Book Casing

Great books recommended by great people.

Dan Barber's Bookcase

Dan Barber (born 1969) is a chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York. He is a 1992 graduate of Tufts University, where he received a B. A. in English, and a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. He is married to Aria Sloss, a short story writer, novelist and former food writer. He is the author of The Third Plate.

Recommends

"We can place this book on the shelf that holds the writings of Thoreau and John Muir." San Francisco Chronicle

These astonishing portraits of the natural world explore the breathtaking diversity of the unspoiled American landscape -- the mountains and the prairies, the deserts and the coastlines. A stunning tribute to our land and a bold challenge to protect the world we love.

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Recipes for the Connoisseur

The owner and chef of L.A.'s famous and successful La Brea Bakery reveals her magical recipes, adapted for home bakers. Before the baking even begins, Silverton takes the reader through the wonder of bread alchemy, then introduces readers to a wide range of recipes which range from the whimsical to the sublime. 25 photos.

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Essays from a Farmer Philosopher

For more than thirty years, Frederick Kirschenmann has explored the ethical and practical principles of sustainable agriculture. An accomplished theologian, philosopher, and third-generation farmer, Kirschenmann is a dynamic leading voice in the dialogue about the challenges of modern agriculture.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher follows Kirschenmann’s personal and professional evolution as a lifelong proponent of new agrarianism. Together with agricultural economist Constance L. Falk, Kirschenmann has compiled a collection of his essential writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability. In this fascinating blend of personal history, philosophical discourse, spiritual ruminations, and practical advice, Kirschenmann shares candid, valuable insights about the agricultural challenges facing the modern world and the necessity of achieving ecologically sound and responsible stewardship of the land.

This rich book follows the development of Kirschenmann’s long and distinguished career, from childhood lessons learned on the family farm to his inventive approaches for addressing contemporary agrarian issues. More than a mere retrospective, these these essays serve as an introduction to the life and wok of an extraordinary agricultural thinker.

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The True Biotechnologies

Archiving corn strains to guard against genetic pollution … Coating chainsaw blades with mushroom spores to speed forest regeneration … Growing crops that literally suck heavy metals out of damaged soil ... These are not utopian fantasies but proven strategies developed by experts who have discovered how to exploit the innate intelligence of living systems to create “true biotechnologies.” The Bioneers (“biological pioneers”) are a network of scientists, writers, economists, artists, and other leaders with practical and visionary solutions for our most pressing environmental and social challenges. Their annual conference draws global attention, and its most inspiring presentations become source material for books in the Bioneers series. In this volume, Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel gathers reports from leaders in the fields of biomimicry (mimicking nature to restore environments and transform production processes), “living technologies” that break down toxics biologically; and ecologically sound design for buildings and industries. These are set alongside essays by such writers as Paul Hawken, Terry Tempest Williams, and Michael Pollan that underscore the need to work in harmony with natural systems. Unlike corporatized genetic manipulation, the “true biotechnologies” explored here illuminate a future of hope by wedding human ingenuity to the wisdom of the wild.

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Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas

Part odyssey, part pilgrimage, this epic personal narrative follows the author's exploration of coasts, islands, reefs, and the sea's abyssal depths. Scientist and fisherman Carl Safina takes readers on a global journey of discovery, probing for truth about the world's changing seas, deftly weaving adventure, science, and political analysis.

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The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines for Life on Earth

This could be the most important book you will read this year. Around the office at Chelsea Green it is referred to as the "pharmaceutical Silent Spring." Well-known author, teacher, lecturer, and herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner has produced a book that is certain to generate controversy. It consists of three parts:

  1. A critique of technological medicine, and especially the dangers to the environment posed by pharmaceuticals and other synthetic substances that people use in connection with health care and personal body care.
  2. A new look at Gaia Theory, including an explanation that plants are the original chemistries of Gaia and those phytochemistries are the fundamental communications network for the Earth's ecosystems.
  3. Extensive documentation of how plants communicate their healing qualities to humans and other animals. Western culture has obliterated most people's capacity to perceive these messages, but this book also contains valuable information on how we can restore our faculties of perception.
The book will affect readers on rational and emotional planes. It is grounded in both a New Age spiritual sensibility and hard science. While some of the author's claims may strike traditional thinkers as outlandish, Buhner presents his arguments with such authority and documentation that the scientific underpinnings, however unconventional, are completely credible.

The overall impact is a powerful, eye-opening expos' of the threat that our allopathic Western medical system, in combination with our unquestioning faith in science and technology, poses to the primary life-support systems of the planet. At a time when we are preoccupied with the terrorist attacks and the possibility of biological warfare, perhaps it is time to listen to the planet. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of the environment, the state of health care, and our cultural sanity.

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Roth's award-winning first book instantly established its author's reputation as a writer of explosive wit, merciless insight, and a fierce compassion for even the most self-deluding of his characters.

Goodbye, Columbus is the story of Neil Klugman and pretty, spirited Brenda Patimkin, he of poor Newark, she of suburban Short Hills, who meet one summer break and dive into an affair that is as much about social class and suspicion as it is about love. The novella is accompanied by five short stories that range in tone from the iconoclastic to the astonishingly tender and that illuminate the subterranean conflicts between parents and children and friends and neighbors in the American Jewish diaspora.

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A Novel of Obsession

"Magical." -Washington Post Book World

"The best dramatization of a great thinker’s thought since Sartre’s The Freud Scenario." -Chicago Tribune

From renowned psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom, acclaimed author of The Schopenhauer Cure and Love’s Executioner, the international bestseller When Nietzsche Wept is a richly imagined tale of two brilliant and enigmatic men plumbing the depths of their psyches to discover the redemptive power of friendship.

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Soon to be a major motion picture!

As the American century draws to an uneasy close, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all our century's promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth's protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father's glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede's beautiful American luck deserts him.

For Swede's adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism. And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longed-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, this is Roth's masterpiece.

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A Study of Organic Agriculture

During his years as a scientist working for the British government in India, Sir Albert Howard conceived of and refined the principles of organic agriculture. Howard's The Soil and Health became a seminal and inspirational text in the organic movement soon after its publication in 1945. The Soil and Health argues that industrial agriculture, emergent in Howard's era and dominant today, disrupts the delicate balance of nature and irrevocably robs the soil of its fertility. Howard's classic treatise links the burgeoning health crises facing crops, livestock, and humanity to this radical degradation of the Earth's soil. His message―that we must respect and restore the health of the soil for the benefit of future generations―still resonates among those who are concerned about the effects of chemically enhanced agriculture.

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Twenty-two acclaimed writers celebrate the art of eating

Wendell Berry • Colette • William Corbett • Michael Dorris • Alexandre Dumas • M. F .K. Fisher • Michael Frank • Betty Fussell • Evan Jones • Judith B. Jones • Barbara Kafka • Madeline Kamman • Charles Lamb • Rose Macaulay • Henry Matthews • Joyce Carol Oates • Francine Prose • Paul Schmidt • James Seay • Charles Simic • Edward Steinberg • Alice Waters

There is more to be gained from our daily bread than mere sustenance. Curiosity, romance, ritual, and insight can be as much a part of a meal as any of its edible ingredients. In this delectable collection of essays on fine food and drink, twenty-two renowned writers capture the gestures, the celebrations, and the moments in which food, wine, and the act of eating transcend their initial purposes to become something far greater. A window into the eating lives of a handful of our finest literary artists, Not for Bread Alone is a tasty and most satisfying delight—a true culinary classic.

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Publisher review: Michel Bras is a three star Michelin chef, the owner of an extraordinary inn located in one of the most beautiful spots in France, but he is much more than that. He is the author of a cuisine filled with fres emotions. Each of his dishes is a discovery and simplicity itself. It is a happy and iventive cuisine. It is a cuisien that owes more to love than to science, auniverse filled with wonder. Ginette and Michel gambled on the sky and the high land. Their son Sébastien and his wife, Véronique, live this adventure together with them. It is a great team. To live an work at Puech du Suquet, they chose a bold architecture that suits the high plain of Aubrac, in the heart of the land where Michel Bras sees himself. Local products garnish the tables, as do the silverware and the famous knifes of Laguiole. Aubrac inspires not only Michel Bras' best recipes but also some of his best photographs. More tana a simple portrait, Essential cuisine is the work of a great chef in his maturity and an invitation to share his universe.

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The vitality and accessibility of Fritjof Capra's ideas have made him perhaps the most eloquent spokesperson of the latest findings emerging at the frontiers of scientific, social, and philosophical thought. In his international bestsellers The Tao of Physics and The Turning Point, he juxtaposed physics and mysticism to define a new vision of reality. In The Web of Life, Capra takes yet another giant step, setting forth a new scientific language to describe interrelationships and interdependence of psychological, biological, physical, social, and cultural phenomena--the "web of life."

During the past twenty-five years, scientists have challenged conventional views of evolution and the organization of living systems and have developed new theories with revolutionary philosophical and social implications. Fritjof Capra has been at the forefront of this revolution. In The Web of Life, Capra offers a brilliant synthesis of such recent scientific breakthroughs as the theory of complexity, Gaia theory, chaos theory, and other explanations of the properties of organisms, social systems, and ecosystems. Capra's surprising findings stand in stark contrast to accepted paradigms of mechanism and Darwinism and provide an extraordinary new foundation for ecological policies that will allow us to build and sustain communities without diminishing the opportunities for future generations.

Now available in paperback for the first time, The Web of Life is cutting-edge science writing in the tradition of James Gleick's Chaos, Gregory Bateson's Mind and Matter, and Ilya Prigogine's Order Out of Chaos.

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Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a 93-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the people that Joseph Mitchell immortalized in his reportage for The New Yorker and in four books—McSorley's Wonderful Saloon, Old Mr. Flood, The Bottom of the Harbor, and Joe Gould's Secret—that are still renowned for their precise, respectful observation, their graveyard humor, and their offhand perfection of style.These masterpieces (along with several previously uncollected stories) are available in one volume, which presents an indelible collective portrait of an unsuspected New York and its odder citizens—as depicted by one of the great writers of this or any other time.

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