Book and Web Site Reviews Archives

Coney Island

Professor Solomon's book, Coney Island, is a "history and profile of the amusement area (which is about to be leveled for condos and such)."

Prof. Solomon's book is available as a free PDF download.

. . . . . . . . .

Posted September 6, 2007 06:57 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

"Swallowing Clouds," by A. Zee

A playful journey through Chinese culture, language, and cuisine ... In "Swallowing Clouds", A. Zee

invites us to a veritable Chinese banquet full of charming explorations of food, language, and culture. Beginning with simple dishes from a typical restaurant menu, Zee launches into an engrossing voyage of discoveries about Chinese language and cuisine. With folklore and anecdotes, he uncovers the roots of Chinese characters in ancient pictographs, giving an absorbing and effortless introduction to written Chinese.

... why eating "won-tons" is like swallowing clouds ... he traces the origin and legend of the dish "Ma Po To Fu" pages 174-179 ... you will be able to recognize the Chinese characters on menus ... did you know that red hot peppers were imported by the Portuguese from Central America to Sichuan, China! Ay caramba ...

Also see "eating in chinese" for a good overview of Chinese characters on menus and restaurants

Posted June 17, 2007 04:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews , Chinese , Research , Restaurants   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Most popular books with AGINY readers

These are the books most popular with AGINY readers.

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

Posted February 3, 2007 08:56 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Eat at the best restaurants - without a reservation

Jill Conner and Barbara Peters have written a very handy guide to eating at the best restaurants ... without a reservation ... @ the bar: NYC Bar Dining Guide is a pocket guide to 30 of NYC's best restaurants that offer bar dining ... and at many restaurants, the menu is less expensive when eating at the bar ...

@ the bar: NYC Bar Dining Guide is an excellent guide for anyone looking for a great place to enjoy fine dining ... Recommended ... see sample pages at their web site

good restaurants for fine dining at the bar include Davidburke & Donatella ... a great bar to dine and enjoy the atmosphere ... (web site), 133 East 61st Street, bewteen Park and Lexington, 212-813-2121 [MenuPages | Openlist | NYT | Gayot | Citysearch]

Also, Circus, a fine Brazilian bistro on 61st Street between Park & Lexington Avenues, especially in the evening ... (previous reviews: A Guy In New York, Forbes (TWIR, September 30, 2005)) ... web site, 132 East 61st Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, 212-223-2566 [MenuPages | NY Metro | NYT | Citysearch]

Posted June 20, 2006 08:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews , Restaurants   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Julia Child and Bill Buford

Heat will be of particular interest to readers concerned with the problem of perverse fetishization, while many others will enjoy for its own sake Buford's well-told account of his midlife apprenticeship to a famous restaurant in New York, the current world capital of extravagant cuisine. What makes his book unusual within its genre, apart from the quality of its prose, is that he takes more pleasure in watching cooks work than in savoring their dishes.
. . .
In January 2002, the middle of the journey of his life, Buford, a distinguished magazine editor, abandoned his job and his common sense with such passion as normally afflicts the reproductive appetite of men his age. Quitting The New Yorker, he bound himself as a "kitchen slave," an unpaid trainee, to his idolized friend Mario Batali, a Dionysian chef-proprietor whose appearances as Molto Mario on the Food Network have made him a national celebrity and his restaurant, Babbo, a shrine. But Babbo is more than an obligatory tourist destination with its ovate proprietor on display at the bar, a life-size Humpty Dumpty in orange pigtail, knee-length pantaloons, and kitchen clogs.

. . .
Not only did [Julia Child] learn French cooking, she rationalized it, introduced it to the United States, and gave birth to a revolution in American taste which soon spread to all the prosperous parts of the world. Buford will find no better Virgil to lead him through French cooking, as Batali led him through Tuscany, than Julia Child, whose splendid posthumous memoir of her own culinary awakening in France, written in the last years of her long life, has just appeared.

"Eating Out," by Jason Epstein, The New York Review of Books, June 8, 2006, reviewing "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany," by Bill Buford, and "My Life in France," by Julia Child, with Alex Prud'homme.

. . . . . . . . .
Posted June 8, 2006 06:37 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Book Review - "Help, It's Broken!"

"Help, It's Broken! A Fix-It Bible for the Repair-Impaired" is a must-have for every NYC apartment dweller ... written by Arianne Cohen "who has practiced her home-repair skills in apartments all over the world." ... lots of illustrations so you can call things by their correct name (especially important when describing parts to someone at a hardware store or repair shop) rather than by generic, and useless, names such as "dohickey," "thingamajig," or "gizmo" (which is a better name for a Yorkie, thank you very much) ...

Ms. Cohen has numerous tips, including what to do when an earring or ring goes down the drain, how to replace a broken tile, how to make your apartment more secure, what glues to use on which repairs, and much, much more ...

a perfect (and inexpensive) gift for a recent college grad moving into their first apartment ... or a friend who just bought their first condo ... or for anyone who lives in an apartment in New York ...

A colleague said that this book is great for "knowing when it is time to call for expert help, and teaches you how things work so you can figure out what needs to be done."

What others have said:

"If you buy just one basic home-repair book, get this one; I couldn't believe that it would actually come in handy, but when my college ring fell down the sink, 'Help! It's Broken' helped me save my jewelry and keep my sanity-- without calling a plumber. I would highly recommend this book for any new homeowner, renter, or college student; I'm planning on getting another for my friend's housewarming gift." --Amazon reader

"a fix it bible for the repair-impaired. Whether you live in a house or a 9x12 dorm room, everyone needs a book like this." --Josh Spear

"Each project guide begins with supplies required and walks painstakingly through each step in the process—even you home-repair idiots can follow these instructions, which include helpful definitions and diagrams where necessary. Remarkably, she keeps things interesting, employing a sense of humor throughout." -- Kirkus Reviews

Posted November 13, 2005 12:10 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  AGINY Good Value , Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Peter Bearman - "Doormen"

In Talk of the Town ("Doctor Doorman"), Nick Paumgarten reviews a new book by Peter Bearman ... "Doormen" ...

He noted that while sociologists had produced ethnographies of waiters, milkmen, bill collectors, and nail-salon cosmetologists, they’d left doormen alone, and so, a few years ago, he had his students interview doormen all over Manhattan, and then he wrote a book on the class’s findings, which has just been published by the University of Chicago. It is called “Doormen,” and it addresses such familiar phenomena as the Christmas bonus, the sports conversation, the shady visitor, the problem of boredom, and the elasticity of the rule that, as the sign in the lobby says, "All Visitors Must Be Announced." The book is an academic work, but to anyone who has ever wished that doormen would stop calling him “Sir,” or worried that a babysitter might be mistaken for a mistress, or wondered whether he should refrain from looking at his nose hairs in the elevator mirror while the doorman presumably watches via security cam, it is a marvel. It provides the theoretical underpinnings for a lifetime of awkward awning encounters.

via Kottke, "The Matthew effect"

Posted October 5, 2005 05:49 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews

Richard Feynman - "Wise Man"

Freeman Dyson has a review, "Wise Man," of a book that collects the letters of Richard Feynman ... "Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman" ...

People who knew Feynman as a friend and colleague were astonished when this collection of his letters appeared. We never thought of him as a letter writer. He was famous as a great scientist and a great communicator, but his way of communicating with the public was by talking rather than writing. He talked in a racy and informal style, and claimed to be incapable of writing grammatical English. His many books were not written by him but transcribed and edited by others from recordings of his talks. The technical books were records of his classroom lectures, and the popular books were records of his stories. He preferred to publish his scientific discoveries in lectures rather than in papers.

This book now reveals that Feynman was, like that other great communicator Ronald Reagan, secretly writing personal letters to a great variety of people. Few of the letters are to his professional colleagues. Many of them are to his family, and many are to people he did not know and never met, answering letters that they wrote to him with questions about science.

Other Feynman books have portrayed him as a scientific wizard and as a storyteller. This collection of letters shows us for the first time the son caring for his father and mother, the father caring for his wife and children, the teacher caring for his students, the writer replying to people throughout the world who wrote to him about their problems and received his full and undivided attention.

via Kottke

Posted October 4, 2005 09:26 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Web site worth knowing about - Eating Chinese

Eating Chinese "is a labor of love, and being the creation of a man with a slow hand, it will not come to the table with the alacrity of a dry-fry, which is to say it is permanently under construction."

Gary Soup, the webmaster, has an impressive collection of links, but the heart of the site is the discussion forums.

As a lover of chicken feet, we were pleased to discover an entire thread discussing them. And if you want advice for a good Chinese restaurant anywhere, try posting in the Restaurant Tip Sheet.

Mr. Soup, all you need is a blog!

Posted September 7, 2005 12:30 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews , Chinese , Tips   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

blog depression ...

jmorrison has posted a very helpful guide to recognizing and dealing with blog depression ...

more and more bloggers are finding themselves disillusioned, dissatisfied, taking long breaks, and in many cases simply closing up shop.

"A Nonist Public Service Pamphlet" [via Right Moon?]

Posted August 15, 2005 06:20 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

The Boatyard Ruins - web site - Highly Recommended

The Boatyard (the elephants graveyard) is a photographic essay of the boatyard in Arthur Kill (Staten Island: Arthur Kill Road and Rossville Avenue - click on "Satellite" in the upper right corner of the map and zoom in) ... Shaun O'Boyle started photographing these old boats, which include ferries and tugs, in 1987 ... he went back in 2005 for another essay ....

... mesmerizing ...

The Boatyard is part of Mr. O'Boyle's larger web site, Modern Ruins - Photographic Essays.

The site is supported by sale of handmade Boatyard books with color photogpaphs and prints.

AGINY Highly Recommended

Posted August 5, 2005 12:17 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Art , Book and Web Site Reviews , NYC photoblogs , Sights & Sounds , Staten Island , The Best , Water   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

The Food Timeline - web site

The Food Timeline home page is just what it says - a timeline of food ... created by Lynne Olver, a reference librarian ... the Food Timeline is rich with links to more information ... including recipes, definitions, and photos ... Ms. Olver encourages visitors to ask questions ... she has answered almost 10,000 since starting the site in 1999 ... and we did not find one dead link on the site ...

Ever wonder what foods the Vikings ate when they set off to explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream? What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented the potato chip...and why? Welcome to the Food Timeline.

Each item on the timeline is linked to an explanatory article for more information, such as:

The Food Timeline is another demonstration of why we love librarians. Thank you Lynne Olver for such an interesting site.

AGINY Highly Recommended and Top 10

Posted August 3, 2005 12:08 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews , Cooking & Food Prep , Research , The Best , Top 10   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0) - NYC photoblog

Karlo.Org is a New York City photoblogger ... we especially like his black and white photos ...

Some of our favorites

links open in new window

Posted August 2, 2005 07:48 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews , NYC blogs , NYC photoblogs   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (1)

forgotten NY - web site - highly recommended

forgotten NY

If you love New York, then you must visit, and bookmark, forgotten NY. Run by Kevin Walsh, forgotten NY includes text and photographs of all parts of the City, new and old ... he also conducts walking tours ... upcoming tours are announced on the home page ...

Some of our favorite pages include

An incredibly rich site, forgotten NY will keep you occupied for hours ... I bet most of you don't make it to this sentence ...

For more about Kevin Walsh, see the gothamist interview. Thank you, Kevin Walsh, for a wonderful web site.

AGINY Highly Recommended and Top 10

Posted August 1, 2005 07:01 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews , Boroughs/Cities/States , Bronx , Brooklyn , Buildings & Architecture , Bus , Central Park , Getting Around NY , LIRR , NYC blogs , Queens , Research , Sights & Sounds , Subway , The Best , Top 10   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)