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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Chain Exposes the Fate of our Food

I've been carrying around Ted Genoways' The Chain: Farm, Factory and the Fate of Our Food in my purse for quite awhile now, reading it just a a little at a time. It is quite a lot to process.

I mentioned in August that I had started reading The Chain. Back then, I shared I had learned that I never ever wanted to try Spam, and we feeling really great about becoming pescatarian. I also said that although I've always felt pretty educated on the food world, I loved learning more.

Which is all still totally true.

In a Q&A with Genoways, the author explains the title of his book:
In meatpacking plants, the speed of processing is set by a chain conveyor system. The chain determines everything about how a day in the plant goes. During times of high demand, the company will try to push the speed of the chain to get more output. When it gets to running too fast, injuries occur and food can be processed improperly. Workers often talk about the chain as if it were a living thing, something to be feared. This book is really an examination of what happens when the chain is allowed to run unbridled. 
Probably the best summary I've found of what I read.

What Genoways does so well in The Chain is he makes it about people, not about pigs. Although he seems to tell a lot of similar stories, each story still held my attention and had me flipping through pages. More importantly, it made me want to talk about what I read. In my opinion, that's what makes a non-fiction book a success. If I want to share what I've read and have discussions that could possibly teach a friend or peer something new, that's wonderful.

Basically, The Chain, is really great journalism.

Also, the cover is so nice. So nice and simple.

Forward, but not being grotesque. And of course, can anyone really go wrong with red, white and black? I hope they keep this as the official cover and not just the proof! That's always a disappointment.

The Chain is out on October 14 (so soon!) but you can pre-order it on the Harper Collins site. If you want a little sample of Genoways' writing, you can read his related articles.


more wonderful food writing

this AMAZING cookbook just arrived

my Tigers lost today, and I'm feeling homesick

Monday, October 06, 2014

Harper Perennial 50th Anniversary Olive Editions

Back in 2008, Harper Perennial selected a handful of their modern classes and reissued them as limited editions. Designed by Milan Bozic, these beauties sold as $10 trade paperbacks. It became an annual tradition through 2011 and has been brought back this year to celebrate Harper Perennial's 50th anniversary.

My wonderful friends over at the Olive sent me a box of the eight books they released this year and holy moly, I am in love!

Seriously, the best delivery in the world is a box of brand new books. 

I'm almost ashamed to admit I haven't read any of the eight titles I was sent, but on the positive side, I now have so many wonderful things to read!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry
The Financial Lives of Poets, by Jess Walter

Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon
Native Son, Richard Wright
State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

I love the style of these. After looking through Bozic's portfolio, I realized I own quite a few books that he's designed as well, including Bottom of the 33rd, Ugly Man, and Out of the Woods

And I love this quote on the back of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

"From that time on, the world was hers for the reading."
You can see the Olive Editions from previous years over on Harper Perennial's Tumblr page

Sooo good lookin'!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beautifully Modern Alice in Wonderland Playing Cards

I have a friend who somehow keeps getting into these situations where everyone believes she is obsessed with something she is not, so everyone buys her gifts on that theme. In middle school, it was Finding Nemo. Then it somehow turned into playing cards. Recently, as a joke, I brought her back a deck of cards featuring former leaders of China from my visit to Beijing.

But now I'm beginning to see why people might actually want to collect decks of cards.

Thanks to DeckStarter, kind of like Kickstarter for cards, playing cards have never been more beautiful. Like, so good looking you might now even want to play with them.

One of the most wonderful looking decks to hit DeckStarter so far is the Alice in Wonderland two-set pack from Turnstyle design studio.

Much of the design of the two-set pack is based on the idea of parallel worlds, a major part of Lewis Carroll's writing.  The decks inspired by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras, set in ornamental white, black and gold designs. And, of course, gold without foil stamping wouldn't be much fun at all, so the decks are graced with foil as well as embossing.

The deck even includes quotes from the Carroll's classic story, which is such a great touch.

My favorite part about this deck is the story of how it came to be. According to the studio's website, they donated their time and services to a local elementary school to help with the school's production of Alice in Wonderland. Awesome. Beyond the deck, they created a logo, playbill, cast t-shirts, posters and more.

At the time of posting, the pack had 240 backers and had raised about $9,000 of its $14k goal. Pretty impressive for a simple game. I think it speaks volumes to how much we value well designed things.

Also, double points for Turnstyle being a Seattle-based design firm. Love this city more and more every day.

You can support Turnstyle's Alice in Wonderland Design on DeckStarter, and read a review with designer Steven Watson (whose son was the Mad Hatter in the play) over on The Dieline.

(via The Dieline)
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