Image of book spines by Adelle Waldman, Eric Klinenberg, and Jason Hammel.
Photo: Erik Gould
The Arts

Fresh Ink for June–August 2024
Reviewed by Edward Hardy

By Ed Hardy / June–August 2024
June 6th, 2024

Help Wanted by Adelle Waldman ’98 (Norton)

Following her debut, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Waldman takes readers two hours north of NYC to fading and fictional Potterstown, where at Town Square Store #1512 the nine-member Movement team begins unloading 1,800 boxes off a tractor trailer at 4 a.m. You’ll meet Big Will, the store manager; Meredith, a deeply unlikable boss; Little Will, Movement’s group manager; and Val, a clever mom hoping for a position that at least has benefits. The plot snaps into gear when Big Will gets a transfer, which could lead to a promotion for someone else on the Movement team. This low-wage, high-stakes drama arrives with a flock of fully-formed characters.

2020: One City, Seven People and the Year Everything Changed by Eric Klinenberg ’93 (Knopf)

Klinenberg, an NYU sociologist and author of Palaces for the People, looks back on the pandemic in this deeply researched, narrative-driven book. Everyone in NYC experienced the pandemic in unequal, complicated ways and Klinenberg zooms in on the stories of seven people from across the city, including an elementary school principal in Manhattan’s Chinatown, a retired district attorney in Queens who started a mutual aid network, and an artist who was active in Black Lives Matter. Between the profiles Klinenberg looks at the pandemic with a broader, world-infused lens in an attempt to untangle a number of lingering questions, including why the United States faced an explosion of societal problems that were not replicated around the globe.

The Lula Cafe Cookbook by Jason Hammel ’95 (Phaidon)

Written by executive chef and co-owner of Chicago’s Lula Cafe, a Logan Square institution known for its farm-to-table sensibility, this is both an intriguing collection of 90 easily repeatable recipes and a restaurant memoir. Hammel first opened a small storefront with Amalea Tshilds in 1999 and the recipes—think the cafe’s classics like Pasta Yiayia, Greek-inspired buc-atini with garlic, cheese, and cinnamon, as well as braised pork belly with watermelon—are all accompanied by their origin stories. There’s also a useful selec-tion of “building block” recipes for sauces, pickles, and oils that can transform any number of dishes.

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Related Issue
June–August 2024