On Reading.

I need a new book to read. Tell me what to read, Internet. I just finished this book. It was OK. For some reason it bugged me that the author brought up places in our hood like Galapagos, Sweetwaters (yes, it had an “S” at the end), and Black Betty. I’m not sure why, but that bugged me a little bit. (I really wish I knew why. Once I put my finger on it, you’ll be the first to know.)

The book was a little irritating stylistically as well. Also, I don’t understand that NYC party girl mentality. I never snorted coke every night of the week. I never slept with a bunch of guys for money, drugs, or attention. I don’t care about designer clothing. (Really.) I barely wear makeup. I never did H or E or any other pill with a letter as its name. And I certainly don’t feel sorry for people who live their lives like that; their lives don’t seem very difficult to me.

Was it a bad book? I wouldn’t say that. It wasn’t nearly as bad as that drivel Jennifer Weiner wrote called Good in Bed. But it wasn’t something I’d push on someone else. But I want someone to push something onto me. What should I read? Help me, Internet.

51 Comments

  1. Well, I just finished “A Woman In Berlin” by anonymous [the book explains why] which was hyper-grim [it’s sort of a female version of “All Quiet On The Western Front”] but one certainly is impressed w/ the “resiliancy” of this author, and it really is an amazing artifact. For all the trauma, it really is an amazing book written by an amazing individual.

    Then there’s James Joyce “Ulysses”…..but that’s an e-mail in itself, and I still owe you an e-mail on the intricacies of the part supplying of a teasured Volvo 164e [but I’m getting there…..

    LLLLLLLLayter!

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  2. First, got my t-shirt yesterday! Thanks!!

    Second, have you read any Murakami?
    Kafka on the Shore was amazing…sucked me in and held me and blew my mind a little bit. I’ve read a bunch of his work now, and that was my favorite (though still trying to get my hands on the library’s copy of Norweigan Wood…due back in circulation next week).

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  3. I would recomend a Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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  4. Oh yeah! The Time Traveler’s Wife is incredible!! :D

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  5. I’ve been reading much more nonfiction than fiction lately. The last novel I read was The Kite Runner, which my office manager recommended, and it was really good. A difficult and emotional read, but good.

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  6. I like difficult and emotional.

    I have picked up the Time Traveler’s wife so many times and never got it. That’s an idea as well.

    I read The Wild Sheep’s chase, but nothing more than that. Kafka might be cool, too.

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  7. Oh, and A woman in berlin sounds intriguing. Going to look that one up now.

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  8. i’ve been reading non-fiction mostly. “The Professor & the Madman” was pretty great and reads like an historical novel. Just started “Salt”. ooh, do you like Nick Hornby? “A LONG WAY DOWN” was great… and somewhat difficult and definitely emotional. i mean i cried.

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  9. I love Nick Horny. Perhaps I’ll grab that one right away.

    Keep ‘em coming. This way, I’ll always have this post I can refer to.

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  10. A really good book I read recently is “The Farewell Chronicles” by Anneli Rufus – a non-fiction book about how we deal with death, dying and other fatally taboo subjects. It sounds depressing (I know, death, right?) but it was actually kind of uplifting and refreshing and not at all morbid. More of a ‘how to appreciate living and the people you love’ manifesto than an ‘ooh death, people dying’ sort-of thing. I really enjoyed it.

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  11. Maybe it’s time for a revival of Spread Reading!

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  12. i just started ‘a winters tale’ by mark helprin. makes me fall in love with new york all over again.

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  13. Spread is going to be redone and revamped and relaunched in not time. I will have more time soon. Rest assured. I can’t wait.

    Thanks, Katie.

    A winters tale? Awesome. I need to fall in love with NYC all over again. ;]

    I kid.

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  14. Difficult and emotional? Vell then….

    “The End Of Alice” by A.M. Homes

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  15. Read that one. Holy sweet crap, that’s a doozy, that one. Can’t believe a small, cut gal wrote that one.

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  16. I recommend Gil Courtemanche’s book called A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali.

    Not only is it a haunting, devastating, beautifully-written account of the Rwandan genocide, the author’s last name translates to “shortsleeves”. Heehee.

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  17. I picked up that book called something like “We are here to inform you that tomorrow you and your families will be killed.” Didn’t finish it because at the time it was really freaking upsetting. But I think I am ready to face the idea again. You suggest this one? I’ll check it out.

    Totally going to print this baby out.

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  18. AM Homes’ “this book will save your life”
    or at some point: joan didion’s “the year of magical thinking”.
    i’m liking jhumpha lahiris’ short stories.
    maybe take a look at what authors are coming to Eat Drink and read one of theirs to prepare?
    either way, let’s hang out soon

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  19. Can I offer one of my favorite fiction writers: Dan Chaon.

    ‘You Remind Me of Me’ is a novel about a socialy awkward 20-something in the Midwest whose aloofness to norms and mores puts him in one precarios situation after another.

    It reminds me of when Mikey calls that girl in Swingers, and as the viewer you keep rubbing your hand over your face, screaming “Noooooooo…”

    Among the Missing and Fitting Ends are short stories.

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  20. Cripplecreek, offer away. Plus, I know nothing about that one so thank you.

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  21. you’re probably had your fill of stupid party girl books, but joan didion’s Play It As It Lays is really really great…she extracts meaning from a story around vapid people. plus it hates on california!

    everything else i’m reading right now is published by o’reilly. sigh.

    oh and by the way: THANK YOU FOR THE CHEESECAKE. it is delicious! the almond crust works really well :)

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  22. Anna, I read Year of Magical Thinking. I kinda liked it. It brought tears to my eyes several times. But sometimes, I got annoyed with it. I know, that makes me heartless, I can’t imagine going through what she want through. i don’t wish that on anyone at all. But at the same time i couldn’t help but thinking about all those people out there who have it much worse and don’t have money to pay for two apartments and a private jet to fly their sick daughter from LA to NYC.

    Like I said, the story was devastating, but I can’t help but think that we wouldn’t have read any of it had she been someone else, someone less fortunate and well off.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In the end, her book read as a diary entry and not so much something for us anyway.

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  23. Oh, and btw, I know someone is going to read what I wrote above and think I’m a heartless bitch. I need to probably explain myself better.

    Ashley, you’re welcome on the cheesecake, however, I can take it if it sucks. There’s more coming, btw. The Barbarian group is going to be my guinea pig. ;]

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  24. For a biography, I’d recommend “Dagny: Dagny Juel Przybyszewska, the Woman and the Myth”. I picked up a hardcover copy on Amazon for three bucks plus shipping. Why? She was a friend of Edvard Munch’s, and the model for Munch’s “Madonna”, which I believe I saw a pick somewhere that shows Tobyjoe has a tattoo of this image material on his inner arm…..not only was this a fascinating biography, but when Tobyjoe asks “hey watcha reading?” You can drolly go “just a boigraphy of the woman we’ve BOTH been sleeping with for years!……and she PERMANENTLY attached to you!!!…….ahhh, conceptualized micro-branded realtime anthropology :D :D

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0295969997/ref=olp_product_details/102-6346397-2717722?ie=UTF8

    nerv

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  25. I’ll second Murakami: Kafka on the Shore or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. But, if you didn’t like Time Traveler’s Wife, you may not get into the mysticism/suspension of disbelief of Murakami.

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  26. Oops! I just reread what I wrote about the Time Traveler’s wife. I picked it up but never actually purchased it. Not got it. I haven’t even read a sentence from it. I have picked it up and looked at it at the bookstore, but never bought it. I’ll check it out.

    Sorry, Missy’s comment confused me, now I know why. I wrote a confusing comment before.

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  27. “Winter’s Tale” thirded or whatever. Or “The Intuitionist” but you’ve probably already read that. Or “Straight Man.” “Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” is v. good, but I’ve not read any others of his—they all seem to involve a Search for a Missing Girl.

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  28. So i have a question, because personally i like to alternate between textbooks, drivel, and my list of books i need to read before i die. And, some folks like to read the better stuff of the NYT best-seller list. Which are you looking for? Difficult read, or just good storytelling? ugh, i’ll just give you a list…

    Easy good story that made both the wife and i cry (in a good way) – “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving

    A slightly more difficult read that is a really good (probably too good) peek into the male psyche – “The Sportswriter” by Richard Ford

    On the list of books to read before I die – “Anna Karenina” – by Leo Tolstoy

    Fun Drivel/best-seller deal (good early New york crime story) – “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr

    Non-Fiction (well, non-fiction-ish). Basically it’s a bunch of the stuff that the council of Nicea decided to leave out of the Bible so the factions of Christianity could all get along – “The Gnostic Gospels” – by Elaine Pagels

    I’m going to assume that you aren’t looking for a textbook (currently reading a nerd book about C++, that really is as boring as it sounds)…

    Let me know if you want more,

    -k

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  29. Oh, and if you like short stories at all, you should really read “If The River Was Whiskey” or “Descent of Man” by T. Coraghessen Boyle. (hope i spelled that right).

    -k

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  30. Meghan

    Dark, life changing, emotional…..A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. An unbelievably beautifully written epic of the struggle and joy of humanity.

    Set in India tapping historically into Sonia Ghandi, socially the caste system, and emotionally into the instinct to survive.

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  31. Read If the River was Whiskey. I remember really liking it. It’s been quite a long time. I bet I could reread that and get the same out of it since I remember so little. Haven’t read Descent of Man, however.

    Man, y’all rule! I have books to last me through to the end of the year!

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  32. Meghan, what book are you refering to? I am reading these backwards. Maybe that’s clear when I move up in the post.

    Oh, and to answer your question, I’m sort of a realist. Some of my favorites have been Middlsex, Feast of Love, Extremely Loud and Incredibly close, History of Love, Saturday (actually, anything by Ian McEwan, Atonement, Cement Garden, you name it.) I’ve been trying to finish Snow forever now but it’s really slow. I think I’ll love it when I hit the end, but I just can’t seem to find it. I suck.

    I also don’t mind crying. It has to be believable. I need to buy into the characters and their lives. One of the reasons I disliked that book Good in Bed so much is because I just didn’t believe that person existed and that story happened. Not sure if that’s bad writing or not so great storytelling. Either way, not for me.

    Oh, I loved How to be Good by Nick Hornby. I’m not too too picky, I don’t think. Just want good writing in the end.

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  33. im trying to get through ford’s ‘independence day’ and its like running in water. i dont think i WANT another peek into the male psyche, thank you. the worst part about it is an exboyfriends been after me to read it for years. says theres a lot of frank bascombe in me. im in big trouble.
    having said that, i should be fair by telling you, i just tried to watch ‘the squid and the whale’ and so have reached my limit for whingy male fiction writers. sorry dick.
    but i will always, always love ian mckewan. black dog. rules.

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  34. Yeah the whiney guys really need to shut up already. They don’t have it that bad. When did it become cool and popular to sell books written by fairly well-off white dudes who like to complain about the most absurd crap? Crap that would have many other less fortunate people foaming at the mouth in anger?

    I blame it on Eggers. I think he started it. Sure, he had a rough time, but holy crap did he ever whine. And he whined for like 500 pages!

    Rest assured, Heather, the poor white girl moms are going to be the next big sellers. Girls who slept with a lot of guys while drunk and got herpes. Women who suffered from depression. Mothers who had a rough time after the birth of their daughter and couldn’t find the proper nanny to help her out during her PPD. I think they are next. And I think they’re going to be scooped up from the blogosphere.

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  35. So whaddya gonna read mihow?
    Or should we keep loading the cyber-bookshelf of unreads?
    Your cyber-herd is DYING to KNOW!!
    Hey!!! Was the “The Cement Garden” made into a super creepy brit movie? I didn’t know it was a book, but I’m checking that one out……Thanks!! My next book is gonna be “The Black Book” by the Turkish guy who won the Nobel Prize for Literature last week. It was written circa 1996 and is a supposedly his version of Joyce’s “Ulysses” but as “Ulysses in Istanbul”. I can’t recall his name atm but it’s O-– P--k [yeah I could’ve googled it by the time it rakes me to type this sentence but I’m not quite awake yet…apologies].

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  36. Nervous, yes, it was made into a movie. First love last rights was as well. (One of his short stories. Very good.)

    Yeah, I heard that. Orhan Pamuk won it. I NEED to finish Snow. I simply will not forgive myself otherwise. I’m halfway through it too so it must be done.

    You know another book I tried reading three times and finally gave up on? The Incredible Adventures of Gilligan (I know that ain’t right) and whoever. Anyone read that? You know the one? Great cover art, just not so good.

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  37. One thing I want to point out, the cover of Here Kitty Kitty I purchased looked like this.

    The version Amazon shows (see the link on this post) isn’t at all like the new one. I wouldn’t have picked the book up if it had had that cover, which is interesting. The darker cover kind of sells itself to a different group in my opinion and that group (not to generalize) would have probably really liked jardine’s book.

    I dunno. Thinking out loud.

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  38. not to steer this away from the literary but’first love last rites’ had a bitchin soundtrack.
    thanks to a certain nathan larson, i believe.
    oh, those were the days.
    yeah, books with great covers can hide just about anything. wink. wink.
    as a single old lady i can heartily attest to this sad sad fact.
    oh sorry, we’re still on books arent we?
    xo

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  39. Ah yes, there’s a cover of Day Ditty on that soundtrack. I prefer the original but man it’s still so good.

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  40. Hotel Bemelmanns

    I am loving this one – and can give it to TobyJoe when I am done – its about Ludwig Bemelmanns, a very early Tony Bourdain-kitchen-badboy-type (the foreward is actually by Tony.)
    He is also the creator of the Madeline books (as well as the wall of the excellent Bemelmann’s bar uptown…)

    http://www.amazon.com/Hotel-Bemelmans-Ludwig/dp/1585675016

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  41. The book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

    Funny , it seemed perfectly clear when I typed it but I have been scatterbrained and distracted lately. Sorry

    PS….this book was selected by Oprah ( after I fell in love with it) and he refused to appear on her show.

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  42. You know i think I just lied. I think he did appear on her show but there was some contreversy ….I need to google I think. I love this author and want to get it right.

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  43. DAMN! here I thought there would be one non-conformer.

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  44. If you haven’t read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, do so NOW!

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  45. Really? That was the one I put down three times! Man, what’s wrong with me? I have heard wonderful things about that book yet I can’t seem to get into it. Does it open up?

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  46. Really? 3x? I guess it does start a little slowly, but I really can’t imagine putting it down.

    I just finished The Glass Castle and it’s a stunning book too. Off course, in a completely different way since it’s non-fiction.

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  47. You guys rule with all your information. Thanks.

    I’ll try again, jen. I know eventually I’ll finish it and love it. When I say started it, btw, I mean I picked it up and read about 10 pages and then put it down.

    I’ll try again. Like I said, many people have told me to read it.

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  48. Death of Vishnu—Manil Suri
    Jahumpa Lahiri—The Namesake

    I’m still on the India tip.

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  49. Sounds good to me, sweet DonaldEugene. Tip away.

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