Check out these great new books out this week!
Delicious by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.
Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.
To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.
The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death by Colson Whitehead
On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism--a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker. But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of--yes, it sounds overblown and ridiculous, but really!--the human condition.
After weeks of preparation that included repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City, and hiring a personal trainer to toughen him up for sitting at twelve hours a stretch, the author journeyed to the gaudy wonderland that is Las Vegas – the world’s greatest “Leisure Industrial Complex” -- to try his luck in the multi-million dollar tournament. Hobbled by his mediocre playing skills and a lifelong condition known as “anhedonia” (the inability to experience pleasure) Whitehead did not – spoiler alert! - win tens of millions of dollars. But he did chronicle his progress, both literal and existential, in this unbelievably funny, uncannily accurate social satire whose main target is the author himself.
The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead’s hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as “Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins.”
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
A wildly picaresque new novel from Jonas Jonasson, the author of the internationally bestselling The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
In a tiny shack in the largest township in South Africa, Nombeko Mayeki is born. Put to work at five years old and orphaned at ten, she quickly learns that the world expects nothing more from her than to die young, be it from drugs, alcohol, or just plain despair. But Nombeko has grander plans. She learns to read and write, and at just fifteen, using her cunning and fearlessness, she makes it out of Soweto with millions of smuggled diamonds in her possession. Then things take a turn for the worse....
Nombeko ends up the prisoner of an incompetent engineer in a research facility working on South Africa's secret nuclear arsenal. Yet the unstoppable Nombeko pulls off a daring escape to Sweden, where she meets twins named Holger One and Holger Two, who are carrying out a mission to bring down the Swedish monarchy...by any means necessary.
Nombeko's life ends up hopelessly intertwined with the lives of the twins, and when the twins arrange to kidnap the Swedish king and prime minister, it is up to our unlikely heroine to save the day--and possibly the world. In this wild romp, Jonasson tackles issues ranging from the pervasiveness of racism to the dangers of absolute power while telling a charming and hilarious story along the way. In the satirical voice that has earned him legions of fans the world over, Jonasson gives us another rollicking tale of how even the smallest of decisions can have sweeping--even global--consequences.
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
In this funny, frank, and tender new memoir, the author of the "New York Times" bestseller A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage.
When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive--not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn't think he would. Before she knew it, he'd signed a lease on a space.
The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly's assumptions about her marriage were about to change.
Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until--in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen--she realized that she hadn't been honest with herself or Brandon.
With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.
But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.
Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation by Adam Resnick
Adam Resnick, an Emmy Award-winning writer for NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman, has spent his entire life trying to avoid interaction with people. While courageously admitting to being “euphorically antisocial” and “sick in the head,” he allows us to plunge even deeper into his troubled psyche in this unabashedly uproarious memoir-in-essays where we observe Resnick’s committed indifference to family, friends, strangers, and the world at large. His mind shaped by such touchstone events as a traumatic Easter egg hunt when he was six (which solidified his hatred of parties) and overwrought by obsessions, including one with a plastic shopping bag (which solidified his hatred for change), he refuses to be burdened by chores like basic social obligation and personal growth, living instead by his own steadfast rule: “I refuse to do anything I don’t want to do.”
Cut from a similar (if somewhat stranger) cloth as Albert Brooks or Louis C.K., Resnick is the crazy, miserable bastard you can’t help rooting for, and the brilliant Will Not Attend showcases this seasoned comedy writer at his brazenly hilarious best.