the last banquet

Hey taylorswift I wanted to tell you something!!! So this was a picture of me right before my school journalism banquet last week, and while that isn’t really the gist of this story I just thought I’d let you know that!
But anyway, I started journalism my sophomore year (last year) as a beginner (Journalism 1) student. And I immediately loved it. There was something about telling someone else’s story in a compelling way that I just really loved.
So fast forward to this year (my junior year, which is almost over) and I have a year of being an EIC for the yearbook under my belt. At points in the year I got so stressed out about making sure the book was perfect, and nitpicking spacing between pictures, and meeting deadlines, but most of the other times it was good. I kind of lost the passion I had for journalism this year, up until we went to a convention at the University of Missouri at the beginning of the month.
You know how when successful people always have that one story that they always tell about the moment they knew what they were destined to do?
Well yeah, I think that day at Mizzou just really solidified that being a journalist is just something I really want to pursue.
I’ve been selected to be EIC again next year, and now, at this point, I’m over the moon excited about it. Not just because I’ve rekindled my love for writing and storytelling, but because I’ve really pegged myself as someone who loves to create things.
And that’s where you, and so many other people I look up to, come in.
You put your whole heart into creating your music, planning tours, and just transforming one small idea into something huge. And I just think there’s something so fascinating about that.
Once I get an idea in my head, I have to jump on it that second, and I don’t stop until the final product is what I want. And just recently I’ve been thinking, isn’t that what people should do? Shouldn’t people pursue, as a hobby or even as a career, what they are passionate about?
I’m really really starting to think about it now that I’m about to be a senior. Is just going to school for a stable job that I’m not passionate about really worth it? For me, passion about what I’m doing is more important than the amount of money I would make.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize that you’ve influenced me in a way. You’ve shown me that pursuing something you’re passionate about is important, and that creating things, whether it be music, writing, art (or in my case, yearbooks/magazines/newspapers) is a process that, if you posses the drive, is so amazing to carry out. So thank you. Love you lots.


Another week, another lot of amazing events. That’s just how things go here at Housing Works.

On Monday, we’ll be hosting The Last Banquet; a lively celebration of food and literature. Novelist Jonathan Grimwood will be joined by Charlotte Druckman, Matt Grossand Gideon Lewis-Kraus. While our very own executive chef, Emily Casey will be preparing dishes inspired by The Last Banquet!

Wednesday night will feature I Like Your Glasses, our hotly anticipated Literary Speed Dating event. This event is sold out, but sign up to the wait list to keep abreast of future events and grab yourself a ticket if someone drops out.

On Thursday, the storytellers of The Moth StorySLAM will be waxing lyrical on the subject of ‘Home.' 10 stories, 3 teams of judges, 1 winner. $8 at the door. This event always sells out. Limited seating; please arrive early.

Friday sees us celebrate the release of’s first book, appropriately named The Book of Jezebel in The Age of Ladyblogs.The book’s co-author Kate Harding will be joined by Jessica Coen, Anna Holmes, Edith Zimmerman and others for a discussion that promises to take in everything from pop culture to politics to modern womanhood.

And on Saturday, we’ll be hosting Then and Now, a book club reveling in history and pop culture. This week’s book is Sam Kean’s delightfully titled,The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. 


Tonight! An evening of storytelling, lively literary conversation, and bizarre culinary tastes. Join novelist Jonathan Grimwood and special guests Charlotte Druckman, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, and Matt Gross at a celebration of food, obsession, and literature. Dishes prepared especially for the occasion by The Works executive chef Emily Casey and inspired by The Last Banquet will be served (You have been warned.)

About The Last Banquet: Set against the backdrop of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the delectable decadence of Versailles, The Last Banquet is the gripping story of one man’s search for the ultimate taste. A sumptuous and appealing novel about food and flavor, about the Age of Reason, about revolution, hunger, and obsession.

In The Last Banquet, you and your friends take on the roles of guests at an opulent royal feast. Perfectly suited for parties and large gaming events, the game accommodates groups of six to twenty-five players. Using your character’s actions and words, you must work with other players to achieve your team’s goal, which may be to deliver a secret message, rescue the kidnapped princess, or seat your team’s assassin by the king’s side.
Full story HERE.

New: The Last Banquet Released

New: The Last Banquet Released

Fantasy Flight has released The Last Banquet, the company’s new game for large groups ranging from 6-26 players.

In The Last Banquet, players take on the roles of guests at a royal feast where they must work with other players to achieve their team’s goal, which may be to deliver a secret message, rescue the kidnapped princess, or seat your an assassin by the king’s side.

Players begin the game…

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Book Review | The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

“The afternoon knows what the morning never expected…”

Title: The Last Banquet
Author: Jonathan Grimwood
Genre: Historical Fiction; Young Adult; Romance; Food
Publication Date: 2013 (Canongate Books)
My Edition: Canongate Books (Hardcover, 2013)
Pages: 368 
Source: Prize from Book Depository
Buy: Signed First Edition from Book Depository!

Synopsis (adapted from the Book Depository):

Features Jean-Marie d'Aumout as a penniless orphan eating beetles by the side of a road. His fate is changed after an unlikely encounter finds him patronage and he is sent to military academy. Despite his frugal roots, and thanks to wit and courage in great measure, he grows up to become a diplomat and spy.

My Thoughts:

This novel was sent to me by The Book Depository as a prize since I had won the Quote of the Week. In this novel, the protagonist Jean-Marie d'Aumout tells his story from his early childhood to his late years, including his education, his friendships, his love life and, most importantly, the discovery of different tastes. The plot is fast-paced since not many philosophical endeavours are done. As for story content, I especially liked the beginning when Jean-Marie is still a boy and is discovering the privileged world his nobility has made possible. As Jean-Marie grows older, he becomes a womaniser in the truest and purest sense. While the confessions of love were not annoying, the graphical details of eventful nights were numerous to the point of sickness to a reader like me who isn’t into that type of reading. Jean-Marie’s ‘tastes’ are of a wide variety. Mistresses even when he’s old! I shook my head and put the book down at some disgusting acts. I’m sad that this effected my overall opinion of this book, but it did drag after all. A content-wise aspect which I liked is that the novel has almost the same amount of happy and bitter experiences. I also enjoyed the different settings and the protagonist’s growth throughout the book. Grimwood’s a good author: his writing style was enjoyable despite that hitch I mentioned before. It’s written in first person narrative and it is excellently executed.  I didn’t detect any particularly interesting themes, or at least they weren’t strong enough for me to comment about them. I loved the characters though! Especially the friendships. My favourite character is not even a person.. it is Tigris, Jean-Marie’s pet tiger. She is such an exotic touch to the book. Although Tigris is blind she’s an amiable companion, at least to those who aren’t afraid of her! Jean-Marie is attached to her in a more loyal manner than he was to his wives. As far Jean-Marie’s personality, I definitely enjoyed his inquisitive nature especially when it comes to taste. The ending is satisfying in a queer way; the last banquet turned out to be different than the lavish dinner I expected when I started reading this book!

Rating: 3/5

I enjoyed Jean-Marie’s delicious and sometimes disgusting journey. It is a fast read but I personally would have loved it more if it had less adult content incorporated with taste. I admit that at times it was sick to the point of closing the book and putting it away… 


If you enjoy a good book about the French nobility try this out. However, beware of the negative aspects (which you may not mind) that I have mentioned in my review.

What's Yucky?

     One of my favorite novels, The Last Banquet, came to mind a few weeks ago when I received an Invitation to a dinner with an interesting name: Snout to Tail. Holy smoke! I shouted mentally. Could there possibly be a less appetizing title for an event? I posed this question to the organizers with what I thought was a big dollop of humor. They didn’t think my comment was funny at all and replied via email that the type of dinner they were promoting was based on a cookbook called The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson. I mentioned the dinner to Jennifer, Bookstore1’s manager. She had grown up on a farm and thought the dinner–title and all–sounded delicious.      So, I guess deliciousness or yukkiness is based solely on the taste buds of the diner. For my part I find fish and seafood absolutely disgusting–the mouth feel, flavor, odor–all add to my revulsion. I can just hear some of you say…it’s got to be psychological. What’ll she do next? Blame it on her mother?      Well, yes, I do blame my mother. She was on a healthy eating kick long before it became fashionable. (I guess it worked. She lived in good health until 92.) On a couple of occasions she insisted we all eat liver–rare. Believe me, for a 6-year-old that was hard to take, but, fortunately, she even found that difficult to choke down. Her on-going insistence was that fish was good for us. So she’d fix it two or three times each week. I hated it. Nevertheless, I was forced to sit at the table until I ate it all. It didn’t help that my mother was an atrocious cook. To this day, I can’t force myself to swallow fish in any form.      When I asked others at the bookstore about foods they dislike Barry said since childhood he has not been able to stand sweet potatoes. He no longer does Thanksgiving, but he swears that has nothing to do with the presence of an umber-colored casserole. (Hmmmmm.) Liz reports that her mother-in-law had a fear of wobbly Jell-o. She’d run out of the room when it was carried in from the kitchen, only returning when the Jell-o had been eaten by others.      But these are nothing…ordinary reactions to ordinary foods. If you’d like to read a terrific novel about foods far more exotic I’d definitely suggest The Last Banquet. Tasty reading: The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating 

by Fergus Henderson

Go to Bookstore1Sarasota’s home page

Bank Square Books

At this time about a year ago, Hurricane Sandy almost destroyed Bank Square Books in Mystic Connecticut. Thanks to the good will and hard work of the community it serves, the dedication of its staff, and its owners’ passion for books, much of the store’s stock was saved and they were back in business several months later, though it took months more for things to get back to normal. Two nights ago, a year after it was so terribly damaged, the store celebrated the opening (yes, opening!) of its beautiful new space–an extended ground floor annex, and an upstairs space for events, workshops, whatever! I was fortunate enough to be there, with author Jonathan Grimwood, whose novel The Last Banquet occupied pride of place in the new rooms. Bank Square is a great store and its story over the past year is a terrific tale of resilience and bookseller gumption. My congrats and heartfelt thanks to Annie and Patience and the entire staff.

- Michael Reynolds

more drama updates: MW was also asked if he has anything to say about the injury situation regarding Ribery, he replied that he would love to say sth and even wanted to at the banquet last night, but he is not allowed, forbidden by the club. make whatever of that you will.

Got some flashcards done, went out to sushi and drinks with my law school ladies to celebrate a wonderful friend’s 25th birthday, and come home to find my study buddy finally dropped off a full ConLaw outline.


A Second Look


Originally published July 25th, 2014

     Since I’m in the book business I’m privileged to read lots of books. Special treats are the Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) that are shipped to the store almost daily. Because there are so many to be read—and mainly enjoyed—I rarely have the chance to read a book more than once. Unless it’s poetry. I go back again and again to read (at least parts) of the work of my favorite poets.

     Recently I was asked to lead a discussion of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch for a Women of Influence event held at the Ringling Museum. I had read The Goldfinch when it first came out in the fall of 2013 and enjoyed it immensely. (In fact, it was one of my two favorite books of that year, the other being The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood. Go figure.) But I decided to read it a second time so as to be better prepared to lead a discussion.

     The Goldfinch is the sort of book that a reader sails through, despite its length (771 pages) because of the fluidity of its language and because of its engaging story. I had thought I had retained the vast majority of that book’s contents. Certainly I had recalled the major plot elements. But, perhaps because of my “sailing through,” I had not remembered many of the delicious nuances. Reading it the second time revealed these to me. The vibrant descriptions, for example, of Pippa, the woman the protagonist, Theo, truly loves. The details of Theo’s escape from a terrorist bombing in a New York art museum. Rich stuff there that I had apparently glossed over. Oh my, this experience has me asking, “What else should I re-read for the sake of hidden treasures?”


       Click here to go to Bookstore1Sarasota’s website.                                    

What sucks about being a senior is leaving everything behind you because it’s your time to move on. However, I realized that I don’t want to move on. I got my squad right here. And I couldn’t have asked a better team. Now, in this picture is all the seniors that stayed the entire year. Some left and were not here with us. But all that matters is that when I cheered throughout high school, I don’t regret doing it. Because it brought me great friends. 👯✨