Whether Morris is deconstructing her failed attempts at finding satisfying work, struggling with rocky family relationships...

BON APPÉTEMPT

A COMING-OF-AGE STORY (WITH RECIPES!)

A refreshing take on growing up and coming to terms with the joys and travails of family, career and navigating the kitchen.

After moving from the East Coast to hypercompetitive Los Angeles, Morris felt stymied by her lack of success as a creative writer and her husband’s failure in the film industry. But on Christmas Day, after attempting a complex chocolate cake recipe, which failed spectacularly, the author concluded that hard work doesn’t always translate into success. More importantly, for the first time, she understood that failure is just another part of growing up. Following the cake disaster, Morris moved on from resenting the images in slick cooking magazines and began blogging about her own culinary exploits, comparing her creations with those in cooking magazines. What began as a “novelty hobby” became a source of pleasure. “I enjoy the whole process—from grocery shopping to eating the results, and even, on some days, in the repetitive nature of washing the dishes at the end of the night,” she writes. In addition to chronicling her culinary adventures, Morris also dissects her often bumpy family relationships. After submitting an essay about cooking with her elderly grandmother and having it rejected, Morris posted it on her blog; it eventually won “ ‘Best Culinary Essay’ in Saveur magazine’s food blog awards.” Throughout the book, Morris couples significant life events with recipes that recall memories of that time. When her parents divorced and her mother moved to Pittsburgh, Morris recalls her cooking chicken cordon bleu; upon returning home from a trip to Paris, the author craved miso ramen with a poached egg; and the first meal the author made sans recipe was rice and black beans in coconut milk with avocado.

Whether Morris is deconstructing her failed attempts at finding satisfying work, struggling with rocky family relationships or experiencing a culinary failure, she adroitly blends the ingredients of humor and self-reflection.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1455549368

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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