I have been defeated…

Michael Pollan has won out.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t finish the treacherous A Place Of My Own (APOMO) or as I like to call it: A Pain In My Ass (APIMA).  As detailed before, I have been having a tough time getting started.  Well I continued to peek at The Fat Duck Cookbook and soon, I found myself reading other cookbooks exclusively for a couple of weeks under the false pretenses that I was just “referencing materials”.  But I knew it, the books knew it, Hell, even the dog knew it.  APIMA was on the way out. 

Now that it has hindered my reading for a couple of weeks I have nestled it down into the stack of books waiting for a bookshelf to sit on.  Maybe in a couple years I will pick it up again or when I am having a Mid 20’s crisis and I need some painful book to read that is worse than real life.

Well some sayings that are appropriate for the situation:  Out with the old, in with the new.  Change or Die.  It takes a couple seconds to say Hello, but forever to say goodbye (Well in my case 3 weeks).  Confucius say:  Don’t read crappy book.

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I’ve been cheating on Michael Pollan with…

Heston Blumenthal.  I am usually super strict about reading one book at a time through and through.  Unfortunately, Michael Pollan’s A Place of My Own is boring the shit out of me.  There I said it.  The genius behind The Omnivore’s Dilemma, wrote a crappy book about building his own Man Cave.  I am already to page 68 and there aren’t even plans drawn up for the place.  His writing, footnotes and thoroughly researched material in TOD was like ecstasy to the Foodie in me.  I thought that I would read his earlier book and be amazed again by his writing, but so far have been dissapointed beyond belief.  He is overly indulgent in his own intricacies and OCD complexes.  Seriously!  Who has to read 6 books to ‘choose a good site for a little building’?!  Just pick a spot you pussy. As you can probably tell, I am quite frustrated with the book.  Hence the wanderlust that followed.

I knew of Heston Blumenthal and The Fat Duck for several years, ever since he beat out Ferran Adria for the Best Restaurant in the World.  However, I never knew that he was on TV shows!  Well over the weekend I was on a TV break from reading A Place of My Own and happened upon the show Big Chef Takes on Little Chef.  It showcases his brilliance in taking a crappy chain that is like a British equivalent of Denny’s and taking some of the magic of The Fat Duck and updating the menu.  In 2008 he released his classic, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook which is $250 and was (and still is) out of my budget.  Well, he just released  The Fat Duck Cookbook which is just a fraction of the price at $50.  I have been so inspired by his dishes and journey that I broke the cardinal sin and actually went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and bought the book instead of waiting for it through Amazon.  Oh so worth it.  It is like a clusterfuck of wonderfulness.  Three books in one: his biography, cookbook and the science behind food.  It is like crack to the chef in me.  I am so happy!

However, since I have taken a much needed break from the drudgery of APoMO, I will go back and try to finish what I started with much gusto: just so that I can read The Fat Duck Cookbook cover to cover in all of its awesomeness. 

The Road

 Dark, grim, disheartening, frightening. 

The Road is skillfully written by Cormac McCarthy in a short, urgent and to the point prose that truly makes this tale about post-apocalyptic America.  It details the plight of a man and his son as they try to survive treacherous conditions, starvation and roving groups of cannibals.  You don’t really want to read this book for the plot, but more for the writing style that took the story and boiled it down to the essence of meaning.  There is no wonder why this book has won so many awards and held in great acclaim.  A must read. 

Animal Farm

 Another great book from George Orwell that just about everyone read in high school.  I thought that I would pick it up again, after finishing 1984.  I had forgotten how short the book was; as I finished it in just under two days.  A reminder of the downfalls of Communism, told through pigs, horses and dogs in classic fable fashion.

In Cold Blood

A gripping book that is based on the actual events that unfolded in 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas.  It is about the murder of the Clutter family, for the small sum of about $50 dollars.  It is excitingly written by Truman Capote as he goes through the events that led up to, through and after the murders.

Obviously Dick Hickock and  Perry Smith could not have understood the implications of the horrible crimes that they committed; not only for themselves, but for the whole of America.  The book delves into the story of the family and Dick and Perry, but it also documents the hysteria, nervousness and worry that the small town residents began to feel after the murders.  Thankfully both of the killers were caught and paid with their lives for the crimes, but America would never be the same.

One of the great works of all time; a definite must read.

 

Freakonomics

I devoured this book- it was a really easy read since I am quite the avid fan of throwing conventional wisdom on its end.  Most of the stuff makes easy sense when you just take a step back and look at the big picture, but other points take a little more explaining (Like the Ku Klux Klan chapter).   

My favorite piece of the book is the chapter about Abortions and Crime Rates.  If you are on the fence about being Pro-Choice or a strong Pro-Lifer you should read this chapter.  There is an unwavering correlation that after 18+ years of abortion being legalized (1973), the crime rate had dropped significantly  in the early 90’s and has been doing so ever since then.  Remind you, that the crime rate was steadily increasing to unseen levels in the 80’s.  Most statisticians of the time were saying that the crime rate would continue to rise and that the world was basically coming to an end…  But instead, due to the unforeseen added benefits of the Roe vs. Wade decision, our crime rate was beheaded; simply because the criminals weren’t being born.  Think about that the next time you rally for Pro-Life and all of the implications of not allowing abortions (Besides the obvious one of Free Choice, but that’s another post).   

Love the bonus material at the end of the book and looking forward to reading SuperFreakonomics, when they delve into Prostitutes, Global Cooling and Suicide Bombers.

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1984

I love this book and really glad that I re-read it. An appropriate follow-up from the last book that I read, First They Killed My Father, which was just as insane and horrifying, but it was real.  George Orwell sure knows how to write and the book brought back chills from when I first read it.

My only gripe though: I forgot how long the “torture” portion of the book lasted, and that is why it took me almost a week and some change to finish the last 30 pages.  It was so boring and kept going around in circles… *Yawn*  But still, this is one of the best books about societies ever written.

I am taking a break from crazy totalitarian regimes and going to read a really interesting book that I have been wanting to read for years: Freakonomics.  Sure to be a good read (What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?  They both cheat!).  And if I like it that much, I will buy the new book: SuperFreakonomics.

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