Married in 1949 at the age of 21 to the historian and writer Paul Fussell, Betty Fussell was self-taught in Latin and German and applied similar rigor to teaching herself to cook because (in her own words for Vogue in 2005) “housewifery wasn’t enough.” A self-education in cooking led to 12 books, a mix of memoir and essay, biography and history, and a 2009 win of the James Beard Foundation’s Journalism Award. Fussell released her latest, a book of essays titled “Eat, Live, Love, Die,” in November, 2016.
Below are Betty Fussell’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.
See the full list...
King James Old Testament Bible, Book of Genesis
Our family bible was the only book we had in the house I grew up in, and by the time I was ten I could recite the first 32 verses of the Protestant OT in under five minutes, and list its 39 books in under one. But in Genesis, somehow I got glimpses of a great creation story that I wanted to explore forever.
It was love at first sight when I met this man in high school and despite his garbled language, we’ve been bedmates ever since. When I think of love, I’m Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream, when of death, I’m Hamlet. Ariel and Caliban on my Tempest isle are pals I play with everyday.
“Of shapes transformed to bodies strange” — Ovid’s theme is Shakespeare in a nutshell. As a theater fanatic, I discovered Ovid in my 40s when I wrote my PhD thesis on Renaissance Tragicomedy. For me, the root of drama and language is the invisible made visible in the shape-changing of sex, love, life and death. Not to mention food.
$245.86 The Better Angels of Our Nature
Bret Easton Ellis
$167.00 Play It As It Lays
$177.90 The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory Of Jack Kerouac
$201.83 The Dictionary
$159.79 The Argonauts
$133.84 My Uncle Oswald
$138.96 Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown & Illustrated by Clement Hurd
$144.73 Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America
Cortney Burns and Nick Balla
$148.92 Dining with the Maharajas: A Thousand Years of Culinary Tradition
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