Lebovitz tells us much more than we really need to know, but this is still an engaging, entertaining, and delicious...

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L'APPART

THE DELIGHTS AND DISASTERS OF MAKING MY PARIS HOME

The tale of an acclaimed chef who decided he wanted to live in Paris—at any cost.

In Lebovitz’s last two books about Paris (My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, 2014, etc.), it was clear that there was more about the City of Lights sweetly simmering just below the surface ready to be served up. Written in a lighthearted style with healthy dashes of satire, wit, and humor, this book goes into detail about his experience purchasing an apartment in Paris. He had already been renting there, but he simply had to have his own place. Having previously lived in San Francisco—he worked for 13 years at Chez Panisse—Lebovitz felt somewhat prepared since the two cities have much in common. They’re both “famously expensive” to live in and feature “a collection of small villages bundled together,” and the residents love to talk food and dine. With the assistance of his French partner and interpreter, Romain, the author took the plunge. From the start, he knew this would be far more complicated than he realized. First, there were the medical screenings. As his banker told him, “we don’t want you to die.” After deciding where he wanted to live based on markets, bakeries, and restaurants, Lebovitz scoured newspaper listings, met with agents, and talked to owners (that is how most sales occur). After finally finding a place and making an offer, he had to go through a morass of legal and financial paperwork. Nearly a year later, it was his, but much expensive renovation work was still to come, including, of course, a better kitchen and oven. “In addition to my shirt, I had nearly lost my mind,” he writes. Scattered throughout are French recipes, from dandelion flatbread to chocolate soufflé: “Although I have my share of regrets, using good chocolate to make a soufflé isn’t one of them.”

Lebovitz tells us much more than we really need to know, but this is still an engaging, entertaining, and delicious divertissement.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8041-8838-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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