What I Read in June | July 1, 2020

So back when I made it a goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks, I wondered when I'd trip up, get way behind, and either A.) feverishly skim books that looked short or B.) get discouraged and consider giving up. Go hard or go straight home, amiright? 

Anyway, apparently, it was June. That's when I would do those things. I only read two books this month and while I'm claiming an excuse due to the sheer beefcake size of one of those books (and resting on the laurels of May), I still lost some traction. 

Oh well. July is a fresh month and there's nothing I enjoy more than some toxic optimism. 

The Autobiography of Henry VII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers - Margaret George

I found this behemoth in our local Little Free Library at the beginning of the month, and if you've been hanging around for a while, you already know that I'm always willing to drop everything to read about my favorite tyrant. 

This one though, it got a little exhausting. It lacks detail, so it's hard to get invested, but is also excessively wordy. I don't mind a big book, but I don't think the author capitalized well on her word count. About a third of the way in, I started skimming. 

So the gist here is that it's the private journals of Henry VIII (although to clarify, it is fiction) and essentially the book is meant to cover his entire life. Frankly, I don't think you can properly overview this turd in a single book. He made some - ahem - decisions that require full and explicit detail, and as this book proved, even if not well detailed, it still takes up a lot of pages. It's a commitment and in my opinion, not one worth making. If you want a juicy account and don't mind a little creative patching of the known facts, I'd steer you towards Phillippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn  Girl

Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

Now here's a book. I'm hooked on No Reservations and Parts Unknown, and recently discovered A Cook's Tour streaming free on Amazon Prime (this is the OG and it's so 90's - it feels vaguely like the very first episode of Sex and the City), so Bourdain is a voice I'm accustomed to listening to and I enjoy it very much. I've been wanting to read this book for a while.  I find him snarky, funny, and occasionally introspective. He's a delight. 

This book narrates his work in the culinary industry -- and in and out of heroin hits - and unlike the first book I read this month, comes with a cheerful array of many details. Usually regarding snorting cocaine, "screwing waitresses" in the dry goods cupboard, and screaming expletives at vendors and colleagues, although the colleagues one is more of a love language. Calling your sous chef a motherfucker is essentially on par with saying "hi friend" to the guy that sits in the cubicle next to you. It's nice, I guess. You just don't ever insult his mother or girlfriend or grandmother.

I know that sounds like a dismal review, but it's quite good. This book launched his writing career and after reading, it's very clear why. It's immediately engaging and reads in exactly the same voice as any of his docu-shows. If you like Bourdain on TV, you'll love him in his book -- where he's not censored by the FCC or CNN. 

What I Read in June: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain | biblio-style.com

Still not sure why he's wearing samurai swords, but whatever. Not my industry. 


What did you read this month?

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