Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms
It’s hard to believe, but Jack Kerouac’s famous novel, The Dharma Bums, turns 50 years old this year. The book, which chronicled the journey of Japhy Ryder (modeled after poet Gary Snyder) and Ray Smith (Kerouac’s alter-ego), is really an allegory about man’s endless quest for meaning and God and enlightenment. In Kerouac’s bounding narrative, Ryder and Smith are recorded wandering through the highlands of the West Coast – each page this grand and rolling poem that unravels into a picture about a generation’s search for the reason why. Penguin’s 50th anniversary edition is delivered in hardback and includes a 1958 letter from novelist Henry Miller to Pascal Covici (the then editor of Viking) lauding the energy and depth of the young Kerouac’s pen.
Here, we have one from the unpublished Kerouac archive – this in depth study of Buddhism which shows just how deeply the Eastern line inspired both his mind and his lyrical writing style. In Wake Up, Kerouac boldly drafts an account of the life of Buddha, filling it with the kind of gem-like perceptions that caused fellow Beat icon Allen Ginsberg to describe Kerouac as the “new Buddha of American prose…creating a spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature…”
The present state of America makes it impossible to debunk the theories set forth in Neal Boortz’s and John Linder’s Fairtax: The Truth. Simply, this is an extremely important book for all Americans to read, as it contains information on how the future of our vast economic labyrinth might be saved. Here, the authors share their plan for revamping the tax system and abolishing the IRS in favor of a national retail sales tax. The mission behind this revolutionary idea is to return the American tax system to a platform that serves the people with both equality and absolute transparency (while also taking away the myriad loopholes used by high-dollar earners to evade tax). Obviously, it’s no great secret that the current system of federal taxation is far too complicated and far too burdensome; accordingly, some changes are now required if the country is going to retain its position as world leader. And as Boortz (a recognized author and media personality) and Linder (Congressman from Georgia) write, change is indeed possible and plausible – if only enough Americans will make their voices heard in Washington. Read by Boortz, whose poised and direct cadence commands the complete attention of his audience. 6 hours on 5 CDS.
Summer’s the time for easy days and easy meals – a circle around the barbeque, chicken on the grill in the shady dusk. And that’s just what Rick Rodgers new book is all about – framing summer meals around the bounty of the season (using simple recipes to enhance the flavor and texture of food while keeping the cook out of the kitchen and in step with the rest of the party).
Rodgers, who has won numerous awards as a cooking instructor, is at his creative best with Summer Gatherings, as he builds dishes around the ingredients that are in the garden in an effort to show readers that good food is fresh food – unprocessed and removed from the idea of the freezer (going from the garden to the pan and from the pan to the table).
Summer Gatherings is full of original plates that are easy to prepare. For example, the Risotto with tomatoes, basil and ricotta salata is a treat – light and graceful, with the taste of the rice augmented by this perfect combination of tomato, basil and cheese.
Another standout comes in the form of the spaghetti with shrimp and arugula pesto: This plate driven by the way the meaty bite of the shrimp is juxtaposed against the tart pasta-pesto (vine-ripened cheery tomatoes the perfect accompaniment to this concert of flavor). Meanwhile, the grilled eggplant and tomato sandwiches make the ideal lunch or afternoon snack – light and healthy, yet hearty enough to satisfy.
And for dessert, give the berry tiramisu a long try: The blend of raspberries, blueberries, red currants, mascarpone, heavy cream and Italian ladyfingers is a sheer delight, meeting the craving for ‘that something sweet’ without overstuffing you.
Aside from the food, readers will immediately notice Rodgers’ writing style: His ability to speak in a clear and evocative manner serves to invite rather than intimidate (making this a keeper on the cook-book shelf of every kitchen).
As another summer unfolds, the recipes collected in this book will take center stage, teaching that you don’t have to be a master chef to cook something savory and in step with the season.