Perhaps a bit too acidic for some tastes, but most foodies will find the book refreshingly different.

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A MEMOIR OF FORTY YEARS IN FOOD

A knowledgeable look at the transformation of fine dining over the past half-century, viewed through the prism of the author’s personal history.

When Sokolov succeeded Craig Claiborne as food editor of the New York Times in 1971, he was unimpressed by the city’s ossified restaurant scene. Bolstered by “the ego of a child prodigy” (he was a National Spelling Bee contestant at age 10), Sokolov dismissed the fare at Manhattan’s established French restaurants as mediocre imitations of the authentic French cuisine he had savored while a Newsweek correspondent in Paris. Management rather liked the stir Sokolov made with his glowing review of a humble Sichuan restaurant attached to a New Jersey gas station; they were less enthusiastic about a survey of dog foods that Sokolov acknowledges sardonically spoofed his regular gig, nor did they appreciate the generally “anti-establishment and rhetorically flamboyant” tone of his work. Sokolov was fired in 1973, less than a year after his prescient Times column embracing the  nouvelle cuisine revolution being fomented in France by Paul Bocuse, Michel Guérard and the other Young Turks. In his fuller assessment here, Sokolov disdains the marketing of nouvelle cuisine as "the cuisine of modern, slim people," arguing that its true significance was as “a most elaborate system of culinary parody, punning and metaphor.” Readers unconvinced by this provocative claim may nonetheless enjoy the author’s braininess and brashness as he goes on to chronicle a freelance career that included a highly intellectual food column for Natural History magazine before he settled down for 19 years as editor of the daily arts page for the Wall Street Journal. Sokolov is equally stimulating on the “molecular gastronomy” of Ferran Adrià and other modernist chefs.

Perhaps a bit too acidic for some tastes, but most foodies will find the book refreshingly different.

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-70094-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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