Who’s Reading What: July 2011

1 August, 2011

Ah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been so busy with my reading I forgot to ask others what they’ve been reading.

So we come back almost a year later to see what the Umamimart crew have on their shelves this Summer:

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury – First published in 1948, it’s considered a very important work among cocktail enthusiasts and craft bartenders because it was the first book to create a standardized system by which all classic cocktail recipes were broken down into components and ratios, thereby coming up with a system that enables anyone to “roll their own” once they understood the basic principles. Thus it was more than a simple book of recipes. It’s further significant because the author had reached drinking age prior to Prohibition, and bore witness to the decimation of cocktail culture as a result of Prohibition, thus serving as one of the few bridges between the pre-Prohibition standard of quality and modern day.

It’s also an interesting read because it’s tone is clearly from another era, where it sometimes borders on curmudgeonly and has a “father knows best” kind of feel to it. And there’s an extra significance for me because the author Mr. Embury was not a bartender, and not even in the spirits industry. In fact, he was a lawyer who happened to be a cocktail enthusiast. How cool does this sound?

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain

Everything by David Sedaris – I’ve worked chronologically from his first works to the newest animal book. I’m finding him less and less fun, but still worthwhile.
The biography of late print designer Vera Neumann – a super cool business woman running her own fashion company in the US from the 1940’s all the way into the 1980’s. Very inspiring.
Books on Shinto shrine rituals and customs.

Women, Time and Power by Leonard Shlain – Y rec
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – A rec
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart – for book club
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzan – been on my book shelf for a year

Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell – about the first European settlements in the US
The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy and the Way Out of Afghanistan by Bing West
US Magazines

Junmaishu wo kiwameru (Mastering Junmaishu) by Hiroshi Uehara
My Traumatic Movie Theatre – Tomohiro Machiyama

Reiki by Pamela Miles

Spoon fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life by Kim Severson

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertant Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton – her memoir about her childhood memories of food, living on the streets and becoming a chef and owner of NYC’s Prune – probably my favorite restaurant of all time. It’s such an awesome blend of how life experience unexpectedly shapes and forms the way we put things into the world.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – Just like Freedom, it’s all about how fucked up we all are and loving it.

I think you can see patterns of interests here. I love it when I see people reading recommendations by friends. I’ve only read The Corrections (which was an excellent portrayal of contemporary America), watched the film adaptation of American Psycho (which I thought was pretty arty and rather liked but have heard the book is very disturbing) and have Super Sad True Love Story on my shelf.

For someone who who doesn’t read enough non-fiction these days, it’s nice to see lots of fact-based books on this list. Many titles I haven’t come across here. Have you?

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