth to the stories she told in her first book What Stands in a Storm when she visited Needleworks  on April 21. Shop owner Judith Carter says, “Ms. Cross tells the story of April 27, 2011, Alabama’s most devastating tragedy in a century, with such reverence and respect for the individuals affected. She restores my faith in investigative journalists.”

Judith adds, “It is a story many Alabamians are not yet ready to read, but Ms. Cross’s book is an important read for everyone when the time is right.” Book club members liked that the stories were about individuals and not merely a retelling of statistics or recaps of weather reports of that fateful day. 

Sherrell C. shared her personal “storm story” of April 27, 2011, and everyone marveled at her strength and courage as she talked about her daughter’s near tragic experience at Oak Grove High School.

Ms. Cross listened attentively as the Basketweave & Books members offered words of encouragement and praise for the author’s first book. The ladies also offered suggestions how she might reach other book clubs. 

Ms. Cross shared that she is currently writing a proposal for a second book which examines the Polly Klaas case of 1993. She told book club members that her father-in-law was the lead FBI Agent who solved the case. 

As a closing to her presentation, Ms. Cross encouraged everyone to consider making a donation to the memorial funds established for students at The University of Alabama who were killed in the storms of April 27, 2011. Needleworks has made donations to the funds, and if anyone is interested in learning more about the memorial funds, please visit the link on Kim’s website here http://www.kimhcross.com/memorial-funds/

By Debra Windham

APRIL BASKETWEAVE AND BOOKS

NEEDLEWORKS WELCOMES A SPECIAL GUEST

AUTHOR KIM CROSS

Few will forget April 27, 2011, the day that tornadoes ripped through the country and devastated the state of Alabama. Kim Cross tells the stories of the victims, survivors and heroes of that dark day. It is the ultimate lesson that tragedy can bring us even closer together. Please join us on Thursday, April 21 from 5 until 6:30 PM at Needleworks as we welcome Kim Cross, the author of the story. Remember to bring your stitching as we enjoy an inspiring evening. 

Limited seating, reservations required.

shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or

Phone 205.870.5191.


MEMORABLE MARCH MEETING

Hazel Gaynor's A Memory of Violets provided great discussion. We all agree we like our "new," cozy meeting room, and all 10 ladies present fit comfortably around the table.

In honor of Basketweave & Books’ third anniversary, sparkling wine was served in celebration. We also served peach green tea and Downton Abbey white wine (available at World Market). Petit fours with lovely icing flowers were offered as a nod to London's flower girls we read so much about.

The ladies present discussed the difference between people's position on adoption in today's world as opposed to that of Victorian England. Mary Lou R. provided a helpful, personal perspective.

Next month, reservations will be essential because we are anticipating a larger gathering. Author Kim Cross will be joining us April 21 to discuss her book, What Stands in a Storm. Please call the shop at 870-5191 to confirm your presence. Basketweave & Books meets the third Thursday of each month from 5–6:30 p.m. at Needleworks in Homewood. 

Hazel Gaynor's A Memory of Violets provided great discussion. We all agree we like our "new," cozy meeting room, and all 10 ladies present fit comfortably around the table.

In honor of Basketweave & Books’ third anniversary, sparkling wine was served in celebration. We also served peach green tea and Downton Abbey white wine (available at World Market). Petit fours with lovely icing flowers were offered as a nod to London's flower girls we read so much about. 

The ladies present discussed the difference between people's position on adoption in today's world as opposed to that of Victorian England. Mary Lou R. provided a helpful, personal perspective.

Next month, reservations will be essential because we are anticipating a larger gathering. Author Kim Cross will be joining us April 21 to discuss her book, What Stands in a Storm. Please call the shop at 870-5191 to confirm your presence. Basketweave & Books meets the third Thursday of each month from 5–6:30 p.m. at Needleworks in Homewood.

MARCH B&B PREVIEW

           

Travel back in time to Victorian London where a woman named Tilly becomes an assistant housemother at a home for flower girls.  London’s flower girls were orphaned and crippled children living on they streets and selling posies of violets and watercress in order to survive.  Tilly soon discovers an old journal written by an orphan who was separated from her sister.  Follow Tilly’s journey as she sets out to discover what happens to the girls. 

Please join Basketweave and Books for an evening of discussion, stitching and celebrating three years of reading together on Thursday,  March 17, from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop.  We hope you can attend the meeting.  Just let us know you are coming by  email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191

CHANGE FOR MAY BASKETWEAVE & BOOKS

We  have a new title for our May meeting! 

MOCKINGBIRDS FANS FLOCK TO NEEDLEWORKS

February’s Basketweave & Books discussion had everyone involved – all 12 attendees! Both books discussed, Paul Acampora’s I Kill the Mockingbird and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, were hits with book club members.

We snacked on “Aunt Alexandra’s Christmas Day Deviled Eggs”(recipe below) and “Missionary Society Chicken Salad & Pimento Cheese Finger Sandwiches.” The Ladies sipped on Sangria flavored iced tea and Sauvignon Blanc.

Everyone took the Sparknotes To Kill a Mockingbird Quiz just for fun, and most were surprised to miss an answer or two in spite having just read the book. Tamara won the door prize which was an Alabama print from Etsy in honor of the setting for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Of course, the discussion veered to a brief discussion of Harper Lee’s recently published Go Set a Watchman. Several book club members were fascinated to learn that it is an unedited manuscript that actually pre-dates To Kill a Mockingbird. Those  who had read it said they enjoyed it and felt the media has been unfair in its negative pre-release criticism of it.

Moderator Debra Windham confessed she wasn’t sure I Kill the Mockingbird was going to be as well received as it was. “I took a bit of a chance using a teen book with this group, but a middle school English teacher I trust recommended it. After I read it, I felt sure you’d love it,” she explained. The group loved the diversity of the people in the story, the levity of the dialog, and the premise of the book.

Everyone agreed To Kill a Mockingbird is still relevant today – its basic message and themes timeless. We did laugh and imagine how disappointed Jem must have been when he awoke the morning after he and Scout were attacked by Bob Ewell only to learn Boo Radley had carried him home, sat on the front porch with Scout, and tucked the covers around him snugly while he slept.

We discussed briefly how different each of the books we read would be had they been written from another character’s point of view. Imagining for a moment Lucy’s mom or Mort telling Paul Acampora’s story rather than the kids, or Atticus or Calpurnia telling Harper Lee’s story rather than young Scout. We are glad the authors chose the narrators they did.

In March, we will read A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor, and our door prize will be a violet-colored, boiled wool tote bag. Perfect for needlepoint projects and books! Basketweave & Books meets every third Thursday from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Needleworks in Homewood at 2810 Crescent Avenue. Please call the shop at 870-5191 to reserve your seat!

by Debra Windham

   

 

Aunt Alexandras Christmas Day Deviled Eggs

6 large eggs                                   

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

¼ teaspoon black pepper

pinch Kosher salt

1 ½ Tablespoons Hellmann’s mayonnaise

½ Tablespoon French’s classic mustard

2 teaspoons dill relish

 Place eggs in large pot and cover with 2 quarts cold water; pour 1 Tablespoon white vinegar into water and bring water to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and cover pot for 12 minutes. Drain pot when time is up, and rinse eggs with cold water for 1 minute; drain again and crack and peel eggs while still warm. Chill peeled eggs for at least 30 mins. for ease in slicing.

Remove eggs from refrigerator and slice in half lengthwise removing yolks to large mixing bowl. Mash yolks with pastry blender until yolks are in small pieces. Add ¼ teaspoon black pepper, a pinch of Kosher salt, 1 ½ Tablespoon Hellmann’s, ½ Tablespoon French’s, and 2 teaspoons dill relish. Mix well. Fill empty egg halves with filling using an iced tea spoon. Dust with a light sprinkling of smoked paprika. Chill until serving. Enjoy!

         

FEBRUARY     

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

 

            Read the Southern classic, To Kill a Mockingbird,  in tandem with this new novel by Paul Acampora.  He delves into the lives of three friends who are delighted to be assigned Lee’s famous novel for their summer reading.  When they learn not everyone shares their feelings, they begin a  campaign to revive interest in the book.  Due to their hard work and some savvy social media skills, their plan takes on a life of its own. 

            Please join us Thursday, February 18, from 5 until 6:30 PM at Needleworks as Debra Windham leads the group in a lively discussion of the two novels.  Bring your needlepoint, so you can stitch during the time of conversation, fellowship and of course, refreshments! We hope you will join us, just let us know by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191.

 By Jennifer Regan

 

SIPPING RED AND SEEING YELLOW

         January’s Basketweave & Books meeting was lively as the ladies gathered on a cold, rainy night to sip red wine and taste cheese with a kick as Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon was discussed. Moderator Debra Windham donned her yellow-tinted glasses (usually reserved for night driving) during the discussion, so she could see the group with Niner’s perspective.

         This simple fare was easily created by dropping by our local grocer and purchasing a few items, and it was even a gluten-free refreshment! The “recipes” items may be purchased at the Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook Village and Barnes & Noble at The Summit. The Four Pepper Goat Cheese, Jerk Sauce, gluten-free Sesame Crackers, Tantara Syrah and Brooks Rose’ came from the Western, and the Harry & David Peppermint Truffles came from Barnes & Noble where they are currently 50% off! You, too, can have our book club menu in a snap. No oven required – perfect for homebound winter weather or Super Bowl parties!

         A multiple choice quiz was given, and a needle minder was awarded to Susie S. Her prize looked just like Flagg’s cauldron bubbling with a magic potion.

         Join us next month as we discuss Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Paul Acampora’s I Kill the Mockingbird. Basketweave & Books meets the third Thursday 5-6:30 p.m. at Needleworks, 2810 Crescent Avenue in Homewood.  To reserve a chair, call the shop at 205-870-5191, email us shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or reply on the Basketweave & Books Facebook page.

 

WONDERFUL WESTERN WINE GUY

   

          Month after month, you read our book club recaps and see that they mention “the Western Wine Guy” came through again with the perfect pairing for our book club culinary treat. We thought you’d like to meet our fabulous, personal sommelier.

         Jerome, at the Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook Village, very patiently works with Basketweave & Books moderator Debra Windham pairing upcoming recipes and wines each month. Sometimes, Jerome even makes menu recommendations based on Debra’s description of main events in the book.

         When we read Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, Jerome suggested Jerk Sauce poured over a savory soft cheese with some heat because in the book King Roland had been poisoned and killed as he burned from the inside out. To pair with the spicy cheese, Jerome selected a Syrah and Rose’ because the fruitiness of both wines would counter balance the heat of the cheese. Of course, he was right on target as always!

         Jerome is always happy to work within our budget, give us several options, and make us aware of special or seasonal pricing that makes exceptional wines very affordable.

         Join the sipping, tasting, and lively book discussion each month as Basketweave & Books meets at Needleworks on the third Thursday from 5-6:30 p.m. at 2810 Crescent Avenue in Homewood. To RSVP, call the shop at 205-870-5191, email us shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or you can reply on  the Basketweave & Books Facebook page.

Basketweave and Books Meets Thursday

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

Join us for an enchanting evening on Thursday, January 21, from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop as we discuss King’s magical fairy tale.    Bring your stitching and join the discussion led by the group’s moderator, Debra Windham.  Please let us know if you plan to attend by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191.

JANUARY SELECTION

 Explore a world of dragons, princes and evil wizards in King’s fantasy novel.  A departure from his usual genre, this book takes the reader into the kingdom of Delain where a young hero fights for his birthright in the midst of great conflict.  Join us Thursday, January 21, from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop as we discuss this fairy tale.  Bring your current stitching project and be prepared to enjoy a magical evening led by our moderator, Debra Windham.  Everyone is welcome.  Please let us know if you plan to attend by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Memories from 2014 and 2015...

Basketweave & Books Opens Bistro November 2014

By Debra Windham

 

Just like the Three Pines villagers in Louise Penny’s Still Life, our book club members gathered at day’s end for something warm to drink and to talk about murder.  On Thursday, November 19, we mimicked the bistro fare offered by Gabri and Olivier and nibbled on scones and muffins while discussing Still Life.

Readers present were quizzed about Inspector Gamach’s four statements that lead his trainees to wisdom to determine who would take the doorprize home.  Deborah B. remembered three of the four statements and gladly left bearing the painted piece to be personalized with the saying of her choosing.

 To solve the doorprize mystery, the four statements are listed here:
 I don’t know.
 I need help.
 I’m sorry.
 I was wrong.

 Christmas Gifts for All

The December 18, 2014 meeting of Basketweave & Books was a year-end gift to all our members from Judith and Debra. Holiday refreshments were bountiful, everyone was given a custom print celebrating her handwork, and the read-aloud rounded out a perfect evening.

Ladies present enjoyed Coffee Mousse, Spicy Pecans, and Goat Cheese covered with Jalapeno Honey and chopped Pistachios. (Recipes follow.) Rather than egg nog, the beverage of the evening was “Naked” Chardonnay.

As a thank you to each member for her participation and contribution each month, Judith and Debra gave each lady a print which has a quote honoring the essence of our need to create, especially as needlepointers. Grace Garrett of GollyGee Designs created the print, and you can see more of her graphic design work on her website.

Each December, rather than having members add one more item to already maxed out “To Do” lists by having to read a book club book, Debra reads a holiday book aloud to members while they simply listen and relax. This year’s selection was Ferrol Sams’ Christmas Gift!. The book is a celebration of Christmas and Sams’ memories of family Christmases of his childhood.

Coffee Mousse

2 cups double strength coffee

96 large marshmallows

2 pints heavy whipping cream

4 Tablespoons powdered sugar

4 teaspoons vanilla

Chocolate curls & more whipped cream to garnish

 Stir marshmallows in coffee in dutch oven over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Cool thoroughly. Whip whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff; fold whipped cream into coffee mixture by hand and mix well. Put mixture in trifle dish. Chill in refrigerator 6+ hours.

 Serve in champagne/sherbet glasses or from trifle bowl. Before serving, top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

 

Blackberry Picking with Basketweave & Books

By Debra Windham

 

August’s meeting found members “in the Rockies” sipping Blackberry Tea (recipe follows) and eating blackberries over angel food cake just like Hennie Comfort and Nit Spindle of Sandra Dallas’ Prayers for Sale. The refreshments were spread on a Coffee Cup Quilt like Nit’s to help set the mood for the book discussion about the hard life facing women in the early days of Colorado.

Everyone present agreed that Middle Swan was not her idea of a dream locale to live.  In fact, all agreed the life of a pioneer woman was not something for which we would have been well suited.

As a celebration of the quilters in the book and our own stitchers, the evening’s door prize was a scissors mender kit which could be cross-stitched. Susie S. went home with the prize.

 

Blackberry Iced Tea

3 cups fresh blackberries

¾ cup sugar

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Pinch of baking soda

4 cups boiling water

2 family-size tea bags

2½ cups cold water

     Combine blackberries and sugar in large bowl. Crush blackberries with pastry blender. Add mint and baking soda. Set aside.

     Pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Discard tea bags.

     Pour tea over blackberry mixture; let stand at room temperature one hour. Pour tea through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large 2-quart pitcher, discarding solids. Add 2½ cups cold water and stir well. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh berries and/or mint sprigs, if desired.

Oh, the Weather Outside was Frightful Feb. 2015

By Debra Windham

 

     Our numbers were small for February’s gathering of Basketweave & Books due to the blustery, freezing temperatures, but we sipped on hot tea and ate Scottish shortbread as we discussed King’s Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes.  We decided Will Somers, jester to Henry VIII, was no fool at all.

     We started the evening with a quiz to determine who would win the doorprize, a French Pear scented candle (in honor of Henry VIII’s last hoorah in defeating the French). Everyone was asked to list Henry VIII’s wives in order as well as his heirs in order. Joan S. pocketed the candle in a close contest.

     Questions about the fate of Henry’s heirs after the end of the book led to internet searches and some surprising findings.  We also welcomed a new participant, Sarah T., to Basketweave & Books.

From Night of Conundrums

By Debra Windham

         Difficult questions were discussed and debated and Conundrum white wine was sipped as Basketweave & Books met Thursday, January 15, to discuss The Light Between Oceans.  Everyone agreed the immediate response to finishing M. L. Stedman’s bestselling debut novel was an overwhelming desire to discuss it with someone else.

         The group nibbled on star-shaped sugar cookies with an orange glaze. The inspiration for the snack was M. L. Stedman’s quote, “Tom and Isabell were constantly looking for their North Star,” when discussing the book’s main characters. Lucy’s excitement over the oranges that Ralph and Bluey brought on the supply ship inspired the addition of an orange glaze.

         Mary Lou R. went home with the doorprize which was an Advance Readers Copy of A Memory of Viotets. It is by Hazel Gaynor and is a novel of London’s flower sellers. Mary Lou promised to let us know whether it would make a good book club selection.

 

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe from In Katrinas Kitchen

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in extracts and egg.
In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and then add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff.
DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll onto a floured surface and cut out.  You want these cookies on the thicker side (closer to ¼ inch rather than 1/8).
Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to cooling rack.

For the orange glaze, I simply stirred together 2 ¾ cups sifted powdered sugar, ½ cup orange juice, and the zest of one navel orange. Then I drizzled each cookie with the glaze. Let the cookies with the glaze sit unstacked so the glaze can “harden” for 1-1 ½ hours.

Socks and Hickory Nut Baby Jesus for Christmas December 2015

We ate, drank, and were merry at December's Basketweave & Books gathering. A record number of 16 ladies joined in the holiday cheer last Thursday at Needleworks.

There was festive fare to eat (recipes to follow), a lovely Beaujolais and a flavorful white recommended by our favorite Wine Guys at Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook village. We had a hot beverage bar with the shop's Keurig machine working overtime!

All enjoyed a reading of Andy Andrews' Socks for Christmas which brought a tear or two to a few eyes. It was a lovely reminder of the innocence of childhood Christmas memories, and the importance of being aware of those in need in our community.

Following the read aloud, everyone made a hickory shell baby Jesus in a manger ornament for their own tree and took home holiday bookmarks to remember the evening.

Once again it was a very merry and festive evening.

By Debra Windham

Brie with Cranberry Sauce

¾ C. cranberry sauce (see below)

16 oz. brie round

zest of one orange

2/3 C. walnuts

crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove rind from top of cheese. Place cheese cut side up. Bake at 350 for 10 min. Top with cranberry sauce and bake an additional 5 min. Sprinkle the top with zest and walnuts. Serve with crackers.

Cranberry Sauce

4 oz. cranberries

1/3 C. orange juice

¼ C. sugar

1/8 t. nutmeg

1/8 t. cinnamon

Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and simmer til thickened and berries have popped. Takes about 10-12 min.

 

Spicy Pecans

1 pound pecan halves

3/4 stick butter

Tony’s Creole seasoning

Freshly ground pepper

 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet.

Add pecans and toss to coat well. Sprinkle with Tony’s and pepper.

Continue to toss gently for a few minutes.  Put in the oven

And bake about 45 minutes until pecans are crisp. 

May serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Basketweave & Books Titles for 2016

January – The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

 

February – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

                   I Kill the Mockingbird by Paulo Acampora

March – A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

April – What Stands in a Storm by Kim Cross

May – Heroines Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore

June – The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

July – The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

August – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

September – The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

October-The Weed that Strings the Hangmans Bag by Alan Bradley

November – The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith

December – Read aloud

 

         Enrich your Christmas List with Basketweave & Books’ selections for 2016.  We are looking forward to a terrific new year of discussion and stitching on the third Thursday of each month at Needleworks.

         As moderator, I have chosen a wide range of writing styles, first-time authors and best-sellers, too! A little something for everyone this year. I invite you to join us as we explore the wonderful world of literature where books are treasures.

         Basketweave & Books meets the third Thursday of each month, 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Needleworks. Since Basketweave and Books began three years ago, I have led the discussion and plan for ample stitching time and delicious refreshments for everyone to enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

by Debra WIndham

 

December Basketweave and Books

Holiday Reading With Debra Windham

 

Basketweave and Books invites you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  On Thursday, December 17, from 5 until 6:30 PM at the shop, enjoy a relaxing evening of stitching while Debra Windham reads a Christmas story aloud.  Enjoy rest and refreshments as we pause to remember what the holidays are really about.  We look forward to having you.  Please let us know you are coming by email info@gritsnp.com or phone 205.870.5191.

NOVEMBER 2015 BOOK CLUB

Positive Consensus on The Kitchen God’s Wife

We had a small, but lively, group to discuss Amy Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife. Jennifer Regan did an excellent job filling in for Debra Windham and started the discussion by asking for the group’s reaction to the book. Mary Lou stated “I didn’t think I’d like it, but I did!”, and the rest of the group quickly agreed. Several members thought the book was slow to develop (a fact to which that even Amy Tan agreed according to a BBC interview that Deborah discovered on the net). The discussion quickly moved on to the interesting themes of superstition, family se-crets, and our final conclusion that mean-spirited, domineering men have been a plague to every society. In keeping with the superstition discussion, the group feasted on hot tea and fortune cookies. Susie’s fortune: “You should concentrate on yellow for good luck tomorrow” seemed to fulfill itself when Mary Lou walked in the room with a bright yellow jacket. More to come when we follow up with Susie to see how her luck changed on Friday. Next month we all look forward to our annual Christmas highlight when Debra Windham will delight us again with a surprise Christmas-themed story that she will read aloud. Be sure not to miss it!

 

November 2015 - The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

 

Originally published in 1992, Amy Tan’s novel explores the complicated relationships and roles between women as mothers, daughters and friends. Because of the pending death of a lifelong friend, Winnie feels she must tell her daughter the truth about the past. The novel takes us from a small island near Shanghai in the 1920’s to Winnie’s journey to America in 1949. On Thursday, November 19 from 5:00 until 6:30 PM at the shop, Basketweave and Books will discuss the novel. Bring a project to stitch while Debra Windham leads the talk about the book. Please reserve your place by email shop@gritsneedlepoint.com or phone 205.870.5191

Jennifer Regan

.

 

 

October 2015 Selection

Bootlegger’s Daughter BIG Hit
It was no mystery how Basketweave & Books’ members felt about Margaret Maron’s first installment in the Deborah Knott mystery series. All members came in raving about Bootlegger’s Daughter – its plot, characters, success in capturing small town Southern life and its intricacies.
Everyone praised Madge S. for suggesting the title. Madge simply smiled and said, “I want everyone to have messy houses and read!” A round of laughter and applause followed that remark! Judith C. said she found the book’s best line on page 236, “If Minnie had organized the flight out of Egypt, it wouldn’t have taken forty years to reach the Promised Land.”

We had our own version of a Carolina Pig Pickin’ by snacking on Bacon Jam on toasted crostini and sipping on sweet tea in blue Mason jars. The Western Supermarket “wine guys” came through again by recommending a lovely French wine that complemented the smoky flavors of the Bacon Jam.
If you missed out on the fun but would like to sample Bacon Jam at home, the recipe follows. As always, all are welcome to join the stitching and merriment at Basketweave & Books on the third Thursday of each month, 5:00-6:30 p.m., at Needleworks. Our book we’ll be reading for November is Amy Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife.

Bacon Jam found on Pinterest attributed to tideandthyme.com
1 pound smoked bacon, cut into 1” pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Sriracha or hot sauce
1 cup coffee
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
fresh ground black pepper to taste
extra water, as needed
In a dutch oven, fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Remove bacon to papertowel-lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease out of the dutch oven – leave the tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Fry the onion and garlic in the rendered bacon fat on medium heat until translucent.
Add the bacon to the onions and garlic, then add the rest of ingredients except water. Simmer on medium heat uncovered for 2 hours, adding ¼ cup of water every 25-30 minutes as needed. Jam is done when you can’t tell bacon from onions. Cool for 20 minutes.
Place cooled jam in food processor and pulse for 2-3 seconds, leaving some texture to jam. Fills one pint jar. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Submitted by Debra Windham 

September 2015 Selection

The Storied Life of A.J. Firky

She was the Apple of his Eye

     In honor of Gabrielle Zevin’s beloved character Maya, who was the apple of her father’s eye, Basketweave & Books members snacked on Cinnamon Apple Muffins using napkins with an apple motif while discussing The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry.  The September meeting brought cooler temperatures and time for treats with fall spices. The “wine guys” at Western Supermarket even recommended a lovely Riesling to complement the muffins.

     This book which has been described as a love letter and testament to the power of the novel was enjoyed by members, but everyone agreed the sad ending came as an unwelcomed surprise.  Moderator Debra Windham offered these titles as similar books that readers may enjoy:

     The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

     The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Ann Shaffer

     Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

     October will be Mystery Month, and our featured book will be Bootlegger’s Daughter by Margaret Maron.  The recipe for September’s Cinnamon Apple Muffins follows.

 

 

Cinnamon Apple Muffins from “Add a Pinch” blog

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (+2 teaspoons to coat apples)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • (+ ½ teaspoon for coating apples)
  • 2 cups diced apples
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk

 

Topping:

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat muffin tins well with shortening. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Set aside.

Toss together diced apples and 2 teaspoons flour mixed with ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar about 3 minutes until light in color.

Add eggs, one at a time, taking care to fully incorporate before adding the other.

Mix in vanilla. 

Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk.

Stir until just combined. 

Fold in diced apples and scoop mixture into prepared muffin tins, filling 2/3 to ¾ full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 mins.
Prepare topping while muffins are baking by melting the butter and allowing to cool slightly.

Pour butter into bowl sized easy for dipping tops of muffins. Mix sugar and cinnamon in separate bowl and set aside. Once muffins have baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the muffin tin. Then remove each muffin and dip first in butter and then sugar mixture. Place on rack to finish cooling.

 Makes 12 muffins.

Submitted by Debra Windham 

January Selection

 Needlepoint Book Club - Basketweave and Books

Basketweave & Books with Debra Windham

The Eight by Katherine Neville 

         In 1790, two French women hide the pieces of an unusual chess set…one that provides power to its players.  Almost 200 years later, computer programmer Cat Velis is sent to Algiers to work on a project where she is asked to locate the missing chessmen.  Known as a cult classic, The Eight will absorb you with its twists and turns.

    Sit, stitch while moderator, Debra Windham, leads the Basketweave & Book's March selection, The Eight  by Katherine Neville.  Consider bringing a friend to join us on Thursday, March 19, from 4:30 until 6 PM at the shop.  Please let us know you are coming by email shop@gritsneedlpoint.com or phone 205.870.5191.