Tuesday, October 16, 2007

40 for 40

Because I cannot resist making lists, here’s another for a new Reading Year.

1. What Is the What (Dave Eggers)
earlier this year, reviewers called this book important; my friend Suzanne highly recommended it
2. Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
Neal Stephenson is a genius, and it's time to read a really long book
3. A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
L’Engle has been on my mind since her recent death
4. Cliffs of Fall (Shirley Hazzard)
found a remainder of this story collection, which looks more approachable than The Great Fire
5. Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
sequel, which I’d like to read, was just released
6. Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Marisha Pessl)
friend Caryl recommended it, and I've been impressed by strong reviews
7. Suite Francaise (Irene Nemirovsky)
a 2007 Conversation with Books selection, friend Caryl recommended it
8. Suffer the Little Children (Donna Leon)
a 2008 Conversation with Books selection
9. Summer (Edith Wharton)
Another 2008 Conversation with Books selection
10. The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
Spain, bull-fighting, 20th anniversary of when I first read Hemingway
11. Taxonomy of Barnacles (Galt Niederhofer)
Great review in the New York Times last year, shelf-sitter
12. Appointment in Samarra (John O’Hara)
moody and atmospheric, 1950s manners and morals
13. On Beauty (Zadie Smith)
strong reviews, shelf-sitter
14. New York Trilogy (Paul Auster)
trying to satisfy an Auster craving with these classics
15. The Wicked Position (Dawn Powell)
shelf-sitter; purchased almost ten years ago at Prairie Lights in Iowa City
16. Our Man in Havana (Graham Greene)
classic espionage
17. Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates)
class 1950s ennui
18. Murder in the Marais (Cara Black)
gritty mystery in wonderful Parisian setting
19. Architecture of Happiness (Alain de Botton)
architecture; popular writing to inspire my profession life
20. Vile Bodies (Evelyn Waugh)
a favorite author; about the Mitfords
21. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (Vincent Lam)
linked stories about medical students and doctors , read a strong review recently
22. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral (Barbara Kingsolver)
beyond eating locally and seasonally, this is Kingsolver’s account of growing her own food
23. Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
I don’t know anyone who hasn't loved this
24. Where I Came From (Joan Didion)
Didion nonfiction, California setting
25. The Last Thing He Wanted (Joan Didion)
Didion was my discovery author for ’07; picked this up at City Lights recently
26. Man Who Walked Through Time (Colin Fletcher)
classic walking book
27. In Patagonia (Bruce Chatwin)
Argentina, classic travel essay
28. Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan)
for "family book group"—my dad and sister will read too
29. Fried Eggs with Chopsticks (Polly Evans)
enjoyed It’s Not About the Tapas and would like to read more Polly Evans
30. Four Seasons in Five Senses (David Mas Masumoto)
my sis gave this to me last year for my birthday, food and nature
31. Every Eve (Isobel English)
a lost classic published by Persephone, a gift from a friend
32. The Silverado Squatters (Robert Louis Stevenson)
1880s Napa lifestyle, inspired by recent trip to Northern California
33. Big House (George Howe Colt)
sustaining my interest in architecture
34. Judgment of Paris (George Taber)
recent trip to Napa and continuing wine education inspire me
35. Kingdom by the Sea (Paul Theroux)
Theroux is a favorite and we’re going to England, summer ‘08
36. When French Women Cook (Madeleine Kammen)
culinary essay
37. Collected Stories of Carol Shields
short stories and an opportunity to read Shields
38. Adventures in the Rocky Mountains (Isabella Bird)
delightfully packaged travel essay in a new Penguin series
39. A Romantic Education (Patricia Hampl)
shelf-sitter, which I last tried to read in 1999; George Janecky loved this
40. A Time of Gift (Patrick Leigh Fermor)
another classic walking book

The list reflects some of my current interests—reading books set in Napa Valley and books about walking, architecture, and travel. Here is a short list of books that didn't make the main list but that might make guest appearances:

The Hungry Tide (Amitav Ghosh), read enticing flap copy recently
Stet (Diana Athill), a recent purchase
A Year in the World (Frances Mayes) a 39 for 39 leftover
Poet of the Appetites (Joan Reardon), a 39 for 39 leftover
something by MFK Fisher, a 39 for 39 leftover
The Thief Lord (Cornelia Funke), a 39 for 39 leftover
Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh), a 39 for 39 leftover
Gone-Away Lake (Elizabeth Enright), missed this one when I was a kid
The All-of-a-Kind Family (Sydney Taylor), loved this series, would be reading now with daughters
Jane Austen Book Club (Karen Joy Fowler), a 39 for 39 leftover, want to read before I see the movie
Feeding a Yen (Calvin Trillin), a 39 for 39 leftover
White Ghost Girls (Alice Greenway), a 39 for 39 leftover
Liquor (Poppy Z. Brite), NOLA
New Orleans Noir, anthology, NOLA
House of Blues (Julie Smith), NOLA mystery
Best American Travel Writing 2007, anthology
Death by Pad Thai, anthology compiled and edited by Douglas Bauer
Granta's Best of Young American Novelists 2, anthology with some of my favorite writers
Bacchus and Me (Jay McInerney), wine writing

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