A set of tantalizing verbal snapshots rather than a culinary map of the region, the book clearly communicates the author’s...

READ REVIEW

GRAPE, OLIVE, PIG

DEEP TRAVELS THROUGH SPAIN'S FOOD CULTURE

An enthusiastic journey through some of Spain’s culinary hot spots, with emphasis on the work of professional chefs.

Goulding (Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture, 2015, etc.), chief editor of the travel web journal Roads & Kingdoms and co-author of the Eat This, Not That! series, has for six years kept a home base in Barcelona, where he lives with his Catalan wife. The city gets pride of place among the areas considered in-depth in this exuberant survey, but it’s clear that the author has had some good meals and even better tapas crawls elsewhere, as well. The volume reads more like a collection of disparate essays than a unified study of the regional cuisines of Spain. In the mountains above Salamanca, Goulding watches as workers slaughter the 140 pigs intended for a festival, and he rhapsodizes about the joys of acorn-fed ham. A trip to the Basque country offers an opportunity for the author to sing the praises of his old cooking-school instructor, Luis Irizar Zamora, “the master of masters” and teacher of “some of the most famous chefs in the country.” Copious illustrations of people, food, and people preparing and enjoying food enliven the book, and interludes between chapters provide instruction on how to “drink like a Spaniard” (“skip the sangria,” which is “largely a tourist trick”) or give miniportraits of some “people of Spain,” such as bodega owner Armando, who professes, “I work here 16 hours a day. I need to look for a woman. Or maybe a rich man. Anybody to give me a break.”

A set of tantalizing verbal snapshots rather than a culinary map of the region, the book clearly communicates the author’s affection for the food, both simple and refined, of his chosen country and makes obvious how much difference a change of just a few dozen miles makes in what ingredients and dishes are favored and seen as representative of the culture.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239413-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper Wave/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more