Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped off Hollywood and Shocked the World by Nancy Jo Sales

Bling Ring cover

“Maybe, I thought, the Bling Ring kids felt they could just walk into the stars’ homes because stars no longer shined. Maybe the Bling Ring, for all its silliness, represented a turning point in America’s relationship to celebrity.”

*In which our reviewer takes a break from her usual intelligent discussion of Serious Literature to express her love of trashy reality TV shows*

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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential cover

“No, I want to tell you about the dark recesses of the restaurant underbelly – a subculture whose centuries-old militaristic hierarchy and ethos of ‘rum, buggery and the lash’ make for a mix of unwavering order and nerve-shattering chaos – because I find it all quite comfortable, like a nice warm bath. I can move around easily in this life. I speak the language. In the small, incestuous community of chefs and cooks in New York City, I know the people, and in my kitchen, I know how to behave (as opposed to in real life, where I’m on shakier ground). I want the professionals who read this to enjoy it for what it is: a straight look at a life many of us have lived and breathed for most of our days and nights to the exclusion of ‘normal’ social interaction. Never having had a Friday or Saturday night off, always working holidays, being busiest when the rest of the world is just getting out of work, makes for a sometimes peculiar world-view, which I hope my fellow chefs and cooks will recognize. The restaurant lifers who read this may or may not like what I’m doing. But they’ll know I’m not lying.”

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NW by Zadie Smith

NW cover

I finished this book more than a week ago, but this is the first time I’ve been able to make myself sit down and write a review. The problem isn’t that I’ve been trying to decide what I want to talk about, the problem is that I don’t really have much to say about this book at all.

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Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter cover

Like her novel The Namesake, Lahiri’s collection of short stories deals mainly with the experience of Indian immigrants in America. They often deal with a more specific experience: a young married couple moves to America shortly after being married so the husband can work at a university, and they have to navigate the new worlds of their marriage and the United States simultaneously. Being an Indian immigrant, or being the child of Indian immigrants, in America is clearly a subject close to Lahiri’s heart, and in the hands of a less skilled author, her stories about this experience would become repetitive. But Jhumpa Lahiri is a very, very skilled author, and each story in this collection looked at the same subject from a different perspective. This is multiple observations on a similar idea, and every one is beautiful and leaves you feeling like you’ve just had a really good sob: emptied-out, sad, but somehow fulfilled at the same time.

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