Storytelling Cookbooks: The Queens Night Market and Miracles After Grief

The Queens Night Market has become a beloved summertime institution since its founding by Texas native John Wang, who modeled it on the night markets he discovered as a child while visiting family in Taiwan during the summers. Up to 100 vendors (historically from over 90 countries) gather from 5 pm to midnight at the... Continue Reading →

Minis: Portraits of the Baltic Countries and of 30 Rock

In books that couldn't be published at a more timely moment, the US release of British author Max Egremont's The Glass Wall: Lives on the Baltic Frontier was last week (originally published last year in the UK). This relatively obscure region of the world has been in the news more often recently, as Russian troops... Continue Reading →

10 Mid-Year New Nonfiction Favorites

Is there anything I love more than a best-of list? Maybe, but when a year's half-over and it's time to recap favorites, I can't think of anything better. Here are my favorites of the year's new nonfiction so far. The Soul of a Woman, by Isabel Allende - Allende's short but mighty powerful memoir (in... Continue Reading →

Two Looks At American Cuisine

As I mentioned in Nonfiction November, one of my favorite reading categories -- food history and foodoirs -- has been one of my least-read genres this year, and I ended up abandoning most of the titles I picked up. Nevertheless, I did read a few good ones, especially looking at American cuisine. Let's discuss! The... Continue Reading →

Spooky Scary Nonfiction for Halloween and Frighteningly Good Reads: The Frighteners and Damnation Island

It's Halloween month! What spooky scary nonfiction might you be reading? I mean yes -- real life is scary enough, especially this year, but perhaps you're distracting from the everyday horror and existential angst with some nonfiction about less-present scariness? Just me? The wonderful Molly at Silver Button Books is again hosting Frighteningly Good Reads,... Continue Reading →

Zadie Smith Reflects on the Pandemic

Book review: Intimations, by Zadie Smith I'm not sure how I feel about the inevitable barrage of lockdown/pandemic essays. I've managed to successfully avoid them anywhere I've seen them in online reading, but one of the first books of personal essays written during and about the lockdown comes to us from Zadie Smith, which presented... Continue Reading →

Three New Foodoirs

I only finished two of these, but I'm going to tell you about all three anyway. First up is a new release that's a read-in-one-sitting deal, in case you want a quick but fairly intense and even gritty read: Phyllis Grant's Everything is Under Control. Grant was a dancer training at Julliard, living in New... Continue Reading →

Pre-2019 Favorites

If new nonfiction this year was a little lackluster, I did feel more enthusiastic about the backlist titles I read throughout the year. It was one of these that was my absolute favorite and the best book I read this year: Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, by Kapka Kassabova - Kassabova returned... Continue Reading →

Ruth Reichl On Her Gourmet Days

Book review: Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl (Amazon / Book Depository) Chef and restaurant critic Ruth Reichl was surprised to find herself being offered the position of editor-in-chief at the storied Gourmet magazine, tastemakers in the foodie world. She felt like an unlikely candidate for a number of reasons, including that as a... Continue Reading →

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