Saturday, July 31, 2010
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.Coming out August 25, 2010. Preorder your copy here.
I stayed up later than I wanted to last night, finishing the bound manuscript. It seemed a shame to stop in the middle of the eventful homestretch. Weeks has created a new fantasy world from the one in his Night Angel debut trilogy, one of color-based magic. He's given a lot of thought to the differing properties of the various spectral ranges, which gives the magic a verisimilitude sometimes lacking in stories where it's all spells and voodoo and you're just supposed to accept
it. More than anything, this is a story of ambiguity: multifacted characters, complicated situations, rock-and-a-hard-place decisions, and the lasting consequences of those choices. Without any spoilers, I'll say that Weeks manages to twist a couple fantasy conventions in
ways that I enjoyed finding myself surprised by.
This would be an excellent book to recommend to people who've read their way through Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books and are wondering what to pick up next.
Brent will be signing this book at our Colfax store on August 31 at 7:30 PM!!!
If you can't wait until the release date, check out Brent's website to read the first 3 chapters for free!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Haven Moore cannot control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother's house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.
In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again.Preorder your copy here.
Our teenage guest reviewer Molly says:
"Haven Moore's life is twisting one way or another at any given time. Many mysteries are present around her and she is the only one who is dedicated enough to solve them. Through the whole whole book I was on my toes, eager to know what would come next in her ever twisting life. Tragedies crowd her, love blinds her, and the devil himself seems to be working to ruin her life. This book was a thrill for me to read, and I enjoyed following Haven as she tried to figure out her life, and the lives that she may have lived before."
In a kind of Project Runaway meets Simon & Schuster scenario, the MXYPLYZYK store in the West Village in New York City made unusual use of the book jacket of Paco Underhill's new book, What Women Want: The Global Marketplace Turns Female Friendly (Simon & Schuster).
Shared with permission from Shelf Awareness.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Molly writes: "Before I Fall was expertly written, wonderfully descriptive, and completely unique. The book showed extreme sacrifice, and it had a sense of finality to it, though when I finished I was close to tears, I felt fulfillment. Reading through this book was an unforgettable adventure, and when the words came to a stop I knew it was the end, yet I still flipped past the last page to see if the story went on. It was almost unbearably sad, and yet it made me want to understand the world. This book is a life lesson, and maybe a lesson for something more than that."Shifty
Fifteen-year-old Shifty knows all about moving around and next to nothing about where he came from. When he's assigned to a new foster home and family, he tries hard to keep cool and stay out of trouble. But it seems like the more he tries to do the right thing, the more trouble he finds. As Shifty navigates a series of messy summer adventures, he struggles to find a balance between the street-wise spirit that has helped him survive and his longing for a place to call home. Lynne E. Hazen has created a fast-paced, page-turning plot full of surprises and warmth.
Molly says: "This book was truly heartbreaking, and yet it was a wonderful adventure. Hazen's book was fast paced, and I got pulled in right from the start. This meaningful story has an air of reality to it and I can hardly begin to explain the emotions that were packed in between the pages of this book. Every word was somehow breathtaking when put together, and I know this book will mean a lot to almost anyone who takes the time to read it."
The Poison Diaries
In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .
Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .
Molly tells us: "The way this book was written struck me as highly knowledgeable, and it was a joy to read. Wood's book is touching, wildly suspenseful, and I was on the edge of my seat from the middle to the last page, it was wonderful! It was a soft, meaningful story, a whole new world for my imagination to wander in! Anyone who reads this book will find something for them within it's pages, should it be at the wonderfully surprising ending, or right at the beginning."
National Book Award finalist Cristina García delivers a powerful and gorgeous novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a luxurious hotel in an unnamed Central American capital in the midst of political turmoil. The lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese-Mexican-American matadora in town for a bull-fighting competition; an ex-guerrilla now working as a waitress in the hotel coffee shop; a Korean manufacturer with an underage mistress ensconced in the honeymoon suite; aninternational adoption lawyer of German descent; a colonel who committed atrocities during his country’s long civil war; and a Cuban poet who has come with his American wife to adopt a local infant. With each day, their lives become further entangled, resulting in the unexpected—the clash of histories and the pull of revenge and desire.Cristina García’s magnificent orchestration of politics, the intimacies of daily life, and the frailty of human nature unfolds in a moving, ambitious, often comic, and unforgettable tale.
Preorder your copy here.
This is the first book I've read by Cristina Garcia, and it won't be the last! I completely enjoyed this slim novel. The book revolves around the Hotel Miraflor in some unnammed Central American capital. There are six interconnected stories, with hints of magical realism and the lushness of life that reminds me of Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa. Each of the characters were fully-realized, sympathetic and real, which is not an easy feat! I am looking forward to sharing this book with readers looking for a richly-imagined feast for the senses.
The Lady Matador's Hotel tells the story of one week in an unnamed Central American
Capital at the upscale Hotel Miraflor. A series of bullfights and political elections fill the city with excitement and tension, while a fickle hurricane dances across the Caribbean waters. Anything can happen in such a charged climate. Anything to anyone.
The Lady Matador, Suki Palacios, is a study of otherworldly poise and beauty, single-minded and distant as she enters the ring and faces down the most ferocious of bulls. Nothing can touch Suki, the master of the ring, until something does.
I consider 'The Lady Matador's Hotel' a cousin to the bullfighting chapters in Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises.' But whereas his characters were fun and raucosand little out of control, Cristina Garcia's characters are more simmering and introspective, fighting the ghosts of the past (sometimes literally) as they challenge a murky present. They are right-wing military officers, leftist revolutionaries, shady adoption lawyers, a poet dreamer and a suicidal industrialist. All are helpless,spiraling into one another, creating an intolerable mix and a horrific confrontation.
Ms. Garcia's descriptiveness is unparalleled. The reader feels the sticky, stifling heat of equatorial America, the sudden, refreshing cloudbursts. She describes the intoxicating floral smell on one hand, but then the stench of poverty, garbage and putrefaction on the
All of this wondrous novel, its sensuality and magical thinking, all of it and more, fall under the spell of the enchanting, inscrutable Lady Matador. Will Suki finally defeat the menacing bull, but who really wins if she does?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
"There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones who don't cook out of and have NEVER cooked out of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK, and the other kind...The I HATE TO COOK people consist mainly of those who find other things more interesting and less fattening, and so they do it as seldom as possible. Today there is an Annual Culinary Olympics, with hundreds of cooks from many countries ardently competing. But we who hate to cook have had our own Olympics for years, seeing who can get out of the kitchen the fastest and stay out the longest."
- Peg Bracken
Philosopher's Chowder. Skinny Meatloaf. Fat Man's Shrimp. Immediate Fudge Cake. These are just a few of the beloved recipes from Peg Bracken's classic I HATE TO COOK BOOK. Written in a time when women were expected to have full, delicious meals on the table for their families every night, Peg Bracken offered women who didn't revel in this obligation an alternative: quick, simple meals that took minimal effort but would still satisfy.
50 years later, times have certainly changed - but the appeal of THE I HATE TO COOK BOOK hasn't.
This book is for everyone, men and women alike, who wants to get from cooking hour to cocktail hour in as little time as possible.Read more about Peg and her book here.
Trust me, YOU don't want to miss "You". Benoit writes this book in a unique way that is initially unsettling, but becomes very powerful as the story goes on. The book tells you what you are doing, you being a teenage boy facing some ordinary teenage situations. You have a problem with anger, you are keeping some secrets, and you don't know who to trust. You ending up making a series of seemingly small decisions that stack up to lead you to your destiny. You will be very surprised, disturbed and shaken by this book. You will not forget it easily.
Teenage guest blogger Molly says:
"You is shatteringly true, amazing, unforgettable, and phenomenally written in a completely unique way, and it pulled me in from the start. Charles Benoit writes with a life changing perspective. I was amazed at the truth in this book, and the lessons that it can teach. It made me think about life, and what is right and wrong. I loved this book in a different way that I love other books because this book is different, and I hope other readers will see what I saw in this book."
Publication date should be 8/24/10. You can pre-order your copy here.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Here, from the incomparable John Waters, is a paean to the power of subversive inspiration that will delight, amuse, enrich—and happily horrify readers everywhere.
Role Models is, in fact, a self-portrait told through intimate profiles of favorite personalities—some famous, some unknown, some criminal, some surprisingly middle-of-the-road. From Esther Martin, owner of the scariest bar in Baltimore, to the playwright Tennessee Williams; from the atheist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair to the insane martyr Saint Catherine of Siena; from the English novelist Denton Welch to the timelessly appealing singer Johnny Mathis—these are the extreme figures who helped the author form his own brand of neurotic happiness.
Role Models is a personal invitation into one of the most unique, perverse, and hilarious artistic minds of our time.A Darker Domain
Past and present intertwine in this brilliant exploration of loyalty and greed from bestselling mistress of suspense Val McDermid.
Fife, Scotland, 1984. Mick Prentice abandons his family at the height of a politically charged national miners' strike to join the strikebreakers down south. Despised and disowned by friends and relatives, he is not reported missing until twenty-three years later.
Fife, Scotland, 1985. Kidnapped heiress Catriona Maclennan Grant is killed and her baby son vanishes when the ransom payoff goes horribly wrong. In 2008, a tourist in Tuscany stumbles upon dramatic new evidence that reopens the investigation.
Already immersed in the Prentice affair, Detective Karen Pirie, newly appointed head of the Cold Case Review Team, wants to make her mark with this second unsolved 1980s mystery. But two decades' worth of secrets are leading Pirie into a dark domain of violence and betrayal—a place darker than any she has previously entered.
In I Was Born This Way, Carl Bean, former Motown recording artist, noted AIDS activist, and founder of the Unity Fellowship of Christ Church in Los Angeles, shares his extraordinary personal journey from Baltimore foster homes to the stage of the Apollo Theater and beyond.
CARL BEAN has been crossing boundaries all his life and helping others do the same. He’s never been stopped by his race or orientation, never fit or stayed in the boxes people have wanted to put him in. He left his foster home in Baltimore at seventeen and took the bus to New York City, where he quickly found the rich culture of the Harlem churches. As a singer, first with the gospel Alex Bradford Singers and later as a Motown recording artist, Bean was a sensation. When Berry Gordy signed him to record "I Was Born This Way," it was a first: the biggest black-owned record company broadcasting a statement on gender identity. The #1 song, recorded with the Sweet Inspirations, was the first gay liberation dance club hit.
Whether making records, educating the black community about HIV and AIDS, or preaching to his growing congregation, Archbishop Bean has never wanted to minister to just one group. He’s worked on AIDS issues with C. Everett Koop and Elizabeth Taylor and on civil rights issues with Maxine Waters, Julian Bond, and Reverend Joseph Lowery. At the height of his recording career, he worked with Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Miles Davis, and Sammy Davis Jr. He’s brought South Central Los Angeles gang members into his church, which now has 25,000 members in twelve cities nationwide; those same Crips and Bloods have shown up at the Gay Pride parades Bean has organized with U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters. And he has courageously devoted his time and energy to spurring black civil rights leaders to address the AIDS health crisis within the African American community—an issue on which they had been silent.
Preaching an all-embracing progressive theology, he is an outspoken practitioner of brotherly love, a dynamic preacher, and a social activist. The Unity Fellowship message is grace: "God is love, and God is for everyone"; "God is gay, God is straight, God is black, God is white." I Was Born This Way is the rare personal history of one of black gospel’s biggest stars and a frank, powerful, and warmhearted testament to how one man found his calling.Visible Lives
In a powerful tribute to bestselling author and literary icon E. Lynn Harris, bestselling authors and friends Terrance Dean, James Earl Hardy, and Stanley Bennett Clay honor him with sexy, original novellas in the genre he helped create--groundbreaking stories of black, gay men searching for love in a taboo world.
What do you do when you discover your spouse has an insignificant other?
How about when you realize your own insignificant other is becoming more significant than your spouse?
There are no easy answers to these questions, but Stephen McCauley—"the master of the modern comedy of manners" (USA Today)—makes exploring them a literary delight.
Richard Rossi works in HR at a touchy-feely software company and prides himself on his understanding of the foibles and fictions we all use to get through the day. Too bad he’s not as good at spotting such behavior in himself.
What else could explain his passionate affair with Benjamin, a very unavailable married man? Richard suggests birthday presents for Benjamin’s wife and vacation plans for his kids, meets him for "lunch" at a sublet apartment, and would never think about calling him after business hours.
"In the three years I’d known Benjamin, I’d come to think of him as my husband. He was, after all, a husband, and I saw it as my responsibility to protect his marriage from a barrage of outside threats and bad influences. It was the only way I could justify sleeping with him."
Since Richard is not entirely available himself—there’s Conrad, his adorable if maddening partner to contend with—it all seems perfect. But when cosmopolitan Conrad starts spending a suspicious amount of time in Ohio, and economic uncertainty challenges Richard’s chances for promotion, he realizes his priorities might be a little skewed.
With a cast of sharply drawn friends, frenemies, colleagues, and personal trainers, Insignificant Others is classic McCauley—a hilarious and ultimately haunting social satire about life in the United States at the bitter end of the boom years, when clinging to significant people and pursuits has never been more important—if only one could figure out what they are.Mean Little Deaf Queer
In 1959, the year Terry Galloway turned nine, the voices of everyone she loved began to disappear. No one yet knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system, eventually causing her to go deaf. As a self-proclaimed “child freak,” she acted out her fury with her boxy hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by faking her own drowning at a camp for crippled children. Ever since that first real-life performance, Galloway has used theater, whether onstage or off, to defy and transcend her reality. With disarming candor, she writes about her mental breakdowns, her queer identity, and living in a silent, quirky world populated by unforgettable characters. What could have been a bitter litany of complaint is instead an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting take on life.
This book is the second in a high-tech vampire
trilogy that began with "The Strain", and it picks up where the last one left off, right smack dab in the middle of plenty of action. New York City is pretty much lost--the vampiric virus is spreading faster than hope can sustain. Even with the complicated help of The Ancients, things are going very, very badly for the human race. It turns out that the Rogue Master vampire who has unleashed this plague has a very specific agenda, and the literal time bombs within that plan are already ticking. The answers lie in a cursed silver plated book, but getting it isn't easy, and understanding it may take too long. It's a thrill ride on every page--dystopia at its vampiric best.
Here is a cool video widget we found at www.thestraintrilogy.com
"One of the things we love most about Mad Men (and we’re big fans, so it’s hard to pick) is that the show is chock full of significant period details. And few things say more about a character or era than books. From its first season, the impeccably literate series has showcased everything from popular novels of the early ’60s to classic literature. After the jump, we’ve compiled an extensive list of books featured in, based on, or that inspired Mad Men, broken down by season. Happy — or, more realistically, dramatic and depressing but still valuable and gripping — reading!"
read the rest of the article and check out the list
Monday, July 26, 2010
O’Neill, who was first known for his work with the punk band the Brian Jonestown Massacre, is developing a nice writing career—both as a novelist and screenwriter (he was involved in The Runaways.) With this novel it feels like he might turn into our junkie Elmore Leonard. The plot could easily have come from Leonard—a heroin addicted gay prostitute steals his dead trick’s copy of a Sharon Tate sex tape and decides to cash in. Needless to say, mayhem ensures.
Kirkus: “[An] inspired comedy of errors…a post-punk crack at Hollywood’s legacy that’s funnier than its predecessor, and just as cringe-inducing…infused with enough black humor to make Bill Burroughs choke on his apple”
Booklist: “Like a Robert Altman film scripted by Charles Bukowski and William S. Burroughs...Sick City is appealing in its unsentimentalism, disgusting in its details--and, almost unbelievably, funny.”
Everything Is Going To Be Great
I just got a tip from a fellow rep on this one. She said one of her hip, younger booksellers was reading about it on a blog and it looked like a crack-up. My colleague went back to it and wrote, "Don’t read this on public transportation because it is laugh out loud funny….a very irreverent, not quite the same old coming of age memoir."
Entertainment Weekly: “Scrap your preconceived notions of travel writing. We're not talking The Innocents Abroad here; Everything Is Going to Be Great, this irreverent, profane journal of Rachel Shukert's college trip comes off like a cross between David Sedaris and Chuck Palahniuk. Nothing escapes her eye — not the cute boys or creepy older guys, not the booze, not even European culture. ''There's a reason Dutch cuisine has never really caught on,'' she writes glumly from Amsterdam. ''It's basically a combination of the worst elements of British and German food, mixed up with kale and gravy and then pureed.'' (It's edible ''if you smoke enough weed.'') But lurking beneath the jabs and one-liners is an affecting — and pretty unforgettable — coming-of-age tale.”
The Elephant Keeper
Based on an actual 19th century incident, this story of a boy and an elephant got great reviews and sold about 10,000 copies in hardcover. (PW: “canters along at a delightful pace…Nicholson’s elegiac alternate endings leave only the memory of their lasting bond—the elephant’s legendary ability to “never forget” is finally ours.” Booklist: “An endearing account of a virtually telepathic relationship between man and animal.”)
An Inconvenient Elephant
(I know, what’s with me and the elephant novels, these days?....)
Singer’s first novel, Still Life with Elephant, was a nice success story for us. Her newest should appeal to the same fan base. From PW: “In this big-hearted sequel, Singer channels her compassion for animals through strong-willed Neelie Sterling, who's attempting to return to New York City after a year among baby elephants in the Kenyan jungle, cut short by war. When booking a seat on a plane back to New York seems impossible, she meets safari leader Diamond-Rose Tremaine, who finagles them a flight to America by way of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, the stopover leaves the pair stranded in Zimbabwe, where they make their way to a jungle encampment run by Diamond's friends. Once there, Neelie befriends the campsite's condemned food-stealing elephant, Tusker, making it her mission to save him from execution and bring him back to the New York animal sanctuary run by her ex-boyfriend, Tom. While the possibility of rekindled romance tugs at both Neelie and Tom, matters of the human heart take a back seat to Neelie's attempt to save Tusker, which proves a reeling, contagious story of hope and inter-species empathy.”
This quirky, warm-hearted story will appeal to fan of Ann Tyler. It involved the whirlwind courtship of two elderly people and the subsequent repercussions that trickle through their families. Kirkus called it “a lovely and literate family drama that wins bonus points for its sincerity and open-hearted delivery” and PW said, “[Tedrowe] shows great promise in her compassionate, nuanced depiction of love-among the old and young alike-and her confident handling of alternating, multigenerational narrators.”
Mad Men Unbuttoned
This is a re-examination of 60’s culture through the lens of AMC’s Mad Men. PW loved it: “Inspired by the TV series, L.A. freelance writer Vargas-Cooper launched a nicely designed and engaging blog, the Footnotes of Mad Men, to survey not only the show but also the real-world historical and cultural artifacts of that period. Now her attractive blog has been adapted into an equally attractive book. As Vargas-Cooper sees it, the series is ‘about the culture clash and contradictions that occurred during the twilight of the Eisenhower era, the great societal shake-up of the 1960s’ and its impact on modern America. She focuses on advertising, design, films, literature, politics, sex, style, and the workplace in order to probe ‘the most dramatic cultural shift in the 20th century.’ She begins by detailing all the series' regular characters and then moves on to profile real-life ad man Leo Burnett (Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Marlboro Man), followed by everything from skinny ties, condoms, John Cheever and Frank O'Hara to Jackie Kennedy's White House tour on CBS and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. All are neatly linked with specific TV episodes, making this both an entertaining read and the definitive companion book for the series.”
I am still breathless from finishing this book just a little bit ago. The penname 'Pittacus Lore' is given as the book's author. I discovered that James Frey was a co-writer, but I'm not sure who else was involved. My hat is off to all of them because this is one HECK of a story. (I'm not the only one--the book isn't even out yet and Dreamworks has already started shooting the movie in PA! And it's got quite an all star cast, I might add.)
10 years ago 9 Lorien children and their guardians were loaded into a spaceship to save them from the war that was destroying their planet. Another race, the Mogadarians, had come from their own planet, which they have drained of all life, to seize Lorien for themselves, killing
everything that lives there. It's what they do. The children are special, for they will grow up and develop special powers, called Legacies, that could help them save their race. A special charm is put upon the children--they can only be killed in order (1, 2, 3...). They are sent to earth and scattered to hide and mature. They are being hunted by their enemies--who are in the planning stages of taking over and destroying Earth as well.
This first book (it's a planned series) is about 4, beginning with the realization that his number is literally up--a symbolic scar is burned around his ankle every time one of the 9 dies. The third scar just appeared.
I don't want to tell you much about this book because I want you to enjoy every moment of this pulse pounding adventure as it unfolds. It includes everything from normal teenage stuff
(falling in love for the first time, rebelling against authority, bullying, etc) to discovering and learning to use/control the Legacies and alien warfare in many, many forms.
Calling this book a page turner is just WAY too much of an understatement. This could very easily be the next Harry Potter or Twilight, especially with the movie coming so soon. And with how this book ends, there is no doubt the series will go on for quite awhile.
Pre-order your copy today! (word is the publication date has been bumped up to August 3!!!)
Read what he's up to now.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
John Thorne's classic first collection is filled with straightforward eating, home cooking, vigorous opinions, and the gracefully intelligent writing that makes him a cult favorite of people who like to think about food.
John Thorne is one of America's great food writers; he has a large cult following, which reads his quarterly newsletter, 'Simple Cooking', based in New England and begun in 1980, with dedication and enthusiasm. This book consists of material taken from that newsletter, together with other items of journalism. It is a recipe book with extensive narrative commentary. It revolves around Thorne's kitchen and the books he has read. If Margaret Visser is seen by many as a fine negotiator of the back-alleys of foodway curiosities, Thorne is more contemplative and yet tied to the stove. He resolves cookery facts and adages to produce an amalgam of thought and action at once revealing and entertaining. Thorne manages to combine plenty of thought with convincingly real, pungent, full-flavored food. The recipes are for all cooks, not chefs or artsy professionals. Critics have always loved John Thorne: 'he comes across as an inconoclast without a mean streak, an amusing but serious searcher after culinary truths'; 'one of the few writers since M.F.K. Fisher's heyday who can command readers' attentions and interest'; 'there is a dimension and resonance of experience almost never found in American food writing'; 'his meditations are intense; reading him on bread is like reading Proust on love. He cuts through mysteries at a stroke. He is keenly anti-snobbish. It its psychological penetration, this is more a novel than a cookbook.' This volume contains 90 recipes, covering the whole range of cookery, but more especially pasta, breads, soups, stews and vegetables.
Rachael really likes Claudia Roden:
Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon
In the 1960s Claudia Roden introduced Americans to a new world of tastes in her classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food. Now, in her enchanting new book, Arabesque, she revisits the three countries with the most exciting cuisines today—Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon. Interweaving history, stories, and her own observations, she gives us 150 of the most delectable recipes: some of them new discoveries, some reworkings of classic dishes—all of them made even more accessible and delicious for today’s home cook.
From Morocco, the most exquisite and refined cuisine of North Africa: couscous dishes; multilayered pies; delicately flavored tagines; ways of marrying meat, poultry, or fish with fruit to create extraordinary combinations of spicy, savory, and sweet.
From Turkey, a highly sophisticated cuisine that dates back to the Ottoman Empire yet reflects many new influences today: a delicious array of kebabs, fillo pies, eggplant dishes in many guises, bulgur and chickpea salads, stuffed grape leaves and peppers, and sweet puddings.
From Lebanon, a cuisine of great diversity: a wide variety of mezze (those tempting appetizers that can make a meal all on their own); dishes featuring sun-drenched Middle Eastern vegetables and dried legumes; and national specialties such as kibbeh, meatballs with pine nuts, and lamb shanks with yogurt.
Claudia Roden knows this part of the world so intimately that we delight in being in such good hands as she translates the subtle play of flavors and simple cooking techniques to our own home kitchens.The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape of the Middle East, gathering recipes and stories.
Now Ms. Roden gives us more than 800 recipes, including the aromatic variations that accent a dish and define the country of origin: fried garlic and cumin and coriander from Egypt, cinnamon and allspice from Turkey, sumac and tamarind from Syria and Lebanon, pomegranate syrup from Iran, preserved lemon and harissa from North Africa. She has worked out simpler approaches to traditional dishes, using healthier ingredients and time-saving methods without ever sacrificing any of the extraordinary flavor, freshness, and texture that distinguish the cooking of this part of the world.
Throughout these pages she draws on all four of the region's major cooking styles:
- The refined haute cuisine of Iran, based on rice exquisitely prepared and embellished with a range of meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts
- Arab cooking from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan--at its finest today, and a good source for vegetable and bulgur wheat dishes
- The legendary Turkish cuisine, with its kebabs, wheat and rice dishes, yogurt salads, savory pies, and syrupy pastries
- North African cooking, particularly the splendid fare of Morocco, with its heady mix of hot and sweet, orchestrated to perfection in its couscous dishes and tagines
From the tantalizing mezze--those succulent bites of filled fillo crescents and cigars, chopped salads, and stuffed morsels, as well as tahina, chickpeas, and eggplant in their many guises--to the skewered meats and savory stews and hearty grain and vegetable dishes, here is a rich array of the cooking that Americans embrace today. No longer considered exotic--all the essential ingredients are now available in supermarkets, and the more rare can be obtained through mail order sources (readily available on the Internet)--the foods of the Middle East are a boon to the home cook looking for healthy, inexpensive, flavorful, and wonderfully satisfying dishes, both for everyday eating and for special occasions.
Molly B recommends:
It's a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before (800 million) while there are also more people overweight (1 billion).
To find out how we got to this point and what we can do about it, Raj Patel launched a comprehensive investigation into the global food network. It took him from the colossal supermarkets of California to India's wrecked paddy–fields and Africa's bankrupt coffee farms, while along the way he ate genetically engineered soy beans and dodged flying objects in the protestor–packed streets of South Korea.
What he found was shocking, from the false choices given us by supermarkets to a global epidemic of farmer suicides, and real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa.
Yet he also found great cause for hope—in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable and joyful food system. Going beyond ethical consumerism, Patel explains, from seed to store to plate, the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of both farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
A Natural History of the Senses
Diane Ackerman's lusciously written grand tour of the realm of the senses includes conversations with an iceberg in Antarctica and a professional nose in New York, along with dissertations on kisses and tattoos, sadistic cuisine and the music played by the planet Earth. "Delightful . . . gives the reader the richest possible feeling of the worlds the senses take in."--The New York Times.
Kathy E really likes:
WHEN YOU KNOW A CULINARY RATIO, IT'S NOT LIKE KNOWING A SINGLE RECIPE, IT'S INSTANTLY KNOWING A THOUSAND.
Why spend time sorting through the millions of cookie recipes available in books, magazines, and on the Internet? Isn't it easier just to remember 1-2-3? That's the ratio of ingredients that always make a basic, delicious cookie dough: 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. From there, add anything you want -- chocolate, lemon and orange zest, nuts, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almond extract, or peanut butter, to name a few favorite additions. Replace white sugar with brown for a darker, chewier cookie. Add baking powder and/or eggs for a lighter, airier texture.
RATIOS ARE THE STARTING POINT FROM WHICH A THOUSAND VARIATIONS BEGIN.
Ratios are the simple proportions of one ingredient to another. Biscuit dough is 3 : 1 : 2 -- or 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid. This ratio is the beginning of many variations, and because the biscuit takes sweet and savory flavors with equal grace, you can top it with whipped cream and strawberries or sausage gravy. Vinaigrette is 3 : 1, or 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and is one of the most useful sauces imaginable, giving everything from grilled meats and fish to steamed vegetables or lettuces intense flavor.
Cooking with ratios will unchain you from recipes and set you free. With thirty-three ratios and suggestions for enticing variations, Ratio is the truth ofcooking: basic preparations that teach us how the fundamental ingredients of the kitchen -- water, flour, butter and oils, milk and cream, and eggs -- work. Change the ratio and bread dough becomes pasta dough, cakes become muffins become popovers become crepes.
As the culinary world fills up with overly complicated recipes and never-ending ingredient lists, Michael Ruhlman blasts through the surplus of information and delivers this innovative, straightforward book that cuts to the core of cooking. Ratio provides one of the greatest kitchen lessons there is -- and it makes the cooking easier and more satisfying than ever.
Whether you are a pastry perfectionist or a one-bowl beginner, a bonafide mixologist or just looking for a way to polish off a few dusty bottles, this cookbook is sure to become a favorite, its pages splattered with chocolate, sprinkled with sugar, and garnished with a twist.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Food, Inc. is guaranteed to shake up our perceptions of what we eat. This powerful documentary deconstructing the corporate food industry in America was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “more than a terrific movie—it’s an important movie.” Aided by expert commentators such as Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, the film poses questions such as: Where has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably?
Expanding on the film’s themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.
Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.
Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions, where the business was born, to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike, where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.
Deliciously interesting, tasty morsels of cultural history combined with luscious photographs will leave readers hungry for more."Every kind of food has its story." Acclaimed photographer Ken Robbins guides us through the history, mythology, and literary significance of food. Fascinating factsÑit was an apple that started the Trojan War; oranges used to be so expensive that only the rich could afford them--and stunning photographs make Food for Thought a tasty read that will have everyone looking at their plates in a new way.
The Omnivore's Dilemma
A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us-whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed-he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.
What the Sterns did for road food, Pat Willard does for festive American group eating in this exploration of our national cuisine, with a never-before-published WPA manuscript as her guide.
In America Eats! Pat Willard takes readers on a journey into the regional nooks and crannies of American cuisine where WPA writers—including Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, and Nelson Algren, among countless others—were dispatched in 1935 to document the roots of our diverse culinary cuisine. With the unpublished WPA manuscript as her guide, Willard visits the sites of American food’s past glory to rediscover the vibrant foundation of America’s traditional cuisine. She visits a booyah cook-off in Minnesota, a political feast in Mississippi, a watermelon festival in Oklahoma, and a sheepherders ball in Idaho, to name a few. Featuring recipes and never-before-seen photos, including those from the WPA by Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Marion Post Wolcott, America Eats! is a glowing celebration of American food, past and present.
We suffer today from food anxiety, bombarded as we are with confusing messages about how to eat an ethical diet. Should we eat locally? Is organic really better for the environment? Can genetically modified foods be good for you?
JUST FOOD does for fresh food what Fast Food Nation (Houghton Mifflin, 2001) did for fast food, challenging conventional views, and cutting through layers of myth and misinformation. For instance, an imported tomato is more energy-efficient than a local greenhouse-grown tomato. And farm-raised freshwater fish may soon be the most sustainable source of protein.
Informative and surprising, JUST FOOD tells us how to decide what to eat, and how our choices can help save the planet and feed the world.
One young food writer's search for America's lost wild foods, from New Orleans croakers to Illinois Prairie hen, with Mark Twain as his guide.
In the winter of 1879, Mark Twain paused during a tour of Europe to compose a fantasy menu of the American dishes he missed the most. He was desperately sick of European hotel cooking, and his menu, made up of some eighty regional specialties, was a true love letter to American food: Lake Trout, from Tahoe. Hot biscuits, Southern style. Canvasback-duck, from Baltimore. Black-bass, from the Mississippi.
When food writer Andrew Beahrs first read Twain's menu in the classic work A Tramp Abroad, he noticed the dishes were regional in the truest sense of the word-drawn fresh from grasslands, woods, and waters in a time before railroads had dissolved the culinary lines between Hannibal, Missouri, and San Francisco. These dishes were all local, all wild, and all, Beahrs feared, had been lost in the shift to industrialized food.
In Twain's Feast, Beahrs sets out to discover whether eight of these forgotten regional specialties can still be found on American tables, tracing Twain's footsteps as he goes. Twain's menu, it turns out, was also a memoir and a map. The dishes he yearned for were all connected to cherished moments in his life-from the New Orleans croakers he loved as a young man on the Mississippi to the maple syrup he savored in Connecticut, with his family, during his final, lonely years.
Tracking Twain's foods leads Beahrs from the dwindling prairie of rural Illinois to a six-hundred-pound coon supper in Arkansas to the biggest native oyster reef in San Francisco Bay. He finds pockets of the country where Twain's favorite foods still exist or where intrepid farmers, fishermen, and conservationists are trying to bring them back. In Twain's Feast, he reminds us what we've lost as these wild foods have disappeared from our tables, and what we stand to gain from their return.
Weaving together passages from Twain's famous works and Beahrs's own adventures, Twain's Feast takes us on a journey into America's past, to a time when foods taken fresh from grasslands, woods, and waters were at the heart of American cooking.
Friday, July 23, 2010
The Kitchen Detective
Christopher Kimball, America's premier culinary sleuth, is the author of the popular newspaper column "The Kitchen Detective" that appears in 27 newspapers across the country. This book offers the Kitchen Detective's Best culinary cases, with foolproof recipes for everything from braised short ribs and Coca-Cola Chicken to pumpkin cheesecake and perfect pancakes. Further, entertaining essays explain how the Kitchen Detective "cracked the case, " accompanied by 100 black and white photographs highlighting some of his most intriguing findings.
In the ten years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, from Monday fish to the breadbasket conspiracy, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business—and for Anthony Bourdain.
Medium Raw explores these changes, moving back and forth from the author's bad old days to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.
Beginning with a secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs that he compares to a mafia summit, Bourdain pulls back the curtain—but never pulls his punches—on the modern gastronomical revolution, as only he can. Cutting right to the bone, Bourdain sets his sights on some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, the young superstar chef who has radicalized the fine-dining landscape; the revered Alice Waters, whom he treats with unapologetic frankness; the Top Chef winners and losers; and many more.
And always he returns to the question "Why cook?" Or the more difficult "Why cook well?" Medium Raw is the deliciously funny and shockingly delectable journey to those answers, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike.Rated: NC17
Cooking Dirty is a rollicking account of life “on the line” in the restaurants, far from culinary school, cable TV, and the Michelin Guide—where most of us eat out most of the time. It takes the kitchen memoir to a rough and reckless place.
From his first job scraping trays at a pizzeria at age fifteen, Jason Sheehan worked on the line at all kinds of restaurants: a French colonial and an all-night diner, a crab shack just off the interstate and a fusion restaurant in a former hair salon. Restaurant work, as he describes it in exuberant, sparkling prose, is a way of life in which “your whole universe becomes a small, hot steel box filled with knives and meat and fire.” The kitchen crew is a fraternity with its own rites: cigarettes in the walk-in freezer, sex in the basement, the wartime urgency of the dinner rush. Cooking is a series of personal challenges, from the first perfectly done mussel to the satisfaction of surgically sliced foie gras. And the kitchen itself, as he tells it, is a place in which life’s mysteries are thawed, sliced, broiled, barbecued, and fried—a place where people from the margins find their community and their calling.
With this deeply affecting book, Sheehan (already acclaimed for his reviews) joins the first class of American food writers at a time when books about food have never been better or more popular.Rated:R
Roasting in Hell's Kitchen
Everyone thinks they know the real Gordon Ramsay: rude, loud, pathologically driven, stubborn as hell.
Now, for the first time, the world's most famous—and infamous—chef tells the inside story of his life: his difficult childhood, his father's alcoholism and violence, his brother's heroin addiction, his short-circuited soccer career, and his fanatical pursuit of gastronomic perfection—everything that helped mold him into the culinary talent and media powerhouse that he is today. He also dishes the dirt on the rich and famous, and takes you behind the scenes of some of the great restaurants.
Honest, outrageous, and intensely personal, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen will not only change your perception of Gordon Ramsay but that of the cutthroat world of haute cuisine as well.
The Cookbook Collector
This is the first book I've read by Allegra Goodman, though I thought her name sounded familiar when I got the ARC. It should--she's a best selling author and a National Book Award finalist. But frankly, it was the title that pulled me in.
This book has a broad range--from millionaire dot.com execs to literal tree huggers, book collectors and poetic references to food. It's about two sisters at its most basic, one a hugely successful workaholic, the other a drifting PhD candidate who just can't seem to settle down. And all the people they surround themselves with, willingly or unwillingly. Goodman is often compared with Jane Austen, and I can kind of see that with her deft complexity for weaving several disparate characters and times into one engrossing story. It is a love story on many different levels, as well as a "coming into one's own" kind of story that is very gratifying.
But I cannot say it better than a jacket-copy line from the ARC--this book is "about the
substitutions we make when we can't find what we're looking for: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living."
The News Where You Are
This is a little book, seemingly simple on its surface but deeply rich when you turn a closer eye to it. The surface is about Frank, a local British newscaster for a regional news show, and his reactions to the death of his famous predecessor, the demolition of some buildings his father spent his life designing, the reality of his depressed mother in a nursing home, and moving his family from the country to the city. But the undercurrent of it all deals with, essentially, what we do with old things: old people, old buildings, old jobs, old mementos piled in the attic. This is a book about reinvention and demolition and what is involved in choosing one or the other. To borrow a term from across the pond, it's BRILLIANT.
This is going to make a fantastic book club pick, especially since it's coming out as a
paperback original. I also highly recommend her first book, What Was Lost, another
beautifully nuanced novel with a touch of mystery to it.
Laura is in the sandwich generation--she's got two kids at home, a thriving nursing career, a loving husband, and a very difficult mother who shut down years ago when Laura's father died. When her mother has a massive stroke, Laura breaks her mother's long held demand for privacy by beginning to read to her the letters her father wrote to her mother years ago, describing their perfect love. Or at least that was always the story. As the letters unfold, a different tale of her parents lives and relationship emerges, and Laura finds she has more in common with her mother than she ever dreamed.
The Writing Circle
This is a book about a writer's critique group made up of all levels of literati--
historians, popular fiction writers, biographers, poets, all at various levels in their
careers. It's a bit of a literary soap opera with former and current relationships among the members, secrets kept and ideas stolen. There are 7 characters, all well represented, and the story moves along at a brisk pace. I found it thoroughly
Thursday, July 22, 2010
"Mary Frances [Fisher] has the extraordinary ability to make the ordinary seem rich and wonderful. Her dignity comes from her absolute insistence on appreciating life as it comes to her."--Ruth Reichl
"How wonderful to have here in my hands the essence of M.F.K. Fisher, whose wit and fulsome opinions on food and those who produce it, comment upon it, and consume it are as apt today as they were several decades ago, when she composed them. Why did she choose food and hunger she was asked, and she replied, 'When I write about hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth, and the love of it . . . and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied.' This is the stuff we need to hear, and to hear again and again."--Julia Child
"This comprehensive volume should be required reading for every cook. It defines in a sensual and beautiful way the vital relationship between food and culture."--Alice Waters
In her own words, here is the captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found ‘her true calling.’
From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre in the fall of 1948 and Julia watched the well-muscled stevedores unloading the cargo to the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband, Paul, savored in Rouen en route to Paris, where he was to work for the USIS, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn’t speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.
After managing to get her degree despite the machinations of the disagreeable directrice of the school, Julia started teaching cooking classes herself, then teamed up with two fellow gourmettes, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, to help them with a book they were trying to write on French cooking for Americans. Throwing herself heart and soul into making it a unique and thorough teaching book, only to suffer several rounds of painful rejection, is part of the behind-the-scenes drama that Julia reveals with her inimitable gusto and disarming honesty.
Filled with the beautiful black-and-white photographs that Paul loved to take when he was not battling bureaucrats, as well as family snapshots, this memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.Le voici. Et bon appétit!