Nick Stinson, the man behind Gato, comes into the store regularly to school us on Celine Dion and peruse the stacks that have yet to hit the shelves. His charm and energy are as unparalleled as his skill in the kitchen. Here he is with some pig bones and some summer reading suggestions—but good luck getting your hands on a copy before he does.
Photo credit John Londono
Today’s contributor is a bit of a departure, as he doesn’t actually live in Atlanta—in fact, he’s Canadian. But seeing as how Sean Michaels founded the music blog Said the Gramophone, recently published Us Conductors, a haunting and beautiful debut novel about the inventor of the theremin, and was kind enough to send a banger of a list along, we’re making an exception. Tonight, he appears at the Highland Inn Ballroom with a soundtrack provided by Duet for Theremin and Lapsteel, so you know, he’s under 2-85 right now.
I’m reading fiction all summer. I also, for some reason, can’t stop listening to “Wendell Gee,” by R.E.M. even though it’s something like thirty years old.
I’m an evangelist for the massive A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles, which came out in 2011, but I adore it. Sayles worked some kind of magic to bring the Yukon Gold Rush, the Spanish American War, independence in the Philippines, and poor Topsy the elephant (look her up) to me.
Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State. I don’t want to be kidnapped. I don’t want to go to Haiti. I don’t want to know this character’s father. I didn’t want to put this book down.
Dep’t of Speculation by Jenny Offill. Watch out. You’ll want to write like this. I do. If a book were made of ice cubes or loosely connected fairy lights, this would be it.
The Boy in His Winter by Norman Lock. So, Huck and Jim fell asleep on that raft and awoke later. Much later. And later still. Magic realism on the Mississippi, with guest appearances by the Jazz Age, the Ganges River and a certain Harper-Lee created chifforobe.
If you need me, I’ll be on the couch, reading.
Jessica Handler is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Invisible Sisters: A Memoir. Her nonfiction has appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Drunken Boat, Brevity, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and More Magazine. www.jessicahandler.com
Strange Things Sometimes Still Happen: Angela Carter
This is a collection of haunting, grotesque, endearing fairy tales from around the world. The genre of “fairy tale” is very broadly used here, everything from werewolves to a backwoods, cannibal hillbilly who kills women and boils their breasts. Although none of the stories are what one might think of a traditional fairy tale, they are immensely entertaining. I was engrossed with the variety of styles and subjects, my favorites focusing on the devil himself. These tales are definitely not for children.
An Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition: Lewis Carroll
One of my biggest book pet peeves is when people associate drugs with Alice in Wonderland. Alice is so much more than some drug reference by Jefferson Airplane and this book proves that. This book annotates Lewis Carroll’s two popular books, explaining the contemporary references and making sense of the nonsensical. It reveals the children’s classic as intelligent satire instead a seedy drug tale for children.
Jayne is a native Atlantan. Her work has appeared in the Brooklyn street art blog, PURGE, and Fanzine. She has read for Vouched, Write Club, and Scene Missing among other live lit nights. She is the creator of hydeatl and has a propensity for falling down.
Fossil and Hide sprang from twin souls Jenny Watts and Karen Horn Smith two years ago, and their jewelry and accessories have been decorating the rock scene ever since. Their aesthetic sensibility depends on a refined combination of taxidermy, Roy Rogers, and Hell’s Angels, among other things. Here, they let us in on some of their inspirations. Check out their Etsy page.
Karen Horn Smith
Empire of the Summer Moon: by S.C. Gwynne
<—-« Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History »—->
Captain Carter, who would win the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in Blanco Canyon, offered this description of the young war chief in battle on the day after the midnight stampede:
A large and powerfully built chief led the bunch, on a coal black racing pony. Leaning forward upon his mane, his heels nervously working in the animal’s side, whith six-shooter poised in the air, he seemed the incarnation of savage, brutal joy. His face was smeared with black warpaint, which gave his features a satanic look….A full-length headdress or war bonnet of eagle’s feathers, spreading out as he rode, and descending from his forehead, over head and back, to his pony’s tail, almost swept the ground. Large brass hoops were in his ears; he was naked to the waist, wearing simply leggings, moccasins and a breechclout. A necklace of bear’s claws hung about his neck….Bells jingled as he rode at headlong speed, followed by the leading warriors, all eager to outstrip him in the race. It was Quanah, principal warchief of the Qua-ha-das.
"Roky Erickson and the Aliens": by Joe Nick Patoski
(Part of an interview in the double LP Booklet ‘The Evil One’)
Q. All right, OK, Roky, would you briefly tell us how you first started in rock and roll and who your main influences were at the time?
How I first started? I first started playing piano, in the swamp. Who was I listening to? The Premier of Russia who died last night.
Q. Did you ever listen to rock and roll?
No, I never did.
Q. What do you think are the most noticeable changes in rock and roll over say in the past 15 years?
The piano parts and the razor in the keys.
Q. Do you enjoy playing music now or was it more fun in the ’60s?
Uh, …it was more fun I guess, then, earlier.
Q. Would you elaborate. Why was it more fun?
I didn’t hear you.
Q. What made it more fun in those days than it is now?
I guess the razor blade in the keys.
Q. Your recording output since then other than the Elevators albums reissued on Radar consisted of only a couple of EPs and a couple of singles. Why so few releases in that period of time?
Why so few releases in so few time? I guess because …uh…too many Russian spies.
Q. It’s obvious from the titles of your songs, that you’re a devotee of horror movies and other things of a generally quite unsavory nature. Would you explain why vampires, zombies, and devils and the like feature so heavily in your repertoire?
Yeah, I like things like that.
Q. Yeah? What kind of things specifically interest you?
You & I — Leonard Nimoy
RE/Search Industrial Culture Handbook
Karate Is A Thing Of The Spirit — Harry Crews
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle — George V Higgins
Rip It Up And Start Again — Simon Reynolds
Film As A Subversive Art — Amos Vogel
Hollywood Babylon — Kenneth Anger
...Or Not To Be: A Collection Of Suicide Notes — Mark Etkind
Tales The Western Tombstones Tell: Historic Graves Of The Old West — Lambert Florin
Scott Walker: A Deep Shade Of Blue — Mike Watkinson
Ponce De Leon — George Mitchell
Jacob Blaisdell is a collector and curator of recorded sound. He is likely responsible for the music you hear when eating some of the city’s finest foods, works for Criminal Records and 529, and will forever have better stuff than you.
Photo credit Dylan York
‹‹ LONELY HEARTS OF THE COSMOS: The Story of the Scientific Quest For the Secret of the Universe // Dennis Overbye ››
I have my suspicions that the working title of this manuscript was Physics For Poets. The chapters have evocative, grandiose titles like “Delegates To Eternity” and “Bonfires On The Shores Of Time.” The author even uses the lyrics from the chorus of Talking Heads’ “Heaven” as an epigram. It takes a very relatable approach to the biggest of big questions, profiles the people who grapple with those questions, and allows itself ample room to reflect. It’s a science book without a single chart or graph. Needless to say, I loved it.
‹‹ HEAT: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice To A Dante-Quoting Butcher In Tuscany // Bill Buford ››
Bill Buford has a lust for life and a nose for a good story. Here, that story is him leaving his cushy New Yorker editorship to work his way up from the bottom rung of the kitchen at Mario Batali’s Babbo, then leaving Babbo for rural Italy to learn old-world traditions and skills — a narrative that affords wonderfully candid portraits of legends like Batali and Marco Pierre White. It’s funny, and moving, and informative, and often gorgeously written.
‹‹ EATIN’ HIGH ON THE HOG WITH THE RUDY FAMILY: A Collection of Recipes From the Rudy Folks of Pennington Bend ››
I discovered this charmingly illustrated, 70s-vintage Nashville family heirloom in a particularly dusty corner of a local Goodwill, the handwritten pages hole-punched and bound by a plastic spine. The title has something to do with the anatomical location of tenderloin and apparently denotes living extravagantly well. Happily, that extravagance embraces souse, sweetbreads, smoked ham hocks, liver stew, pickled trotters, and sow’s-ear sandwiches. If any Rudy objected to brains for breakfast, it must not have been deemed worth mentioning.
There are, of course, more familiar entrees for the squeamish — like a white wine-braised loin called “A Drunk Pig (Or Cook).” There’s the requisite gallery of sundries like beaten biscuits, drop doughnuts, and poke salet [sic]. But it’s the utter lack of distinction made between the wide range of porcine ingredients that’s most intriguing to me. It’s like a humble Appalachian forbear of Fergus Henderson’s The Whole Beast. One page calls for canned soup, and one permits (without endorsing) margarine, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Someone could bring the rest of it to life with the full food-porn photo treatment, then print it on oversized glossy stock with embossed coffee-table binding, and the end result would be hailed as a benchmark of rustic “New Southern” cuisine. Behold, everything old is new again.
‹‹ THE DRUNKEN BOTANIST: The Plants That Create The World’s Great Drinks // Amy Stewart ››
I had the pleasure of hearing Stewart give a talk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden last year. The subject was the list of plants that are present in a classic Manhattan cocktail, how each of them got there, and what purpose each serves. It followed much the same progression as this eminently useful reference book — starting with the starchy species distilled to create the alcohol itself, continuing through those used as flavoring agents, and finishing with the standard garnishes. “I’ve written numerous other books about plants, and no one’s ever offered to carry my luggage until this one,” Stewart remarked while detailing how she spent three weeks drinking her way around southern France for “research.” Cheers to that.
‹‹ CONSIDER THE OYSTER // MFK Fisher ››
This book is an oyster. It’s small, and it’s strange. It’s not for everyone. It may be consumed swiftly and thoughtlessly, but a few special souls will savor it, take a deep breath, and know they now feel alive.
Chris Riley is a writer, musician, and food enthusiast. His sporadic beats can be heard at http://youngsquireriley.bandcamp.com. You can find him answering wrong-number phone calls at Argosy or playing funk and soul records every other Thursday at the same.