Tag Archives: Reviews

Podcast Interviews: Irish-British Author Maggie O’Farrell On Her New Novel “Hamnet” (BBC)

BBC Radio 4 Books and AuthorsBBC Radio 4 “Books And Authors” Talks To Maggie O’Farrell on her new novel, “Hamnet”

 

Hamnet Maggie O'Farrell March 31 2020On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

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Music Interviews: Singer John Legend Talks About Career And Songwriting

Broken RecordDuring these tough times, Rick Rubin wanted to have a chat with an artist he finds inspiring. Top of mind was John Legend. So he called him up via Zoom, while both were sheltering in place, for a quick chat about his career and the creative process behind two of his biggest songs. 

Listen to John Legend’s new single “Actions” below and check for a new album later this year.

 

Book Interviews: “Out Of Darkness, Shining Light” Author Petina Gappah

BBC Radio 4 Books and AuthorsBBC Radio 4 speaks to Petina Gappah on her new book, “Out of Darkness, Shining Light”.

 

“This is how we carried out of Africa the poor broken body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, David Livingstone, so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own land.” 

Petina Gappah Author
Author Petina Gappah

So begins Petina Gappah’s powerful novel of exploration and adventure in nineteenth-century Africa—the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone’s body, his papers and maps, fifteen hundred miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there.

Narrated by Halima, the doctor’s sharp-tongued cook, and Jacob Wainwright, a rigidly pious freed slave, this is a story that encompasses all of the hypocrisy of slavery and colonization—the hypocrisy at the core of the human heart—while celebrating resilience, loyalty, and love.

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Auto Racing Nostalgia: “Targa Florio” Endurance Race In Sicily (1906 – 1977)

1951 Targa Florio PosterThe Targa Florio was an open road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near the island’s capital of Palermo. Founded in 1906, it was the oldest sports car racing event, part of the World Sportscar Championship between 1955 and 1973. While the first races consisted of a whole tour of the island, the track length in the race’s last decades was limited to the 72 kilometres (45 mi) of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, which was lapped 11 times.

After 1973, it was a national sports car event until it was discontinued in 1977 due to safety concerns. It has since been run as a rallying event, and is part of the Italian Rally Championship.

1967 Targa Florio PosterThe race was created in 1906 by the wealthy pioneer race driver and automobile enthusiast, Vincenzo Florio, who had started the Coppa Florio race in BresciaLombardy in 1900. The Targa also claimed to be a worldly event not to be missed. Renowned artists, such as Alexandre Charpentier and Leonardo Bistolfi, were commissioned to design medals. A magazine was initiated, Rapiditas, which aimed to enhance, with graphic and photographic reproductions of the race, the myth of the car and the typical character of modern life, speed.[1]

1973 Targa Florio PosterOne of the toughest competitions in Europe, the first Targa Florio covered 3 laps equalling 277 miles (446 km) through multiple hairpin curves on treacherous mountain roads, at heights where severe changes in climate frequently occurred. Alessandro Cagno won the inaugural 1906 race in nine hours, averaging 30 miles per hour (50 km/h).

By the mid-1920s, the Targa Florio had become one of Europe’s most important races, as neither the 24 Hours of Le Mans nor the Mille Miglia had been established yet. Grand Prix races were still isolated events, not a series like today’s F1.

After winning the race several times, Porsche named the hardtop convertible version of the 911 after the Targa. The name targa means plaque or plate, see targa top.

From Wikipedia

Tributes: 81-Year Old Country Singer Kenny Rogers Dies (1938 – 2020)

Kenny Rogers Facebook March 21 2020March 21, 2020 – The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81.  Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.
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In a career that spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. Chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Through the Years” are just a handful of Kenny Rogers’ songs that have inspired generations of artists and fans alike.
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Rogers, with twenty-four number-one hits, was a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and has been voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.
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The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.  They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.
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Top Restaurant Videos: Gion Mikaku In Kyoto, Japan’s Best Steakhouse

Gion Mikaku, founded 1929: – 2 different cuts of beef: Tajima beef filet mignon and Kobe beef rump steak with just the right amount of marbling (intra-muscular fat) and no extra-muscular fat – 400g in total. Steak cutting behind a window in their kitchen, friendly, dedicated service, pleasant view, extra hot griddle for proper searing, right timing and handling of the steaks: they certainly know what they are doing – This restaurant meal included garlic rice (between steak and dessert).

Gion Mikaku Kyoto Japan Best Kobe Beef Steakhouse Menu

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Cookbooks: “Les Dîners de Gala” (1973) By Salvador Dalí Reprinted By Taschen

From an Art Daily online article (March 19, 2020):

“I love eating suits of arms, in fact I love all shell fish… food that only a battle to peel makes it vulnerable to the conquest of our palate.”

Les diners de Gala Salvador Dali rerpint by Taschen 2020This reprint features all 136 recipes over 12 chapters, specially illustrated by Dalí, and organized by meal courses, including aphrodisiacs. The illustrations and recipes are accompanied by Dalí’s extravagant musings on subjects such as dinner conversation: “The jaw is our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge.”

NEW YORK, NY.- “Les diners de Gala is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of taste … If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive, and far too impertinent for you.”—Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí Les dîners de Gala cookbook Taschen book

Read fabulous review in Brain Pickings

Food and surrealism make perfect bedfellows: sex and lobsters, collage and cannibalism, the meeting of a swan and a toothbrush on a pastry case. The opulent dinner parties thrown by Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) and his wife and muse, Gala (1894–1982) were the stuff of legend. Luckily for us, Dalí published a cookbook in 1973, Les diners de Gala, which reveals some of the sensual, imaginative, and exotic elements that made up their notorious gatherings.

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