The Book Reader: "It's Not You, It's Brie", "The Lost Carving", "Give Me Everything You Have"
Dan Kois of Slate reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in NY1's newest living segment, "The Book Reader".
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Today, I want to talk about obsession. It's not always a bad thing!
I'm obsessed with cheese, and that doesn't do any harm, except to my arteries. Luckily Kirstin Jackson is, too, and her book "It's Not You, It's Brie", just published by Perigee Books, is an ode to American cheesemaking, from California to the New York Island and everywhere in between. Not, like, big bricks of cheddar - as Jackson writes, cheese is a political product, and the chevres, tommes, and blues she features here are all artisanal, small-batch - and delicious-sounding. Luckily, there's ordering information, and recipes, too.
For David Esterly, author of "The Lost Carving", obsession meant spending a year in a royal palace in England, resurrecting the hand-carved ornaments destroyed in a fire. Esterly is one of the only artisans in the world who can carve the gorgeous, delicate leaves and vines popular in the late 1600s. His lovely book, out now from Viking, is a testament to the importance of making things by hand, and the obsessive qualities it takes to do it right.
But obsession took a darker turn for James Lasdun, the author of "Give Me Everything You Have", from Farrar, Straus. He was the target of a stalker, a former student who devoted herself to destroying his reputation and career for years. His memoir is chilling, a fascinating account of what it feels like to be the wood, gouged into new shapes by the carver's hand.
Look for a review of "Give Me Everything You Have" and many other titles on the Slate Book Review at www.slate.com/books.