Notes From Neil


We've seen a dusting of snow, and we’re coming up on my personal favorite holiday. I have such great memories of Thanksgivings with immediate and extended families, long before anyone had ever invented “Black Friday.” It saddens me that each year is nudging us closer to Thanksgiving becoming “Black Thursday.” I hope you all remember to slow down, enjoy some family time, read a little, and remember the things that make life such a delight. Elbowing your way to a deal on a flat screen at the crack of dawn can wait a day. Here’s what we’re reading:

You know how they say you should never go grocery shopping hungry? I suspect the same argument could be made for writing about books. The first two books I want to mention are about food and cooking. Perhaps I should have eaten breakfast.

Combining fundraising for a great cause with a beautiful cookbook is a win-win for everybody. We recently took delivery of Encore, presented by the Grand Rapids Symphony Women’s Committee to raise money for the Symphony's music education and outreach programs. The recipes alone, provided by local chefs, musicians, Women's Committee members and friends of GRSO are enough of a draw in themselves, but many of our local photographers, artists and designers pooled their talents to make the book truly beautiful, as well. Encore is a great gift idea for any local foodies you want to delight this season.

Jacques Pepin continues his passion for teaching, alongside his reputation as one of the world’s great chefs. His original book of cooking techniques from the 70s (La Technique) is still commonly put into a young chef-in-training’s hands as an essential learning tool. This week brought us a brand new edition, Jacques Pepin New Complete Techniques. While there are many top-notch recipes, the true value of his books has been exactly what the title says: every proper, classic technique for professional and home chefs, beautifully illustrated and explained. Like any form of art, having a firm grasp of the basics allows the artist to improvise and create with confidence.

So you’ve just eaten your fill and it’s time to relax with a good read. I’d recommend James Meek’s The Heart Broke In (Google eBook). If you remember his best seller from a few years ago, The People's Act of Love (Google eBook), that’s all you’ll need to hear. If you missed that one, try his new novel and marvel at Mr. Meek's amazing ability to tell a warm, engaging and very compelling story at the same time he’s shining a remarkably perceptive light at some of the realities (and absurdities) of our modern existence. Then go back and read the other one.

Another very good week for paperback releases:
Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith (Google eBook)
Portlandia by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein
Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs (Google eBook)
May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy (Google eBook)
All My Patients Kick and Bite by DVM Jeff Wells (Google eBook)

Next time: The beginning of my favorite books of 2012 wrap-up. See you then!

Until next week,
Neil * 459-7750 * fax: 459-7778

Jacques Pepin's New Complete Techniques Cover Image
ISBN: 9781579129118
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers - November 13th, 2012

The Heart Broke in Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374168711
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 2nd, 2012

The People's Act of Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9781841957302
Availability: Special Order-Item May Be Out Of Print
Published: Canongate U.S. - November 1st, 2005

Unholy Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9780446563109
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 13th, 2012

Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455520589
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 13th, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416599081
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - November 13th, 2012

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307743572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now-Click on title for location specific availability.
Published: Anchor Books - November 13th, 2012

All My Patients Kick and Bite: More Favorite Stories from a Vet's Practice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250012012
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martins Press-3pl - November 13th, 2012