The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival is just that, a miscellany. What makes this quite heavy book so highly enjoyable is thThe Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival is just that, a miscellany. What makes this quite heavy book so highly enjoyable is the fact that it's less OED/reference tome and more lavishly-illustrated book of fun gin factoids and trivia. My only disappointment, and it's a truly a modest one, is that in his admittedly scatter-gun itemization of craft distilleries from around the U.S., Teacher fails to mention my personal favorite, Journeyman Distillery (Three Oaks, Michigan) whose Billberry Blackhearts Gin is the key ingredient in the most refreshing summer punch imaginable known as the English Garden. (Plus, there's a whole historic preservation/adaptive reuse of a corset factory complemented by locally-sourced botanicals, barrels, etc. that made it the total package for me.)
The book provides a summary in snippet form of author Matt Teacher's globetrotting (albeit decidedly western Europe-focused with reference to a few Australian distilleries tossed in for good measure) travels to famous bars and distilleries to chat with their proprietors about the wonderful world of gin. It also includes a few excerpts from industry publications and other short articles about gin. My personal favorite bit is his running commentary on how to convert vodka drinkers into fans of the juniper. An excerpt from an article by Erik Holzherr, outlines the six-step conversion process with benefit of the hypothetical holdout's reservations to which the gin proselytizer is provided rebuttals. Here's my personal favorite: Point: "Gin makes me think of my grandma." Rebuttal: "Your grandma sounds cool."
Long story short, for fans of any of gin's many wonderful varieties, this is an informative read that is less reference than teaser. It inspires you to learn more--not only about this particular spirit, but about the craft distillery movement, about what's local where you live, and which new gins and/or gin-based cocktails you might wish to try. The Spirit of Gin... provides citations for other more scholarly works on the topic, should that be something readers which to pursue. The beauty of this book, however, is its highly attractive packaging, layout, its short pieces, blurbs, sidebars, and gorgeous photographs. This would make a welcome addition to any cookery/cocktail library and a perfect housewarming or shower gift for anyone setting up house (and bar)....more
By no means a fast read, Gross' House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address provided fascinating insightBy no means a fast read, Gross' House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address provided fascinating insights into the history and staying power of NYC's east side vs. west side, coop vs. condo, old money vs. new money, WASP vs. Jew factions as played out in the dog-eat-dog world of its prestige address apartment buildings. While perhaps too heavy at times on the details/antics of the residents of this particular property, the work is perhaps best summarized in the following excerpt:
The real-property embodiment of Hegel's dialectic, 15 CPW grafted the thesis of the impenetrable limestone-clad Park Avenue co-op with the antithesis of the amenity-rich glass-tower condo to forge a synthesis, a new kind of club for the newly enriched and those who aspire to join them (p. 261).
Gross' book is fascinating in its treatment of the sheer magnitude of events to be orchestrated perfectly in order to zone, permit, design, construct, and then bring such a property to market. The cast of characters--everyone from developers, investors, residents, the starchitect Robert A.M. Stern whose practice got it all down on paper--is vast and far reaching. At mid-point the book became a bit bogged down in the personal foibles of the folks involved, but I am happy to have forged through the sloggy bits.
This building, the reigning king of NYC trophy apartments, broke all sorts of records. Its first round of residents were also taking possession of their units at the same time that the fit was well and truly hitting the shan on Wall Street. Major players from Goldman Sachs, as just one example, figure prominently in the story of 15 CPW. In fact, in the fall of 2012, participants in Occupy Goldman Sachs set up shop directly across from the building for several weeks. Actors, athletes, investors, artists, and a host of accomplished business people and their families call 15 CPW home.
I enjoyed the book, founds its details and insights fascinating. The one thing that surprised me as I read it was that I imagined its developers would love for readers to drool with envy at the opulence of the building and its utter inaccessibility to the rest of us 99%ers. While Gross did a very nice job of verbally describing a building that, for security reasons, he couldn't even provide a floor plan for, in my estimation he never succeeded in giving the building a soul. In some ways, the descriptions of different developers trying to out-build and out-step the latest highest price paid/square foot reminds me of the latest Vegas hotel--nice for now, but destined to be outdated in a very short time and, equally possible, destined to be razed and replaced by "the next best thing" just as 15 CPW replaced older, smaller buildings that were of a decidedly more modest scale and met the needs of a different era. ...more
I'd go 3 1/2 stars on Richard Moreno's Nevada Curiosities as it's a great intro for this recent transplant to the Silver State. Entries are brief, ligI'd go 3 1/2 stars on Richard Moreno's Nevada Curiosities as it's a great intro for this recent transplant to the Silver State. Entries are brief, lighthearted, and many of the sites mentioned have already popped up in work-related contexts....more
Carol Leifer has enjoyed an amazing career as stand-up comedian, staff writer, speaker, producer, etc. etc. Drawing on her professional and personal eCarol Leifer has enjoyed an amazing career as stand-up comedian, staff writer, speaker, producer, etc. etc. Drawing on her professional and personal experience, she shares some witty observations and sound insights in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying. I found it sound advice for anyone in any field but, given that graduation season is upon us, I think this would make a super graduation gift for anyone--but especially a great gift for anyone working in the arts who might not have had the wealth of familial support Leifer was fortunate enough to enjoy. I also enjoyed it because this is one of a few books that reminds us that sometimes genuinely nice people do come out on top. Fun read, and it'd make a nice gift that sends just the right message to anyone who might benefit from this humorous take from an extremely hard-working, talented woman....more
This book, based on the author's M.A. thesis work, is a lovely gift to members of the Breda Town community, the Breda Town Community Association who iThis book, based on the author's M.A. thesis work, is a lovely gift to members of the Breda Town community, the Breda Town Community Association who initiated the effort, as well as the wider residents of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The work reflected here is a prime example of a bottom-up project resulting from the needs of a local community whose members reached out to heritage professionals at a local university who then included other parish, state and federal partners in the larger non-invasive preservation work at the cemetery.
The appendix documenting the 837 individuals buried at Breda as of 2009, of whom 68% can be named, represents an amazing baseline of identities and burial locations with which to more fully document family histories and a tool with which to avoid disturbance in the course of future interments at this active community cemetery.
Finally, in a town in which other cemeteries have been so thoughtfully documented and preserved, the work reflected here constitutes a testimony to the resilience of African American communities, community-based benevolent organizations, vernacular burial and memorial traditions, and the benefits of community-driven collaboration. ...more