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New Meetup: September Book Club - You Choose the Book

From: Torrie
Sent on: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9:47 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for One Drink Minimum Book Club of Princeton!

What: September Book Club - You Choose the Book

When: September 2,[masked]:00 PM

Tre Bar
120 Rockingham Row
Princeton, NJ 08540

For September's book club please pick from the following three books by either RSVPing and answering the question or by answering the Poll (posted on the right hand side of our homepage). I will leave this poll open until the end of the day on Friday (Aug. 7), when I will post the winner. Feel free to vote more than once, if I get a good response for more than one book, I will do them in consecutive months.

#1 Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford.
Buford idolizes Mario Batali, whose wildly successful New York restaurants and ubiquitous cable television shows have transformed the way Americans conceive of Italian food. As Buford presents him, Batali, whose language swings between the vulgar and the obscene, is a walking encyclopedia of Italian food lore and a chef of estimable prowess in many kitchens. He is also a man given to excessive consumption of the contents of his own and others' larders and wine cellars. Determined to make himself competent as a chef, under his mentor's direction, Buford works the various stations in one of Batali's restaurant's kitchens, and he discovers how New York restaurants, no matter what their putative ethnic background, are in fact run by Latin American line cooks with astounding dedication to very demanding work. Buford's long Italian sojourn teaches him first the ins and outs of pasta making and then the technical proficiencies of a Tuscan butcher. Buford's mastery of the stove is exceeded only by his deft handling of English prose.

#2 Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
This beautifully presented novella tracks the lives of two teens, childhood friends who have been sent to a small Chinese village for "re-education" during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, their days are now spent muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal. But the boys-Luo and the unnamed narrator-receive a bit of a reprieve when the villagers discover their talents as storytellers; they are sent on monthly treks to town, tasked with watching a movie and relating it in detail on their return. It is here that they encounter the little seamstress of the title, whom Luo falls for instantly. When, through a series of comic and clever tricks and favors, the boys acquire a suitcase full of forbidden Western literature, Luo decides to "re-educate" the ignorant girl whom he hopes will become his intellectual match. That a bit of Balzac can have an aphrodisiac effect is a happy bonus. This story movingly captures Maoism's attempts to imprison one's mind and heart (with the threat of the same for one's body), the shock of the sudden cultural shift for "bourgeois" Chinese, and the sheer delight that books can offer a downtrodden spirit.

#3 Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Fran?aise tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy?in their town, their homes, even in their hearts.

When Ir?ne N?mirovsky began working on Suite Fran?aise, she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.

Learn more here:

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