Category: Topics


BEA 16: Books Off the Beaten Path

Posted 11 May, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, books and publishing, musings, Reading, Topics

BEA 16: Books off the Beaten Path

Just like most literary fiction bloggers going to BEA this go around of course I’m looking forward to and hoping to get my grubby little paws on the new Ann Patchett and George Saunders. As a apocalypse, horror, vampire blogger of course I’m looking forward to the thrilling conclusion of the Justin Cronin trilogy. The beach blogger in me admittedly might like to see what new thing Charlaine Harris will be pimping. But since I’m a little bit of an off the beaten path blogger I thought I might share some not-so-mainstream books that I’m hoping to encounter this year at BEA.

John Lennon vs. The U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History by: Leon Wildes (ABA Publishing)

“For the first time, noted New York immigration attorney Leon Wildes tells the incredible story of this landmark case – John Lennon vs. The U.S.A. — that set up a battle of wills between John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and President Richard Nixon. Although Wildes did not even know who John Lennon and Yoko Ono were when he was originally retained by them, he developed a close relationship with them both during the eventual five-year period while he represented them and thereafter. This is their incredible story.”

Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground by: Ian Purkayastha (Hachette)

“A self-described oddball kid from Arkansas, Ian Purkayastha found his true calling when he learned to forage mushrooms and tasted his first truffle. An instant passion for the delicacy sparked an improbable yet remarkable journey to New York to become the leading truffle importer in America in the dynamic and sometimes shady world of the exotic food trade. Today, at age 23, Ian has built a multi-million dollar specialty foods company with clients as renowned as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Chang. As “farm-to-table” becomes “forest-to-table,” Truffle Boy provides a unique view into the world of luxury sourcing, while delivering a coming of age story that will charm foodies and business readers alike.”

Mischling by: Affinity Konar (Hachette)

“It’s 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele’s Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.”

Tacky Goblin by: T. Sean Steele (Consortium)

“An aimless twenty-something struggles to make sense of reality after he moves to Los Angeles to live with his older sister. His legs are rotting, his apartment is haunted, and he’s in charge of taking care of a human baby that might actually be a dog. On top of it all, he has trouble making friends. Tacky Goblin blunders through particularly strange but familiar misadventures to remind us that, ultimately, learning to take care of yourself is hard.”

The Motion of Puppets by: Keith Donohue (MacMillan)

“In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.

The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins the dual odyssey of Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.”

The Last Days of Night by: Graham Moore (Random House)

“New York, 1888. The miracle of electric light is in its infancy, and a young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing Paul is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown attorney shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it? In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.”

So, those are some of the books off the beaten path I’ll be looking for at BEA, Reader. Any other suggestions? What are you looking forward to this fall?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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BEA16: Hopes and Dreams

Posted 9 May, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in blogging, books and publishing, Reading, Topics

BEA16 Hopes and Dreams

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I’ve been consistently sick for about three weeks and because of that pretty consistently hopped up on cough syrup while at home.

Work has been an unholy nightmare of the best kind. There’s a contested judge’s election that is turning into nasty politics, inter-office drama, and the usual suspects. We finished up jury trials in April and don’t have jury trials again until mid-June. I’ll admit that I’m feeling a little antsy and would like some intellectual stimulation to break things up. After trials in June I won’t have jury trials until September. I’m going to need some good reading.

BEA is near. I’ve finally started looking into where I need to be when to get the most out of it. More or less I have to admit that really what I’m most excited about is getting to hang out with Catherine (Gilmore Guide to Books) and Shannon (River City Reading). There do look to be some interesting titles being dropped and I’m hoping to find some titles that will amaze and excite me so maybe I can start reviewing a few books here and there again.

Okay, Reader. What have you been up to? Roll call for those of us going to BEA! 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Weekend Gourmet: Staplehouse

Posted 17 April, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Places, Topics

staplehouse
Staplehouse
: Atlanta, Georgia

Experience Date: April 16, 2016

Price: $85 per person for five courses, $40 additional for wine pairing (six pours) – includes gratuity

I read quite a few articles about Staplehouse before we went last night. It’s being hailed as one of Atlanta’s up and coming new restaurants. I have to agree for the most part. On the whole, the food itself was quite good. My main issue with the experience was how damn loud it was in there. Also, the atmosphere was a little more laid back than I felt like I was paying for.

But let’s talk about the food.

Amuse Bouche: Party for the mouth! Buttermilk curd on crackers, sushi, and foie gras balls. I don’t remember what those sticks were. Those balls are covered in hazelnuts and are absolutely heavenly. It was paired with a surprise sparkling wine, I think it was an Atmospheres out of Loire, France. It was light without being too sweet.

staplehouse amuse bouche

amuse bouche

1st: Excellent Alabama blue crab with fresh asparagus, radishes, and egg yolks. The dish was initially a little bland until I managed a bite that also included an egg yolk. The saltiness of the egg allowed for the flavor in the rest of the dish to come out and I was really impressed. It was paired with a gentil vin d’alsace, a white wine that was just the right balance.

staplehouse crab

blue crab, asparagus, radish, egg yolk
Wine: gentil vin d’alsace, MEYER-FONNÉ, alsace, france 2014

2nd: Absolutely one of my favorite courses. The homemade ravioli was so fresh it melted in my mouth and was cooked to perfection. The green garlic and snap peas on top definitely were the perfect added crunch to make the dish just right. It was paired with a pošip out of Croatia, (that’s a white wine). I’m not sure that I’ve ever had Croatian wine, but it was an excellent pairing to go with both the pasta and the vegetables.

staplehouse ravioli

ravioli, green garlic, koji, snap peas
Wine: pošip, ZLATAN, hvar, croatia 2012

3rd: Poached sablefish. I pointed out to my husband that we didn’t get fish forks or knives with this course.  Poached fish generally isn’t something I care for, but in my experience when you have a phenomenal chef, foods you don’t normally care for can be made magical. This did not happen for me with the poached sablefish. The lime was overwhelming in this dish and the texture of the fish was something akin to warm sushi. I like sushi. I like cooked fish. I don’t like that state in between. This course was a fail for me.

The wine pairing was decent, but didn’t save the course. It was a Napa Valley Chardonnay that was unremarkable. Not bad, but unremarkable.

staplehouse sablefish

sablefish, salami, lime, nasturtium
Wine: chardonnay, TRUCHARD, carneros, napa ca 2014

Bread Intermezzo: Potato sourdough with homemade salted thyme butter. Heavenly.

bread intermezzo!

bread intermezzo!

4th: Meat course! Steak. The cut is best described as the top of the ribeye. Just like the ravioli, it was cooked to melt in your mouth perfection and topped with whipped fat – which I know sounds a little iffy – but I promise you was absolutely delightful. The charred vegetables on the side here should not be overlooked as they were a perfect compliment in both flavor and texture. The wine was a nebbiolo (red). To me it was a little like a cabernet in how it was a bit heavier and more bold than I generally like in a red, but paired with the beef, it was just right.

staplehouse steak

bear creek beef, spring onions, english peas, smilax
Wine: nebbiolo, BORGOGNO, ‘no name’, piedmont, italy 2011

5th: Dessert. Strawberries and butter cake. Sounded a little dull on paper, but Staplehouse delivered strawberries in a couple of different ways. Homemade sorbet, fresh strawberries, and strawberry bark were presented. The cake itself was a bit dry and lackluster. The most notable thing for me about this course was that it was paired with a moscato, which I normally really dislike – but this moscato wasn’t cloyingly sweet and it was paired perfectly with the strawberries.

staplehouse dessert

strawberries, butter cake
Wine: moscato d’asti, vietti, piedmont, italy 2014

Chocolate Truffles: Made in house! Surprise!

Cheers! Home made chocolate truffles!

Cheers! Home made chocolate truffles!

Overall: More or less this was worth the money for me. Like I said before, I felt that the casualness of the venue and the staff to be a little bit underwhelming considering the price. However, I get the idea behind trying to get the millennials who are allegedly ‘less casual’ in their desire for dining experiences.

Personally, I don’t need the white tablecloths and the guys with crumb sweepers – though they are nice touches. But I do require a certain amount of formality based on the price. This isn’t to say that the staff wasn’t incredibly knowledgeable about what they were serving, but …. the price just makes me wish that it was a little quieter and the tiniest bit more formal.

Worth a trip.

So Reader, what do you think? Any amazing recommendations for me? Anyone else been to Staplehouse?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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