Thursday, May 28, 2015

Charles Dickens' Fake Books Made (Kind Of) Real by the New York Public Library

To celebrate Charles Dickens' 200th birthday, the New York Public Library created an exhibition called "Charles Dickens: The Key to Character," and amongst the relics of the English novelist was a set of unassuming hardback books with titles for books that don't exist, but were invented by Dickens for trompe l'oeil books for his study.  

Here are some Penguin-ized versions, which I found here.

Here's the whole list of fake Dickens books, from the great blog Lists of Note.  Lists of Note's author has also just published a book with the same title. 

History of a Short Chancery Suit
Catalogue of Statues of the Duke of Wellington
Five Minutes in China. 3 vols.
Forty Winks at the Pyramids. 2 vols.
Abernethy on the Constitution. 2 vols.
Mr. Green's Overland Mail. 2 vols.
Captain Cook's Life of Savage. 2 vols.
A Carpenter's Bench of Bishops. 2 vols.
Toot's Universal Letter-Writer. 2 vols.
Orson's Art of Etiquette.
Downeaster's Complete Calculator.
History of the Middling Ages. 6 vols.
Jonah's Account of the Whale.
Captain Parry's Virtues of Cold Tar.
Kant's Ancient Humbugs. 10 vols.
Bowwowdom. A Poem.
The Quarrelly Review. 4 vols.
The Gunpowder Magazine. 4 vols.
Steele. By the Author of "Ion."
The Art of Cutting the Teeth.
Matthew's Nursery Songs. 2 vols.
Paxton's Bloomers. 5 vols.
On the Use of Mercury by the Ancient Poets.
Drowsy's Recollections of Nothing. 3 vols.
Heavyside's Conversations with Nobody. 3 vols.
Commonplace Book of the Oldest Inhabitant. 2 vols.
Growler's Gruffiology, with Appendix. 4 vols.
The Books of Moses and Sons. 2 vols.
Burke (of Edinburgh) on the Sublime and Beautiful. 2 vols.
Teazer's Commentaries.
King Henry the Eighth's Evidences of Christianity. 5 vols.
Miss Biffin on Deportment.
Morrison's Pills Progress. 2 vols.
Lady Godiva on the Horse.
Munchausen's Modern Miracles. 4 vols.
Richardson's Show of Dramatic Literature. 12 vols.
Hansard's Guide to Refreshing Sleep. As many volumes as possible.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pulp! The Classics: Melodramatic, Trashy Covers for English Classics

Pulp! The Classics is a new UK imprint that is publishing mostly English classics with, well, pulpy covers inspired by the trashy pocket books of the mid-20th century and film adaptations.  It's fun to see Colin Firth (aka Mr. Darcy) and Ryan Reynolds getting the pulp treatment.  I also love the neon-colored page edges and the super melodramatic descriptions of the well-known, and actually pretty sedate, plots of classic texts.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Street Vegan by Adam Sobel

This is the first cookbook from Adam Sobel, owner of the New York City vegan food truck Cinnamon Snail.  I've never had the pleasure of eating any of his food, and this book really makes me  want to fly out to NYC and try it out!  This is a very well-designed paperback original cookbook.  Most of the recipes are accompanied by full-color photographs, and the graphic design is lively and clear.  The recipes themselves sound scrumptious.  Even though I'm not vegan (although I am vegetarian), I have this weird obsession with vegan food and especially vegan cookbooks, so I've read a ton of them.  This is probably the most innovative vegan cookbook I've come across.  But although the recipes are interesting and smart, they're not pretentious or overly complicated, not surprising given that they come from a food truck!  The recipes therefore hit a vegan sweet spot!  The food is also diverse and yummy-sounding.  I'm dying to try recipes like Chimichurri Tempeh Empanadas with Mint Onion Relish, Fresh Fig Arnold Palmers, Gooey Salted-Caramel Pecan Turtle Bars, Tequila Lime Tostones, Truffled Potato and Fried Onion Pierogies with Horseradish Mustard Cream, and Peking Seitan Bao Buns.  This is a fun book with interesting and innovative, yet accessible recipes.

(I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books.)

Airan Kang's Neon Light Books

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review: Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

Canadian food blogger Tara O'Brady's new cookbook, Seven Spoons, is beautifully designed and executed.  The cover and photos are all gorgeous.  More importantly, the food in her book is stunning.  O'Brady's recipes reflect an attitude towards food that I greatly appreciate.  Much has made about the fact that O'Brady is Indian and Canadian.  This supposedly explains why her food is so eclectic (in the best possible way) in terms of the types of world cuisines it combines.  However, I see the way she cooks as simply reflecting an open-minded attitude towards food and culture that doesn't put too much stock in labels.  Recipes like Chaat Tostadas don't tell us so much about O'Brady's race or ethnicity as about the tastes of a cosmopolitan and thoughtful cook.  This recipe is about translating the delicious flavors of Indian street food into an easier, more everyday type of food.  Huevos a la Plaza de Mercado, Hummus with White Miso, Mushrooms and Greens with Toast, Fattoush with Fava Beans and Labneh, Lemon Bucatini with Roasted Kale, Halloumi in Chermoula, and Walnut Cherry Oat Butter Tart Pie suggest O'Brady's freewheeling food references, rather than her race or upbringing. They also look and sound delicious.  As these recipes suggest, her food tends towards the comforting, homey, filling, simple, and yet sophisticated.  She places an emphasis on fresh ingredients and whole foods.  She is also an excellent writer, and every recipe starts with lovely, evocative and helpful paragraphs about the food to follow.  This is a user-friendly book of wonderful recipes that take a global approach to eating for granted.

( I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)