Booklist Reviewers Turn a Phrase
"How often do you begin reading a book that makes you—immediately,
urgently, desperately—want to read more books?"
From the Editor
We're Not as Thunk as You Drink We Are
Judging from the feature coverage accompanying our Spotlight on Food—He Drinks, She Drinks, and a core collection on wine—you'd think our columnists and editors prefer a liquid lunch, indulge in an early cocktail hour, and then skip dinner in favor of an unearned digestif. Will Manley is the only one who does focus on food, although some of you might put quotation marks around "food," given that he examines an ancestor's predilection for offal.
Not that I mind the focus on alcohol. In an earlier incarnation, I wrote a column called "Designated Drinker," and I am a casual but enthusiastic collector of the kinds of books David Wright discusses in his column. Among my treasured tomes are first editions of such landmarks as Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion and Charles H. Baker's The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Drinking Book; or, Around the World with Jigger, Beaker, and Flask. (Sadly, I'm still saving my money for a first-edition Savoy Cocktail Book.) The prose in some of those early books is simply delicious—how on earth did the authors manage to write so clearly through the fog of their hangovers?
But, lest you think we're a bunch of dipsomaniacs, you will still find plenty of books about food in the October 1 issue of Booklist: how to prepare it, how to enjoy it, how people shape their lives around it, and how we have come to eat as we do. And if you're going to consume a bunch of books about alcohol, I highly recommend you do it on a full stomach.
Spotlight on Food
Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure
By Samira Kawash
There's more to candy than meets the eye (or taste buds). In this lively, engaging, and deliciously descriptive work, Kawash fills the gap left by culinary histories that don't consider candy a food, revealing how the American mass production of candy in the twentieth century paved the way for the highly processed—and nutritionally problematic—foods we eat today.
Top 10 Food Books
A spotlight on food is as necessary and inevitable as the sunrise. And the following books, all reviewed in Booklist between October 15, 2012, and October 1, 2013, show how devoted we are to good reading about food.
Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World
By Tristan Donovan
Whether you call it soda or pop, it's the foundation of one of the modern world's most enduring industries, admired and reviled in almost equal measure from its very beginning.
He Drinks: Men and Booze
By David Wright
The shelves groan with novels and memoirs about reckless boozers by the likes of Pete Hamill, Frederick Exley, and Malcolm Lowry, most of which make you want to climb up on that wagon that everyone's always falling off of.
By Francine Segan
Generally, a good cookbook is one with traditional and contemporary recipes, quality color photography, and clear instructions anyone can follow. A great cookbook includes all the above and educates us on every page, making us more knowledgeable culinarians.
She Drinks: Women and Booze
By Kaite Mediatore Stover
It seems fitting that Readergal pours herself a glassa as she contemplates the murky relationships women have with alcohol. Readergal admires the women who have distilled wine into song and gin into poetry.
Extreme Wine: Searching the World for the Best, the Worst, the Outrageously Cheap, the Insanely Overpriced, and the Undiscovered
By Mike Veseth
No wine-making or wine-selling professional can afford to ignore Veseth's blog, which illuminates wine's often murky economics.
Core Collection: In Vino Veritas
By Brad Hooper
Anyone seeking a degree of sophistication in life—knowledge of the finer things, including good food and rewarding travel—is bound to include wine on their list of desired competencies.
Fix-It and Forget-It New Cookbook: 250 New Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes!
By Phyllis Good
Fans of Good's best-selling slow-cooker recipe books won't be disappointed with her latest installment. Good provides plenty of practical tips about what she calls a near miracle appliance.
The Manley Arts: Innards
By Will Manley
Chew on this why don't you: "Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. . . ."
Spotlight on Series Nonfiction
The Korean War
By Jim Corrigan
Though the Korean War is often labeled as "the Forgotten War," Corrigan makes a strong case that it largely shaped how the next several decades of Cold War politics and conflicts unfolded.
Top 10 Military Series
By Susan Dove Lempke
Series focusing on today's military offer a lot of bang for your selection buck, especially for reluctant readers.
The Military in Series Nonfiction
By Susan Dove Lempke
Working with series nonfiction can, at times, feel repetitive. Requested subjects tend to center on either perennial favorites for reports (geography, animals, careers) or leisure (sports, crafts, celebrities).
The First Phone Call from Heaven
By Mitch Albom
Albom's latest modern-day fable is less philosophical but more emotionally charged than The Time Keeper.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells
By Sebastian Faulks
What, ho?! This blighter Faulks, after making a reasonably good show of posing as Ian Fleming (Devil May Care, 2009), has the unmitigated gall to take a run at impersonating the inimitable
P. G., the very incarnation of sui generis?
Books for Youth
The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas
By David Almond and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Dahl meets J. K., flavored with a soupçon of Choose Your Own Adventure, but in the end, this novel is all pure, sweet Almond.
The Mystery of Meerkat Hill: A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers
By Alexander McCall Smith and illustrated by Iain McIntosh
If a young reader—or an older one, for that matter—were to flip through this chapter book, that reader would likely be drawn in by McIntosh's witty line drawings, the same kind of illustrations that inform and amuse in previous McCall Smith books.