My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe
Risking It All for a Convenience Store (Library Edition)

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Synopsis

This warm and funny tale of an earnest preppy editor finding himself trapped behind the counter of a Brooklyn convenience store is about family, culture and identity in an age of discombobulation.


It starts with a gift, when Ben Ryder Howe's wife, the daughter of Korean immigrants, decides to repay her parents' self-sacrifice by buying them a store. Howe, an editor at the rarefied Paris Review, agrees to go along. Things soon become a lot more complicated. After the business struggles, Howe finds himself living in the basement of his in-laws' Staten Island home, commuting to the Paris Review offices in George Plimpton's Upper East Side townhouse by day, and heading to Brooklyn at night to slice cold cuts and peddle lottery tickets. My Korean Deli follows the store's tumultuous life span, and along the way paints the portrait of an extremely unlikely partnership between characters with shoots across society, from the Brooklyn streets to Seoul to Puritan New England. Owning the deli becomes a transformative experience for everyone involved as they struggle to salvage the original gift--and the family--while sorting out issues of values, work, and identity.

 

About Ben Ryder Howe

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Ben Ryder Howe has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Outside, and his work has been selected for Best American Travel Writing. This is his first book.
 
Published March 1, 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Korean Deli

The New York Times

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In “The Ramble in Central Park: A Wilderness West of Fifth” (Abbeville Press, $35), Mr. McCabe presents his dazzling full-color, four-season photographs of the Ramble, which Douglas Blonsky, president of the Central Park Conservancy, calls “indisputably still the soul of Central Park.” Other cont...

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

The New York Times

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The book opens in the autumn of 2002 with Ben Ryder Howe, then an editor at The Paris Review, riding around New York with his mother-in-law, Kay, “the Mike Tyson of Korean grandmothers,” looking at locations for the delicatessen his family has decided to buy — or, more accurately, his wife, Gab, ...

Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

NPR

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In Ben Ryder Howe's funny new memoir, My Korean Deli, the author explains how he helped his wife's family buy a Brooklyn bodega — and then spent his nights working there, while trying to balance his day job as an editor at The Paris Review.

Mar 09 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Examiner

My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store, by Ben Howe, is an entertaining and engaging memoir about his attempt at success in the retail world of lottery tickets and cigarettes.

Mar 22 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Examiner

Howe keeps his job as an editor at the Review, where the lackadaisical work environment allows Howe to maintain both “careers.” Howe provides a delicious look at the last few years of George Plimpton’s life, in a miniature biopic of vignettes and anecdotes that illustrate Plimpton’s heart, soul,...

Oct 27 2012 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Christian Science Monitor

Relying on a skillful mix of comedy and pathos, Ben Ryder Howe tells how he became an editor by day – and a New York City deli owner by night.

Mar 04 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Bookmarks Magazine

Matthew Tiffany New York Observer 4 of 5 Stars "In a hook that may draw more readers than deli trivia will, My Korean Deli offers a peek at the last days of George Plimpton.

Mar 06 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

The New Yorker

No doubt many of you have experienced the small joys of being a deli regular: walking into your deli, saying hello, and asking the cook to throw together “the usual.” But few of us get a chance to peek into...No doubt many of you have experienced the small joys of being a deli regular: walking in...

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Baby Got Books

I don’t usually go in for “Why the Left/Right Sucks and the Right/Left is Always Right”-style books, but the reviews that I’ve read of Hedges’ new book sound like it is above that fray.

Jan 02 2012 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Serious Eats

We won't sell or share it with anyone.

Mar 12 2011 | Read Full Review of My Korean Deli: Risking It Al...

Reader Rating for My Korean Deli
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