David Chang has made quite a name for himself as a chef, restaurateur, media personality, public speaker, podcaster, and writer. His restaurant Momofuku changed the way Asian food was cooked and eaten in the American food scene, and he hasn’t stoppedDavid Chang has made quite a name for himself as a chef, restaurateur, media personality, public speaker, podcaster, and writer. His restaurant Momofuku changed the way Asian food was cooked and eaten in the American food scene, and he hasn’t stopped trying to shake up the establishment. His memoir, Eat a Peach, is a crazy mix of food talk, restaurant history, philosophy, personal stories, heartbreaking mental illness, and sheer force of will.
Some parts of the book are a fairly linear story, from his childhood through his decision to become a chef, and to the opening of his first restaurant, Noodle Bar, and on through other restaurants. But he also jumps around quite a bit, sometimes stopping the story to talk through what he was wanting to do with his food, or stopping to talk about his mental health, or the importance of finding other chefs to spend time with. But the book still flows well, as it all makes sense to the man putting the words together, and you can just go along for the ride.
There are some of those crazy chef stories, so if you’re looking to find out what it’s like to hang out with Tony Bourdain or to have a secret boys’ club with chefs like Rene Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, and Magnus Nilsson, then you’ll find some of that here. If you want to know what it’s like to open a renegade noodle shop in New York when no one even understood the concept of ramen, that is here too. Looking to get in the head of a Korean American who made it big with his own distinctive voice? Eat a Peach offers that up also.
Or if you want to know what it’s like to struggle with bipolar disorder, workaholism, and emotional dysregulation, you can also find that here. Chang opens up about his struggles with suicidal thoughts, with mania, with PTSD, and with a rage so volatile in his kitchens that he lost employees and customers during his screaming fits. It’s not pretty to hear about, but his honesty and transparency offer insight into how it feels to struggle for decades with emotions that feel too big and too loud to contain.
I have not yet gotten to try any of his food, as I’ve been locked in the American Midwest for as long as he’s been opening restaurants. But I know of his reputation. I can watch him on television and listen to his podcasts and read his books. I admire everything he has accomplished, even more now that I understand how difficult it was for him and how much grit and ingenuity it took.
I listened to this on audio, because I wanted to hear the words in the chef’s own voice. Hearing him tell his own stories added such life to the book that I recommend this as an audio book for everyone. Is it perfect? No, of course not. Is any memoir perfect? We all have blind spots and personal agendas, things we want to talk about and things we don’t, and an author’s ideas of a complete book don’t always coincide with a reader’s, so there will always be more you want to know.
But Eat a Peach is a journey worth taking. Even if you don’t care about the restaurant business, you’ll still find the story of one man’s path through failure to success. You’ll still see how a bullied Korean-American kid grew into an influential leader. You’ll still learn how to grow as a person and create art despite fighting mental illness. And if you do want to be a chef, or know someone who does (this would be an amazing gift!), then you’ll find at the end of this book Chang’s 33 rules to becoming a chef, which includes everything from your education to bringing Band-Aids and Advil to work to traveling as much as possible.
I’ve received a free copy of Eat a Peach from Clarkson Potter in exchange for a free and and unbiased review, with many thanks, but I bought the audio book myself through Audible, to hear the author read the book himself....more
Rake Tarbell is lucky to find himself in Venice. Anywhere else in the world, if he woke up alone, in a strange hotel room, hungover, and he stumbled outside, he wouldn’t have any idea where he was. But since he was in Venice, once he stumbled outsideRake Tarbell is lucky to find himself in Venice. Anywhere else in the world, if he woke up alone, in a strange hotel room, hungover, and he stumbled outside, he wouldn’t have any idea where he was. But since he was in Venice, once he stumbled outside of the hotel and fell into the canal, he knew at once that he was in Italy. But his wallet was at the bottom of the canal. And his phone? Nope. Passport? Nope. And after that last time in Venice, the authorities aren’t really going to be willing to help, as they’d told him not to come back.
Rake does try to borrow a phone, to call his brother. Blake and Rake are twins, both millionaires, but Blake is the ultra-responsible one, the reliable one, the one to call when you’ve falling into the canal in Venice. But the borrowed phone just tells him that his bank account is empty and Blake can’t help him.
What’s a confused, lost, hungover, wet millionaire to do now but trust in the help of a beautiful stranger?
Claire Delaney may have had a rough start in life, but she has come a long way. No longer weak, no longer vulnerable, no longer helpless, now she is strong and in control and has to keep an eye on the irresponsible millionaire. For one thing, it’s her job. And for another, there is Lillith. The daughter of one of her best friends, Lillith may be Rake’s daughter. And since her mother died in a car accident, Delaney is going to make certain that Lillith stays safe and protected, no matter what the cost.
But when Rake throws himself into helping Delaney and Lillith build Easter baskets for needy kids in Italy, Delaney finds herself warming towards the irrepressible irresponsible Rake. She can’t be falling for him, though. Absolutely not. Definitely not. It would ruin everything. Right?
MaryJanice Davidson has written a twisty rom com with a little bit of danger and a lot of fun. The Love Scam is a wild ride of a novel, filled with flips and secrets and surprises. The characters are charming (especially Lillith), and the writing is lively and fun.
But as much as I loved parts of this book, there were other parts that I found frustrating. The author’s voice was mostly bubbly and vibrant, but it’s occasionally intrusive. And the twists of the story that got me interested early on got muddled in the middle, and it was difficult to tell what was going on or why. It does come together again in the end, but it was hard to keep reading some times, when it was just confusing and strange.
MaryJanice Davidson is not a typical writer. I think she’s more of an acquired taste. It’s not a bad thing, but if I were you, I’d read a few pages before you jump in all the way to make sure you’re comfortable with her writing. If you’re in, then congratulations! You’ve found an inventive author to follow. Buckle up, because it’s going to be quite a ride!
Egalleys for The Love Scam were provided by St. Martin’s Griffin through NetGalley, with many thanks....more
If you are someone who spends your days living in your imagination, how do you know where your imagination ends and reality begins? Author Lucy Harper spends her days in a world of her own creation, where detective Eliza Grey solves crimes.
Since theIf you are someone who spends your days living in your imagination, how do you know where your imagination ends and reality begins? Author Lucy Harper spends her days in a world of her own creation, where detective Eliza Grey solves crimes.
Since the first Eliza Grey novel several years ago, her fandom just keeps growing. So now, Lucy feels like she is on a treadmill, having to write a book a year for her fans and her publisher. Her husband, Dan, also a writer, has become a part of the Eliza Grey universe as well, working as Lucy’s manager and personal assistant, to keep the bills paid, the refrigerator full, and making sure his wife has everything she needs to keep writing.
Lucy, however, is exhausted. The book-every-year schedule has turned into a grind, leaving her bone-weary. Her writing schedule doesn’t leave her much time building friendships, so she feels isolated, Dan and Eliza being her only friends. So when Dan starts making decisions that Lucy questions or says something she thinks is unkind, she’s uncertain if she can trust her own thoughts. Maybe she’s just being overly sensitive, she wonders. I should be grateful for his help, she thinks.
But then he buys a house without talking to her. A house that’s close to where she grew up. Too close. And she’s flooded with emotions from when she was nine and her younger brother Teddy was three, and they went into the woods together late at night. She made it home shortly before dawn. Teddy never did. Lucy doesn’t remember everything that happened that night, but her best friend, her imaginary friend Eliza, may know more than she’s saying.
And then blood spots appear in the entryway to the house. Large spots, which Lucy scrubs away without telling anyone. Then Dan goes missing. His car, his beloved Jaguar bought with Lucy’s royalties, shows up abandoned and burned. And then all eyes turn toward Lucy. Could she be a killer, in those moments she spends between imagination and reality? Is it possible she’s killed again?
Gilly Macmillan’s explosive new thriller To Tell You the Truth is a compelling thriller that exposes our vulnerabilities as humans. Lack of sleep, lack of human interaction, poor nutrition, too much time spent working—all of these can make anyone feel a little crazy. They can make you feel like you’re not sure what’s real. They can make you question yourself, your family, your friends. And Macmillan uses that to perfection.
I got sucked in to To Tell You the Truth from almost the first page. Maybe this says a little too much about me and some of the jobs I’ve had, but I immediately felt for Lucy, understanding that felling of too much work and not enough self-care. And I just wanted to know more about her, to see where her story was going, to make sure she was okay in the end. I raced through this book, loving every page. Every. Page.
I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves a good thriller and needs something engrossing to get lost it for a while!
Egalleys for To Tell You the Truth were provided by William Morrow through NetGalley, with many thanks....more