Friday, August 03, 2007

Gallery of Regrettable Food

Part of me thinks it should almost be illegal to have this much fun reading a book. Seriously. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. The book that inspired such fun and giggles is James Lileks' The Gallery of Regrettable Food: Highlights from Classic American Recipe Books. Why now? The Something-About-Me Challenge of course. This gem of a book is from Tiny Librarian's list.

This book got its start when the author, James Lileks, found an unbelievable book in his mother's closet--a "pristine" copy of Specialties of the House. A cookbook that arrived via the neighborhood Welcome Wagon in the early sixties. He writes in the introduction, "The truth of those times won't be found in these pages. These are the commercial bones of the past, what we're left with." (14)

This book isn't for everyone. Let me tell you that right now. It's not a clean read. The humor sometimes turns adult in nature. And its dosed largely with sarcasm. But there is just something so perfect about this book. It's funny. It's witty. It's brilliant.

The book consists of two things: pictures and illustrations and captions taken from authentic cookbooks from America's past (30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s) and adds the "observations" of Lileks. Both can get you into trouble. Sure you might laugh if you look only at the pictures, but once you start reading his're bound to laugh even harder.

I've been struggling on how best to capture and convey what this book is really like...since I know that most people won't rush on out and see for themselves...

The very least I can do is link to what portions are online...Excerpts of Gallery of Regrettable Food

Actually, I've just been exploring the links...and it seems these are things that aren't in the book. They're extra. They're even-more zany fun that I'll have to explore!! But even so, you'll know if you want to find the real book by examining this site. The review fun goes on at More Regrets, More Fun.

Be sure to visit Lileks' other site as well:

The Institute of Official Cheer

What does this book say about Tiny Librarian? That she has a great sense of humor. That she'd be fun to hang out with. That we are kindred spirits.


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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