Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The next book on my list, that I started yesterday is one of Kristen's. Its called Handling Sin by Michael Malone. So far its pretty damn funny. Sort of a Southern treasure hunt, quirky and smart slapstick. Its pretty long so we shall see how long it takes!
Ok, finished Kitchen Confidential on Sunday. Really enjoyed every chaotic minute of it. Anthony Bourdain's voice is one of the strongest aspects of the book. It feels like he's just smoking a cigarette and telling you stories, sitting across from you at a busy restaurant. His blunt and often totally self deprecating descriptions are terrific. The basic story of his culinary pursuits begins with a childhood trip to France where he discovers that he loves eating strange food and impressing people with his daring appetites, and then follows his education at a variety of restaurants, the CIA (not the government agency) and then his constant ups and downs as a talented but self destructive chef. He closed numerous restaurants, consumed a variety of illegal substances, kicked heroin, met some amazing friends, and collected a motley kitchen crew of degenerates, eccentrics and ball breakers to assist him in creating delicious high quality food. The main feeling I take away from this book is a deep respect for chefs and cooks who create great food. The discipline, time commitment and multi tasking balancing act that it is to be a chef, is something that I now feel I understand on a much deeper level. The chapter that describes a typical day in Bourdain's life as an executive chef at Les Halles was excellent, giving such a clear picture of the organization, creativity, stamina and dedication it takes to be a top chef. That man is a bad-ass. Fast read, but it was over too quickly. I'll be picking up a couple of his other books soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So the next selection will be Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Joe loved it and said it was a quick read, so here goes!
I love reading blogs but I can't seem to write something everyday or even monthly! It feels like a chore. So this summer I'm just going to write quick notes on what I'm reading. More just for me to keep track of everything I read this summer. So here goes, just finished this last night, first book of the summer.

The Black Dahlia
by James Ellroy

Really liked this book. Dropping you into 1940's L.A., gritty, dark and yet blindingly sunny, Ellroy captures the language, the passion and the pressure of cops trying to solve the brutal murder and torture of a young wanna be actress. No one is good, everyone is flawed, the cops are brutal racists, the women are all sly broads or trampy victims. And I found myself loving every minute of it. From race riots, to scuzzy motel room liasons, down to its rough and tumble cracked and twisted ending. Perfect noir mystery, excellent. Can't wait to read the next three books in Ellroy's LA quartet. If you are bothered by graphic sex, violence and 1940's politically incorrect language this isn't the book for you. But if you love a mystery, complex and flawed characters, and relish the artistry in perfectly selected and controlled language that Ellroy so deftly uses, then please borrow it from me!