Continuing a theme I began at the Old Place, here’s another installment in the ongoing series entitled “What I’ve Been Reading Lately.”
My last Booky List Update was immediately after the New Year, so this one is probably overdue. Anyway, here goes:
- Garlic and Sapphires - Ruth Reichl
Before moving on to become the editor-in-chief of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl landed a gig as the New York Times food critic, one of the most powerful positions on the planet in terms of its influence on the restaurant world. I would kill to have that job, but I suspect the job would end up killing me...
- Blackout - Connie Wills
Time travelers deal with the unexpected when they go back to WWII-era England to study the Blitz.
- Up, Up, and Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero - Simcha Weinstein
Once you realize how massive the Jewish influence has been in the world of superheroes - hell, they invented the genre and most of the important characters - you might ask yourself why Superman doesn’t flat out speak in Yiddish.
- Last Night in Twisted River - John Irving
Yet another inimitable John Irving novel. I’ve been reading his books since the late 1970’s and have never been disappointed.
- Lincoln’s Dreams - Connie Wills
A woman seems to be seeing the world through the dreams of Robert E. Lee.
- Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea - Chelsea Handler
Where has this sweet young thing been all my life?
- Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World - Irwin W. Sherman
Can you name all twelve? (Hint: At least one of ’em does not affect humans.)
- My Horizontal Life - Chelsea Handler
- A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry - Nathan Hodge
An up-close-and-personal look at nuclear weapons and the places they come from.
- Pygmy - Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk’s latest outrage, this one written from the point of view of a revolutionary agent infiltrator who is part of a plot to destroy America. Darkly humorous, as you’d expect from Palahniuk, and written entirely in pidgin English to boot.
- Keeper of Dreams - Orson Scott Card
A collection of Card’s more recent short fiction; a companion to his earlier anthology Maps in a Mirror.
- Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free - David P. Pierce
You won’t know whether to laugh or cry at this book, the title of which tells you pretty much everything you need to know.
- Star Island - Carl Hiaasen
A comic tale by one of the masters of the Funny-Shit-Happens-in-Florida genre. Hiaasen is kinda sorta like Dave Barry, except he can write a novel, while Barry is best in essay-size doses.
- Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook - Anthony Bourdain
Ya gotta love Bourdain, who seasons his Food Writing with a liberal dose of fuck-bombs.
- The Rembrandt Affair - Daniel Silva
The latest installment in the Gabriel Allon series.
- After America - John Birmingham
The sequel to Birmingham’s Without Warning, a thought experiment that asked the hypothetical question, “What if a mysterious energy field, a deus ex machina of the first water, descended upon North America and wiped out all human life wherever it touched?” Soldiers of fortune and an army of jihadis fight the renascent American government over control of New York in this taut, exciting novel. Birmingham writes war-tech better than Tom Clancy ever did.
- Zeitoun - David Eggers
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as seen through the eyes of a Syrian-American living in New Orleans.
- The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean - Susan Casey
I’ve always been fascinated with huge waves, and this book has huge waves aplenty. There are some worrisome developments, says Casey, for the biggest waves have become even bigger in recent years.
- Fresh Lies - James Lileks
A collection of humorous essays from the genius behind The Gallery of Regrettable Food. I enjoy Lileks and appreciate his sense of humor, which is why it was a surprise to me that I did not enjoy this book more. Too much “I’m trying really hard to be funny” material in one place, I suppose. Maybe the best way to read this book is one essay at a time, whilst dropping the kids off at the pool.