Visions of Paradise

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Paperback Swap / Heat

About a year ago, a friend recommended the website Paperback Swap to me, where I could trade unwanted books for books I selected. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but for some reason I did not pursue it until recently. When I finally joined, I posted a list of 38 books that I wanted to get rid of, including sf, historical fiction, and nonfiction. So far I have mailed 7 books to other members and, because of that, I now have credit to select 9 books myself (including 2 books for joining the website). There are literally thousands of books available, including many which are on my own Recommended Reading list, so I have ordered the following books:

• Poul Anderson’s career-spanning retrospective Going For Infinity (already received);
• A. Bertram Chandler omnibus Lieutenant of The Survey Service, containing 5 John Grimes novels. Light reading, but enjoyable (received);
• Andre Norton’s complete Time Traders series in 2 hardcover books (ordered);
• James White’s second Sector General omnibus Alien Emergencies (mailed). Books about other than war/crime/thrillers appeal to me a lot, and these novels are always intriguing;
• the concluding 2 novels in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital series, Fifty Degrees Below and Sixty Days And Counting (one mailed, one ordered). Robinson is one of my 5 favorite sf authors (Silverberg, Bishop, Zelazny, Simak being the others), and I invariable love all his books;
• Murray Leinster’s complete Med Service stories Med Ship (ordered. see my comments on White’s book above ☺);
• the lone historical fiction, Stephen Lawhead’s Byzantium, a historical era I have grown very interested in recently, having enjoyed Colin Wells’ nonfiction Sailing From Byzantium and Eric Mayer and Mary Reed’s historical mystery One for Sorrow.

A quick review: If you like Italian cooking, and are a fan of Mario Batali like I am, you will enjoy the book Heat, by Bill Buford. Buford worked for the New York Times before quitting his job and becoming a low-level slave in the kitchen of Babbo, Batali’s famous NYC restaurant. The book’s setting is about equally-divided between Babbo’s kitchen and Italy where we follow both Batali when he learned how to cook Italian several decades ago, and Buford as he strives to do the same recently. Its themes are equally-divided between how one becomes an Italian chef, what it is like behind the scenes in the kitchen of a popular restaurant, and the legend of Mario Batali himself.

This book is partly humorous, partly head-shaking, and thoroughly absorbing throughout. I recommend it very highly.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home