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What Are You Reading

StevenHB's picture

What are you reading currently?  I'm going away between Christmas and New Year's and need to bring something with me.   The last two books that I read were Rashi's Daughters: Joheved and Julie and Julia.


Rashi's Daughters is a fictional account of the lives of the daughters of one of the most respected Talmudic commentators.  Anyway, this book focuses on the life of his eldest daughter, whom the author, Maggie Anton, calls Joheved.  It's an interesting mix of Talmudic debate, middle-ages historical fiction, and coming of age story.  Enjoyable and recommended.


Julie and Julia is the book form of Julie Powell's blog about cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 in a year.  Powell spends a fair amount of time covering her cooking foibles but addresses many other details of her life and her friends' lives.  One reviewer complains that she spends too many words on her friends' sex lives and her endocrine problems - I found it all interesting.  Definitely recommended to this crowd.


So, now that I've shared, I'm hoping that you'll reciprocate with some suggestions for what's next.  I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction these days.




Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible


Edited 12/17/2006 11:13 pm ET by StevenHB

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
FastEddie's picture

The Innocent Man by Grisham.  Just finished it.  It will open your eyes with regard to poor police and prosecutor work.

 


"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson

"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

peabee's picture

I read "The Innocent Man" when it first came out. Very Provocative. Another one that is very good is "Confessions of an Innocent Man" by William Sampson. He is a dual citizen of Canada and Great Britain. He was jailed in Saudi Arabia, for really no offence at all, by North American Standards. He goes on to explain that he had "LITTLE to NO" support from either Government and all the torture and the Hell that he was put through. If you can find this book I think you may enjoy it as well.

Risottogirl's picture

I just  today finished Calvin Trillin's Messages from my Father, a loving memoir of his immigrant father and growing up in Kansas City. I have loved everything CT has written. I find him wry and funny and warm. This book is a keeper.


I have been traveling weekly for work since late July, the most recent 4 months to/from (very) rural south central Missouri...so I have been reading more than usual (long plane rides), including...


Heat by Bill Buford


The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini


Julie and Julia by Julie Powell


My Life in France by Julia Child


Kitchen Confidential (re-read) by Anthony Bourdain


Families of the Vine by Michael Sanders


From Here You Can't See Paris by Michael Sanders


Eating my Words by Mimi Sheraton


Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond


When You Lunch with the Emperor by Ludwig Bemelmans


Night by Elie Wiesel


Wine and War by Don and Peter Kladstrup


Insatiable by Gael Greene (TERRIBLE BOOK!)


Mothers' Boys by Margeret Forster


The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds


Next up:


Sweet and Low by Rich Cohen


A Death in Belmont by Sebasian Junger


Dublin's Lost Heroines, Mammies and Grannies in a Vanished City by Kevin C. Kearns


Dublin Tenement Life, An Oral History by Kevin C. Kearns


 



Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor


Bobby Flay


Edited 12/17/2006 9:07 pm ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

StevenHB's picture

Thanks for the long list.  We have a lot of reading in common.  I've read and enjoyed Heat, The Kite Runner, Kitchen Confidential, and Guns, Germs and Steel.


So, other than Insatiable, did you enjoy these books?



Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
Adele's picture

Families of the Vine by Michael Sanders


What's that one about?  I've read three you have, guess I have to break down and get Heat. (My Life in France, Kitchen Confidential, from Here You Can't See Paris


I didn't care for The Innocent Man, I know I've read something like it in the past couple of years.   


I also didn't care for Robert Ludlums' latest, the Bancroft Files (or something), it sort of lost itself in the middle though it was a good story, glad I got it from the library.  I can't wait for Next by Michael Crichton, hopefully it will be here for my vacation. 


I'm taking:  Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit by Austin Clarke. Waiting, the true confession of a waitress, Letters to a Young Chef by Daniel Boulud, Wife of the Chef by Courtney Febbroriello, and My Brother's Farm by Doug Jones.


I'm also taking 4 paperbacks by a new to me author, Kathleen Givens.  I read her latest first- On a Highland Shore and it was an excellent historical romance.  Scottish ya know, kilts and manly men.  Oh my. 


 


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Risottogirl's picture

Families of the Vine is about family winemakers in the southwest of France, same style as From Here You Can't See Paris.


Pig Tails 'n Breadfruit by Austin Clarke. Waiting, the true confession of a waitress, Letters to a Young Chef by Daniel Boulud, Wife of the Chef by Courtney Febbroriello, and My Brother's Farm by Doug Jones


Clearly, I need to add these to my list.


I have The Judgement of Paris, Running with Scissors and Digging to America to add to my list as well.


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor


Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

meowow's picture

Great thread. I've just been thinking of starting a thread by this very name!

I have been reading Augusten Burroughs (_Dry_, _RWS_, _Magical Thinking_). I did also recently read Julie and Julia, but I found that I really disliked her writing style. I am usually re-reading some David Sedaris book because I find him very funny and I like to read light things before bed.

I also recently read Ruch Reichl's _Tender at the Bone_ and I loved it. I adore her writing. I have ordered _Garlic and Sapphires_ from powells.com and it should be here any day now.

StevenHB's picture

Powell's writing does take some adjustment on the part of the reader.


I'm unusual in these parts - I *can't stand* David Sedaris.  His whiny, nasally voice just sends me over the edge.  I heard his sister on NPR and was able to identify her before I heard the interviewer identify her.  I didn't care for her, either.  I can't imagine reading anything of theirs.


I read Tender at the Bone some time ago.



Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
dorcast's picture

I much prefer reading Sedaris to hearing him read. I find his work funny, but don't care for his spoken delivery. Augusten Burroughs has ####similar writing style, but I enjoy it more.

In a completely different style, I loved Atomement by Ian McEwan.

You might like Turbulent Souls by Steven Dubner - now several years old, a memoir of his conversion from Catholicism to Judaism. The interesting twist is that both of his parents had made the opposite conversion before his birth.

Risottogirl's picture

I cannot listen to either of the Sedaris' whilst driving. I'll go off the road because I am laughing so hard.


 


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor


Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

AJ12754's picture

I was reading aloud (in the car to my husband) some story Sedaris was telling about his dad scaring the bejesus out of him and his siblings then mocking them for cowardice and we had to pull over to the side of the road we were laughing so hard we were afraid we'd hit someone or something.


I am currently wrapping up (after several years of dipping in and out) Steinbeck's collected letters and a bio of Somerset Maugham.  I just finished the wonderful Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House ("whatever walked there, walked alone") as well as her "disrespectful memoir of raising her kids called Life Among the Savages.  Today I started the Sam Harris Book The End of Faith.


"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald


Edited 12/18/2006 1:56 pm ET by aj12754

Cave obdurationem cordis

meowow's picture

I adore Sedaris's short story "Dinah, the Christmas ******," and also the chapter "Naked" from the book of the same name.

One of the funniest ones is also a segment that is rather frequently played on TAL about his mother's series of cats she owned when he was a child. Just absolutely hilarious. I am cracking up thinking about it!

meowow's picture

At the risk of posting too many times and killing the thread, I thought I'd also say that I'm about to explore the writings of another This American Life contributor, David Rakoff. I haven't yet actually read anything but his books look good--Fraud, and something else with a very long name (it has olive oil in the title!). Here's the title--looked it up:
"Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems"

Here's an interview with Rakoff on powells.com:

http://www.powells.com/authors/rakoff.html


Edited 12/18/2006 2:14 pm ET by meowow

AJ12754's picture

I could just weep.  Or curse.  Or spit.


I just put an entire batch of banana nut muffins in the oven and began cleaning up when I found the two eggs that are supposed to be in the batter sitting on the countertop.


Arrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhh.


"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Jean's picture

Ha! I just baked up a bunch of cookies that were supposed to have 1/4 cu of molasses in them. Fortunately they have a big honkin' chocolate kiss impressed in them so nobody will miss it.


Tangent from the tangent -- alert.


Now I have to soften some icecream for our frozen grasshopper pie. DD's request. Oh, what can you do with creme de mint? DH came home with 2 bottles by mistake. One should have been creme de cacao.




They told me I was gullible and I believed them.
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AJ12754's picture

Well -- you could start drinking it ... but I'd stop cooking or you could really screw up that grasshopper pie.


I did go looking on the web for some recipes using creme de menthe but they all seemed to include things like a bixed white cake mix or a whole can of hershey's chocolate syrup and that didn't sound like your kinda starting point.


"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald


Edited 12/18/2006 2:53 pm ET by aj12754

Cave obdurationem cordis

Marcia's picture

I got drunk on creme de mint once when very young - I don't recommend it for that. If Rod can return it, the creme de cacao would be more useful.

ouzo's picture

David Rakoff was the reader for the audio version of his book.  I loved the book, and it was so much better hearing his voice read it.

  No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop, The Lion & the mouse

Gretchen's picture

The last speeding ticket I got was in Texas--listening to David Sedearis!!!  Big ole country boy south of Dallas didn't think it was at all funny!!!  Obviously I was staying ON the road at too high a speed!!


I can read it and just HEAR that hysterical (probably really!) voice. I love it either way.  But the funniest of his books is Me Talk Pretty ONe Day.  The episode in there where he is describing food on menus and plates in NyC is priceless.


Gretchen
Gretchen
dorcast's picture

Sounds like we have similar taste. I read my first Augusten Burroughs book this summer, and ending up going through them all after that. I love him.
I was disappointed in Julie & Julia. I loved the premise of it, and thought she could have done much more.
You will enjoy Garlic & Sapphires, and might also want to try Heat by Bill Buford.

meowow's picture

Buford's Heat is also on that powell's wishlist! Thank you!

TracyK's picture

Hey-- don't skip Comfort Me with Apples, the follow-up book to Tender at the Bone. ;-)

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Gretchen's picture

Or Garlic and Sapphires.  I think we've talked about that one--I thought it VERY revealing of her.

Gretchen

Gretchen
AJ12754's picture

I think Reichl is always pretty revealing of her personal life -- I like her food writing but when it comes to her personal life, it feels like TMI to me.  Her first book was pretty hard on her mom and it seemed to me that her mom was pretty clearly mentally ill, so I thought Reichl came off small.

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Gretchen's picture

Oh, I didn't think she was at all disrespectful of her parents!  I absolutely HOWLED!! 
 NOW REbecca_____ of the YaYas. Man, she should be ashamed. She has real issues.


For my new year's reading I have ordered The Looming Tower. The interviews and reviews I have heard on NPR about it have convinced me this guy might have the history of Al Quaeda.


Gretchen
Gretchen
AJ12754's picture

The Looming Tower -- I happen to know -- is wrapped and under the Christmas Tree for me this year -- I have been reading Wright for several years in the NYer.  I am really looking forward to that one...

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

wisekaren's picture

I'm currently reading The Best People in the World, a novel by Justin Tussing, but I can't decide yet whether I'll recommend it. On deck are these:

Waiting by Ha Jin (a novel)
Them by Francine du Plessix Gray (a memoir of her parents)
The Accidental by Ali Smith (a novel)
The Blessing of the Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel (a parenting guide based on the Talmud but now used by people of all faiths -- it came out years ago but has recently caught on everywhere)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (this year's Booker Prize-winning novel)

Karen

Wolvie's picture

I found "The Places in Between" by Rory Stewart to be an engrossing book , as well as his "The Prince of the Marshes".


I also enjoy the whimsy of Terry Pratchert - and the part of the series that deals with death (as in the mythical figure and his travails) are particulary good. Great vacation reads.


If you haven't read "Salt" - I recommend it. If you like Guns, Germs, and Steel, you will like this one as well.


On my list to read soon: "Suite Francaise", "State of Denial", "The Innocent Man"...just to name a few. :-)


 


I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. - Will Rogers

 

shywoodlandcreature's picture

Rory Stewart's books are high up on my "next" list. In fact, I was in the book store yesterday, picking up books for those on my Christmas list, and was going to get his books at the same time, but to my chagrin, I couldn't remember either his name or the names of this books, and wasn't about to ask some poor,overworked clerk to help me find "that book about Afghanistan by that guy -- no, I don't know the name or the author, but you know the one I mean...", having at various times in my own life been that poor, overworked clerk.





"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell, 1984

ouzo's picture

I just finished 'Suite Francaise" and loved it. It was hard to put down and I even read all of the appendices.  She wrote about contemporary events as if she had the benefit of writing it in hindsight after the war was over.  I almost started to wonder if it was some sort of literary hoax.  Before anyone jumps on me for the literary hoax comment, it is only meant to illustrate how on the mark I thought it was.  Such a tragedy it wasn't finished as she intended.


To aj12754.  I am a Trollope junkie!  In general, I love 19th C english literature.  My favorite was a Small House at Allington.  After reading as much Trollope as I have I can say without reservation that I am delighted to have been born when and where I was.

  No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop, The Lion & the mouse