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Extended Audio Sample My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store Audiobook, by Ben Ryder Howe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5 3.50 (12 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ben Ryder Howe Narrator: Bronson Pinchot Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781504627474
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This sweet and funny tale of a preppy editor buying a Brooklyn deli with his Korean in-laws is about family, culture clash, and the quest for authentic experiences.

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 to slice cold cuts and peddle lottery tickets by night. 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • My Korean Deli is about a Korean deli, as I expected. But it’s also about love, culture clashes, family, money, and literature. Plus, it happens to be very funny and poignant. So buy a Slim Jim and a Vitamin Water and sit down to enjoy it.”

    A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

  • “I don’t know how else to explain My Korean Deli except to say that Ben Ryder Howe has made kimchi. As in that splendid staple dish of Korea, the mundane (cabbage/Brooklyn) is combined with the piquant (crazy spices/families) and pickled (natural fermentation/a job at the Paris Review). The result is overpoweringly good. But My Korean Deli will sweeten your reading rather than stinking up your house and will give you deep thoughts not breath that can kill mice in the walls.”

    P. J. O’Rourke, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[A] funny, poignant, true story.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine, “Ten Titles to Pick Up Now”

  • “It’s hard not to fall in love with My Korean Deli. First, it’s the (very) rare memoir that places careful, loving attention squarely on other people rather than the author. Second, it tells a rollicking, made-for-the-movies story in a wonderfully funny deadpan style.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Conveys what is absolutely the best of New York. Delightful.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Howe ably transforms what could have been a string of amusing vignettes about deli ownership into a humorous but heartfelt look into the complexities of family dynamics and the search for identity.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Poking fun at everything from his stereotypically WASP upbringing to his ‘tank’ (he said it) of a mother-in-law…Howe has created a smartly measured and propulsive read.”

    Booklist

  • “Fun! A crucial read if you’ve ever clerked checkout or are remotely entertaining the thought of buying a convenience store. Reads like a novel.”

    Library Journal

  • “In this WASP-out-of-water tale of a Paris Review editor moonlighting as deli owner, Howe plunges boldly into life’s ultimate mysteries: marriage, money, cohabitation with in-laws, the yin-yang currents of striving and slacking, and—perhaps the biggest mystery of them all—why the store can be empty of customers for hours and hours, and then twenty show up at once.”

    Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

  • “Bronson Pinchot takes on the persona of the stuffy literary magazine editor for the first-person account. Between Howe’s wry phrasings and Pinchot’s slightly exaggerated reading, even a ramble on the profit margins of Doritos is amusing…There’s even a dead-on impression of Howe’s boss, the late George Plimpton.”

    AudioFile

  • One of Amazon Best Books of the Year: Top 10 in Memoir
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An NPR Best Book for Summer 2011
  • One of Amazon Best Book of the Month in March 2011
  • One of O Magazine’s “Books to Watch” in March 2011
  • A Audie Award Finalist Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 6/27/2011

    " Very enjoyable, honest without being too self scrutinizing or confessional. A very interesting perspective on what "Work" means in the U.S. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 6/26/2011

    " I found his intermittent chapters on his work at the Paris Review distracting (and somewhat boring) and mostly found this book to be depressing, not humorous or moving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Oliver | 6/23/2011

    " A fish out of water memoir from a literary magazine editor who ends up co-owning a Korean deli in Brooklyn. Entertaining, light, and pleasantly self deprecating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 6/21/2011

    " A fun, light read about a privileged white guy who works as an editor at the Paris Review joining, through marriage, an extremely hard-working Korean family and trying to make a Brooklyn deli successful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Magpie Ima | 6/21/2011

    " Loved it! This one made me laugh out loud many times. And it made me miss NYC an awful lot as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn | 6/21/2011

    " A man (WASP, Bostonian, writer for Paris Review) and his wife (Korean, lawyer)buy a New York deli with his Korean in-laws. Hilarity ensues. Not necessarily deep. Not all issues resolved. But still, very funny in a rather random way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J | 6/19/2011

    " Nonfiction. Great read. Very funny. Author was also a senior editor at the Paris Review. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 6/17/2011

    " 3 1/2 stars. Being a huge fan of the Paris Review I had to read this memoir by one of its senior editors. Howe is a gifted writer who easily tells his story of how he risks his day job and gives up everything to co-own a deli with his Korean in-laws. Very enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terri | 6/17/2011

    " Funny mix of a WASP editor at the Paris Review married into a family of Korean immigrants. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 6/16/2011

    " This was a fun, well-written tale of an unusual experience that will appeal to a wide audience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 6/15/2011

    " I learned a lot more than I had expected about Korean culture, and I got a huge kick out of the fact that the deli in question is located at an intersection that I know! The book is very enjoyable--Ben Howe makes his experience come to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nan | 6/9/2011

    " Loved this book. It was well written, funny, touching, and deeply satisfying. "

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About the Author

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. He is a former senior editor of Paris Review. My Korean Deli is his first book.

About the Narrator

Bronson Pinchot, an Audie Award–winning narrator, received his education at Yale University, which filled out what he had already received at his mother’s knee in the all-important areas of Shakespeare, Greek art and architecture, and the Italian Renaissance. He restores Greek Revival buildings and appears in television, film, and on stage whenever the pilasters and entablatures overwhelm him.