Energetic account of a comedienne’s mishaps in the kitchen as she prepares meals for family and friends.

RECIPES FOR DISASTER

A MEMOIR

Calamities in the kitchen for a newbie chef.

Rafferty, former writer for The Soup, brings yet another snarky voice to the myriad of memoirs that revolve around culinary experiments and dinner parties by inexperienced cooks. What distinguishes this author from others is her insatiable appetite for wine, her indomitable spirit in the face of catastrophe, her resolute desire to please everyone and her offbeat sense of humor. Rafferty wittily pokes fun at herself and her attempts to pull off Martha Stewart–type meals in a tiny apartment hardly big enough for one, let alone seven guests who often don't know the difference between good and bad wine. Runny gravy, watery polenta and a cranky boyfriend running on empty are all included in a hodgepodge of memories. Attacking each meal with gusto, Rafferty discusses entertaining at some of the most important food moments of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as preparing a dinner for well-known restaurant owners and volunteering to cater a baby shower for 100 guests. She yearns to satisfy appetites and create memories that extend beyond the frazzled nerves (before and after the meal) and the occasional outbreak of tears. For Rafferty, "preparing food is a meditation," even if something goes wrong and "the food sucks." Recipes at the end of each chapter enhance the narrative, but some readers may find more fluff than sustenance as they tag along for the ride.

Energetic account of a comedienne’s mishaps in the kitchen as she prepares meals for family and friends.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-01143-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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