Favourite books of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Michael Bourdain is an American chef, author, and television personality. He is known for his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and in 2005 he began hosting the Travel Channel's culinary and cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. In 2013, he joined CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

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Favorite books of Anthony Bourdain:

My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud, Sylvie Bigar, Bill Buford

Anthony Bourdain recommends My French Cuisine

Daniel Boulud's My French Cuisine is pretty incredible. It's personal. It's filled with breathtaking photographs. And it covers cherished, old school, classic dishes that no other chef would even attempt. It's instant history.

Daniel Boulud, one of America's most respected and successful chefs, delivers a definitive, yet personalcookbook on his love of French food. From coming of age as a young chef to adapting French cuisine to American ingredients and tastes, Daniel Boulud reveals how he expresses his culinary artistry at Restaurant Daniel. With more than 75 signature recipes, plus an additional 12 recipes Boulud prepares at home for his friends on more casual occasions, DANIEL is a welcome addition to the art of French cooking. Included in the cookbook are diverse and informative essays on such essential subjects as bread and cheese (bien sûr), and, by Bill Buford, a thorough and humorous look at the preparation of 10 iconic French dishes, from Pot au Feu Royale to Duck a la Presse.. With more than 120 gorgeous photographs capturing the essence of Boulud's cuisine and the spirit of restaurant Daniel, as well as a glimpse into Boulud's home kitchen, DANIEL is a must-have for sophisticated foodies everywhere.

I'm on a John Gregory Dunne jag. All of it. Dutch Shea Junior, Jr., True Confessions, his non-fiction. He deserves a whole new readership.

John Gregory Dunne was an American novelist, screenwriter and literary critic.

Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

Anthony Bourdain recommends Hard Rain Falling

Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling is amazing. Just got on board.

Don Carpenter’s Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy Lancing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by abuse and solitary confinement. In the meantime Billy has joined the middle class—married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their troubled pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end.

This book changed my young life. Its mixture of passion, cynicism, hyperbole, and diatribe—and its take on the failures of the ’60s—mirrored my own worldview. Thompson’s language, his sentences, his lurid, violent, evocative prose inspired me—and clearly influenced my own work. [on B&N] The book that probably influenced me more than any other. A prose stylist and a personality who changed my life. [on BusinessInsider]

Also recommended by: George Clinton

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken. Now this cult classic of gonzo journalism is a major motion picture from Universal, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins

Anthony Bourdain recommends The Friends of Eddie Coyle

The perfect crime novel. Told almost entirely through dialogue—and with spare description—it was the first crime novel where crooks really talked like crooks... Uncompromising, brutally realistic, funny, and frightening—it’s the truest of its genre. [on B&N] The best, most realistic crime novel ever. Best dialogue in a crime novel ever. [on BusinessInsider]

The classic novel from "America's best crime novelist" (Time), with a new introduction by Elmore Leonard Eddie Coyle works for Jimmy Scalisi, supplying him with guns for a couple of bank jobs. But a cop named Foley is on to Eddie and he's leaning on him to finger Scalisi, a gang leader with a lot to hide. And then there's Dillon-a full-time bartender and part-time contract killer--pretending to be Eddie's friend. Wheeling, dealing, chasing, and stealing--that's Eddie, and he's got lots of friends.

Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov

Anthony Bourdain recommends Lolita

Simply the great American novel, and the most precise use of the English language ever. Beautiful sentences, difficult material, razor-sharp satire—and a romantic tragedy by a master at the peak of his powers.

Also recommended by: Emma Watson

Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written in English & published in 1955 in Paris, in 1958 in NY & in 1959 in London. It was later translated by its Russian-native author into Russian. The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist & unreliable narrator, a 37–38-year-old literature professor, Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. "Lolita" is his private nickname for Dolores (both the name & nickname are of Spanish origin). After its publication, Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known & most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name "Lolita" has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious girl. The novel was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, & again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne. It has also been adapted several times for stage & has been the subject of two operas, two ballets & an acclaimed but failed Broadway musical.

In George Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London' – one of Bourdain's favorite books and a model for 'Kitchen Confidential' – Orwell writes about his time doing scullery work in a Parisian restaurant, noting that "the power of swallowing quarts of wine, and then sweating it out before it can do much damage, is one of the compensations of [this] life."

Reprint. Originally published: New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Anthony Bourdain recommends The Quiet American

Drama, romance, tragic history in SE Asia? I'm there! I re-read it frequently. Particularly when visiting Vietnam.

Also recommended by: Richard Branson

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.

I wish I could write like Joan Didion

First published in 1979,The White Albumis a mosaicof the late sixties and seventies. It includes, among other bizarre artifacts and personalities, the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a Balck Panther Party press conference, the story of John Paul Getty's museum, the romance of water in an arid landscape, and the swirl and confusion of the sixties. With commanding sureness of mood and language, Joan Didion exposes the realities and dreams of that age of self-discovery whose spiritual center was California. Joan Didion is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, among themSlouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Miami, Salvador, After Henry,andPolitical Fictions.She lives in New York City. First published in 1979,The White Albumis a journalistic mosaicof American life in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. It includes, among other bizarre artifacts and personalities, reportage on the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a visit to a Black Panther Party press conference, the story of John Paul Getty's museum, a meditation on the romance of water in an arid landscape, and reflections on the swirl and confusion that marked this era. With commanding sureness of mood and language, Didion exposes the realities and dreams of an age of self-discovery whose spiritual center was California. "All of the essays manifest not only [Didion's] intelligence but an instinct for details that continue to emit pulsations in the reader's memory and a style that is spare, subtly musical in its phrasing and exact. Add to these her highly vulnerable sense of herself, and the result is a voice like no other in contemporary journalism."Robert Towers, The New York Times Book Review "Didion manges to make the sorry stuff of troubled times (bike movies, for instance, and Bishop James Pike) as interesting and suggestive as the monuments that win her dazzled admiration (Georgia O'Keeffe, the Hoover Dam, the mountains around Bogota) . . . A timely and elegant collection."The New Yorker "Didion is an original journalistic talent who can strike at the heart, or the absurdity, of a matter in our contemporary wasteland with quick, graceful strokes."The San Francisco Chronicle Table of Contents I. THE WHITE ALBUM The White Album II. CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC James Pike, American Holy Water Many Mansions The Getty Bureaucrats Good Citizens Notes Toward a Dreampolitik III. WOMEN The Women's Movement Doris Lessing Georgia O'Keeffe IV. SOJOURNS In the Islands In Hollywood In Bed On the Road On the Mall In Bogota At the Dam V. ON THE MORNING AFTER THE SIXTIES On the Morning After the Sixties Quiet Days in Malibu

The font of all wisdom. Orwell is right about nearly everything.

In this bestselling compilation of essays, written in the clear-eyed, uncompromising language for which he is famous, Orwell discusses with vigor such diverse subjects as his boyhood schooling, the Spanish Civil War, Henry Miller, British imperialism, and the profession of writing.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, Barry Miles, David L. Ulin

Anthony Bourdain recommends Naked Lunch

Filthy, dangerous, depraved groundbreaking. And funny as Hell. Not an ideal role model, I grant you. But a writer I very much looked up to and wanted, for better or worse, to emulate.

A 50th anniversary edition of the influential 20th-century work finds an unmoored addict making his way through a nightmarish wasteland, a tale that offers insight into period taboos. By the author of Nova Express.

'Food writing' at its very, very best. Never surpassed. What all writing about eating should be.

The author shares his memories of Paris in 1926 and 1927 when he was a student there and describes French cuisine, customs, and urban life.

Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith

Anthony Bourdain recommends Ripley's Game

Elegant, deliciously immoral entry in series of sociopath as hero. Basis for the Wim Wenders film, the American Friend.

With its sinister humor and genius plotting, Ripley's Game is an enduring portrait of a compulsive, sociopathic American antihero. Living on his posh French estate with his elegant heiress wife, Tom Ripley, on the cusp of middle age, is no longer the striving comer of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Having accrued considerable wealth through a long career of crimeforgery, extortion, serial murderRipley still finds his appetite unquenched and longs to get back in the game. In Ripley's Game, first published in 1974, Patricia Highsmith's classic chameleon relishes the opportunity to simultaneously repay an insult and help a friend commit a crimeand escape the doldrums of his idyllic retirement. This third novel in Highsmith's series is one of her most psychologically nuancedparticularly memorable for its dark, absurd humorand was hailed by critics for its ability to manipulate the tropes of the genre. With the creation of Ripley, one of literature's most seductive sociopaths, Highsmith anticipated the likes of Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter years before their appearance.

Crash by J. G. Ballard

Anthony Bourdain recommends Crash

Violent. Twisted. Hilarious and beautiful.

In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto crash victims, each more sinister than the last. James Ballard, his friend and fellow obsessive, tells the story of this twisted visionary as he careens rapidly toward his own demise in an internationally orchestrated car crash with Elizabeth Taylor. A classic work of cutting-edge fiction, Crash explores both the disturbing implications and horrific possibilities of contemporary society's increasing dependence on technology as intermediary in human relations.

True Grit by Charles Portis

Anthony Bourdain recommends True Grit

I truly believe that everyone who loves books should read Charles Portis's True Grit, a novel I believe to be as great and as fundamentally, uniquely American a work of literature as Huckleberry Finn.

True Grit is a 1968 novel by Charles Portis that was first published as a 1968 serial in The Saturday Evening Post. The novel is told from the perspective of a woman named Mattie Ross who recounts the time when she was 14 years old and sought retribution for the murder of her father by a scoundrel named Tom Chaney. It is considered by some critics to be "one of the great American novels". [on OmniVoracious] The greatest female protagonist I've ever read. Portis is one of the most underrated under appreciated authors of the 20th century. Forget the film versions. Read the book. His book, 'Dog Of The South,' is also brilliant. [on BusinessInsider]

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