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Relaxing Reading

The holidays usually bring on a flurry of last-minute activities, preparing meals, and traveling. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find the time to relax during this season?

Here’s a way to do just that. Put together by the Bed and Breakfast Association of Kentucky, Room at the Table (McClanahan Publishing House, $24.95) provides a full-color peek into many of the elegant inns in our state. Each B&B featured offers not only an account of the home’s history and a photo tour, but some of their finest recipes as well. Perhaps a visit to your favorite will fit nicely into your itinerary for a little holiday treat.

Since one of the featured B&Bs in the book is The Shaker Tavern, it would seem only fitting to check out The Outsider by Lawrenceburg author Ann H. Gabhart (Revell, $13.99). Set in the early 1800s, the story gives an uncommon look into the lives of the Shakers, a religious sect known for their lively worship and their strict rules of chastity and purity that led to their extinction. Gabrielle Hope, a young woman naïve to the ways of the outside world, feels fulfilled and happy with her purpose in her Shaker community, Harmony Hill, until a disturbing vision leads to her acquaintance with a local doctor. She must make a decision whether to turn her back on her curiosity or to take a chance on what life outside the commune could hold. Though the novel tiptoes around an innocent romance, I feel the main emotion of the story lies in glimpsing the beliefs, lifestyles, and hard lines of the community members.

Because everyone’s calendar is quite full this time of year, it’s nice to grab a few minutes of reading time whenever possible. Lexington author and seventh-generation Kentuckian Georgia Green Stamper’s You Can Go Anywhere from the Crossroads of the World (Wind Publications, $16) is perfect for just such a time. The short essays compiled here are highly entertaining, poignant, and sharp-witted. Stamper had me laughing out loud more than once. Not to be missed is the story of Gerald, Stamper’s fictional son that our U.S. Postal Service insisted was real, and Stamper’s theories on the Aztec gods who require sacrificial socks from the washing machine.

For the kids, Paintsville author Bryan Auxier offers a brief tale of how the elves came to work for Santa in Where Have All the Elves Gone? (Where? Press, $7.95). This charmingly illustrated picture book will have kids ready to duck under the covers to wait for Santa’s arrival with his bag of elfin-made loot.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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