Sunday, June 3, 2012


Nearly every surface of our small bungalow is covered in books -- mom's books, the boys would say -- but what's sitting on the table next to my bed is where the real reading lives. Right now, I'm plowing through The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn. There are four of them in the volume that I have and evidently the fifth, At Last, came out recently and is the best. These are British novels, and St. Aubyn is a masterful writer with an ascerbic wit -- the stories are dark and mannered and I can't put them down.

The other book that I'm flipping through with great joy is At Home on the Range, a cookbook presented by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame and written by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. This is a charming book of beautiful design by McSweeney's Books, and while I'm not a huge fan of Gilbert, I really enjoyed her foreword which precedes Potter's introduction:
Married to a man whom my father describes as "impossible," constantly in debt (sometimes slipping out of foreclosed homes just ahead of the sheriff's arrival), struggling with the alcoholism that would periodically land her in psychiatric clinics and grim hospital wards, my creative but unconstrained great-grandmother was not the first or the last woman in the history of female hardship to take refuge in food.

What are you reading?


  1. Apparently I am reading everything I can get my hands on. A book I'm listening to in my car which I did not think I would like as much as I am is Pat Conroy's book, My Reading Life.

  2. I'm reading The Complete Enderby by Anthony Burgess and a whole stack of poetry books...your nightstand and it's lovely clutter is so charming...

  3. I have a strange fascination for sea-faring novels, much like your interest in surfing. I am reading To the Edge of the World by Harry Thompson, a great big lug of a book, but wildly interesting to me although I have very unusual taste in literature. No Kindle yet I'm afraid. The only thing missing on your night stand for me is a great big bottle of Tums!

  4. I too am captivated by the picture of your nightstand and also in awe of your brain and all you do to maintain your intelligence.

  5. I have never heard of those Patrick Melrose novels. I gotta check those out. I'm in the middle of Daniel DeFoe's "Journal of the Plague Year," which is interesting -- and I never read Robinson Crusoe, so this is my first DeFoe. (Got it for £1 at a junk shop -- it's amazing how much of my reading is defined by what I can scrounge up cheaply.)

  6. Pam Houston's new book, Contents May Have Shifted, just smacked the wind out of me. It was so beautiful it hurt. I tweeted to her and told her so, and then she followed me. So she's not only brilliant, but friendly and kind. Did you love Jeannette Winterson's? I loved it but I haven't finished it.

  7. Even your nightstand is beautiful. You do have a touch. I'm reading "Bring Up the Bodies," the follow-up to "Wolf Hall" (Hilary Mantel). Full of Tudor power schemes and the emotional collisions of people with huge egos and too much time on their hands. Somehow she makes Thomas Cromwell likeable enough to want to follow down any castle passage and into any wife or mistress mess.

  8. I just finished reading -

    Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. I loved it. One of the most challenging books I have read in a long time.

    The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. It was amazing.

    South of Superior by Ellen Airgood - I hated it and did not finish it.

    The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon - I enjoyed it so much I ordered her other book, "Riding on the Bus With My Sister".

    I am going to the library today to pick up "Mercy among the Children"
    by David Adams Richards and "The Myth of You and Me" by Leah Stewart.

    OH, I read "Practical Jean" a few weeks back. It was very good too. :-)

  9. I'm loving all of the swimming pool blue color you have going there - it would make a great still life :)

  10. I'm reading A Wrinkle in Time - daughters read it for school and we have two copies lying about - no danger in misplacing it or having to go all the way up stairs for my book

  11. Hmmm...Edward St. Aubyn...I love that name.
    Reading? I'm reading a YA novel (not my genre, but as it was written by a friend from Camp Goodtimes, I'm invested) called, "Wrecked." She's a ghostwriter for some very well-known series, a sr. editor at Cosmo, lives in NY and we're hosting a party for her HERE after her book-signing Saturday (so I need to finish it this week)! It has mermaids in it, is set in the Carolinas, and so far, the themes I see are loss, grief, hope and love. Pretty good stuff for YA!

  12. Ahh, books. We just moved last week (which is why I have been AWOL) and I have discovered that the new house needs BOOKSHELVES. So I will be going out to purchase many of them to house all of my dear friends.

    I just finished Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" and am currently reading "The Chaperone" by Laura Moriarty and "What do We Know" by Mary Oliver.



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