Review the Reviewers: Memoirs About Meals, Math, Music, and More
The New York Times:
Frank Bruni, former restaurant critic and author of the memoir Born Round, reviews Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton: "There are rhapsodic passages aplenty about eating and cooking, and while such reveries can easily seem forced or trite, hers ring sweetly true. She’s recounting actual rapture, not contriving its facsimile on cue. You can feel her amazement as her father roasts whole lambs on a spit and her awe at the dexterity with which the chef André Soltner pulls off a perfect omelet, using only a fork. Readers with limited appetites for food porn, beware. This is one salacious expedition into the folds of orecchiette and fine points of puntarelle."
Alexandra Horowitz reviews Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer: "His assemblage of personal mnemonic images is riotous. He makes suspenseful an event animated mostly by the participants’ 'dramatic temple massaging.' By book’s end, Foer can boast the ability to memorize the order of nine and one-half decks of cards in an hour. Yet he still loses track of where he left his car keys like the rest of us. He numbly types into his cellphone the phone numbers he does not want to bother to remember. And one can only imagine what he will do with the fantastical images that now people his brain."
Los Angeles Times:
- David Ulin reviews The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick: "The story of the telegraph is central to 'The Information,' which is a wide-ranging, deeply researched and delightfully engaging history — going back to Homer and Socrates (who distrusted written language as a corruption of pure memory) and extending, in loosely chronological fashion, to our contemporary culture of downloads and data clouds — of how we have come to occupy a world defined in bits and bytes. For Gleick, information has always been our medium; since cave dwellers painted the first animal forms on their walls, we have existed in two parallel universes, the biosphere and the infosphere."
The Wall Street Journal:
- The editors review Glorious Days and Nights: A Jazz Memoir by Herb Snitzer: "Working in New York between 1957 and 1964, the photographer Herb Snitzer witnessed a transition in jazz. The big bands had already given way to smaller groups, but now the music was growing more experimental. Once everyone went to big halls and danced; now aficionados sat through sets in small clubs. In 1960, Mr. Snitzer took a picture of Dizzy Gillespie backstage at a Louis Armstrong show. Stylish in a houndstooth suit, the bebop trumpeter laughs with Trummy Young and Billy Kyle, resplendent in tuxedos: the new fella having a smoke with two mainstays of Armstrong's swinging All-Stars. But bop was giving way, too... Some era. Some photos."
NPR's Weekend Edition...
...features How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O'Malley on Saturday: "Of course, it is not a book for the fainthearted. One's first reaction when reading it--as was the case with Weekend Edition host Linda Wertheimer--tends to be, 'gross!' But as Wertheimer says, 'Perhaps that's the point of this delightful and disgusting sliver of history.' She spoke with Bragg about her macabre collection and why we can't look away when it comes to famous deaths."
...and Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Anna Ciezaldo on Sunday: "Behind the scenes of every country at war, there's a lesser-seen battle that people live through every day — that of the ordinary rhythm of their lives unraveling. In a passage from the book, Ciezadlo crystallizes the way that within this chaos, food plays a vital role."