No chef autobiography has been this flavorful since Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Eddie Huang casts the founding of his beloved New York restaurant Baohaus against a backdrop of fashion, drugs, and brawling -- a zesty stew leading to culinary brilliance. Delicious.
June 3: Joy left Mudville on this day in 1888, when Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat" was first published in the San Francisco Examiner. Stephen Jay Gould’s Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville, his personal testament to "A Lifelong Passion for Baseball," takes Sigmund Freud out to the ballgame -- specifically the final game of the 1955 World Series, in which Gould’s beloved Yankees lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Grieving the death of her beloved uncle and alienated from her family, 14-year-old June finds solace in an unexpected friendship. Love and compassion course through Carol Rifka Brunt's tender coming-of-age story with an elegiac, emotional resonance that reminds us of Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. A Discover Great New Writers selection.
I knew from the first couple of pages that Shades of Honorby Wendy Lindstrom was going to be a book I could sink my teeth into. It’s 1870, and the hero, Ranford Grayson, has just returned home to a small town in New York with his shy, damaged four year-old daughter. Little Rebecca’s mother is very plausibly out of the picture, and the child’s caregivers have been less than ideal – the first one, a beloved nanny, abandoned her to start her own family, and the second was an abuser. Ranford goes home to his mother and three younger brothers, knowing it will be best for Rebecca.
May 10: On this day in 1907 Kenneth Grahame wrote the first (or the first extant) of a series of letters to his son, Alastair, describing the Toad, Rat, Mole, and Badger adventures that eventually became the beloved children's classic The Wind in the Willows: "Have you heard about the Toad? He was never taken prisoner by brigands at all. It was all a horrid low trick of his…."
This dark satire by Paul Theroux, beloved chronicler of travel and trains, tells the story of a small-town bank caper carried out by a trio of oldsters looking to do something patriotic. (The bank is run by a man they think might be a Communist.) Set in the strange Sixties, against the backdrop of war and the draft, and replete with quirky characters, this, Theroux's third novel, originally published in 1969, is an unusual work by a master storyteller.
May 3: On this day in 1810 Lord Byron swam the Hellespont in emulation of Leander's legendary swims to visit his beloved Hero. Byron was twenty-two, and ten months into his two-year tour of the Mediterranean. He was not yet famous for his poetry or his profligacy, although he had just finished the first draft of Childe Harold, and had just ended, while in Malta, his first serious affair with a young woman who fit what would become the Byronic type.
A nation in name for only 150 years, Italy and her citizens nevertheless have a distinctive and beloved national character extending back for millennia -- a character beautifully captured in these evocative portraits by master photographer Leonard Freed, whose fifty-year career (he died in 2006) culminated in this album of a land and people whom he immediately fell in love with upon his first visit to New York's Little Italy.