You probably know I blog at FoodandDrinkChicago.com and cover restaurant news at ChicagoRestaurantExaminer.com. You’d think I might cover the first of these books at one of those, but even though it’s a cookbook, I’ve chosen to put it in this blog because it’s a memoir just as much. In any case, check out these books to see if something triggers your desire to sit down and read – or cook, or go to China, or call a friend.
The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors, by Mandy Lee, author of LadyandPups.com blog, Check out the cover and you can reasonably expect this to have some drama. Her story of how she moved to Beijing for her husband’s work tells how she found herself frustrated with China’s autocratic political climate, infuriating bureaucracy, and choking pollution, and started her apologetically angry blog. In between, she discovered the glorious flavors of the East. Her ramen story on page 88 will send you running out for the ingredients ASAP. She swears – a lot – as she talks about the constant yellowish smog that requires vigilant Beijing residents to wear a respirator outside “to slow the blackening of our lungs when we went down the street to buy a f**#**# bag of sugar.” Her dark humor and her passion for elaborate flavors may just change the way you look at cooking. SRP~$18. Kindle version available.
The Book of Chinese Proverbs: A Collection of Timeless Wisdom, Wit, Sayings & Advice, by Gerd de Ley. While we’re in China, this book is meant to help readers gain insights into China and its rich culture. The book divides the quotes by category: On Animals. On Beauty. On Experience. On Family and the Home. And so on. Some of the quotes just don’t feel like ancient wisdom, but they may be expressing some aspect of Chinese philosophy. An example: “The true man will not compromise his principles for a meager reward.” Really? If you pay him enough, he will. “A widow is a boat without a rudder.” Hmm. And many quotes do resonate:
- “You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.”
- “If your children are wicked, they don’t deserve to inherit; if they are good and hard working, they don’t need to.”
- “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
Be interesting to discuss some of these with a Chinese-raised person. Hardcover only. SRP ~$15.
And while we’re on quotes, consider The Joy of Friendship: A Thoughtful and Inspiring Collection of 200 Quotations, from Hatherleigh Press. It’s a half-size book with chapters entitled things like Honesty, Loyalty, Support,that divide the book into sections that reflect important aspects of friendship. Many quotes are beautiful expressions from famous names.
- “Some friends leave footprints in your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
- “A single rose can be my garden; a single friend, my world.” – Leo T. Buscglia.
- “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored and sorrows end.” – William Shakespeare.
This may be a print-on-demand book; the binding and quality are not great, and our review copy arrived quite bent, so be sure to ask the shipper to take care in packaging. Hardcover SRP ~$11 and Kindle.