Two Looks at Italian-American Food and Families Around NYC

Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family, by Louise DeSalvo In our house, no one ever went with the flow. There was no flow. There were only dangerous rapids, huge whirlpools, gigantic waterfalls. In our house, you had to be wary, vigilant. To stop paying attention, even for a... Continue Reading →

Old New York’s Pirate and Gangster Legends Come Alive in a New History

Book review: The Last Pirate of New York, by Rich Cohen (Amazon / Book Depository) Author Rich Cohen's father told him unusual bedtime stories: gangster tales. He opens his account of a murderous New York pirate by explaining his fascination with this subject, then allowing the story to take over in this concise account of... Continue Reading →

Catcalls and Coming of Age

Book review: Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti (Amazon / Book Depository) This was my first experience with Jessica Valenti's writing and I came away from it thinking she was a talented writer but a disorganized storyteller, with an important, worthwhile message but way too little faith in herself. This book could've been something very meaningful and impacting,... Continue Reading →

Lessons from Borough Park and the Payne Whitney

Photo: New York Hospital, Payne Whitney Clinic. From the Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Book review: One of These Things First: A Memoir, by Steven Gaines (Amazon ($1.99 ebook alert!) / Book Depository) It sounds strange, but I've read a couple of Holocaust memoirs lately... Continue Reading →

From Sheepshead to the Mediterranean

Book review: In the Company of Dolphins by Irwin Shaw (Amazon)  Originally published in 1964, this is author (among other talents) Irwin Shaw's sweetly inspiring memoir of chartering a yacht and sailing the Mediterranean with his wife and son and an amusingly difficult captain. As a boy in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, he watched the ships and... Continue Reading →

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