Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The authors of these three books pictured here may appear to have nothing in common, but in fact they do: all three of them -- Katie Workman, R. J. Palacio, and Luke Barr -- will be guest authors at the Goddard Riverside Community Center's 27th Annual Book Bash this Friday night the 22nd!

Goddard Riverside's headquarters are on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on Columbus Avenue at 88th Street, though its 27 programs change the lives of children, adults, and the elderly at 21 sites throughout Manhattan, from Wall Street to 140th Street. 

The Book Bash cocktail party kicks off the weekend-long Book Fair, where brand new, current releases are for sale at 50% off the cover price (there are no musty paperback novels or out-of-date road atlases that have been stored in someone's attic for twenty years).  The Book Fair opens to the public on Saturday morning whereas the Book Bash requires a ticket ($125 in advance, $150 at the door) -- go to goddard.org for full details. 

I've been volunteering for Goddard for 20 years, and I would never have continued my involvement were it not for the wonderful staff there as well as for all the wonderful people who passionately support Goddard.

I have fond memories of every Book Bash, but wow, these three authors coming this year is amazing!  The Mom 100 (Workman Publishing) is truly the book I wish I'd had when my daughter was younger.  Full disclosure: Katie is a friend, so you might expect me to endorse her book; but in all honesty, even though my copy isn't exactly dog-eared, I have still found a number of recipes and tips in the book that have proven popular with my 15-year-old.  Wonder (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers) is just simply one of my absolute most favorite books and one that I think every single human being should read.  (And I was fortunate to meet R. J. Palacio once and she exudes such warmth you just want to hug her and not let go.)

Provence, 1970: M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste (Clarkson Potter) may be of most interest to readers of this blog as it is at least partially a travelogue.  Sans doute, some  readers will recognize Barr's name -- he is news director at Travel + Leisure (read his piece entitled 'A Kitchen in Provence' in the November issue of T+L) and he is a grandnephew of M. F. K. Fisher.  I was utterly engrossed in this account of a particular time in a particular place, among these now legendary culinary icons, and I think the book may surprise some readers; it is an eye-opener in some regards.

December of 1970 found M. F. K. Fisher, Julia Child, Simone Beck, James Beard, Judith Jones, and Richard Olney all in the south of France, and they could not only feel their world was changing but they had in fact set many of the changes in motion.   Barr notes in the Prologue that his book is a narrow slice of history that is also a personal story.  "It is the story of my great-aunt, trying to decide at age sixty-two what to make of her life thus far, and what to do with the rest of it.  And that had everything to do with the events in Provence that winter, and with the future of American cooking, its debt to France, and M. F.'s role in that trajectory.  France had been her ideal for decades, and that was changing.  She was changing.  I know this because I found her diary."

And on that key note I will not spoil the rest of this revealing and unique historical moment.

If you live in the New York area come to the Book Bash or the Book Fair!  I'll see you there.

November 23-24, 2013
Always the weekend before Thanksgiving 
Children's book authors on Saturday & Sunday! 

Meet these great children's book authors:
Roxie Munro (1:00pm Saturday)
Jessie Hartland (2:30pm Saturday)
Fiona Robinson (12:30 Sunday)
Daniel Kirk (2:00pm Sunday)

Don't miss out on great book discounts!
Goddard Riverside Community Center
593 Columbus Avenue | New York, New York 10024
www.goddard.org/bookfair | 212.873.4448