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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

How Do You Write An Anthony Bourdain Book Without Anthony Bourdain?, by Sebastian Modak, New York Times

“World Travel” is built out of a somewhat amorphous vision, an “atlas of the world as seen through his eyes,” as Ms. Woolever writes in the book’s introduction. It is the second book, after 2016’s “Appetites,” that includes Ms. Woolever’s name on the cover just under Mr. Bourdain’s, albeit smaller. It speaks to the power of Mr. Bourdain’s legacy and the singularity of his point of view that his name still sits so boldly on the book’s cover despite the fact that he contributed not a single new written word to its 469 pages.

How Mushrooms Took Over Food, Wellness, And (Of Course) Drugs, by Terry Nguyen, Vox

So why the resurgence now? Is it simply that it was time for the ubiquitous fungi to get their moment in the sun, after the wellness-industrial complex had exhausted so many other lesser-known ingredients? Not quite: While the shroom boom is a multifaceted and hard-to-trace phenomenon, a number of factors have made this the ideal time for its ascension. Mushrooms’ extreme versatility; the pandemic driving people outdoors, resulting in a more back-to-nature interest in foraging; the passage of laws decriminalizing psychedelics in states like Oregon; and the pleasing, organic aesthetic of the fungi itself have all resulted in a moment where it’s hard to ignore the humble shroom.

“Is It Cool That I Said All That?”, by Sarah Hansen, The Smart Set

What I find most remarkable about Taylor’s endeavor to re-record her old music is not the financial risk, nor the sheer amount of work involved, but the bravery of confronting something she wrote as a teenager. I have entire journals from my teenage years in a dusty box under my bed that I can neither throw away nor make myself read. At the beginning of the pandemic, I tried to read them but had to stop after just a few pages. I don’t want to be reminded of the naïve, sweet, and self-loathing girl I used to be.

The Body Of History And The Memory Of Home In “The Wild Fox Of Yemen.”, by Meredith Boe, Chicago Review of Books

The beautifully crafted poems can feel like mini-histories, intricate narratives spanning only a few pages. They overflow with richness and opportunities for interpretation, shifting between Arabic and English; yet they are self-contained and pointed as a missile.

The Women Of NPR, When NPR Was A Start-Up, by Zoe Greenberg, New York Times

NPR, unlike its well-resourced competitors, was eager to hire sharp, inventive, low-wage workers who couldn’t find jobs anywhere else — in other words, women. That decision launched the star-bright careers of Napoli’s subjects: Susan Stamberg, Linda Wertheimer, Totenberg and Cokie Roberts, and they in turn helped transform NPR from “the nation’s largest unlicensed Montessori school,” as an early study described it, to the vaunted institution it is today.

‘A Light In The Dark’ Is A Love Letter To The Directors, Personal Flaws And All, by Troy Jollimore, Washington Post

If you are not already familiar with the writings of film critic David Thomson, the subtitle of his new book might mislead you. Calling it “a history” makes the book sound like an academic treatise: systematic, comprehensive, responsible, dry. If, on the other hand, you know Thomson’s books about movies — he has published more than 25, including multiple editions of his “Biographical Dictionary of Film” — you will predict, correctly, that “A Light in the Dark” is none of these things. It is highly personal, unapologetically opinionated, intermittently whimsical, charmingly idiosyncratic and above all deeply impassioned. It reads, at times, like a love letter to the art that has moved Thomson most. Or a eulogy dedicated to a tradition, and indeed a world, he fears may be on the verge of disappearing.

Review: Japanese Breakfast Musician’s Memoir Makes A Meal Of Mourning, by Zack Ruskin, San Francisco Chronicle

Best known for the shoegaze indie pop she makes as Japanese Breakfast, “Crying at H Mart” finds Zauner trading in her synths and reverb to deliver a refreshingly candid memoir about the trauma of loss, the limits of language and the meals made along the way. Though aspects of her music career are lightly covered, Zauner’s book is set primarily in hospital rooms and family kitchens, eschewing the popular musicians’ crutch of writing solely about life on the road and in the studio.

Malaise Clings Like Wet Flannel, by Ann Howells, The RavensPerch

Folded on the striped sofa,
a flower at dusk.
Dizzied. Drowsing. Dreaming.