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Tropical Storm Arthur: Top books to help you weather this July Fourth storm

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Tropical Storm Arthur is threatening to become a hurricane mere hours in advance of the July Fourth holiday, according to the Weather Channel on July 2. Right now it appears that the Carolinas will receive the brunt of the storm, including a majority of the Outer Banks.

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North and South Carolina will not be the only states to get some rain off this storm, however, which could prove disappointing to those seeking to make this Fourth of July a beach holiday, replete with sun, sand and novel reading. But just because the Independence Day vacation or party might have to move indoors is no reason not to go ahead and pick up one of these new books to read this summer.

In fact, reading is a great way to pass the time on a rainy day, including those that happen during a July Fourth holiday. But why not make the reading educational and fun at the same time, learning about how your forefathers and mothers dined in America more than a hundred years after gaining their independence.

Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the Middle Class, 1880-1920 can give you that glimpse into another time, like on page 206, under the "American Food" heading. But that's not the only reference about it in this book.

Andrew P. Haley's "Turning the Tables" was the 2012 recipient of The James Beard Foundation Book Award in Reference and Scholarship. So if you read this book over your July vacation you can boast to your coworkers after the holidays that you didn't just play while enjoying time off this month; you read some educational books as well, and even some that had won prestigious awards. And then you can wow them with the new facts you learned.

If learning how to think like a behavioral analyst or profiler is more interesting to you, the Think Like a Freak New York Times bestseller will appeal as a great reading option this weekend. An economist and former New York Times magazine writer teach you how to look at a whole slew of things differently than you have before, freeing you to come up with new solutions to old problems. And they talk about July 4th hotdog competitions in their book, giving you tips on how to win one.

The garden lover will want to relax this upcoming holiday weekend with thoughts about how they can improve or add to the beauty of their residential landscape, and it can be as simple as making one or more wreaths recommended by James T. Farmer III in his book Wreaths for All Seasons. So don't spend your money buying decorations, buy this book and learn how to make your own--and make them look better than those sold in stores.

If you are still undecided about what to prepare for your feast on Independence Day, then think no more, as there is one book chock full of great menu ideas to choose from, like Southern fried chicken, which is a food mentioned in Haley's "Turning the Tables," although not the James Farmer recipe, of course, since it was before his time.

This Examiner has tried a multitude of recipes presented by the Kathleen, Ga. lifestyle expert and author, so she can say without a doubt that Farmer's Dinner on the Grounds book will appeal to any cook this side of the Mason Dixon line. And just to prove it to you, check out the photos in the slideshow on this page, which are from the book, highlighting why you want to add these food items to your Fourth of July celebration, whether Tropical Storm Arthur decides to teeter out so you can really have your dinner on the grounds, like you planned to do, or whether you have to dine indoors.

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