Archive for June, 2011

Casting With A Fragile Thread

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

The Book of the Week is “Casting With A Fragile Thread” by Wendy Kann, published in 2007.  This is the engaging memoir of a native white-skinned Rhodesian.  She describes the familial and financial hardships she and her two sisters faced growing up with an absent mother and a risk-taking father, in a nation undergoing radical political change.  In 1980, Rhodesia came to be ruled by Robert Mugabe, a dark-skinned dictator, who allowed the country to be ravaged by his previously oppressed countrymen.  Read the book to learn how the author put her difficulties behind her.

Kitchen Confidential

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

The Book of the Week is “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain, published in 2000.  This is the eloquent account of the author’s personal experiences as a worker in the restaurant business.  He provides anecdotes on the people, their personalities, problems and the kinds of behind-the-scenes activities and events that restaurant patrons do not see.  He describes one of his first kitchen jobs he held when he was a brash youth, and how his older coworkers put him in his place.  Other forms of entertainment that culinary workers enjoy include the initiation rite of sending the new kitchen help on a fool’s errand, and playing practical jokes on the restaurant manager.  Bourdain tells of his employment woes and others’.   He also reveals culinary dangers (dirty little secrets) about which diners may not want to know.  This book is educational for anyone wishing to enter the restaurant business as well.

Cavalcade of the 1920s and 1930s

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

The Book of the Week is “Cavalcade of the 1920s and 1930s” edited by Cleveland Amory and Frederic Bradlee, published in 1960.  This compilation of Vanity Fair magazine articles showcases two decades of literary luminaries; some of whom were discovered by Frank Crowninshield, the magazine’s editor.  Currently, those names, such as P.G. Wodehouse, Gertrude Stein, Dorothy Parker, Amy Lowell, Robert C. Benchley and many others, are fading in the public’s memory.  However, they were witty, humorous and entertaining for their era.  A perusal of this book today indicates that certain aspects of American life never change.  Wodehouse wrote of monies going to the government in an article on family involvement in completing tax returns (which during WWI, were due in March), “…I can only hope that they will not spend it on foolishness and nut sundaes and the movies– but apparently, they needed a few billion dollars, and you and I had to pay for it.”