For the holidays I got a number of books. In seven days I have read six of them. I'm not picky about what I read when I am on vacation and the more random the better. This year's selection certainly qualified as random but good:
THE APPRENTICE: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN by Jacques Pepin
This book was SO GOOD! I want to buy it for all of my friends that are great cooks. If you enjoy food writing at all this book was fantastic. Not only a fascinating story about the life of Jacques Pepin (he once passed up a job as chef for the White House to work at Howard Johnson's) but the writing is amazing. Highly recommend it.
AFTER THE QUAKE by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is one of my favorite authors-ever. I've read most of his books. He is poetic and strange and clever and once I read one of his books I knew I had to read the others. This is a collection of short stories-one more stunning than the next.
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott
This was one of those books that I couldn't believe I hadn't read yet. A light read and a helpful book on writing with the fantastic message to remember to take it slowly-one step (bird) at a time. Perfect for the new year's less perfectionism message.
The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, by Jean Nathan
Dare Wright was the author of a freaky book I read as a child about a loney doll who became friends with three bears. This is the story of her life. The Lonely Doll is full of black and white photos taken by Dare-some of the lonely doll in strange poses walking over the Brooklyn bridge, in another the lonely doll is over the knee of Papa Bear getting a spanking, etc. The book has strange sexual undertones and reading this biography about her freaky life explains why. A good book but makes you want to take a shower afterwards. Dirty.
LUCY by Jamaica Kincaid
Jamaica Kincaid is a great friend of one of my best friends. In a sense I knew Jamaica as a person first through stories my friend told before reading her work. Now that I have been exposed to her writing I am hooked. Her writing is fantastic and like Murakami I want to read everything I can get my hands on that she has written.
The last book I got SUCKED-Citizen Girl by the chicks that wrote The Nanny Diaries. This is one of those books you hide under a magazine while reading because you don't want anyone smart, funny or intelligent to see you reading such trash but I read it and it SUCKED.
Also on the list of 'reading' were some fantastic cookbooks that E and I got:
BOUCHON by Thomas Keller
I thought this cookbook would be 100% coffee table book and not the least bit useful. I sat down and 'read' it slowly cover to cover. But in fact there are a number of recipes that one can tackle and ok-yes-some yes-that are ambitious but not too bad. The photographs are lovely and the writing well done. There are a lot of side dishes using veggies which look yummy and I can't wait to try.
LES HALLES COOKBOOK by Anthony Bourdain
Anthoony Bourdain is brilliant and I loved his cooking show despite it's short existence on the Food Network. This cookbook is an odd one but a good one. You should be a huge meat lover if you get this book because over 80% of the book is meat related. However, I am trying a mushroom soup from the cookbook today that sounds delicious.
SUBWAY by Bruce Davidson.
A GREAT photography book. Davidson was fortunate enough to be a photographer shooting people in NYC at a time when graffiti ridden subway cars were like canvases in themselves. Davidson's eye for light and shadows and circumstance come together to make a really great collection and documentation of old skool NYC.