Spotlight/US Giveaway: I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg

All materials in this Spotlight post were provided by the publisher

From Jen Agg, one of Canada’s most influential restauranteurs and a trailblazer in the culinary industry for her takedown of chef “bro” culture, comes the sharp and candid memoir, I HEAR SHE’S A REAL BITCH(Penguin Books Original; September 12, 2017; $17; 9780143132646). Studded with Agg’s frank and often hilarious observations on an industry in which sexism has been normalized, her memoir is more than a story about starting a restaurant: it is a rallying cry for a feminist revolution in the culinary world.

As the title suggests, I HEAR SHE’S A REAL BITCH is a bold, uninhibited memoir of Agg’s growth as a restaurateur, battle to establish herself and her businesses, and the particular difficulties she’s faced as a woman in the industry, including vivid stories about:

  • Agg’s twenty-plus years in the restaurant industry from server to bartender to Toronto restauranteur.
  • The creation of The Black Hoof, which started Canada’s culinary revival and is beloved by star chefs Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsey, and Daniel Boulud.
  • Agg’s commitment to creating an equitable work environment, leading to her creation of the Kitchen Bitches conference, which featured chef Hugh Acheson, Suzanne Barr of Saturday Dinette, Jessica Koslow of L.A.’s SQIRL, Amanda Cohen of New York’s Dirt Candy, and many more.

Years of hard work—and plenty of opportunities to learn from her mistakes—taught Agg how to run a great restaurant that also functions as a business. That hard work pays off here with a memoir equally as distinctive as Agg’s restaurants. Already famous in Canada, this book puts the rest of the world on notice: if you haven’t heard about Jen Agg yet, you soon will.

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“A terrific, beautifully written, frank, and funny memoir, and a compelling argument for pulling down the long outdated system of ‘bro’ culture that has dominated the industry since what feels like the beginning of time.” —Anthony Bourdain


About the author:

Jen Agg is the owner of The Black Hoof, which sparked Toronto’s culinary renaissance, Rhum Corner, and the Hoof Cocktail Bar. She is the co-owner of Agrikol (along with Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne) and the newly opened Grey Gardens (with Mitch Bates of Momofuku Ko).


I HEAR SHE’S A REAL BITCH

by Jen Agg

Penguin Original ▪ $17.00 ▪ On-sale: September 12, 2017 ▪ 9780143132646

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK

You can follow Jen Agg on Twitter at @TheBlackHoof

US Giveaway

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Giveaway ends on September 20, 2017


 

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Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

  • Title:  CORK DORK: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
  • Author:  Bianca Bosker
  • Genre:  Memoir; Food & Drink
  • Pages:  346
  • Published:  March 2017 – Penguin Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Like many of us, amateur drinker and professional tech reporter Bianca Bosker saw wine as a way to unwind at the end of a long day, or a nice thing to have with dinner—and that was about it. Until she stumbled on an alternate universe where taste reigned supreme, a world in which people could, after a single sip, identify the grape a bottle was made from, in what year, and where it was produced—within acres. Where she tasted “wine,” these master sommeliers detected not only complex flavor profiles, but entire histories and geographies. Astounded by their fanatical dedication and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, Bosker abandoned her screen-centric life and set out to discover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.” 

Thus begins a year and a half long adventure that takes the reader inside elite tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, a California mass market wine “factory,” and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as Bosker attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine? Counterintuitive, compulsively readable, and hilarious, Cork Dork illuminates how tasting better can help us live better—and will change the way you drink wine forever.  (publisher)

My take  I occasionally enjoy a glass or two of wine and have a couple of favorites. I prefer it over other alcoholic beverages. That’s the extent of my relationship with wine – I know when something tastes good to me and that’s it. Reading Cork Dork was a revelation. Sure I’d always heard of sommeliers who know everything one should know about wines but until I read this book I didn’t fully appreciate everything that informs a sommelier. It’s astounding and impressive and I wouldn’t want to be one for all the wine in France. I would liken it a bit to a religious calling.

Bianca Bosker’s extensive research is apparent. She places the reader among the wine makers and the drinkers, the buyers, the purists and the high rollers. Once or twice she got a little too far into the weeds for me but I learned – so that’s a plus. I think most wine-lovers would find this memoir fascinating. It certainly has given me things to think about the next time I buy a bottle of wine. I also have a new respect for sommeliers and the invaluable service they contribute to a diner’s experience. Recommended to fans of foodie/beverage memoirs and, of course, wine.


About the author:  Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist who has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New Republic. The former executive tech editor of The Huffington Post, she is the author of the critically acclaimed book Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press, 2013). She lives in New York City.

CORK DORK:
A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers,
Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Bianca Bosker ▪ Penguin Original ▪ $17.00

On-sale: March 28, 2017 ▪ ISBN: 9780143128090

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK


Spotlight/US Giveaway: Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

More Americans are drinking wine than ever before, yet the rituals, customs, and language around it are as rarefied and opaque as ever, leaving many of us wondering what all the fuss is about. What makes the bottle I bought for last week’s dinner party “bad”? Are sommeliers just pretentious, glorified salespeople, or can they actually taste things like pyrazine and honeysuckle in wine? And why do so many people devote their lives (or life savings) to experiencing minute differences in flavor that most of us can’t even perceive, let alone appreciate? These were some of the questions obsessing Bianca Bosker when she decided to give up her job as executive tech editor at the Huffington Post in favor of tasting wines at 8 a.m., lifting and sorting heavy bottles as a “cellar rat” in one of Manhattan’s top restaurants, and foregoing coffee, spicy foods, and sometimes even toothpaste in order to taste better.

The account of her year-and-a-half journey, CORK DORK: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste(Penguin Books Original; ISBN: 9780143128090; On-sale: March 28, 2017; $17.00) takes the reader inside an elite tasting group, a Burgundy bacchanal, a Michelin-starred restaurant, an fMRI machine, and more as Bosker strives to make sense, once and for all, of our complicated relationship with fermented grape juice.

Compulsively readable, fascinating, and a hilarious exploration of the wine world, CORK DORK includes:

  • Bosker’s training for and entry into the country’s oldest sommelier competition, with hilariously disastrous results (though she does eventually become certified)
  • Behind-the-scenes looks at two elite Manhattan restaurants, where she trailed sommeliers and watched the complicated dance of service and hospitality unfold
  • The science behind how we can improve our senses of taste and smell, and thereby live more richly

Full of amazing stories, incredible facts, and scientific research, CORK DORK is a charming, informative memoir that digs deep into how improving our senses can help create a more colorful life.

About the Author:
Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist who has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New Republic. The former executive tech editor of The Huffington Post, she is the author of the critically acclaimed book Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press, 2013). She lives in New York City.


US Giveaway

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GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

 

Giveaway ends on April 5th, 2017


CORK DORK:
A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers,
Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Bianca Bosker ▪ Penguin Original ▪ $17.00

On-sale: March 28, 2017 ▪ ISBN: 9780143128090

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK


Advance Praise for CORK DORK:

 “A page-turning and fascinating memoir…. Bosker’s mix of science, food writing, and memoir will be enjoyed by many.”  Publishers Weekly

 

“Always perceptive, curious, and entertaining, [Bianca] describes her experiences with precision and a wry sense of humor, locating the exact words to evoke even the most insubstantial sensations. Readers will certainly come away from the book knowing more about wine and likely eager to explore it further, but even those less inclined to imbibe will be intrigued by Bosker’s insights into the nature of smell and taste and the ways training and attention can increase one’s pleasure in them.”  Kirkus, Starred Review

 

“I loved this book. It’s not just about wine. It’s about learning how to listen to your senses, to more deeply experience and appreciate the world around you, and everyone could use another glass of that.” —Mary Roach, author of Gulp


Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns to her Victorian-era roots and introduces a new, adventurous protagonist in Veronica Speedwell

9780451476012

Advance Praise for A CURIOUS BEGINNING:

“The intrepid Veronica’s witty narration and the sexual tension she shares with the equally eccentric and articulate Stoker deliver a fun read with promises of more to come.” Publishers Weekly

“Mastermind of the charming Lady Grey Mysteries series, Raybourn introduces her latest feisty heroine, deftly twining together suspense, romance, and cracking good dialogue….As Veronica and Stoker careen through dastardly plot twists, they match wits, bantering with skill worthy of Tracey and Hepburn. A thrilling—and hilarious—beginning to a promising new series.”  Kirkus

“With wicked intelligence, Deanna Raybourn has created a fresh and fascinating sleuth. Veronica Speedwell is sure to join the greats of mystery fiction. Impeccably plotted and meticulously researched, A CURIOUS BEGINNING will leave you, as it left me, whimpering for more.”  Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series


A CURIOUS BEGINNING

by Deanna Raybourn

Veronica Speedwell is not your typical Victorian-era woman. Scoffing at the notion of marriage, she is a lepidopterist by training and has traveled the world searching for rare specimens of butterflies, leading to several series of adventures around the world. However, mere hours after burying the second of the two spinster aunts who raised her, she comes home to find her cottage being ransacked and is saved by the kind, yet mysterious Baron von Stauffenbach, who warns her of impending danger. Thus begins the aptly named A CURIOUS BEGINNING (New American Library; Hardcover; September 1, 2015; $25.95).

Packing her few belongings (most importantly her trusty butterfly net), Veronica follows the Baron to London where he leaves her in the care of the ill-tempered naturalist, Stoker. However, the Baron himself is brutally murdered and Stoker fears that they may be being set-up to take the fall, he and Veronica elude the authorities. Aided by her sharp wit (and tongue), the hirsute Stoker, and a well-placed hatpin, Veronica flees London. However, there are still mysterious men trying to single her out. And Stoker, keeping his oath to the Baron, tries to keep her safe at any cost. What follows is a series of adventures involving noble families, harrowing boat escapes, a stuffed mouse, and a traveling freak show.

As Veronica and Stoker get closer to uncovering the Baron’s killer, more details emerge about how this is related to Veronica, as there is still a threat to her safety. And that threat is tied to her true parentage.


Deanna Raybourn_credit Sigmon Taylor PhotographyAbout the author

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey mysteries and several standalone novels. She lives in Virginia with her family.

 

 

 


More Advance Praise for A CURIOUS BEGINNING:

“Deanna Raybourn writes with wisdom, sass and a rich texture that is a joy to read.  I love this book!  A CURIOUS BEGINNING brings us the powerful Veronica Speedwell who triumphs over diversity and danger with wit, charm and uncanny determination.  This is a real find for mystery lovers!”  —Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River series

“A CURIOUS BEGINNING is a fantastic read, both wickedly clever and devilishly amusing. Like a grown-up Flavia de Luce, Victorian explorer and naturalist Veronica Speedwell is a joy—slaying rapscallions, scoundrels and dullards alike with her bon mots—or sharpened hatpin. She’s an unflappable, unrepentant, and thoroughly delightful butterfly of a new heroine—and I’m already impatiently drumming my fingers awaiting the next book.”  — Susan Elia MacNeal, author of the New York Times bestselling Maggie Hope series

“I’ve been a big fan of Deanna’s for some time and this book was a treat to read. How could I resist a royal scandal, an Irish plot, and a really sexy hero who has a tendency to work with no shirt on? Deanna is one of the few writers who can make history feel immediate and exciting without losing a feel for the period.”  —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of Her Royal Spyness series and winner of the Agatha Award for Queen of Hearts


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9780451476012


Spotlight/Giveaway (US): Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

One of my favorite books of 2013 was LOOKING FOR ME by Beth Hoffman. You can read my review here. The trade paperback edition was released on Tuesday, April 29.  If you haven’t read it yet you can enter the giveaway at the end of this post.  Note:  It’s a US only giveaway.

looking for me (trade)

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Teddi Overman loves her family and the simple life they share on their Kentucky farm, but when high school graduation nears and her mother pushes her towards secretarial school, Teddi knows it’s time to strike out on her own and pursue her dream of working with antiques. Gifted at refurbishing furniture and possessing an uncanny knack for uncovering the beauty and history in what other people discard, Teddi leaves Kentucky in the middle of the night and makes her way to Charleston, South Carolina. There, Teddi builds a new life for herself, and makes her dream come true in a small antiques shop frequented by a cast of quirky customers and friends. But each time Teddi, now thirty-six years old, leaves Charleston and visits the farm of her youth, she’s drawn to the mysterious beauty of Red River Gorge, where her brother went missing at the age of seventeen. Though everyone believes that her beloved brother is dead, Teddi never gives up hope of finding him. When circumstances lead her to clean out the old barn, Teddi makes a discovery that challenges her in ways she never could have imagined. And while trying to fit together the pieces of her family’s shattered past, Teddi unwittingly finds herself among the ruins. 

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PRAISE FOR LOOKING FOR ME:
“Hoffman’s novel of a woman putting the pieces of her family’s secrets together combines a deep dramatic impact with Southern charm.”
Publishers Weekly

“Hoffman has a good ear for dialogue, and Teddie and her friends are realistic, appealing characters. Perfect for fans of family-centered women’s fiction, this book will have special appeal to readers interested in antiques and ‘shabby chic’ style.”
Booklist

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beth hoffman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth Hoffman was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio before becoming a full-time writer. Looking For Me is her second novel. She lives with her husband and two cats in Kentucky.

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Available from your local bookseller and all online book retailers:

Hardcover, Audio CD, Large Print, and E-Books

ISBN: 9780670025831  Pamela Dorman Books – Viking/Penguin

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Beth Hoffman’s Spring/Summer 2014 Tour:
NAPERVILLE, IL, Anderson’s Bookshop, May 1
WICHITA, KS, Watermark Books, May 6
KANSAS CITY, MO, Unity Temple (with Rainy Day Books), May 8
WOODSTOCK, GA, Foxtale Book Shoppe, May 13
FAIRHOPE, AL, Page & Palette, May 15
EVANSVILLE, IN, Vanderburgh Public Library, June 15

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Giveaway ended