Bookseller Recommendations: October
This month’s recommendations from our bookstore staff feature the feel-good power of cooking, hot chilies to eat and admire, a mist-shrouded casino, and essays on all things monstrous. We often joke that if you spend enough time staring at our shelves, the strange little subgenres of our interests eventually become clear. This month’s selection is a tidy demonstration of just that phenomenon, highlighting our staffwide enthusiasm for food writing, surprising tiny press debuts, affordable art books, and that ever-under-appreciated form: the essay.
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Here are this month’s recommendations, in which four real people suggest good books we think you might like, too. Read on!
You and I Eat the Same
On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect us to One Another
edited by Chris Ying, forward by René Redzepi
Artisan | October 2018 | $19.95
If you’ve missed reading Lucky Peach, this is a great book for you. If you’re looking for a brief history of the Mennonites, this is a great book for you. If you have ever wanted an alphabetical list of different things humans eat, starting with aardvark and ending with zebu, this book is for you. If you want to read an anthology that links cultures through food, cooking, and history, this book is for you. If you want to read something that makes you feel good when you are done, You and I Eat the Same is for you. This is great food writing. Buy now»
This Young Monster
by Charlie Fox
Fitzcarraldo Editions | June 2018 | $20.00
These thrilling essays plumb the weird depths of the cultural gutter, embracing the odd, ugly, and uncanny anywhere it can be found—from Diane Arbus to Alice in Wonderland—with camp and spooky subculture touchstones (Divine! the New York Dolls! Vincent Price!) surfacing throughout. Fox (re)animates each subject with his energetic sentences, strong point of view, and plain old guts. He lands a flawless critique of Stranger Things in a footnote! A new favorite of mine, and perfect for this time of year. Buy now»
An Anarchy of Chilies
by Caz Hildebrand
Thames & Hudson | October 2018 | $29.95
Caz Hildebrand is a creative partner at Here Design in London. Her first book was the exquisite and informative Geometry of Pasta. Since that book—I still have my abused and worn copy—she has published Herbarium, The Grammar of Spice, and her latest, An Anarchy of Chilies. The world of cookbooks has become littered with things that are stylish or pretty but lacking substance. Hildebrand’s work is the antidote. Each pepper is listed by size and origin, with details for growing and eating and a Scoville Heat Index score. I’d buy anything she puts together. Buy now»
Queen of Spades
by Michael Shou-Yung Shum
Forest Avenue Press | October 2017 | $15.95
This spirited debut is my go-to pick lately when customers come into the store wanting a temporary respite from the news. The novel tracks the lives of a few workers and gamblers at a mysterious casino in the Pacific Northwest. The reading payoff is huge, and comes from having the story told by someone on the inside, who knows this world and can show us its grimness and its greater glories. So readable, so fun, and so wonderfully cinematic. Buy now»