Monday, May 25, 2015

Now In Paperback:

Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage
by Molly Wizenberg
Simon & Schuster
Trade Paperback


From the publisher's website:

The New York Times bestseller from the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette about opening a restaurant with her new husband: “You’ll feel the warmth from this pizza oven...cheerfully honest...warm and inclusive, just like her cooking” (USA TODAY).

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.


With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey explores that intimate territory where food and life meet. This moving and honest account of two people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together is “a crave-worthy memoir that is part love story, part restaurant industry tale. Scrumptious” (People).



Friday, May 22, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye
Jan Gaye with David Ritz
Amistad Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

A riveting cautionary tale about the ecstasy and dangers of loving Marvin Gaye, a performer passionately pursued by all—and a searing memoir of drugs, sex, and old school R&B from the wife of legendary soul icon Marvin Gaye.

After her seventeenth birthday in 1973, Janis Hunter met Marvin Gaye—the soulful prince of Motown with the seductive liquid voice whose chart-topping, socially conscious album What’s Going On made him a superstar two years earlier. Despite a seventeen-year-age difference and Marvin’s marriage to the sister of Berry Gordy, Motown’s founder, the enchanted teenager and the emotionally volatile singer began a scorching relationship.

One moment Jan was a high school student; the next she was accompanying Marvin to parties, navigating the intriguing world of 1970s-‘80s celebrity; hanging with Don Cornelius on the set of Soul Train, and helping to discover new talent like Frankie Beverly. But the burdens of fame, the chaos of dysfunctional families, and the irresistible temptations of drugs complicated their love.


Primarily silent since Marvin’s tragic death in 1984, Jan at last opens up, sharing the moving, fervently charged story of one of music history’s most fabled marriages. Unsparing in its honesty and insight, illustrated with sixteen pages of black-and-white photos, After the Dance reveals what it’s like to be in love with a creative genius who transformed popular culture and whose artistry continues to be celebrated today.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles
by Dan Ariely
Harper Perennial
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:

Three-time New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely teams up with legendary The New Yorker cartoonist William Haefeli to present an expanded, illustrated collection of his immensely popularWall Street Journal advice column, “Ask Ariely”.

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely revolutionized the way we think about ourselves, our minds, and our actions in his books Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty. Ariely applies this scientific analysis of the human condition in his “Ask Ariely” Q & A column in the Wall Street Journal, in which he responds to readers who write in with personal conundrums ranging from the serious to the curious: 

  1. What can you do to stay calm when you’re playing the volatile stock market? 
  2. What’s the best way to get someone to stop smoking? 
  3. How can you maximize the return on your investment at an all-you-can-eat buffet? 
  4. Is it possible to put a price on the human soul? 
  5. Can you ever rationally justify spending thousands of dollars on a Rolex?
In Ask Ariely, a broad variety of economic, ethical, and emotional dilemmas are explored and addressed through text and images. Using their trademark insight and wit, Ariely and Haefeli help us reflect on how we can reason our way through external and internal challenges.  Readers will laugh, learn, and most importantly gain a new perspective on how to deal with the inevitable problems that plague our daily life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

On My Radar:

Split Season: 1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball
by Jeff Katz
Thomas Dunne Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

1981 was a watershed moment in American sports, when players turned an oligarchy of owners into a game where they had a real voice. Midway through the season, a game-changing strike ripped baseball apart, the first time a season had ever been stopped in the middle because of a strike. Marvin Miller and the MLB Players Association squared off against Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and the owners in a fight to protect players rights to free agency and defend America's pastime.

Though a time bomb was ticking as the 1981 season began, the game rose to impressive---and now legendary---heights. Pete Rose chased Stan Musial's National League hit record and rookie Fernando Valenzuela was creating a sensation as the best pitcher in the majors when the stadiums went dark and the players went on strike.

For the first time in modern history, there were first- and second-half champions; the two teams with the overall best records in the National League were not awarded play-off berths. When the season resumed after an absence of 712 games, Rose's resumption of his pursuit, the resurgence of Reggie Jackson, the rise of the Montreal Expos, and a Nolan Ryan no-hitter became notable events. The Dodgers bested their longtime rivals in a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, the last classic matchup of those storied opponents.


Sourcing incredible and extensive interviews with almost all of the major participants in the strike, Split Season: 1981 returns us to the on- and off-field drama of an unforgettable baseball year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On My Radar:

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear)
by Jon Fine
Viking Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played various forms of aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes in this memoir, at no point were any of those bands “ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame.” Yet when members of his first band, Bitch Magnet, reunited after twenty-one years to tour Europe, Asia, and America, diehard longtime fans traveled from far and wide to attend those shows, despite creeping middle-age obligations of parenthood and 9-to-5 jobs, testament to the remarkable staying power of the indie culture that the bands predating the likes of Bitch Magnet–among them Black Flag, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth –willed into existence through sheer determination and a shared disdain for the mediocrity of contemporary popular music.

In indie rock’s pre-Internet glory days of the 1980s, such defiant bands attracted fans only through samizdat networks that encompassed word of mouth, college radio, tiny record stores and ‘zines. Eschewing the superficiality of performers who gained fame through MTV, indie bands instead found glory in all-night recording sessions, shoestring van tours and endless appearances in grimy clubs. Some bands with a foot in this scene, like REM and Nirvana, eventually attained mainstream success. Many others, like Bitch Magnet, were beloved only by the most obsessed fans of this time.


Like Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, Your Band Sucks is an insider’s look at a fascinating and ferociously loved subculture. In it, Fine tracks how the indie-rock underground emerged and evolved, how it grappled with the mainstream and vice versa, and how it led many bands to an odd rebirth in the 21 st  Century in which they reunited, briefly and bittersweetly, after being broken up for decades. Like Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Your Band Sucks is a unique evocation of a particular aesthetic moment. With backstage access to many key characters in the scene—and plenty of wit and sharply-worded opinion—Fine delivers a memoir that affectionately yet critically portrays an important, heady moment in music history.


Monday, May 18, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money
by Nathaniel Popper
Harper Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.

Digital Gold is New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper’s brilliant and engrossing history of Bitcoin, the landmark digital money and financial technology that has spawned a global social movement.

The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped it from growing into a technology worth billions of dollars, supported by the hordes of followers who have come to view it as the most important new idea since the creation of the Internet. Believers from Beijing to Buenos Aires see the potential for a financial system free from banks and governments. More than just a tech industry fad, Bitcoin has threatened to decentralize some of society’s most basic institutions.


An unusual tale of group invention, Digital Gold charts the rise of the Bitcoin technology through the eyes of the movement’s colorful central characters, including an Argentinian millionaire, a Chinese entrepreneur, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Bitcoin’s elusive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Already, Bitcoin has led to untold riches for some, and prison terms for others.

Friday, May 15, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Reagan: The Life
by H.W. Brands
Doubleday
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

    In his magisterial new biography, H. W. Brands brilliantly establishes Ronald Reagan as one of the two great presidents of the twentieth century, a true peer to Franklin Roosevelt. Reagan conveys with sweep and vigor how the confident force of Reagan’s personality and the unwavering nature of his beliefs enabled him to engineer a conservative revolution in American politics and play a crucial role in ending communism in the Soviet Union. Reagan shut down the age of liberalism, Brands shows, and ushered in the age of Reagan, whose defining principles are still powerfully felt today.

     Reagan follows young Ronald Reagan as his ambition for ever larger stages compelled him to leave behind small-town Illinois to become first a radio announcer and then that quintessential public figure of modern America, a movie star. When his acting career stalled, his reinvention as the voice of The General Electric Theater on television made him an unlikely spokesman for corporate America. Then began Reagan’s improbable political ascension, starting in the 1960s, when he was first elected governor of California, and culminating in his election in 1980 as president of the United States.

     Employing archival sources not available to previous biographers and drawing on dozens of interviews with surviving members of Reagan’s administration, Brands has crafted a richly detailed and fascinating narrative of the presidential years. He offers new insights into Reagan’s remote management style and fractious West Wing staff, his deft handling of public sentiment to transform the tax code, and his deeply misunderstood relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, on which nothing less than the fate of the world turned.


     Reagan is a storytelling triumph, an irresistible portrait of an underestimated politician whose pragmatic leadership and steadfast vision transformed the nation.