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onion (London, UK)

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The Sartorialist
The Sartorialist
by Scott Schuman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must for the many readers of the original blog, 2 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Sartorialist (Paperback)
It's brilliant. If you like the photos on the blog, this is a great chance to get to pore over them in close up. I guess more commentary might be good but there's a lot of thought provoking shots in here. Lovely.


One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding
One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding
by Rebecca Mead
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exposing the wedding industrial complex, 22 July 2009
A very very readable discussion of the wedding industry and its propaganda. From the perspective of someone who was planning a wedding, and freaking out about the craziness (cost, pressure, families etc), then it gave a very useful perspective on how lots of people make lots of money by creating and maintaining social pressures. It's certainly not an anti-marriage tone, but does make you think about the distortions of weddings.

I'm giving 4 rather than 5 stars because I think the book would have benefited from more of a perspective from the brides/bridegrooms tied up in the whole thing.

A really thoughtful, wry dissection of some powerful cultural mores - much recommended...


Don't Stop Believin': How Karaoke Conquered the World and Saved My Life
Don't Stop Believin': How Karaoke Conquered the World and Saved My Life
by Brian Raftery
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars for anyone who finds karaoke a life-affirming activity, 22 July 2009
This is such a charming, warm book - I also found it laugh out loud funny. It explains how the author became drawn into karaoke singing, how it became the bedrock of his social life, how it made him change and evolve (build confidence, meet women etc). He then goes on a bit of a voyage of discovery (meets the inventor, meets the people who produce backing tracks etc) to get a big more of a backstory about how this phenomenon took off.

The author's been covered in quite a few online places (Salon, the Guardian), if you want to find out more before you buy.

This is the kind of book this is: I re-read it recently when I was feeling pretty down - and it cheered me up (and made me book a k-box session).

I'm giving it 4 rather than 5 stars because I've never heard of many of the songs the author focuses on at length - might be almost too culturally specific (late 30s North Americans), but that's what you get in a personal memoir innit?


The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accessories
The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accessories
by David Lebovitz
Edition: Hardcover

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best ice cream book in existence? I think so..., 22 July 2009
This is a sensational book. I have a couple of other cookbooks on icecreams but this is the best, hands-down.

It contains an almost overwhelming number of recipes (for icecreams, sorbets, other frozen desserts and other elements to serve alongside like sauces, cookies etc). It has great photography, the author is warm and informative, based on straightforward ingredients.

So far I have made the vanilla frozen yoghurt, the strawberry frozen yoghurt and the vietnamese coffee ice cream. All 3 have worked perfectly - the vietnamese coffee icecream, in particular, was the best coffee icecream I've ever tasted.

The only teeny negative point I can think of is the text lacks a bit of the cheeky, outrageous tone you get from the author's blog. But that's it. I now want to buy every other book David has written!


A Table in the Tarn: Living, Eating and Cooking in South-west France
A Table in the Tarn: Living, Eating and Cooking in South-west France
by Orlando Murrin
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gorgeous hands-on guide for swanky french food, 22 July 2009
As other reviewers have noted, this book falls into 2 parts - the descriptions of setting up and running the hotel (very seductive) and the recipes.

The food section is very French, practical (e.g. lots of info on how to do ahead), and has some very glamorous dishes - the aperitif section is particularly strong. However, it's probably *not* for less experienced cooks or for in-front-of-the-TV dinners - it's for pull-the-stops-out, impressive (but not difficult) meals. I've tried 3 recipes so far and have more earmarked for our next party. A very enjoyable book!


Wicked!
Wicked!
by Jilly Cooper OBE
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not up to the usual standard, 4 July 2007
This review is from: Wicked! (Paperback)
I love Jilly Cooper's novels but this is a big stretch for her and it just doesn't come off.

The core idea about the love/hate relationship between the toffs and the comp works pretty well. The adult characters are well realised, (but the younger characters don't work very well in general - her grasp of urban deprivation is really quite crap). But it all gets a bit hysterical with paedophiles and schemings and frankly implausible couplings between all sorts of characters. Mind you, I think the idea of R C-B doing a gcse is brilliant.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to Jilly's next book which is, I understand, based on horses again - I think this will be much stronger territory for her.... It's interesting that she's trying to get to grips with diversity and deprivation, but I think she's just much better at poshos.


Two Lipsticks and a Lover
Two Lipsticks and a Lover
by Helena Frith Powell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars je ne pense pas, 19 Jun 2007
gosh I think this book must have got published by mistake. Sloppy, cliched, misogynistic, and deeply deeply tedious. I'm not sure what it is about the French that seems to bring out the crapness in journalists but this is a great example (see also Janine di Giovanni etc etc)


Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen
by Julie Powell
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars for those times when choosing dinner is the most fulfilling thing in your life, 23 Aug 2006
Yes this book is very personal and certainly won't have universal appeal. But I enjoyed it a lot.

For me, sometimes what you do in your kitchen provides the most fulfilment (when your job is crap and life-direction is in short supply). Julie Powell is really good on this stuff, and on what food can mean to your life - when a potato is not just a potato, when eating a good steak dinner is what your soul needs on the anniversary of Sept 11. If you share this approach - food is lot lot more than just calories - you might get a kick out of this book.

Mind you, I did get a bit fed up with "and then the food processor went wrong and I burst into tears" tantrums. And I wished there were some recipes too - I really want to try some of these now, better add the inspiration to my amazon wish list I guess. Hence, 4 not 5 stars.

I'm re-reading it again at the moment, and getting even more out of it 2nd time around...


The Moro Cookbook
The Moro Cookbook
by Samuel Clark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.60

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant restaurant - cookbook nearly as good, 23 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Moro Cookbook (Paperback)
This is an inspirational book, with recipes well within the reach of a competant home cook.

Many restaurant books (e.g. Cinnamon Club, Nobu) are just too intimidating for the amateurs. But this book has a wide range of recipes, covering Spain, North Africa and pushing into the Middle East. I've tried about 10 or so now, and all have been very successful - e.g. paellas, chickpeas and spinach, tapas suggestions, a fabulous monkfish with sherry/garlic.

Some of the other reviewers have noted the need for a lot of specialist ingredients, which is the reason for 4 not 5 stars, but those who live in a big city or who are prepared to order some of the more esoteric things online should be fine.

I rate Moro as one of the best restaurants in London, and this book helps spread the love for those who can't go there regularly.


Ice Cream and Other Desserts (More Than 70 Inspiring Recipes)
Ice Cream and Other Desserts (More Than 70 Inspiring Recipes)
by Shona Crawford Poole
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource for ice cream machine owners, 8 May 2006
There are bigger, more colourful, more flashy ice cream books out there but this is an incredibly useful little book and would definitely be my prefered buy. I've made about a dozen recipes, and all have worked very well. It also gives formulas for adapting to other fruits e.g. sorbet recipes that can be used for redcurrants, blackcurrants or raspberries. And the no churn lemon icecream really is *quite* devastating. Very much recommended....


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