Book Review: The Nasty Bits

The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones (New York, Bloombury Publishing, 2006. 288 pp) Anthony Bourdain, born in 1956, attended Vassar College and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He has worked as a cook and chef in many institutions strewn across the New York City map. Bourdain contributes articles to the Times, New York Times, Observer, the Face, Scotland on Sunday, and Food Arts Magazine. An addition to Kitchen Confidential, he has written two crime novels – Gone Bamboo and Bone in the Throat. Bourdain was the executive chef at Brassiere Les Halles and is currently the host of the Travel Channel program: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Bourdain resides in New York City. The Final Tour As Anthony Bourdain, traveler, culinary icon, author, and chef enters his last season of the television show No… Read More →

Book Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell (New York: Random House, 2004. 528 pp) David Mitchell is an English author most noted for his fiction. He attended University of Kent earning a degree in English and American Literature as well as an M.A. in Comparative Literature. Mitchell’s debut novel, Ghostwritten, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His next two novels, Number9dream and Cloud Atlas found themselves on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Cloud Atlas has been adapted into a feature film. A Kaleidoscope of Ambiguity How does it feel moments after newly opened puzzle pieces cascade out of the box? The colorful mélange sits nestled on the table—a kaleidoscope of ambiguity, the box your only clue to the end goal…. Read More →

Book Review: The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (New York: Nan A. Talese, 2000. 521 pp) Born in Ottawa in the autumn of 1939, Margaret Atwood grew up in Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She attained her B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto and her M.A. from Radcliffe College. Atwood has written more than 50 works of poetry, children’s fiction, fiction, and non-fiction. While she is most known for her many novels, her book, Blind Assassin, received highest acclaim winning the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Currently, she lives with Graeme Gibson in Toronto. A Narrative in Many Threads Thus begins Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. A complicated narrative mixing the autobiography of the novel’s protagonist, excerpts from Laura the sister’s novel and newspaper clippings detailing the major events in… Read More →

Book Review: Brain Rules

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina (Seattle: Pear Press, 2008. 301 pp) John Medina is a development molecular biologist and research consultant. He is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. In Pursuit of Learning  Can we, as human beings, learn better? We go through grade school, middle school, high school, college, perhaps even graduate work without ever questioning if we are learning optimally. As a person who seeks to learn continuously and realizing I won’t remember every piece of information imparted to me in my lifetime,… Read More →

Book Review: Strength to Love

Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963. 192 pp) Born in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor, activist, and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. King rose to prominence during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and orchestrated the 1963 March on Washington where King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. King earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in 1968. A Big Deal  Martin Luther King, Jr. is a big deal. I recall learning about his life and his influence on civil rights early and often in grade school. I heard his famous “I Have a Dream” speech long before I knew what it meant. King County—where… Read More →

Book Review: Fooling Houdini

Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone (New York: Harper Collins, 2012. 291 pp) Alex Stone has written for Harper’s, Discover, Science, and the Wall Street Journal. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English and has a master’s degree in physics from Columbia University. He grew up in Wisconsin, Texas, and Spain. He currently lives in New York City. Magic and Me I’ve always loved the art of deception. I had a small magic kit as a child, complete with a card deck and plastic magic wand. I, however, lacked the patience to learn the dexterity of sleight of hand or even a decent shuffle. To this day,… Read More →

Book Review: Disgrace

Disgrace: A Novel by J. M. Coetzee (New York: Viking, 1999. 224 pp) John Maxwell (J. M.) Coetzee is a Nobel-Prize-winning author of South African descent. He attended St. Joseph’s College and later the University of Cape Town. He later earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. While working as an academic, Coetzee began writing novels. In his acclaimed literary career, Coetzee has won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, three CAN Prizes, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and became the first author to win two Man Booker Prizes. Disgrace Defined Two Ways Isn’t it funny how often people associate disgrace and shame with being caught in the act? It seems, often times, shame and… Read More →