What are you currently reading?

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Florestan

"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

vers la flamme

#10741
Quote from: Brian on April 15, 2021, 12:21:31 PM
As a millennial and a professional food writer, I can say this book changed our industry forever. It changed food writing in a huge way, from a stuffy old thing for gourmets to compare notes into a visceral, blood-and-guts thing that could be cool rather than elite. It changed the restaurant business in many specific ways - for example, because of Bourdain's comments on when to order fish, restaurants have changed what days they order their fish.

There is also a somewhat strong backlash in the industry against the type of angry, drug/alcohol-fueled, unprofessional kitchen work environments which are depicted in the book. Bourdain was criticized by some as the poster boy (along with Gordon Ramsay and his cursing), but he clearly does not glamorize or glorify it...or at least in his later years, on the TV show, he stopped doing that. Oh, an interesting note for you - the character "Jimmy Sears" in the book is in real life a chef named John Tesar, who lives here in Dallas and whom I've interviewed, met, and reviewed. Tesar is 63 now and hasn't changed very much since Jimmy Sears in the book; he's still a gloriously good chef, a grade-A schmoozer, and a guy who can't stay in the kitchen because he's busy chasing women. (Tomorrow he has a hearing in a custody battle over the kid he had in his late 50s with a 20-something waitress at his own restaurant...if that gives you an idea...  ;D )

I got the Globe 8" chef knife Bourdain recommends in the book and I love it. Have been using it daily for 8 years or so now.

I appreciate the comments! That's interesting about "Sears"/Tesar, one of the more curious characters mentioned in the book. And I was looking at that same knife. I'd buy it if I cared more about cooking. Maybe in a few years.

I'm a mid 90s baby, a younger millennial. For what it's worth, I can confirm that "foodies" in my generation really look up to Bourdain. I won't pretend I'm one of them, I know next to nothing about food, and even less about international travel, but I do have a lot of the respect for the guy. Anyway I'm fairly close to finishing the book. Enjoying it all the way so far.

Florestan

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 15, 2021, 01:41:12 PM
I'm a mid 90s baby,

About 20 years younger than me... blimey, I'd have never guessed that.  I always thought you were more or less my age. :D
"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Quote from: Brian on April 15, 2021, 12:21:31 PM
As a millennial and a professional food writer, I can say this book changed our industry forever. It changed food writing in a huge way, from a stuffy old thing for gourmets to compare notes into a visceral, blood-and-guts thing that could be cool rather than elite. It changed the restaurant business in many specific ways - for example, because of Bourdain's comments on when to order fish, restaurants have changed what days they order their fish.

There is also a somewhat strong backlash in the industry against the type of angry, drug/alcohol-fueled, unprofessional kitchen work environments which are depicted in the book. Bourdain was criticized by some as the poster boy (along with Gordon Ramsay and his cursing), but he clearly does not glamorize or glorify it...or at least in his later years, on the TV show, he stopped doing that. Oh, an interesting note for you - the character "Jimmy Sears" in the book is in real life a chef named John Tesar, who lives here in Dallas and whom I've interviewed, met, and reviewed. Tesar is 63 now and hasn't changed very much since Jimmy Sears in the book; he's still a gloriously good chef, a grade-A schmoozer, and a guy who can't stay in the kitchen because he's busy chasing women. (Tomorrow he has a hearing in a custody battle over the kid he had in his late 50s with a 20-something waitress at his own restaurant...if that gives you an idea...  ;D )

I got the Globe 8" chef knife Bourdain recommends in the book and I love it. Have been using it daily for 8 years or so now.

Thank you for the nice review and insightful opinion (and good writing). Enjoyed reading the post.

Brian

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 15, 2021, 01:41:12 PM
I appreciate the comments! That's interesting about "Sears"/Tesar, one of the more curious characters mentioned in the book. And I was looking at that same knife. I'd buy it if I cared more about cooking. Maybe in a few years.

I'm a mid 90s baby, a younger millennial. For what it's worth, I can confirm that "foodies" in my generation really look up to Bourdain. I won't pretend I'm one of them, I know next to nothing about food, and even less about international travel, but I do have a lot of the respect for the guy. Anyway I'm fairly close to finishing the book. Enjoying it all the way so far.
Always good to meet another person under age 45 on this board!  ;D ;D

vers la flamme

Quote from: Brian on April 15, 2021, 01:47:24 PM
Always good to meet another person under age 45 on this board!  ;D ;D

I wouldn't have guessed you were as young as you are just going off of your seniority here at GMG. I'm guessing you're a few years older than me, but still, you must have been around since you were a teenager!

@Florestan, you seem to have such a youthful spirit—which I suppose everyone does, ultimately—that it does seem odd that there's an age gap of a couple decades between you and me. Otherwise, I'm with you; I'm an incurable romantic.  ;D

Florestan

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 15, 2021, 01:57:56 PM
@Florestan, you seem to have such a youthful spirit

Why, thank you, good Sir! Honestly, I do feel much younger than my biological age --- and many people who don't know the truth do think, and do tell me they think, I am much younger than my biological age.  8)

QuoteI'm with you; I'm an incurable romantic.  ;D

I'm only too glad to learn that the romantic spirit still lives. Carry on, young man!  :P



"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

SimonNZ

Quote from: Brian on April 15, 2021, 12:21:31 PM
As a millennial and a professional food writer, I can say this book changed our industry forever. It changed food writing in a huge way, from a stuffy old thing for gourmets to compare notes into a visceral, blood-and-guts thing that could be cool rather than elite. It changed the restaurant business in many specific ways - for example, because of Bourdain's comments on when to order fish, restaurants have changed what days they order their fish.

There is also a somewhat strong backlash in the industry against the type of angry, drug/alcohol-fueled, unprofessional kitchen work environments which are depicted in the book. Bourdain was criticized by some as the poster boy (along with Gordon Ramsay and his cursing), but he clearly does not glamorize or glorify it...or at least in his later years, on the TV show, he stopped doing that. Oh, an interesting note for you - the character "Jimmy Sears" in the book is in real life a chef named John Tesar, who lives here in Dallas and whom I've interviewed, met, and reviewed. Tesar is 63 now and hasn't changed very much since Jimmy Sears in the book; he's still a gloriously good chef, a grade-A schmoozer, and a guy who can't stay in the kitchen because he's busy chasing women. (Tomorrow he has a hearing in a custody battle over the kid he had in his late 50s with a 20-something waitress at his own restaurant...if that gives you an idea...  ;D )

I got the Globe 8" chef knife Bourdain recommends in the book and I love it. Have been using it daily for 8 years or so now.

Have you read Medium Raw? There's a chapter in that about how he's come to regret having put forward the "fish on Mondays" thing.

There's also a where-are-they-now chapter on the characters from Kitchen Confidential. (And lots of other great stuff for anyone who enjoyed KC)

Fritz Kobus


SimonNZ

#10749
Re: Heron Books editions:

I was wanting a copy of Darkness At Noon and the one I found today at a secondhand book store was the Heron edition:

(I'd forgotten what a distinct fragrance they all have)



Also picked up:

Bob Woodward's Veil:The Secret Wars Of The CIA 1981-1987
Gore Vidal's Burr
Richard Hall's How To Gaze At The Southern Stars
Paul Griffiths' Modern Music: A Concise History From Debussy To Boulez
and Stephen King's Lisey's Story, because apparently it is his personal favorite among his own works


but currently reading Dave Cullen's book on Columbine, alongside listening to the audiobook of Gravity's Rainbow


aligreto

Quote from: SimonNZ on April 15, 2021, 09:28:18 PM
Re: Heron Books editions:

I was wanting a copy of Darkness At Noon and the one I found today at a secondhand book store was the Heron edition:

(I'd forgotten what a distinct fragrance they all have)


That certainly looks very elegant. Enjoy it!
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

steve ridgway

Quote from: Florestan on April 15, 2021, 12:58:07 PM
Generation X, hmmm... Count me out, I'm definitely a romantic.   :laugh:  :P

"Trying to forget your generation
You know all the ways when in what I see
The ends must justify the means
Your generation don't mean a thing to me"


- Your Generation by Generation X.

Brian

Quote from: SimonNZ on April 15, 2021, 04:32:41 PM
Have you read Medium Raw? There's a chapter in that about how he's come to regret having put forward the "fish on Mondays" thing.

There's also a where-are-they-now chapter on the characters from Kitchen Confidential. (And lots of other great stuff for anyone who enjoyed KC)
I haven't and need to! He gave some interviews in late years talking about other things he regretted from Kitchen Confidential. In this interview he says he's given away all the royalties from the book.

Update - this morning I watched the custody hearing with "Jimmy Sears" and his ex-girlfriend, about their child. It ended with the very unhappy tableau of a slideshow of photos of the ex-girlfriend with bruises, cuts, choke marks, etc., from times that "Jimmy Sears" had attacked her. That was hard to see. Oof.  :(

k a rl h e nn i ng

L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Don't know why I never read them before....
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

SimonNZ

Quote from: philoctetes on April 16, 2021, 10:16:08 AM
Following logically from Beckett, but very much adding his own flavor to the pot.



Can tell at a glance that that is going to be a Dalkey Archive edition. One of those rare publishers where you can pick up any obscure thing they put out knowing how carefully their list is curated.

Its a real pity their Context magazine can no longer be read on their website.

vers la flamme

After a few false starts I'm now well into yet another great book, one that was much discussed here a couple of months ago. Shusaku Endo's Silence.



So far I'm really enjoying it. The images of a religion practiced in persecution in a bleak and destitute corner of the world (from the eyes of the protagonist, a Portuguese priest, that is) are incredibly striking. It's hard for me to fathom being in the shoes of any one of these characters, so rough is the hand that each is dealt. Anyway, reading this has put me very much in a historical frame of mind that I enjoy being in. Clearly a meaningful book. I look forward to reading it more over the days to come.

vers la flamme

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 17, 2021, 03:21:54 PM
After a few false starts I'm now well into yet another great book, one that was much discussed here a couple of months ago. Shusaku Endo's Silence.



So far I'm really enjoying it. The images of a religion practiced in persecution in a bleak and destitute corner of the world (from the eyes of the protagonist, a Portuguese priest, that is) are incredibly striking. It's hard for me to fathom being in the shoes of any one of these characters, so rough is the hand that each is dealt. Anyway, reading this has put me very much in a historical frame of mind that I enjoy being in. Clearly a meaningful book. I look forward to reading it more over the days to come.

I'm about a third of the way in now. Wow. I wasn't ready for how good this book would be...

By the way, I just read the part where our protagonist wanders the mountains in solitude, while listening to Arvo Pärt's Sarah Was Ninety Years Old. It was such a perfect fit I couldn't help but wonder whether it was inspired by this book. More likely is that both Pärt and Endō were inspired by similar feelings.

aligreto

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 17, 2021, 03:21:54 PM
After a few false starts I'm now well into yet another great book, one that was much discussed here a couple of months ago. Shusaku Endo's Silence.



So far I'm really enjoying it. The images of a religion practiced in persecution in a bleak and destitute corner of the world (from the eyes of the protagonist, a Portuguese priest, that is) are incredibly striking. It's hard for me to fathom being in the shoes of any one of these characters, so rough is the hand that each is dealt. Anyway, reading this has put me very much in a historical frame of mind that I enjoy being in. Clearly a meaningful book. I look forward to reading it more over the days to come.

I have read that one albeit a couple of years ago. I found it to be compelling reading.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Florestan

#10758
Quote from: vers la flamme on April 17, 2021, 08:06:20 PM
I'm about a third of the way in now. Wow. I wasn't ready for how good this book would be...

By the way, I just read the part where our protagonist wanders the mountains in solitude, while listening to Arvo Pärt's Sarah Was Ninety Years Old. It was such a perfect fit I couldn't help but wonder whether it was inspired by this book. More likely is that both Pärt and Endō were inspired by similar feelings.

Quote from: aligreto on April 18, 2021, 02:34:33 AM
I have read that one albeit a couple of years ago. I found it to be compelling reading.

Looks like a book right up my alley, thank you gentlemen for mentioning it.

And lo and behold! it has been translated into Romanian so I'll order it.

"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10759
Yes vg book and excellent writing/structure though the story is depressing and hard to take. Several people I know in the U.S like the book. Also, Endo's The Sea and Poison is considered to be his masterpiece in Japan while it won the Akutagawa Prize. It is a solid work and I recommend it.

@Andrei, the book looks awsome. Please post your thoughts after reading it. We will discuss.

Correction: Endo's White Man, not The Sea and Poison, won the Akutagawa Prize. I regret my error.