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

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

The book begins in Sri Lanka with the tsunami of 2004—a horror the author saw firsthand, and the aftermath of which he...

LIVES OTHER THAN MY OWN

The latest from French writer/filmmaker Carrère (My Life as a Russian Novel, 2010, etc.) is an awkward but intermittently touching hybrid of novel and autobiography.

The book begins in Sri Lanka with the tsunami of 2004—a horror the author saw firsthand, and the aftermath of which he describes powerfully. Carrère and his partner, Hélène, then return to Paris—and do so with a mutual devotion that's been renewed and deepened by all they've witnessed. Back in France, Hélène's sister Juliette, a magistrate and mother of three small daughters, has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that crippled her in adolescence. After her death, Carrère decides to write an oblique tribute and an investigation into the ravages of grief. He focuses first on Juliette's colleague and intimate friend Étienne, himself an amputee and survivor of childhood cancer, and a man in whose talkativeness and strength Carrère sees parallels to himself ("He liked to talk about himself. It's my way, he said, of talking to and about others, and he remarked astutely that it was my way, too”). Étienne is a perceptive, dignified person and a loyal, loving friend, and Carrère's portrait of him—including an unexpectedly fascinating foray into Étienne and Juliette's chief professional accomplishment, which was to tap the new European courts for help in overturning longtime French precedents that advantaged credit-card companies over small borrowers—is impressive. Less successful is Carrère's account of Juliette's widower, Patrice, an unworldly cartoonist whom he admires for his fortitude but seems to consider something of a simpleton. Now and again, especially in the Étienne sections, Carrère's meditations pay off in fresh, pungent insights, and his account of Juliette's last days and of the aftermath (especially for her daughters) is quietly harrowing.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9261-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

more