Dear reader,

I like to walk every day.

This time of year, the walking offsets my cookie intake—or at least that is what I tell myself.  Sometimes I like walking the beach of Long Island Sound soon after sunrise and the water sparkles.  And sometimes I like walking the trails behind my house where on cold overcast winter afternoons the world gets so quiet and still you can sense that snow is on the way.  But no matter where or when I walk my dog Lou is always by my side.

Lately as I head into the woods, I have been thinking about a book my grandmother used to read to me, Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.  The very worn blue book is still ingrained in my mind with a young hunter entering a snow-covered forest.  I do not intend to capture any wolves, so I bring no gun nor rope but I bring the memory with me of my grandmother’s voice twittering as “the bird” or huskily grumbling as “the wolf”.



Favorite walking-in-nature authors—Henry David Thoreau, Mary Oliver, and Bill Bryson—often accompany me in my thoughts during my daily walks.  Just as I carry a childhood memory into the woods with me, Bill Bryson captured how the woods can make him feel like a child in A Walk in the Woods:

“Woods are not like other spaces. To begin with, they are cubic. Their trees surround you, loom over you, press in from all sides. Woods choke off views & leave you muddled & without bearings. They make you feel small & confused & vulnerable, like a small child lost in a crowd of strange legs. Stand in a desert or prairie & you know you are in a big space. Stand in the woods and you only sense it. They are vast, featureless nowhere. And they are alive.”

Share with me some of your favorite nature filled titles at [email protected]  And if walking makes you peckish too, check out a recipe for the easiest treat I make for the holidays below.

Let me know what you’re thinking,

JTRB Staff Pick

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu

When Marya arrives at the highly restrictive Dragomir Academy, she senses that many things are amiss. And when she starts to dig, she discovers there are secrets beneath secrets, not only about the school itself, but the structure of her entire nation. A clever fantasy with brilliant worldbuilding that includes sorcerers, monsters and magic! It’s also a story about power; about controlling girls and women—by preventing them from having a full education. Many of the answers Marya uncovers are hidden in the tapestries hung throughout the castle. A thought-provoking tale and new-found favorite for me!

—Susan, JTRB Wednesday Book Wrapper



Subscriber Spotlight

I sent Steve in Cincinnati Another Now by Yanis Yarounfakis, and was delighted that he sent along this photo and a note:

“Hi Britt,

Just wanted to say thank you for sending along Another Now. Admittedly, this is something I never would have thought to pick up for myself. But I’m finding so far that it’s an intriguing and rewarding read, and a perfect follow-up to the last book I received from JTRB: Leave Society. The books you’ve sent me so far seem to be almost in conversation with each other, and I’m having fun reading and expanding my taste as a result of your selections.


What do you think of the last book we sent you? Drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know what you’re thinking.




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