52 Loaves by William Alexander
One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust

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Synopsis

William Alexander is determined to bake the perfect loaf of bread. He tasted it long ago, in a restaurant, and has been trying to reproduce it ever since. Without success. Now, on the theory that practice makes perfect, he sets out to bake peasant bread every week until he gets it right. He bakes his loaf from scratch. And because Alexander is nothing if not thorough, he really means from scratch: growing, harvesting, winnowing, threshing, and milling his own wheat.
 
An original take on the six-thousand-year-old staple of life, 52 Loaves explores the nature of obsession, the meditative quality of ritual, the futility of trying to re-create something perfect, our deep connection to the earth, and the mysterious instinct that makes all of us respond to the aroma of baking bread.

 

About William Alexander

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William Alexander won the National Book Award for his debut novel, Goblin Secrets—praised by Kirkus Reviews as “gripping and tantalizing” in a starred review—and won the Earphones Award for his narration of the audiobook. He studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College and English at the University of Vermont and currently lives, writes, and teaches in Minneapolis. Ghoulish Song is his second novel. Visit him at WillAlex.net and GoblinSecrets.com.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Algonquin Books. 353 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Cooking. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for 52 Loaves

Kirkus Reviews

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A clever weekend baker learns some life lessons, loaf by loaf.

Sep 16 2010 | Read Full Review of 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentle...

Star Tribune

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Alexander's willingness to portray himself as hapless saves this sometimes charming book from self-absorption.

May 08 2010 | Read Full Review of 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentle...

The Kitchn

Books like this are my version of beach reading.

Jul 01 2010 | Read Full Review of 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentle...

Reader Rating for 52 Loaves
87%

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