A lively, passionate homage to fine food.

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ADVENTURES IN LYON AS A CHEF IN TRAINING, FATHER, AND SLEUTH LOOKING FOR THE SECRET OF FRENCH COOKING

An American family revels in French culture and cuisine.

Journalist and foodie Buford, a writer and editor for the New Yorker and former longtime editor of Granta, follows Heat (2006), his chronicle of cooking in Italy, with an ebullient, entertaining memoir of life in Lyon, where he, his wife, and two young sons settled so that he could indulge his desire to learn French cooking. Planning to stay six months, they wound up living in the city, renowned for its gastronomy, for several years, during which Buford worked for a baker, gained admission to an acclaimed cooking school, and toiled among the staff of a famous restaurant. The first months were difficult, he admits: “each member of our small family had come to doubt the wisdom of the project.” But he and his sons learned French (the children more quickly than their father), the boys assimilated to school, and his wife pursued her ambition to earn a diploma as a wine expert. Buford honed his skills as a chef and enthusiastically steeped himself in the culture of the French kitchen, where apprentices suffer “unregulated bullying and humiliation.” As the author demonstrates, French kitchens are no less hierarchical and combative than those in Italy, and nothing less than perfection is tolerated. It “was all about rules: that there was always one way and only one way” to peel asparagus, for example, devein goose livers, and construct puff pastry; that the three principles of a French plate are “color, volume, and texture”; and that the secret of glorious bread, meat, cheese, and wine is the soil. “What makes Lyonnais food exceptional,” Buford writes, is “a chef’s access to the nearby ingredients” from local farms, mountain lakes, and rivers. “Lyon,” he adds, “is a geographical accident of good food and food practices.” He describes in mouthwatering detail the many dishes he cooked and ate and the charming restaurants the family visited.

A lively, passionate homage to fine food. (first printing of 125,000)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-307-27101-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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