The recipes are simple and uncomplicated; many of them have a handful of ingredients but are prepared in a way that might...

STIR

MY BROKEN BRAIN AND THE MEALS THAT BROUGHT ME HOME

Dealing with the aftereffects of an aneurysm through a love of cooking.

In 2008, Fechtor was moving into adulthood in a manner that could be described as ordinary. She had fallen in love, gotten married, and made her way through undergraduate school and into graduate studies at Harvard. She loved exercise, particularly running. One morning, a storm kept her from running outside, which turned out to be somewhat fortunate—if she hadn’t been on a treadmill when the aneurysm happened, she would have been much less likely to get help quickly enough. After the aneurysm, the author underwent multiple surgeries, with the standard caveats from providers about the risks and the benefits. When she awoke, she was told that, yes, she would live, but no, not like before: her sense of smell, the vision in one eye, her ability to speak as confidently as in the past, her sense of self were all changed. Physical therapy progressed slowly; there hadn’t been any neurological damage, but a month in bed had left her muscles weakened and her balance off-kilter. She began hearing that common refrain from well-meaning people: “everything happens for a reason.” She challenged that cliché—things don’t happen for a reason, but we make reasons for the things that happen. Her process of making meaning of the accident and the aftermath came to her by way of a constant throughout the many shifts of her earlier years: a love for food, flavors, and cooking. She writes with clarity and obvious joy about the foods that have meant so much to her, and she includes the recipes (she doesn’t believe in secret recipes) so as to pass it forward.

The recipes are simple and uncomplicated; many of them have a handful of ingredients but are prepared in a way that might surprise you. Fechtor’s book could be described the same way.

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59463-132-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Avery

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more