In The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends, Lynne and Sally take you on escapades for a deeply pleasurable experience. They want you to head to different neighborhoods and markets, gather up ingredients, and embrace new cooking techniques and flavors that will carry over into your everyday meals. Check out the free recipes we’ve posted – they will spice up your book group discussion of Moni Mohsin’s novel Duty Free. Tell us about your favorite book group book / food combo for the chance to win a copy of The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends!

To celebrate the paperback release of Rebecca Johns’ novel The Countess, Read It Forward contacted the author to see if she had anything new to share with RIFers. Did she ever! A fantastic scene that ended up being cut from the second draft of the novel. “The scene was the first in a series regarding a friendship that developed between Countess Báthory and a Catholic priest from Romania who was trying to turn her back to the Roman church during this most turbulent period of the Counter-Reformation,” explains Rebecca Johns. “I always liked the banter between the two characters, though – the dejected Countess turning her wit on the poor priest, and yet he isn’t put off by her. In fact, I think he’s enjoying himself.”

“Hi, Read it Forward readers! My name is Susan Cain, and my book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is coming out in January 2012. Given the back-to-school time of year, I wanted to talk briefly about parenting introverted kids. Being introverted in and around the school setting can be challenging for kids, but from the research I’ve done, as well as talking with so many parents and teachers, I know that introverted kids can thrive incredibly well. They often just need a somewhat different style of nurturing from more extroverted kids. Today I’d like to share with you five of my favorite tips for parenting introverted kids.”

Priscilla Warner has had a great life: a supportive husband, a flourishing marriage, two loving sons, and a bestselling book, The Faith Club. Despite all her good fortune and success, she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks so debilitating that they leave her unable to breathe. After forty years of hyperventilating, and an overwhelming panic attack that’s the ultimate wake-up call, Warner’s mantra becomes “Neurotic, Heal Thyself.” A spirited New Yorker, she sets out to find her inner Tibetan monk by meditating every day, aiming to rewire her brain and her body and mend her frayed nerves. On this winding path from panic to peace, she also delves into a wide range of spiritual and alternative health practices, some serious and some . . . not so much.

“Often complaining that her ‘life’s so bore,’ my heroine speaks in a uniquely Subcontinental English, peppered with misspellings (bagground, Tom Fort) and malapropisms (‘she’s a suppository of local gossip’),” explains Moni Mohsin, author of Duty Free. “Though this is the spoken lingo of millions, readers in India and Pakistan are not accustomed to encountering it on the printed page. An entire book written in this chutneyfied English therefore is cause for much hilarity and surprised delight. Readers write to me in the voice of the heroine, letters and emails about their picaresque lives, which in turn surprise and delight me.”

“Starting a new school year can bring up tons of funky stuff. It can be tough to settle in to a fresh curriculum, situate yourself in a new living space and reignite friendships after several months apart. When all this change occurs at once, life can feel a bit overwhelming. Rather than succumb to the stresses of the school year, I’m offering up a new approach. My name is Gabrielle Bernstein, and I’m a self-help book author and inspirational speaker – and I’m here to help you – and your kids – bring happy back to school! When you apply my three simple suggestions to your life, you’ll set yourself up to have a rockin’ time in and out of the classroom. So brush your shoulders off and get ready to get happy!”