Presenting a list of culinary fiction and nonfiction titles to make your mind and mouth water.
The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber
Life, on the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice to A Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford
Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy by Paula Butturini
The Wife of the Chef: The True Story of a Restaurant and Romance by Courtney Febbroriello
Alone in the Kitchen with An Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone edited by Jenni Ferrari-Auler
The Sharper your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
Try This: Traveling the Globe without Leaving the Table by Danyelle Freeman
Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of A Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Paris in Love: A Memoir by Eloisa James
Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Stories of Food during Wartime by the World’s Leading Correspondents edited by Matt McAllester
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin
Charlotte Au Chocolat: Memories of A Restaurant Girlhood by Charlotte Silver
Le Road Trip: A Traveler’s Journal of Love and France by Vivian Swift
The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life by Ann Vanderhoof
Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity by Candace Walsh
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
Psychopath or Sociopath? I tend to get these two terms confused. But, in Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel, Gone Girl, it’s apparent that one of the characters fits one of those conditions to a tee-but which one? In a page turning thriller filled with rising tension, an unsettled feeling slowly seeps through the seemingly normal relationship at the heart of the story.
Using the viewpoints of both Nick and his missing wife Amy as they approach their fifth wedding anniversary, each of their voices attempt to convince the reader that their reality and point of view is the correct one. They both artfully set up their story, going back and forth from the beginning of their relationship and continuing through Amy’s disappearance.
From the outside looking in, the reader discovers that their relationship and marriage, while convincingly loving and fulfilling to the casual observer at the beginning, may have some disturbing components. Amy’s diary entries provide a glimpse into the life of an overachieving young woman who possibly may have way too much on her plate. Nick’s evasive actions and the sketchy answers he provides to the police make one wonder what he’s hiding. Is it possible he’s a killer?
The stunning conclusion will evoke differing responses from readers ranging from disbelief, sympathy, confusion and disgust as we are reminded that life is not always as it seems. There is much to discuss with your friends, neighbors, book clubs and coworkers. You can decide for yourself if there is a psychopath or sociopath lurking on the pages you will be quickly turning.
Just in the nick of time, along comes a book that enlightens and entertains in a surprisingly nonpartisan and detailed way. The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy should be a welcome antidote to anyone troubled by this year’s brutal Presidential campaign. The ‘Club’ consist of ex-Presidents who are called on by the current President when assistance is needed with Foreign Affairs, public relations or a domestic situation.
The Club was initiated by Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman during Dwight Eisenhower’s Presidency. The two former Presidents from opposing parties joined forces to help feed those starving in Europe following World War II. They took it upon themselves to close ranks and offer any assistance that the newly elected Eisenhower needed. The Club has continued down through the subsequent Presidencies as anywhere from 2 to 5 living ex Presidents have been called upon by the sitting President to circle the wagon.Their love of country and their own reputations in history have some times gone hand in hand, but the protection of the Presidency, no matter what the party affiliation of those involved, is most paramount.
Since only an elite few know firsthand what the pressures and challenges of being elected the leader of the free world are, the ex-Presidents have continued to come together through the decades for a variety of reasons. Whether it was helping JFK get out of The Bay of Pigs debacle, counseling Nixon that his resignation would be best for the country, or helping Clinton face his impeachment charges, these stories are revealed with the utmost care and precision. Richly illustrated and footnoted, there are stories and points of view most people have never heard before. You may have your own opinion of these men but reading about the unusually warm relationships Bill Clinton shared with both Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush confirms that party lines can be crossed because personal connections and respect should not stop at each party’s door.
Put your personal ideologies and partisanship aside and enjoy this historically significant book. You will be hard pressed to find a more evenhanded political book on the market today.
Hauntingly atmospheric, The Cove by Ron Rash takes places during the end of the First World War in the North Carolina Appalachian mountains.The land itself is depressing with a river that slowly meanders through the gloom as subtly as the quietly disturbing story unfolds. Outcasts Laurel and her brother, wounded war veteran, Hank live in a rustic cabin near a dark and forbidding cove that is avoided by other residents in the area. Laurel’s birthmark is considered the mark of a witch which contributes to her whole family being shunned over the years.
After Laurel finds a man suffering from dozens of yellow jacket stings laying semiconscious in the woods, she brings him home to the dank cabin where she nurses him back to health. When Walter, seemingly a deaf mute, is well enough, he begins to help one armed Hank around their land, building fences, clearing land and digging a well. It’s always been his intention to stay just a little while, but Laurel is in no hurry to have the enigmatic flute playing stranger leave and has no idea that the secret he carries will rend all their lives apart.
Enter unpopular army recruiter Chauncey Feith, who managed to avoid the draft, perhaps because he is the son of the local bank’s president. Feith attempts to rally support for returning, wounded veterans as WW I nears its end. His fear mongering vigilantism, disguised as patriotism, makes life miserable for a local professor teaching German at the nearby college. He also helps incite violence near the cove and the cabin where Laurel and Hank reside. Unfounded fears and superstitions put in play a chain of events that have irrevocable consequences for the characters and the readers in this seductive story.