Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Table Comes First -- Adam Gopnik ----------------- 1.5 Stars

It's incredibly rare that I read and review any book and it not receive a decent rating.  This is not to say that I would like any book I read and that there are simply so many good to great books out there.  No, that is far from the truth.  If I were to just pick up and review any random book, the very high majority of books would received very poor ratings (between 0 and 2 stars).  I actually do quite a bit of research prior to selecting the books I read to assure it is something that I will probably like.  I don't have time to read bad books or things that I am not interested in so assuring that I have a book I want to read before starting is critical. Thus, most of the books I read get fairly decent to high ratings based on the extensive due diligence I do prior to picking a book.

Like many things, however, it is not a perfect system.  Point in fact: Adam Gopnik's The Table Comes First.   A little background on the selection.  I like books that have to do with food.  I was excited to read Julia Child's autobiography called My Life in France and other books like that.  This one seemed interesting based on it's subtitle (see on the right) and referencing about the philosophical importance about food in our lives.  It also had decent ratings on Amazon, so I thought it might be okay... boy was I wrong.

This book is really not a fun read.  Please DO NOT check it out.  As you may recall, I base my ratings on how excited I am to read the book and how interesting it is.  This was lacking significantly on both of those criterion.  It actually got to the point that I dreaded having to read it and could not wait to finish it. 

Why did I not like?  First, it was foods, items, ideas, and people that were completely beyond me.  I mean, I feel fairly well educated, but I had no idea what he was writing about for pages at a time.  Some of the names and references of people were truly baffling.  Second, his writing style was tough for me to handle.  Long sentences with verbose (right word?) vocabulary and unorganized chapters and sections.  Third, the cool philosophical points I thought were going to be made about food were lost on me, and it instead just seem like the ramblings of a fairly crazed author. 

So, I would not spend time on this book unless you really have a significant interest in food history and/or knowledge about food.  It's not well told, not entertaining, and hard to understand.  So, I am sorry dear readers about this terrible review but do appreciate that you only had to read this sole blog about it while I had to read the whole miserable book.  :( 

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