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Tracy's Picks

 

Tracy Trudeau has been working at Powell's City of Books long enough to know where all the bodies are buried, but not so long that she's lost her girlish figure. Though Tracy has tried her hand at nearly every job in the store, she currently spends most of her time in the Orange Room, making sure our Crafts and Cooking sections are in order. When she's not cooking or crafting, though, she can usually be found, mouse in hand, cursing her new iMac – "faster, faster, you 'tangerine' nightmare!"

 

Books for Your Creative Process (clip art and more)

Shambhala Agile Rabbit Editions
Graphic FramesAs a weaver and general crafts artist, I love this entire line of books. Six of the volumes in the series provide fresh and unusual black and white images: Graphic Frames, Decorated Initials, Floral Patterns, Images of the Human Body, Sports Pictures and Transport Pictures. But the textile designs – Batik Patterns and Chinese Patterns – are in glorious color. Each comes with a CD-Rom (for both Mac and Windows) for hours of computer image editing fun. And they are fairly cheap, too: twenty bucks, new.

Surfaces: Visual Research for Artists, Architects, and Designers by Judy A. Juracek
Surfaces: Visual Research For Artists, Architects & DesignersThis incredible collection of architectural surface images is such a useful source of ideas it is well worth the expense. It also includes a CD-Rom (for both Mac and Windows) so that you can view and manipulate the images on your computer. Anything one might find attached to the side of a building is here: tile, wood, metal, glass, marble, etc. Images of columns, windows, inlay work, and facade details are all beautifully presented in excellent color photographs. For my own textile designs, I have found this book to be a great source of inspiration. While not technically clipart, (the rights to the images belong to the author), these images are intended to be used by artists in developing concepts and in communicating information to others.

 

Books to Cook With (some of my most requested recipes)

Mediterranean Light: Delicious Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine by Martha Rose Shulman
The best hummus recipe ever. There is a secret ingredient (!) that no one ever expects. Follow the recipe to a T, except double (or triple, I usually do) the garlic and toss in a hand full of whole sesame seeds. My first grill of the season is usually the Garlic and Chicken Kebabs. No need to increase the garlic for this one; it calls for 24 cloves. MMMmmmm.

The El Paso Chile Company Margarita Cookbook by W. Park Kerr
The El Paso Chile Company Margarita CookbookFrozen watermelon Margaritas. Last summer I scooped out and froze many bags of watermelon so that my friends and I could enjoy this chilled treat all winter. Good thing summer is back on its way; I'm out of watermelon and ready to stock up again. Aside from the dozens of tequila cocktail recipes and tips, this book also includes a number of recipes for tequila inspired snacks Tequila Chipotle Shrimp, Grilled Margarita Chicken Morsels with Salsa-Sour Cream Dip, and so forth but frankly I haven't got past the drinks yet.

 

Books of History that "Read" like Fiction

Bloodland: A Family Story of Oil, Greed, and Murder on the Osage Reservation by Dennis McAuliffe
Like many people at Powell's, I love to self educate. We are lucky to be surrounded by worthy tomes to help us learn about our world. However I have a nasty tendancy to fall asleep over my book if it's a teensy bit dry. Out like a light. So I'm happy to find well written and easily accessable books of nonfiction such as Bloodland. This is the dual story of the Osage tribe and of the author's family history. Due to good negotiating with the U.S. and good luck (oil under the reservation ground), the Osage tribe was at one time the wealthiest population in the world. This wealth attracted non-tribal members who married the young Osage women. And soon many of these young women were dying mysteriously in what became know as the Osage Reign of Terror. This is also the haunting story of the author's Osage grandmother, who died soon after marrying her white husband. A real life whodunit as well as a lesson in U.S. and Indian relations.

Hen Frigates: Passion and Peril, Nineteenth Century Women at Sea by Joan Druett
Hen FrigatesIn the male dominated world of the 19th century, "Hen Frigates" were ships on which the captain's wife would sail. Often each ship became its own world, with rules and practices at odds with the "civilized" world. I was surprised to find that the captain's wife often had more liberty on board than on shore it was also not at all unusual for her to take on the captaincy in emergency situations. And, in more than one instance, she did not reliquish her captaincy when the emergency was over. Based on letters and journals, this book conveys a story that is vital and dramatic, with fire, rats, pirates, and romantic moonlit nights.

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