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In love affairs

"A half century after he found love nibbling pig knuckles down at the end of Clinton Street, Orlo Pound's ashes lay in a candy tin the scavenger had rescued from the mud room of a Holy Land rowhouse," begins Rafael Alvarez's collection of stories Orlo and Leini. That Alvarez's lyrical style can unite such disparate things as passion and pig parts gives his love story of a junkman, Orlo, and his Greek sweetheart, Leini, a singular flavor reminiscent of the "impure" poetry of Pablo Neruda. The third principal character in his book is the "Holy Land" itself, a gritty, blue-collar east Baltimore neighborhood, and it will come alive for listeners when Alvarez (pictured left) reads at Quail Ridge Books on August 20 at 4 p.m. For more information, call 828-1588.

DiamondDiamondDiamondThe late Helen Hudson Whiting would have also understood the metaphoric intersections between love and pig knuckles. Undaunted by the barbecue-dominated days of old, she was a passionate experimenter in her Durham kitchen and shared her zeal for cooking with Triangle readers for almost 20 years. In Helen's Kitchen: A Philosophy of Food gathers her witty and instructive wisdom in 120 essays and more than 300 wide-ranging recipes for readers to try. From 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 20, the Regulator Bookshop will host a party celebrating the release of the book. For more information, call 286-2700.

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