Allow me to confess: I am not a cookbook reader, and the fine art of cooking has ever been beyond my grasp, but I read The Urban Forager all the way through because this is a celebration of the diversity that defines LA through descriptions of foods and the histories they evoke. The recipes demand to be made – run your tongue over the rich stories of these chefs, enjoy the clear instructions encouraging you too to flourish your chef-self, and finally, just try to resist the beautiful photos of the food and the taste of LA. This is like finding an old cookbook stuffed with handwritten comments and added recipes not in the house of your grandmother, but in the home of your region. Enjoy!
The Amateurs explores the depths of the human capacity for curiosity, hope, loneliness and love, and does so through characters so beautifully drawn that you will embrace and chastise them as you would friends. Marie is one of the few who have resisted the extraordinary pull of PORT, a technological innovation purported to take you to any place or time you desire. She and her dog Gus live on the outskirts of a community of people who stayed, but they are struggling to survive and resist the increasing seduction of PORT. On the other side of this now-empty country resides Albrecht Doors, the wealthy, charismatic, mad inventor of PORT. He is surrounded by his followers, but those closest to him are beginning to question his claims and wonder what there is to defect to. Harmer brilliantly weaves into this tale of technological seduction the dangers of human desire and hubris, and leaves you wondering what limits you would test and just how far.
In 1930s colonial Malaya, Ji Lin, a brilliant student without the means or permission to further her education, survives as a dressmaker's apprentice moonlighting as a dance hall girl. Ren is a houseboy burdened with a mission by his former master that keeps him teetering dangerously between the worlds of the dead and living. Unexplained deaths, the British colonialists with stories and people best left in England, whispers of weretigers and unsettled ghosts, and mysterious connections make this beautiful book an absorbing adventure into a foreign time and place.
Willa and Iano are educated, successful, middle class... so why are they struggling to take care of medical bills, find insurance, figure out how to come up with money to renovate Willa’s old New Jersey inheritance that is falling down around them? In desperation, Willa looks to her home's past and discovers people who also faced great uncertainty and change following the Civil War and Charles Darwin’s shocking new theories. Both narratives explore what it means to live in a time of great change, to live unsheltered, untethered, fearful, exposed, free. Brilliant portrait of where we are and the possibilities of where we might go.
There There weaves the stories of twelve urban Native Americans into a tapestry of addiction, recovery, violence, and the multi-generational struggle to piece together an identity torn apart by the atrocities committed by the nation in which they reside. Orange does not ask the reader's empathy, but each character's struggles are painted with such clarity that the pain makes it both difficult to continue and impossible to not. Step into these shoes and accept that you will be forever changed.