SUMMER READING 2019
Wherever you are this weekend, we hope you get a break and have some time to relax and read. For inspiration, here are a few summer reading recs from the Put A Egg On It family.
Agua Viva by Clarice Lispector, published 1973
If you need a short read that will sweep you away, Clarice Lispector will take you on a garbled meditation of life, nature, and time. She was a mysterious Brazilian-Jewish writer who first captured me with her novel The Passion of G.H.⏤a sprawling Kafka-esque mind-bender that shocks you to the end. Can you blame me for liking the way she thinks? "I don't like when they drip lemon upon my depths and make me contort all over. Are the facts of life lemon on the oyster? Does the oyster sleep?"
Vegetables, a Biography by Evelyne Bloch-Dano, published 2012
In eleven short capsule biographies, Block-Dano compiled 360-degree views of produce origins. Did you know that Jerusalem artichokes were once called 'ground walnuts' or that dried beans made French people so gassy that 'haricot secs' became an epithet for bullies and sycophants? Besides history, you'll also find recipes for herb pie, Alexandre Dumas' asparagus, ancient beans, and soup made in a pumpkin.
-Jenn de la Vega, Editor at Large
Notes from the Fog by Ben Marcus, published 2019
I normally wouldn’t recommend a book this recent because I like to have time to sit with them and re-read, but this book has been super engrossing for me these past few (VERY HOT) days. A series of short stories set in dystopian futures, the length is perfect for reading between naps on the beach. The descriptions of food are slightly disgusting too, so you won’t have any trouble curbing those hunger pangs when you just can’t cook and are living off watermelon and ice chips, waiting for the sun to set so you can face entering the same room as your oven.
Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries by Ben Towill, Phil Winser, Nick Wilber, and Julia Turshen, published 2014
One of my favorite restaurants in New York City, this cookbook is split into seasons for easy browsing. From the Summer section, I’m particularly excited about the Fregola with Charred Peppers, Pine Nuts, + Lemon Dressing and the Roasted Stone Fruit with Vanilla + Mascarpone. The recipes are easy to follow and very flexible so they can be adapted to whatever I brought home from the farmers market.
American Chordata, Issue Seven, published 2018
Perfect for lounging in the grass at your favorite park. I love their selections of poetry and short stories, perfectly paired with beautiful images. This issue from last summer has watery vibes that remind me of why I actually love summer when I’m super sweaty waiting for the L. One fair note of warning, I cried in public reading the excerpt from Black-Eyed Peace and Other Survivors’ Recipes so if you are interested in light beach reading, this one probably isn’t for you.
-Heather Clark, Senior Editor
Food Rules by Michael Pollan, illustrations by Maira Kalman, published 2009
If you’re familiar with Michael Pollan, you may expect this book to be long and information-heavy, but it’s not. Food Rules is a collection of simple maxims to help guide oneself on how to eat, which is great for me as someone with a long, torturous relationship with food. Before reading this book, I always considered it a zero-sum, win-or-lose situation: some days you eat well, some days not so much. Pollan avoids making strict, inflexible “diet rules”. I found that this book helped me to pick the right portion, eat more wisely, and enjoy food to its fullest. It sits nicely on a side table or among zines.
-Edison Cummings, Intern
M Train by Patti Smith, published 2015
I give this wistful, whimsical, solo-traveler's memoir a strong recommendation to anyone with a low-grade case of wanderlust. Everyone's favorite poet-witch/queen, Patti Smith guides us through the gentle ego-decrescendo that occurs when we let our senses take over, making room for the intake of the unfamiliar. While making public appearances around the globe, Smith makes personal visits to the graves of her artistic heroes; spiritual-destinations of her own kind. Between dreams and revelations, she writes from cafes, coffee shops, and bistros, eternally in search of a cup of coffee with the best quality/price ratio. I suggest reading with one's own caffeinated beverage close at hand, for the perfect combination of awakening and peace.
Nature Poem by Tommy Pico, published 2017
A book-length poem for those of us too restless to sunbathe. Have a hard time connecting with nature? I get it, there are more pressing things to do- stopping racists, saving the planet, smashing cultural stereotypes and watching their contradictions spill out... With anecdotes about snuck-in movie snacks and the difficulty of quitting candy, Pico explores the complexities of adult life as a queer poet in the city after growing up on his Native Nation's reservation. Playful and cutting, the poem itself allows for moments of intense reflection punctuated by wordy gags and memorable lols.
-Julia Carlin, Intern
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, published 2018
The story follows Ada, a Nigerian girl with quite a lot going on inside her, through her childhood and college. Her various selves vie for power and take turns narrating. Emezi's debut novel is ferocious and beautiful and I felt alternately hypnotized and stressed out by reading it and definitely recommend.
Is This How You See Me? by Jaime Hernandez, published 2019
I've been in love with Love and Rockets and its characters (particularly Maggie Chascarillo) since childhood, and Hernandez's recent books, first The Ghost of Hoppers and now this one, are some of the best work about aging and friendship that I've read in years.
My Mexico City Kitchen by Gabriela Cámara, published 2019
Gabriela's black refried beans are some of the most amazing I've eaten and I can recommend this book purely on the fact that they are discussed inside. Also! It's well written and personal, and full of gorgeous foods from her restaurants as well as family recipes and simple things she cooks at home.
Zaitoun: Recipes From the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan, published 2019
I've just started diving into this gorgeous book of Palestinian recipes and stories about the lives of the people cooking them from British cookbook author Yasmin Khan.
The Thief’s Journal by Jean Genet, published 1949
Jean Genet’s The Thief’s Journal brings the reader on a walk through his life of petty criminality. Part autobiography and part fantasy, the story winds through busy streets, jails and his lover’s beds. Out on lonely travels across Europe, food is discussed mostly in its absence. He is often found scrounging for anything to get through the day, and writes longingly of the meaning and sexual energy found in beer and crackers split between accomplices or a few grapes resting on a lover’s skin. Genet writes poetically of the rites of crime and the story is perfect to slip into on a hazy summer day.
-Ada McNulty, Contributing Photographer