Sous chef is a quick, witty read which does exactly what it says on the tin. Gibney takes you through a day in the life, as a Sous Chef* in a smallish...moreSous chef is a quick, witty read which does exactly what it says on the tin. Gibney takes you through a day in the life, as a Sous Chef* in a smallish high cuisine establishment somewhere in NYC’s lower Manhattan area. Opening in the morning. Checking the deliveries and stock. Pissing off the Chef De Cuisine. Repeating “Oui, Chef” a million times and meaning it every single time. Getting smashingly drunk after a service that comes within a hair of crashing the kitchen. Gibney gives us a glimpse of what life is like behind the swinging doors in a witty first-person narrative that makes for surprisingly compelling reading.
Be forewarned however. The language used is rough, although realistic from what I understand… and unsurprisingly so in what is generally acknowledged as being one of the last holdouts of boy’s locker room culture. You’ll also find passages of Spanish, and swearing in that language too. Also realistic since it’s rumored that three quarters of NY’s kitchen staff personnel are from the same town in Mexico. The drama is dialed down a bit from other books of the sort, and I believe that is mostly because in this kind of work you do tend to get used to the crazy, and it just rolls off your back. Sure lots of people are shocked by Chef Ramsay swearing and snapping terse orders, but in this small subculture, that’s what it is, and how it has been, for a long time. Those ways are changing as the profession becomes more “professional” in behavior, but cultural shifts take time.
Overall, “Sous Chef” succeeds in what it does, which is capturing a snapshot of a way of life that is being transformed by the spotlight of celebrity, and it just works.
*For those unfamiliar with the terminology, the Sous Chef is basically second in command in the kitchen, under the Chef De Cuisine or executive chef, who is generally either the guy who’s name is above the door, or the guy hand picked by the guy who’s name is above the door.(less)
From Anna Brashares (who brought us The Traveling Pants) we have a new YA novel, typically c...morePre-Release Review – Expected Publication Date: Apr 8 2014
From Anna Brashares (who brought us The Traveling Pants) we have a new YA novel, typically centered around a young female protagonist. Also typically, theres a romantic element, and a post-apocalyptic note.
These really are getting tiresomely common.
Still, Brashares has the skills. So onward we go. It’s not the most original plot-line, but it’s one that is as likely as not to be fresh to the adolescent readers this novel is targeted at. Time travel and the GrandFather Paradox can be so badly mishandled, but again, the author pulls it off well.
The only thing I can really hold against it is that it’s fairly short and that well, this IS a really old riff and nothing new seems to be added to the mix. There’s nothing wrong with vamping on a classic, but with this simplistic a tale, I can only class “The Here And Now” as a mediocre read that will probably be best enjoyed by existing fans of the author’s work. (less)
Yes, it’s been a while hasnt it? Ive been occupied with other things. But here we are again.
Static is not the sort of thing I’d usually pick up, simpl...moreYes, it’s been a while hasnt it? Ive been occupied with other things. But here we are again.
Static is not the sort of thing I’d usually pick up, simply based on the fact that Ms.Witt generally writes in the male on male romance/erotica genre. Kind of sad that assessment, because it does leave one missing out on some good writers occasionally. And besides, romances are that dirty little secret hidden away in the bedroom bookcase at my place, and although I haven’t really read them in more than a decade, I still have a fondness for them.This one however is a little different than most. Static starts us off with an inventive premise. Humanity has developed a new gender type. No longer binary, we now have Shifters… who periodically switch between genders, both mentally and physically. Within this premise Witt gives us a framework in which to explore attitudes about sexuality and gender that most will find nonthreatening. Clearly laid out in examples we have homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, and the difference between those distinctions and gender. The writing here is as good as any I’ve ever seen in Romance, which is intended to appeal to a much broader audience than the literary genre- so the language is kept blissfully simple, while remaining as evocative as novels get. Believable dialog and realistic situations keep it from floating off into the realm of the fairy-tale… so often the downfall of the romance writer.
The only thing I could wish for about Static is that the author had left out the graphic sex scene. Not for myself, but because if it had not been included this would have been a wonderful way to help teens understand alternate sexuality and gender issues. Sadly, too many parents would completely freak out over the idea of their teens reading a novel with such graphic (if hot) sexual encounters. Once can only hope this makes it far enough into the mainstream that it becomes one of those tattered paperbacks we all passed around and hid from our parents back in the days. it’ll do a lot more good than harm.