Weekend Reading

Erin Kodicek on February 09, 2018

In this edition, a food memoir to feast your eyes on, a cheeky retelling of Pride and Prejudice, retirement schmetirement! quoth an amateur sleuth, and a homage to "The Only Band That Mattered."

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Coming to My Senses by Alice Waters

My food-and-travel book club chose Alice Waters’ Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook as our next book to discuss. The founder of Chez Panisse describes in her memoir the winding path she took to become one of the best-known names in the restaurant and culinary world, and if I know what’s good for me, I should read her book on a full stomach. Otherwise I’ll be snacking constantly to fill the hunger her words are sure to inspire. Our cookbook editor Seira Wilson chose Coming to My Senses as one of the Best Cookbooks, Food, and Wine Books of 2017, so I know I’ll be in good hands with Ms. Waters.--Adrian Liang

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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

You might have heard there’s a new book from Curtis Sittenfeld on the way, a collection of short stories called You Think It, I’ll Say It, which Random House is publishing on April 24. It’s pretty great, but I don’t want to make you sad by gloating over my review copy. So I’ll say this instead: on Monday evening, I had a weird moment of kismet: while browsing through my local Little Free Library, I came across a gorgeous, vermilion-red hardcover copy of Eligible, Sittenfeld’s 2016 retake of Pride and Prejudice. I’m reading that now, and chortling away at her acute and inventive social satire. She transforms Austen’s Bennets into a contemporary family frittering away the dregs of ancestral money in a big old house in Cincinnati. Bingley is the “eligible” star of a Bachelor-style reality show, and Darcy, on first acquaintance, is just as snobbish as he was in 1813. “Here’s what I’ve learned about people in this city,” he says, while “Liz” Bennet eavesdrops, incredulously. “They grade their women on a curve: If someone is described as sophisticated, it means once during college she visited Paris, and if someone is described as beautiful, it means she’s fifteen pounds overweight instead of forty.” Ouch! As tricky as it might seem to bring this 21st century jerk to the altar, I have a feeling a happy ending is on the way.--Sarah Harrison Smith

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Aunti Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

Aunti Poldi’s retirement plans involve little more than sipping wine from her Sicilian perch, and staring at the sea (sounds good to me). But life has other plans, and when her hunky handyman turns up dead, Ms. Poldi turns amateur sleuth. Fans of quirky, madcap mysteries, this one’s for you.--Erin Kodicek

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Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz

“The way you get a better world is, you don’t put up with substandard anything.” In case you missed it, Wednesday was International Clash Day, a very official event honoring The Only Band That Mattered and especially their front man, Joe Strummer. Not-at-all-arbitrarily designated in 2013 by John Richards of Seattle’s KEXP, ICD has truly gone international; it’s now recognized by over a hundred radio stations and 15 cities worldwide. So if you feel like the sun's zoomin' in this weekend, try these:

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