Nightstand Books We Recommend
People Like Us, Ask a North Korean, Timekeepers, Julep
April 22, 2018
Laurence King, $20 laurenceking.com
I like to eat cheese, wear the same outfit every day, watch wrestling and, sure, take long walks, but not necessarily on a beach. We all enjoy doing fun things, weird things, unheard of things. That’s what makes us, well, us. And all of our differences are indeed the commonalities between each and every one of us.
Through the lens of Sasha Gusov, and the witty prose by Amanda Renshaw, People Like Us sheds light on the human condition and how simple this world should be. Proving – once again – that no matter what language you speak, god you pray to or the cheese you eat, we’re all the same.
ASK A NORTH KOREAN: DEFECTORS TALK ABOUT THEIR LIVES INSIDE THE WORLD’S MOST SECRETIVE NATION By Daniel Tudor
Tuttle Publishing $20 tuttlepublishing.com
So many questions. Where does one even begin? For Daniel Tudor, it was with the namesake column for NK News in Washington, D.C. Multiple defectors go on record giving us tremendous, never-known-before insight into the daily lives of those reportedly oppressed in the Hermit Kingdom.
Based on these defectors, North Koreans apparently drink moonshine, don’t use condoms (no reports if imbibing on the former leads to not using the latter), gamble, consider New Year’s a time to honor one’s ancestors, everyone has a cellphone and women wear skinny jeans. Tudor also points out that due to the lack of industrial development, the air in North Korea appears to be clean and you can even see the stars. Maybe North Korea isn’t so bad….
After reading Ask a North Korean, it sounds like they’re like us more than we realized.
TIMEKEEPERS: HOW THE WORLD BECAME OBSESSED WITH TIME By Simon Garfield
Canongate $25 canongate.co.uk
A one-hour flight delay feels like a week. A week-long vacation feels like an hour. The time on my microwave clock keeps speeding up. And The Ten Commandments feels longer every Passover. We truly have no idea how to measure time, yet we obsess over a concept that may not even exist. We let it constrict us, control us. Nowadays we get the time thrusted upon us on our wrists, computers, phones, radios, clocks. Maybe it’s time we all revert back to tracking the movement of the sun. Even that is a conundrum as we are ever so frivolous with observing daylight savings. Oh, you want more sunlight? Sure, we’ll just move the little hand ahead one hour. Boop. Done. All this talk about time stresses me out. It makes me want to drink after work. Good thing it’s always five o’clock somewhere, I still hope.
JULEP: SOUTHERN COCKTAILS REFASHIONED By Alba Huerta
Lorena Jones Books $25 penguinrandomhouse.com
Is there anything more refreshing and suitable for warm weather than sipping on a homemade cocktail? Yeah, I didn’t think so. And when they’re cocktails that originated in the South, well, it just adds an element of life slowing down, giving you time to enjoy and appreciate the craftsmanship that went into such a fine beverage.
Alba Huerta, a Mexican-American Houstonian, celebrates the colorful and romantic history of drinking in the South with 65 invigorating and innovative recipes including the classic Mint Julep (and six other juleps – who knew there were that many juleps?). With other cocktails like the Creole Crusta, French Camp Post and the Appalachian Whip, Huerta, a one-time Bartender of the Year recipient, stirs and shakes far and wide showing off all of the jewels of the South.
She also offers recipes for bar snacks like Fried Anchovy-stuffed Olives, Lobster Ambrosia and Pickled Shrimp. That’s a bonus!