A pleasant, witty memoir from an American diner owner in France.

LET THEM EAT PANCAKES

ONE MAN'S PERSONAL REVOLUTION IN THE CITY OF LIGHT

More tales from the owner of the Breakfast in America diners in France.

In this follow-up to Pancakes in Paris, Carlson shares more intimate and engaging stories of how he fell in love with France and a Frenchman while running his well-known diners. Although he starts out slowly, reminiscing about his childhood, the author quickly ups the tempo as he regales readers with the comical story of Pigeon Man, an older gentleman who insisted on feeding hundreds of pigeons in front of Carlson’s building. In addition to describing the physical mess the birds created, the author discusses the bureaucratic red tape he had to cut through to get the Pigeon Man to move. Carlson then shares memories of how he learned French and gives readers advice on how to learn the language more efficiently than he did (the text features French words and phrases sprinkled throughout). As a business owner, Carlson spends a good portion of the text discussing the ways in which French employers differ from Americans when it comes to their employees, from providing far more vacation time and maternity/paternity leave to the near impossibility of firing someone even due to poor performance. The author ponders the French fondness for smoking and the love locks placed by tourists on the bridges in Paris, and he explains the importance of Thanksgiving to him, which motived him to provide Thanksgiving dinner for more than 100 people. “Every year,” he writes, “BIA was featured in magazines and social media as one of the places in the world where Americans could celebrate Turkey Day abroad….For me, what I loved most about the holiday was its simplicity; just dining and drinking with loved ones for hours on end.” Of course, Carlson explores both French and American food, whether cooked at his diner, at a high-end French restaurant, or by his mother-in-law.

A pleasant, witty memoir from an American diner owner in France.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64313-440-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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