The Utne Weeder

Utne Reader's editors choose good reads

| March-April 2000

The Kitchen Congregation: A Daughter’s Story of Wives and Women Friends by Nora Seton (Picador, $21). Part memoir, part cookbook, this tasty feast reminds us, M.F.K. Fisher style, that real life begins—and ends—in the kitchen. —Andy Steiner

The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search for His Lost Father by Mark Matousek (Riverhead, $23.95). Matousek’s probing memoir of lost childhood and found history celebrates the power of manhood without cheapening it with sentimentality. —Craig Cox

Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit (Viking, $24.95). From peripatetic philosophers and streetwalkers to mountain climbers and protest marchers, this engaging and imaginative book explores the aesthetic, social, and political histories of perambulation. —Karen Olson

Bright Moments: The Life & Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk by John Kruth (Welcome Rain, $24.95). This hip-talking biography of a blind sax master who could play three horns at once—and whose biggest fans were the other great musicians he routinely blew away—will convince readers that Charlie Mingus was right: “This man is what jazz is all about.” —Mark Odegard

Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg (University of Utah, $21.95). The cruel, punishing sound of wind; the rich, earthy smell of horse; the bitter joy of boy becoming man—Spragg’s spare but sensual essays will resonate not only with males and horse lovers, but also with anyone who treasures an examined life. —Cathy Madison

James Joyce by Edna O’Brien (Viking, $19.95). O’Brien’s slender, vivid portrait of her fellow Irish writer elegantly captures both the brilliance and the sadness of a life given to the pursuit of literary beauty. —Jeremiah Creedon