Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: The Tao of Martha

By Amy Bromberg

**Giveaway is now closed**

Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade.

By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep.

Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage....Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband....again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters.

Or maybe not.
(Summary courtesy of Goodreads.)

Ever since I read Pretty in Plaid, I've been a diehard Jen Lancaster fan. Of course, right afterward I read her previous memoirs. I don't think any author makes me crack up like Jen does. I've had the pleasure of meeting her at a couple of signings, but last year at BEA topped them all. Besides seeing her and Jennifer Weiner do a panel together at Bryant Park, I actually chatted with her for 20 minutes that night at the Penguin Bash. I had to keep telling myself "she's only a person Amy, stay cool."  

I think this may be my favorite memoir by Jen Lancaster thus far. As always there's Lancaster's wit, but this time there's some seriousness too. She's grown up quite a bit since Bitter is the New Black, that's for sure. Perhaps more people can relate because Jen deals with a couple of heavy "adult" issues. I've never been very into Oprah or Martha, but if I had to choose one, it would definitely be Martha. I totally agree with Jen that Oprah is all about feelings, while Martha is about doing. I've read my share of self-help books and barely any of them are about physically doing things.

It's a big coincidence but since last week I've had this huge desire to start cooking and baking (I'm the laziest person when it comes to the kitchen). I made French Toast Strata with raspberries. When I first told my husband this he said "I'll believe it when I see it." Well, I went shopping for the ingredients, actually cleaned our and organized our kitchen cupboard and successfully made this delicious dish. And you know what? I had a fun time doing it. Even though all of Jen's "Martha projects" weren't a success, I do believe she enjoyed herself and learned something through each of them. Isn't that what life is all about?

I cannot recommend Jen Lancaster enough. If you're looking for a book to make you laugh out loud, then look no further than The Tao of Martha. But seriously, you have to read all of her other memoirs as well, as well as her two fiction novels. I promise they won't disappoint.

Earlier this month Jen was on The Today Show. The crew actually filmed in her house during one of her Martha Stewart projects.

Thanks to Penguin for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have THREE copies for some lucky US readers!

How to win:
Please tell us the most domestic thing you do, whether it's folding laundry or making couch pillows...anything goes!

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.

US only. Giveaway ends July 1st at midnight EST.

More by Jen Lancaster:





57 comments:

Anonymous said...

I make quilts.

me_2_me2@hotmail.com

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I like to make certain dinners! I am not much of a cook, ut have been trying to learn new things!

mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews@gmail.com

Lil Miss Sassy said...

It's certainly not doing dishes!!

I love cooking grand meals (alas usually for myself) and will use every pot, pan, and utensil in the building...

But I hate doing the dishes.


Sassypants14 at gmail dot com

pascale said...

OH do I cook. I love to cook. My new thing is preserving the plums and apricots that are falling off my tree.
It is very relaxing....

pascale.poitras@verizon.net

Em said...

I made all of our curtains and duvet cover.

Lauren said...

I cross stitch dirty words and surround them with flowers and bunnies. They make great christmas gifts.

laurenbusybeth@gmail.com

www.fraternityhistory.com said...

I try to keep the dust bunnies from staging their own Easter pageant in the living room.

E said...

I made all of our curtains and duvet cover.

eefink@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Until this past week the most domestic thing I did was bake every possible thing from scratch and bringing treats upon treats to the office for my coworkers. I refuse to use box mixes or frosting from the baking aisle. I'm still learning how to make homemade marshmallows.

But this week, I closed on my very first home so I have become a million times more domestic with having to put a new outlet cord on my dryer, fix a broken bathroom sink faucet, repair a leaky kitchen sink, put together new furniture and continue to housebreak my five-year old chihuahua. I've also have started the process of being domestic by deciding on how I want each room to look with paint colors, furnishings, etc.

kristin.l.ewing@gmail.com

Ali H. said...

I have mastered folding bottom sheets!

Alhumar@gmail.com

woosters said...

I make pies, most other things in the cooking arena are beyond me, but I can make a mean pie from time to time :D

Summer Grinstead said...

I wish I was more domestic... sigh. I am pround of myself when I complete the basics, laudry, cleaning and cooking!

I follow blog, FC, pinterest and email.

sumsum085@aol.com

Bridget O'Neill said...

I LOVE baking-my favorite (and most difficult) thing to bake is my cutout cookies, from my great-great-aunt's recipe, and I also make the frosting from scratch. And my 4 year old loves helping me bake. I'm passing on my love of baking and reading to her! :)

bjoneill@hotmail.com

Autumnn Mahar said...

My husband LOVES to garden, so as a newlywed, I had to figure out what to do with all this new, fresh produce! So I learned to pickle cucumbers, REAL quick--thanks, Pinterest! :)

adarden13(at)gmail.com

Suzanne said...

I bake mondle bread (my moms recipe), a favorite of anyone who stops by our house.

suzannefine @ yahoo.com

Jessica said...

I love to bake. It's one of my favorite things to do. (: I especially love making pies and cookies.

Thanks!
-Jessica M
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

Mary @ This is How My Garden Grows said...

My most domestic skill is baking!

maebobbie@gmail.com

Katy said...

I am a huge fan of Jen Lancaster and I'm so excited for this new book! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

As for the most domestic thing I do... It's probably a tie between baking and scrapbooking!

maher.kathleenk@gmail.com

Linda Kish said...

I actually like doing laundry. I put it all away as soon as I am done, too. I can't understand why people have such a problem with that.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

rhonda said...

Love to put fresh sheets on,our bed ,do it a few times a week.love to sleep on fresh sheets&I know my husband enjoys it lomazowr@gmail.com

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

Folding laundry is definitely not a strong trait of mine. I don't mind washing and drying. But folding, especially towels, yikes.

I do love to make meals for large groups. I have 4 grown kids so I was used to cooking for lots. With just me and hubby now, I don't enjoy it so much. But get some company to come to dinner and I can really put out a spread. I can make a mean lasagna!

suzebomb(at)gmail.com

Jennifer Huelsebusch said...

I needlepoint and I do like to iron. I even iron my pajamas!

Love Jen Lancaster!!!

Jhuelsebusch@sbcglobal.net

Patricia said...

Cooking!
patricia DOT mariani DOT esq AT gmail DOT com

Erica said...

I have been taking a domestic sabbatical for the past year... but I still do the laundry like a whiz!

wordywon at gmail dot com

karenk said...

laundry...and I like it :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Garden, scrapbook, and cook.

melinda.garza15@yahoo.com

bn100 said...

vacuuming

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

holdenj said...

After learning this hint from Martha, I always fold my fitted sheet and pillowcases together within the flat sheet, so they are always together.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Marla Martensonw said...

I bought a steam cleaner for my laminate floors and I just love it. I invite anyone to come on over and eat off them! I also am into gardening. I dare any snail to make a snack of my beautiful foliage.

marlamartenson@mac.com

Connie said...

I absolutely loved this novel and laughed out loud a LOT of times. Jen just knows how to laugh at herself which is a great talent to have.

She worked very, very hard on her year of living as Martha does and I’m very proud of her for her efforts.

Do yourself a favor and read this book and all of Jen’s other ones as well. You will find a new favorite author! Enjoy!

Rosita said...

I'd have to say laundry. If I do say so myself, I'm a laundry whiz! ;-) rosita(dot)p(dot)mariani(at)gmail(dot)com

Jess Bair said...

Hmmm... my most domestic activity...
Well, I love to bake. My mom loves to cook (and does it very well, I must say) and I'm the Yang to her Yin, and bake like a champ (very well I think, I've only ever gotten compliments on my desserts).
I also enjoy crocheting. I don't have much variety in what I make (scarves and blankets), and not everything is beautiful and perfect (hey, I just started to crochet not too long ago), but it's very calming and I have fun doing it, so who cares?
Other than that, I am no domestic goddess, but I'm always trying to improve!

rubynreba said...

I love to bake! Not so much cook, but baking is my thing! I also love to decorate our 100 year old house.

I am a follower on GFC.

Facebook follower.

pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

As I have gotten older, I have gotten more and more domestic! These days I am researching re-upholstering chairs... lol, that is so unlike me! I have however always been sort of a neat freak.

missamberljohnson at gmail dot com

susieqlaw said...

The most domestic thing I do is lots and lots of laundry and folding laundry!

sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

Read Baby Read said...

I love doing laundry. I put these balls in there (not what you are thinking!), and it makes my laundry smell amazing! I've loved Jen's books from the first page of Bitter. I even wrote to her when I got a pink slip back in 2009, and she wrote back! I was totally starstruck! Nice review, Amy!

mellsimons@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I love using my crockpot and use it weekly! I am also a huge fan of fondue.

jenkalani1@gmail.com

Shelle B said...

I keep 5 cats and 3 plants alive from day to day! Rashelle311@hotmail.com

Arizona Digital Lizard Designs said...

I embroider stuff... like quilts and shirts and all kind of stuff! Other than that... there is a reason I choose to work "outside the house."

Jenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Temre said...

I make clothes and bake from scratch! temrejohnson@gmail.com

Emily said...

I actually love doing laundry! It's one of my favorite things to do on Friday night: movie and laundry.

Emily.davidson2(at)gmail(dot)com

Jenna said...

It's embarrassing how long I'm sitting here trying to think of the most domestic thing I do consistently. Um. I'm really good at making sure we always have wine, which is really important if you're going to be a good host. right?

Jennacp @ gmail . com

suitablegirl said...

I have these odd domestic "tics". I say that because they are rare, inconsistent, and usually inspire cocked heads from my two dogs and my boyfriend.

- I board fold all of our tops (erstwhile retail employee here).

- I bake biscuits from scratch.

- I recently started making my own Strawberry syrup/preserve/concoction with Stevia (to pour on plain greek yogurt or put on toast) because I'm trying to eliminate sugar. Next up: rhubarb and blueberry (but not together...wait...hmmm).

- I'm growing herbs (successfully!) for the first time. Also: chili peppers.

- I give both puppies baths weekly and trim their nails.

Having typed all that-- my storage space(s) = disasters. I loathe washing dishes and I've given up on my war on dog fur and have just started to wear clothing that is either black or cream. I'm no Martha, no, not even close.

Thanks for this opportunity! (if I'm one of the lucky ones, my Gmail is "suitablegirl".) :)

Booksnyc said...

When I bought my apartment in the city, I had it gutted and completely renovated. I was totally into picking materials, adjusting the layout and selecting all the appliances. Since then, however, things have stagnated and I realize I need to update some stuff around here! I think that effort took it a all out of me because I haven't worked up the courage to make any changes!

Thanks for the giveaway! (booksncity at gmail dot com)

Rachel said...

I actually love to do projects at home, laundry, clean and do crafts. It makes me happy to be a domestic "diva." My favorite though is to bake. I love to try new recipes and experiment.

Ndirishlover at gmail dot com

Katie said...

I make pasta from scratch.

Katiemkline@gmail.com

Suzy Q said...

I cook, all the time. I love to cook for other people!

Kerry said...

The most domestic thing I do is vacuum.. with a serious love for it! Like, an obsession. When I got a vacuum for Christmas last year, I cried and jumped up and down like a six year old.

I'm at kerrya08@gmail.com

Arlene said...

I love to cook! Just made Linguine w/little neck clams for dinner. I also make an amazing homemade granola...aka Granola Crack!!

aecarb@yahoo.com

Kelly said...

I cook every.single.night. Some nights are yummy, some nights not so much.

Love, love, love Jen Lancaster.
This new book sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win

Moore79 at gmail dot com

Ellen O'Neill said...

The most domestic thing I do is make my bed with lots of pillows EVERYDAY! My bed has to be "just so" when I get into it a night!

Anonymous said...

I like to cook and bake, and every year we make little "gingerbread" houses from graham crackers at Christmastime.

I'm Kim at uppenadam@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I got married (first time!) at age 35 this past January. I suddenly must become domestic for two instead of one. However, it has carried over:
1. I would place gold in the Vacuum Olympics.
2. I wash our mattress cover and sheets weekly. (maybe not domesticity, but more OCD?)
3. Presentation is 9/10 the enjoyment of the meal. I try to make colorful, appealing-looking meals, with a nicely set table, dishes and cutlery.
(One of my proudest achievements while waitressing in college was learning how to make radish roses with scallion stems.
4. I make my husband's lunch every morning after walking our boxer/bull mix at 6:30 a.m. (also known as my summertime alarm clock).

I love Jen Lancaster. I keep her books on my Nook at all times.

hayesofbooks@gmail.com

Ashley S said...

The most domestic thing I do? Clean my baseboards. That's dedication. Reach me on Twitter @ashleys0203

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and sharing your domestic skills! The only domestic thing I love doing is baking. :)

Nice to see a lot of new names here. Hope you'll stop by our other giveaways, as well!

Thanks to Penguin for sharing the books with our winners, who were chosen by random.org from all entries with contact info.

Congrats to:
7-eefink
16-Katy
50-Ashley S

Connie said...

Congratulations for the winners. This was a fabulous book.