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Lakeville, CT, United States | Member Since 2006

  • 2 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 301 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • The Bastard of Istanbul

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Elif Shafak
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In her second novel written in English, Elif Shafak confronts her country's violent past in a vivid and colorful tale set in both Turkey and the United States. At its center is the "bastard" of the title, Asya, a 19-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French Existentialists, and the four sisters of the Kazanci family who all live together in an extended household in Istanbul.

    Jaxcat says: "Istanbul lives"
    "History 101"

    Throughout this book I could not get away from the feeling that the author's sole objective was to write about the history of the Armenian genocide in Turkey. The story was a vehicle for her history lesson and she manipulated it to enable the characters to give political speeches. The narrative stops dead with each one of these. She deals well, however, with the longing and search for identity of people from mixed cultures and the suffocating intimacy of these Middle Eastern families. The most interesting part for me was the depiction of how family experiences and retold history can shape younger generations' attitudes and beliefs in the same way that nations can manipulate access to information to do the same thing. The attachment to victimhood as part of a national, cultural identity, even when no longer justified, was an interesting aspect. I found many of the characters implausable, unappealing, and/or irritating. The second half of the book was far more engaging than the beginning as she got more focused on the narrative.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By Anthony Bourdain
    • Narrated By Anthony Bourdain

    In the 10 years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business and for Anthony Bourdain. Medium Raw explores those changes, tracking Bourdain's strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood. Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen.

    Sparkly says: "Surprisingly tender."
    "Medium Raw not quite as "Meaty" as previous books"

    While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was not as packed with great stories and insider insights as his previous books. The beginning was slow but things picked up as it went along. He may be running out of juicy material and is therefore stretching what he's got to fill more space. It's worth getting the book, however, for his description of the world of St. Barts alone. Hilarious and spot on. It's especially worth reading for anyone considering becoming a chef.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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