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Save Me The Plums

 by Ruth Reichl.  Her Gourmet Magazine memoir as its doyenne for a decade from 1999 through 9/11 until the magazine’s demise in 2009. The story of Severine in Paris will blow your mind. Reichl’s writing about food is legend, but her storytelling is wonderful. Reichl’s earlier work Comfort Me With Apples spoke to my own voice. Her time with Alice Waters in Berkeley and her love of great food jumped off the page. It confirmed my decision to write about restaurants in Northampton, Massachusetts. I decided it couldn’t be just a… Read more Save Me The Plums

The Chaperone

by Laura Moriarty. Not to be confused with Liane Moriarty. One of Book-Treks Great Reads. “Moriarty successfully conflates non-fiction and fiction. A soon-to-be famous true-life actress, Louise Brooks, and her chaperone Cora face childhood demons on a trip from Kansas to New York in the 1920’s. Cora’s profound epiphany emanates from her meeting with the past and the realization that life should not be bound by superficial morality.” Speaking of Downton Abbey, Mr. Carson & Mrs. Hughes, conjured in The Remains of the Day… Elizabeth McGovern will be starring in… Read more The Chaperone

The Remains of the Day

by Kazuo Ishiguro. A life lived. In pre-WWII England future Nazi’s gather at Darlington Hall. Downton Abbey meets Brideshead Revisited. Stevens the Butler has little curiosity about that but rather focuses on what makes a butler great. How does one measure one’s value in this world? Dignity. Loyalty. In the early 1950’s, on a seven-day sojourn away from the Hall after decades of service, Stevens discovers what he’s missed. Or does he? A flat aspect characterizes this man’s inability to connect on an intimate level and the ability to turn… Read more The Remains of the Day

Faux Prose

Fascinating reads. NYTimes’ Alexandra Alter article on the alarming similarities between Sarah Dinzel’s Saving April, and the wildly best selling The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory). Alter references Ian Parker’s even more stunning exposé in this month’s New Yorker  about “The Talented Mr. Mallory.”   Stranger than any fiction.


by Tara Westover. Finally got around to reading this harrowing page-turning memoir. The take-away is the lasting damage of psychopathic family systems. It leaves one sad that guilt can endure throughout even the most successful lifetime. Opportunities and talents beyond imagination didn’t deter Tara from returning to her unhealthy Idaho home. Masochistic? Maybe. A need to fix what was wrong with her loved ones to heal herself. A too familiar tale. Parents who fail to protect their kids, siblings who fail to protect each other. In order to each survive… Read more Educated

Carol’s First Carrel

Carol’s first carrel was on the third floor in the stacks of the Williston Memorial Library at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. A quiet respite where she could study and read during the day between classes and into the late night. A reserved carrel with personal photos and books and stuff that could stay there all through the semester. A treasured hideaway place. Mount Holyoke was the first women’s college in the United States. It was founded by Mary Lyon, a minister and a chemist, as a women’s… Read more Carol’s First Carrel

The Perfect Nanny

by Leila Slimani. Translated from the French by Sam Taylor. A chilling one-sitting story of a nanny over the edge. It raises the question of who parents leave their most precious children with for ten hours a day while they pursue careers. And. The lack of appreciation for these caregivers as human beings with the right to lives and feelings. How can a person spend that amount of time raising kids from infancy not become attached? Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not. The translation is pretty well done, but there are… Read more The Perfect Nanny