While some readers may wish for deeper explorations of some of Booth’s subjects, he covers the current state of Japanese...



A British food and travel writer takes his wife, two young sons, and a bubbly brand of humor to Japan in hopes of examining the food culture and losing a few of the pounds he has picked up living and cooking in Paris.

In short, punchy chapters, Booth (The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, 2015, etc.) recounts his adventures on “a foodie family road trip lasting just under three months,” sticking to the subjects at hand. He may not reach any novel conclusions about Japanese cuisine, but he vividly sums up the sensory experience of bonito flakes, with their “addictive smoky-citric flavor,” or dashi, “sweet as spring peas ripe from the pod, yet complex with the tang of ocean.” Many of the author’s most delightful experiences involved his family. He took them along to a sumo “stable” to see how the wrestlers achieve their vast girth, and one of the “colossal walrus people” allowed Booth’s 6-year-old son to pin him. The author also hiked with his family up “a forest road strewn with the corpses of poisonous snakes” to experience nagashi-somen, noodles launched down a mountain river for diners to catch on the fly. More often, Booth toured production facilities on his own, seeking out real wasabi—remarkably hard to find even in Japan—and Kobe beef. He also attempted, with partial success, to make sense of “the two rival culinary camps that divide Japan,” one centered in Tokyo and the other in Kyoto and Osaka. Though Booth trained as a chef in Paris, his tastes are delightfully eclectic: he is as apt to indulge in a 10-hour “food crawl” of Osakan fast-food noodle joints as he is to savor the most delicate sushi, and he evokes both experiences with gusto.

While some readers may wish for deeper explorations of some of Booth’s subjects, he covers the current state of Japanese cuisine with humor and intelligence.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-09980-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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