Review: Best Food Writing 2011

Best Food Writing 2011 edited by Holly Hughes

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I think the reason I like food writing so much is because it’s both personal and, if done correctly, visceral. I say “visceral” instead of “sensual,” because the latter, with all its positive, sexy connotations, would exclude such repulsive magic as Pete Wells’ disappointed letter to Guy Fieri in lieu of a review of his restaurant in Times Square. Even people who aren’t foodies (those exist, right?) have certain foods that mean something to them, even if it’s just how to eat an Oreo. (A stance that can, apparently, start fights. As for myself, I’m in the “fried Oreos” camp.) It’s the relationship between eater and food that fascinates me, thus my interest in historical cooking.

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Review: Televising Queer Women

Televising Queer Women edited by Rebecca Beirne

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I’ve never met anyone else who thrifts like I do: hard. I’m talking going through every shirt at the Goodwill because you never know when you’ll chance across a Disney*World exclusive t-shirt. Peter Parker has Spidey senses. I have retail senses, telling me when there’s a copy of Textual Poachers for sale at the thrift store I used to volunteer at. So when my retail senses were directing me to a literally underground thrift store that creeps me out a little, I trusted it, and ended up finding a book about two things near and dear to my heart: media criticism and queer ladies.

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Review: The Books They Gave Me

The Books They Gave Me by Jen Adams

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I may have misrepresented my child self to you. Compared against my adolescence (or the Wombat Years, as they’re better known), my childhood outbursts can seem tame and downright civil. To this image, I counter my wanton destruction of my brother’s comic books. These weren’t comics like the ones in my longbox; these were hardbound copies of Asterix either my family brought from France when they moved here or my father brought back from his trips for my brother. With colored pencils and my tiny, furious fists, I ripped them to shreds, forcing my brother, my elder by nine years who considerably outclassed me physically, to call on our mother to make me stop.

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Review: Editors on Editing

Editors on Editing edited by Gerry Gross

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As part of my homework for what I like to think of as publishing camp, I was assigned three books to read—I’ve already read and reviewed The Elements of Style, and I need to pick up a copy of the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. Luckily, I recently earned a Barnes & Noble gift card for my collegiate years of service to the theater, and I’ve been measuring adulthood lately by being cheap and practical. (“Adults,” I tell myself, “buy pens in the giant packs of twenty.”) I was only assigned excerpts out of Editors on Editing, but I just can’t do sampling. I have to take the whole thing out for a test drive.

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Review: Tiny Beautiful Things

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

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I started Tiny Beautiful Things on a Sunday and logged into my library account later that day. Huh, I thought, it’s due tomorrow. I tried to renew it, but was faced with the fact that somebody else wanted to read it as badly as I did. What was a bibliophile in her last weeks of college to do? Why, finish it the next day, of course, neatly avoiding library fines and actual work in one fell swoop. It’s not procrastination if you’re doing something else productive, we all know that.

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Review: Beyond Katrina

Beyond Katrina by Natasha Trethewey

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And that’s it—that’s the last book for my “Old South, New South, No South” class. I think it’s really just hitting me that this is it—college is over. Knowing anything about my life for sure beyond a year out is over. Wearing chucks and band t-shirts every day is over. Not cooking for myself is over. (Thank you, Jesus.) But enough about me and my “problems”, which fade away in the face of what Beyond Katrina covers. Our professor has been talking up the book since day one of the class, and I’ve been looking forward to it because of that. Well, that and its slim size. That’s always appreciated when finals are posed to attack…

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Review: Letters From Egypt

Letters from Egypt by Lady Lucie Duff-Gordon

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So The Mistress of Nothing was a huge disappointment, but it did have one saving grace: introducing me to Lady Lucie Duff-Gordon. As I said in that post, “ [a] middle-aged woman moving to Luxor, Egypt, in the 1860s, traipsing around town in androgynous kit, holding salons, and generally being awesome?” Sign me up. I added it to my Kindle app as soon as I finished, but it’s taken me forever to get through Letters from Egypt, from reasons ranging from the stomach flu from hell (it killed a laptop!) to getting distracted during designated digital book reading time (when I blow-dry my hair). It feels like this is always the way with me and books in the public domain, even if it’s something I love. I gotta fix that.

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Review: Bitchfest

Bitchfest edited by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler

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I don’t remember the moment I became a feminist. Presumably, it occurred around the point my mother determined that I would not be raised in the Catholic Church and didn’t come up with an alternative, so I would have been negative a few months old. Of course, being an itty bitty ace feminist didn’t stop me from being alarmingly femmephobic throughout my adolescence, but I like to think that my feminism is in a constant state of evolution. Even so, my formerly impervious pop culture bubble didn’t particularly allow me access to magazines like Bitch or Bust, but there’s no time like the present to catch up, especially when they just go ahead and publish a greatest hits collection. Merci!

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Review: My Year of Flops

My Year of Flops by Nathan Rabin

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You want to know how much I love you guys? This is how much I love you guys—when I discovered The A.V. Club and fell in deep, envious love with Nathan Rabin’s writing last year, I didn’t mainline everything he ever wrote, especially “My Year of Flops”, for the site in one or two feverish days. No, I added this book to my reading list and calmly waited until last year’s ban on buying books from Amazon expired, because I wanted to make sure that I could review it for the blog. Those are the lengths I will go to for you guys. And, at last, my wait is over.

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