Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Book Round-up

When I'm not obsessively watching the back seasons of the television show Breaking Bad, I have my usual stack of books being read and books soon to be read and books that I wish I would read but know that I won't. I periodically get emails from friends asking for book recommendations -- most of these are very old friends who knew me when I literally read at least six novels a month -- I'm hard put to get through two a month these days, but I'm pretty excited about what I'm reading and what I'm about to read.

Books I'm Currently Reading

A Good Hard Look: A Novel by Ann Napolitano

This book is a fictionalized account of the writer Flannery O'Connor and the inhabitants of the small town of Milledgeville, Georgia. I have no idea if it's based on a true story or not, but the novel is well written and a tad on the sensational side which makes it verge on escape literature. I've always been an admirer of O'Connor's weirdness, and this book delivers.

Eat the Document by Dana Spiota

This novel is beautifully written, telling the story of the radical underground movements of the 1970s and the consequences of them in the 1990s. I find the weaving between the two time periods a bit confusing, but that could be because I'm reading other books simultaneously.

Books I'm Waiting to Read, So Excited About Them I Can Hardly Stand It

The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje

After reading The English Patient and then the rest of Ondaatje's novels and poetry and memoir, I was convinced that were I to meet him, we would fall madly in love and perhaps run off to Ceylon together. When I went to hear him read -- once in New York and once in Los Angeles -- I sat in the audience rapt and mesmerized. I have great and perhaps unrealistic hopes for this new novel.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

I loved Middlesex and it's been a long time since Eugenides published a book. I find him to be a charming writer, able to weave weirdness and the banal together in novel ways.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

Last week I went to the downtown public library and listened to Enright read from her latest novel. She was fantastic -- dry and witty, simply dressed with shiny chartreuse pumps. Her appearance  was in direct contrast to the steamy passages that she read. The novel is about adultery, and I won't say more.


  1. I want to read that last one. Yes. Yes I do.

  2. I loved Middlesex and looking forward to this one. I am plowing through regular books and lately way too distracted by shiny chick-lit (which is sometimes an afternoon or late night escape - like eating crappy candy.)

    Your recommendations are solid though. Thanks. xoxo

  3. Thank you for recommendations. I loved Middlesex.

  4. thanks for this! i heard eugenides on fresh air the other night and the new book sounds good. have you read 'cutting for stone'? amazing.

  5. I'm a fan of Anne Enright's writing, Elizabeth, and your description of her reading from her latest has further whetted my appetite. Thanks.

  6. Right now? I'm reading "The Summer Without Men" Newest book by Siri Hustvedt and LOVING it - so well written. Beautiful language - I think you would like, too (if you haven't already read)

  7. Oh, goodie! Some authors I haven't heard of. Have you read Eugenides' Virgin Suicides? So much better than the movie. And I loved Middlesex. I couldn't get into The English Patient and hated the movie, so I'm happy to feel impressed with you for having read The EP and liked it enough to read more Ondaatje.

    Right now I'm rereading Brave New World so my granddaughter has someone to call and complain to about not understanding it. I step her through a few lines and she breathes, "Ohhhhh . . . . well why didn't he just say that?!"

    Thanks, Elizabeth!



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