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Dangers of Reading 'My Korean Deli'
March 20, 2011 - 6:15pm

Warning. If you read My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe as audiobook, and listen while walking across campus, you will inevitably end up looking like a crazy person as you break out into uncontrollable laughter just as a tour of prospective students and their parents passes you on the green. I'm just saying.

Other Dangers of Reading My Korean Deli:

  • If you buy this book now you will miss too many March Madness games, as NCAA basketball (or work or talking to your partner or children or other lesser pursuits) will not be able to compete.
  • If you have Korean in-laws, and/or a Korean-American spouse, you will find yourself vigorous nodding your head as Ryder Howe describes the culinary, cultural, marital, and son-in-law intricacies, complications and delights of marrying into a Korean family.
  • You may never complain about your difficult academic, technology, publishing, or whatever professional job again, as almost any gig seems infinitely easier than running a family owned convenience store and deli.
  • You may think about subscribing to the Paris Review (Ryder Howe is a senior editor during the time his family ran the deli), for no better reason than you are loving reading My Korean Deli.
  • You might decide to watch (on Netflix Instant) Paper Lion, the 1968 movie in which Alan Alda plays George Plimpton trying out for the the Detroit Lions. Plimpton, the founding editor of the Paris Review and Ryder Howe's boss, vividly and hilariously comes to life in My Korean Deli.
  • You may abandon your dream of finding a "simpler" life and walking away from the world of academia, medicine, publishing, technology etc. etc. to start your own family business (bookstore, restaurant, cafe, deli etc), after reading about what the life of a small proprietor is actually like.
  • You may put your idea on hold to move into your in-laws basement (particularly if they live on Staten Island) to save money for a down payment for your own home (as Ryder Howe and his wife did), deciding that on balance it might be wiser to remain a renter.

I'm nominating "My Korean Deli" for the funniest non-fiction book of 2011. Let's hope for some good competition.

What are you reading?


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