A lighthearted trek through a food icon’s life, studded with satisfying tips for modern living.

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JULIA CHILD RULES

LESSONS ON SAVORING LIFE

Karbo’s (The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman, 2011, etc.) delightful foray into Julia Child’s life blends entertaining facts with Child-inspired lessons for living the good life.

The author chronicles the great cooking instructor’s childhood in Southern California, her work in Sri Lanka, her lifelong love affair with Paul Child, her trials while learning to cook and her midlife TV career. Child’s life has been dissected many times, but Karbo adds a personal layer to the narrative. While exploring her inspirational and aspirational qualities, the author weaves in bittersweet memories of her family life and her mother, an early fan of Child. As an explanation of America’s complex fascination with Child, Karbo writes, “[m]y theory is that our real attachment to Julia is less about her cooking, or even about what she did for the cause of serious cuisine, and more about our admiration for her immutable aptitude for being herself.” The author holds Child up as an example of a woman comfortable in her own skin, intent on creating good food and finding a passion in life. Karbo underscores the lessons for achieving a happy life, as lived by Child, using chapter titles like “Live with Abandon,” “All You Need Is a Kitchen and a Bedroom” and “Cooking Means Never Saying You’re Sorry.” Along the way, the author ladles out solid advice for contemporary women on a variety of topics, including the joy of hard work and how to both cultivate ways to amuse yourself and disobey the rules that society sets out for women. “Julia pretty much ignored the whole thing, and it may be the only real lesson there is for the end of our days,” writes Karbo about Child’s take on old age. “Just pretend like it isn’t happening, until you have no choice but to accept reality.”

A lighthearted trek through a food icon’s life, studded with satisfying tips for modern living.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7627-8309-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Skirt! Books/Globe Pequot

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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