Non Fiction

B-
Mistress of the Monarchy

Of course I bought Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir because of Anya Seton’s historical novel Katherine. I love the novel, and I thought it would be deeply interesting to take a closer look at its main characters from a historian’s point-of-view. I was not disappointed. The love story o ...

A-
A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age

America does not have royalty or a peerage, but for a period of time right after the Civil War, until the outbreak of World War I, an observer of the social scene in New York might think we did. During this time, known as the Gilded Age, members of society gave lavish balls, built spectacular homes, ...

B-
The Great Derangement

If you read Rolling Stone or watch Bill Maher's HBO series, you're probably familiar with Matt Taibbi, who is one of the show's roving political reporters. There's no mistaking his political point of view, but his screeds are always tempered with humor. And, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, he' ...

B
The Nasty Bits

When I first came across Anthony Bourdain in 2001, I referred to him as a "gonzo bon vivant pirate chef." He continues the stories he began in Kitchen Confidential in The Nasty Bits, although in this book he not only writes about the realities of being a [bad boy, natch] chef, he also writes about h ...

A
Kitchen Confidential

Somehow, someway I managed to avoid ever really working in a restaurant except for a brief stint as a waitress in a bar where all the ad guys drank every afternoon, resulting in my revelation that, “hey, that’s what I want to be when I grow up”. So the truth is that I didn’t think I’d be ...

B
In Defense of Food

My husband does most of the cooking in our house. He loves to cook, to invent, and to nurture his family through the meals he creates. He's also keenly aware of the role nutrition plays in health, which dovetails quite nicely since he is of the "everything in moderation" school. We use real butter i ...

A-
The Court of the Last Tsar

I am all for comfort. Not for me the torturous trappings of the 19th century woman, but if they ever make a time machine, I will gladly don a corset if it means I can go to a reception, dinner, and ball at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg during the time when the Tsar was still the absolute ruler ...

B+
Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love

What if Jane Austen wrote an advice column a la Dear Abby? That's the premise of Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love and if you are a Janeite, you will love this book. My Jane Austen novels, which were well read and well loved in the past, have been collecting dust on my bookshelf ...

B
Flirting with Pride and Prejudice

Jennifer Crusie spends her editorial prologue in Flirting with Pride and Prejudice talking about how she didn’t have the time edit the collection. What with deadlines, her "real" life, and other obligations, she simply didn’t need the extra project. But she couldn’t turn it down. I felt ...

A-
Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style

He joined the army, but didn't fight in a war. He didn't find the cure for a dreaded disease (he died of one). He didn't produce any works of art and never even sat for a portrait. He wasn't a saint, nor was he particularly wicked. He had his faults, but he had his share of virtues as well. He ...