6 Book Recommendations from “Queer Eye” Chef Antoni Porowski

April 10 2018
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Every episode of Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot features exceptional fashion advice and enviable wardrobe makeovers, but one particular article of clothing caught my attention: chef Antoni Porowski’s t-shirt that says “Jude & JB & Willem & Malcolm.” For those of you who don’t know, these are the central characters of Hanya Yanagihara’s beloved novel A LITTLE LIFE. Could it be that the Fab Five’s food and wine expert has as great an eye for books as he does for Instagram-worthy dinners? We did a little research to find six books off Porowski’s shelf—check these out while you wait for Queer Eye’s second season!

A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara

After being seen in the Yanagihara t-shirt on the show, Porowski discussed A LITTLE LIFE in a few interviews, not only praising the quality of the writing but pointing out the significance of the narrative in his own life. “At the end of the day, it’s a story about showing up for somebody who doesn’t even believe in themselves, which is exactly what we do on the show,” he said in a Vulture interview. This evocative novel follows four college classmates after moving to New York City, one of which is haunted by extremely dark events of his past.

Read the full review of A LITTLE LIFE.

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A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say I cried for 700 pages of this 832-page masterpiece. I have never loved a character more deeply than I love Jude, the main character in this ode to male friendship, who is scarred and broken from an unspeakable trauma. Reading about Jude’s ever-changing relationships with his three best friends from college was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a reader—and certainly as a crier.

Read the review of A LITTLE LIFE.

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My Struggle: Book 1
by Karl Ove Knausgaard

A friend of Porowski’s recommended A LITTLE LIFE because he said he’d been reading (and loving) Karl Knausgaard, who, like Yanagihara, is known for his unflinching treatment of dark subjects. Originally published in Norway to huge commercial and critical acclaim, MY STRUGGLE is a six-book series of “autobiographical novels”: these books are labeled as fiction, but the author is the protagonist and doesn’t change the names of many of his relatives. The New Republic notes that reading these books ire like “opening someone else's diary and finding your own secrets."

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My Struggle: Book 1
Karl Ove Knausgaard

Comprised of six novels, My Struggle is a semi-autobiographical chronicle of the author’s experiences from childhood to the present day. Whether describing a fight with his father or a quotidian trip to the grocery story, Knausgaard finds a surprising rhythm and beauty in life’s struggles that makes this series a hypnotic read.

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

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By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

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By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close
The Velvet Rage
by Alan Downs

While psychologist Alan Downs argues that “gay men are the worldwide experts on style, fashion, etiquette, bodybuilding, art, and design,” Porowski points out that cooking doesn’t make the list (“Challenge accepted, Dr. Downs!”). In THE VELVET RAGE, the author draws from both research and personal experience to examine how internalized shame effects the emotional well-being of gay men. The title refers to a very specific anger he finds in his gay patients—a byproduct, he says, of “growing up gay in a straight man’s world.”

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The Velvet Rage
Alan Downs

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MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 9 October Reads More Exhilarating Than a Haunted House

By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

10 Immersive Series to Hunker Down with This Fall

By Alice Martin | October 13, 2021

10 Evocative Thrillers with the Power to Break Your Heart

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close
Call Me by Your Name
by André Aciman

The film adaptation of Andre Aciman’s debut novel hit the big screen in the fall of 2017, going on to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. But on Twitter, Porowski calls it “one of my fav ‘17 summer books,” meaning, unsurprisingly, that he knew about it before it was cool. Set in Italy in the 1980s, the book follows a powerful summer romance between a teenage boy and a 24-year-old guest at his parents’ villa—an experience that affects them both deeply. Porowski's praise has reaffirmed that I need to read this one before seeing the movie.

Read the full review of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.

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Call Me by Your Name
André Aciman

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MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 9 October Reads More Exhilarating Than a Haunted House

By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

10 Immersive Series to Hunker Down with This Fall

By Alice Martin | October 13, 2021

10 Evocative Thrillers with the Power to Break Your Heart

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close
In My Kitchen
by Ted Allen

Former Chopped host Ted Allen was the food expert on the original Queer Eye series, and when he published his cookbook, Porowski attended his Brooklyn book signing. “We found out that we lived literally across the street from one another, and then eventually I started working for him and cooking for him,” Porowski told Grub Street. IN MY KITCHEN features more than 100 recipes for all occasions, like bourbon squash soup and Thai-grilled beef skewers. These seem a little advanced for the guys Porowski’s mentoring on Queer Eye, but a perfect next step once they graduate from guacamole and grilled cheese.

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In My Kitchen
Ted Allen

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MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 9 October Reads More Exhilarating Than a Haunted House

By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

10 Immersive Series to Hunker Down with This Fall

By Alice Martin | October 13, 2021

10 Evocative Thrillers with the Power to Break Your Heart

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close
The Sparsholt Affair
by Alan Hollinghurst

Porowski posted this one to his Instagram story, thanking A LITTLE LIFE author Hanya Yanagihara herself for the recommendation. Alan Hollinghurst, award-winning author of THE LINE OF BEAUTY, returns with this sweeping family saga, following a group of men from 1940s Oxford to present day London. The book is not only a deeply emotional character study, but an exploration of changing views and experiences of homosexuality in the UK over the last century.

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The Sparsholt Affair
Alan Hollinghurst

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 9 October Reads More Exhilarating Than a Haunted House

By Alice Martin | October 18, 2021

Authors as Magicians: 8 Books That’ll Cast a Spell on You

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 15, 2021

Staff Picks: 10 Classic Novels We Truly Enjoyed Reading for School

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2021

10 Immersive Series to Hunker Down with This Fall

By Alice Martin | October 13, 2021

10 Evocative Thrillers with the Power to Break Your Heart

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | October 12, 2021

10 Historical Novels Perfect for Crisp Autumn Nights

By Chris Gaudio | October 11, 2021

Close

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