Saturday, July 7, 2007

Man Alone

Okay, so I haven't started my "media fast" just yet. I am, however, thinking of booking a cell at the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery located near Bardstown, Kentucky, not too far from where yours truly is currently his underwear. Thomas Merton, a man I have long admired, entered the Abbey in December, 1941 and made it his home for the next 27 years. The monks also make a mean fudge...with bourbon.

Anyway, for those who like a good book, here are two that I quite enjoyed:

I don't--or, more accurately, can't--cook at all. I'm really not even that interested in food, but lately I have been reading a great deal about good food, chefs, and the cooking subculture. My interest has led me to Bill Buford's new book, Heat. In it, Buford (not to be confused with Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill BRuford) a professional writer and amateur cook, somehow finagles a position as "kitchen bitch" at Babbo, celebrity chef Mario Batali's three-star Manhattan restaurant. This is another great one from Buford, and a real classic in the field of participatory journalism. Buford's Among The Thugs, where the author essentially becomes an English football hooligan for several months, is one of my all-time favorite works of non-fiction. I recommend them both.

Another book I recently devoured is Gore Vidal's second memoir, Point to Point Navigation. This volume deals with the second half of his life and is more entertaining than Palimpsest, his first memoir. It's very dishy but also quite touching, as it deals with Vidal's thoughts on death, having lost Howard, his "longtime companion", while also contemplating his own inevitable demise. I don't know about his novels, but I've always admired Vidal's essays, and this work doesn't disappoint.

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