Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay
Basically, this is the potted version of Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography. I was at first rather sceptical when I started to read this, as I had seen him on television. Most notably in ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’, and from watching his programmes, decided that he was a driven and knowledgeable man, but that he was also one of the rudest men on television. However, after reading the first few chapters, I began to understand why he was so driven and abrasive.
Gordon Ramsay had a very tough childhood, his father was what could be termed a bit of a dreamer, and he was also an alcoholic. Whilst this made for an unpleasant childhood, it shaped his attitude, and made him into a man striving to be the best and most successful at his chosen profession. What also surprised me was the underhanded tactics employed by both himself and rival chefs to ensure that they got what they wanted. Especially when he transferred kitchen staff from one of his restaurants that was threatened with closure to another restaurant that was just opening. Whilst this saved people’s jobs, it also meant that the other restaurant was forced to close earlier than planned. No staff, no bookings. The book also demonstrated the size of the egos of some of the top chefs, who could hardly be accused of being shrinking violets, but the book demonstrates that chefs put in extremely long hours, and that they acquired their reputations on merit.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this book, as it lifts the proverbial cooking lid on one of the top chefs, gives an insight into his character, and how he acquired his attitude to life. Which is,
‘To be the best, you have to work hard, be prepared to be unpopular, and accept nothing but the best from your employees’
Image from goodreads.com
The New Year is underway in the libraries at Derby College and as the Christmas break seems but a distant memory for all staff and students at college, the libraries reflect on the past year and look forward to the future.
The end of 2014 saw the libraries launch the 6 Book Challenge for 2015, and the list of participants grows as the library team continue to promote this challenge supported by the reading agency.
Over the past few months staff and students have read many novels so please keep checking the site for upcoming book reviews.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This story has a supernatural/science fiction theme that includes people with special powers and time travel. It is told in an unusual way and uses genuine old photographs to illustrate the story. Personally I loved it and have since read the follow up Hollow City, both books are very exciting and tense. I found them very easy to read and enjoyable.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book should come with some kind of risk warning like: Caution – this book may make living a normal life difficult for a good week after you’ve finished reading it. But seriously, without wanting to give too much away, before you embark upon The Fault in Our Stars, prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster!
It’s brilliant, it really is. It’s one of those books where you wish you could wipe your memory of ever having read it just so you can read it again without knowing what happens. And the thing is, despite the majority of the characters being desperately ill you never once feel sorry for them. They don’t want your sympathy, instead they want you to laugh along with them when they make funny jokes out of their situation like: “I’ve gotten really hot since you went blind.”
It’s absolutely 100% worth a read, I don’t know anyone who’s read it and not liked it.
Note: This book has been adapted into a film and is currently showing in cinemas now in the UK.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The beautiful fantastical descriptions in this story are written to perfectly to help you imagine the wonderful place of the Night Circus that’s created by magic and held together by the people that work in the circus. The characters are especially well written, they helped to keep the story grounded and authentic as their actions and motives were convincing. The author gives the reader the experience of visiting the circus by describing in great details the sights, smells, sounds and tastes, which I think she does very well, letting your imagination run wild!
The Player of Games by Iain M Banks
The Player of Games is a sci-fi novel set in the far future, where the main civilization – ‘The Culture’ has advanced to the point where nobody needs to work anymore. Instead they fill their time pursuing their own interests, leading to a huge rise in popularity in art, skills and particularly in games. Jernau, the main character, has spent his life mastering countless games, and is renowned as one of the best in the entire civilization. After cheating trying to score a perfect game, he is blackmailed and sent to a remote and barbaric civilization across the universe to compete in their very serious games competition, where he will need all his wits and cunning to survive the many rounds and ultimately face off against the emperor himself.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Meet Oskar who lives in New York with his Mum and Dad. His Grandma lives just across the road so Oskar can see her apartment out of his bedroom window. In fact Oskar and his Grandma keep walkie talkies so they can speak whilst looking through their windows at each other.
Every weekend, Oskar’s Dad sets a scavenger hunt for him, through the streets of the city. These hunts encourage Oskar to talk to people and do things that he is scared of.
But then everything goes wrong when he gets a call from his Dad who’s stuck in one of the World Trade Centre Buildings on 9/11.
Not long after the funeral, Oskar finds a vase in his Dad’s wardrobe and right at the bottom of it is a key. This will be Oskar’s final scavenger hunt set by his Dad.
And it will be, by far, the greatest.