Category: literature and poetry

Book # 12 in 2018: “The Good Good Pig” by Sy Montgomery

Posted April 9th, 2018
Book # 12 in 2018: “The Good Good Pig” by Sy Montgomery

I read Sy Montgomery’s Soul of an Octopus (2016) and it permanently decreased my options on the sushi menu. The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood (Ballantine/Random House, 2006) may not permanently put me off pork, but it will make me consider the nature of each life that ends up on my dinner…

Book # 10 in 2018: “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” by David Sedaris

Posted April 2nd, 2018
Book # 10 in 2018: “Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" by David Sedaris

I normally read Sedaris in places like New Yorker magazine; my husband buys the published collections for me at Christmas or on my birthday, and each piece is a cupcake I can take to bed and not leave crumbs. If I spent more time in the car, maybe I’d listen instead. His style is so…

Book #9 in 2018: “You Must Change Your Life” by Rachel Corbett

Posted March 3rd, 2018
Book #9 in 2018: “You Must Change Your Life” by Rachel Corbett

It’s been a big year for the sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in museums. Sadly, I missed Séraphin Soudbinine: From Rodin’s Assistant to Ceramic Artist and Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter, both of which were at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Kiefer – Rodin closes at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia in a…

Book #8 in 2018: “Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve” by Ben Blatt

Posted February 26th, 2018
Book #8 in 2018: “Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve” by Ben Blatt

May I have a moment to whinge before I applaud? This book is about good writing and the writer demonstrates two bad habits that happen to drive me mad. Blatt splits infinitives and he seems not to grasp the difference between “fewer” and “less.” Now I know that it is fine to boldly go wherever one…

Book #6 in 2018: “City of Endless Night” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Posted February 9th, 2018
Book #6 in 2018: "City of Endless Night" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

No genetically engineered monsters, no exotic locations, no time-travel: #17 of the Pendergast series, The City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing, 2018),  is a good, old-fashioned thriller. Truth be told, Doug Preston is my cousin. I adore him and I think he is a wonderful writer in any genre. I would…

Book #5 in 2018: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

Posted February 4th, 2018
Book #5 in 2018: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

My sister used to drive me crazy—well she still does in many ways—for her interactions with her daughters. One of the worst things was her flat assertion about her younger daughter’s problems with math. “She can’t do math,” Sister said. “She get’s it from me.” Then a few years ago we were at lunch with…

Book #2 in 2018: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Posted January 4th, 2018
Book #2 in 2018: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

I had read David Grann’s article in The New Yorker, “The Marked Woman,” last March so the outlines of this appalling story were familiar to me.  The completed book, however, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday, 2017), includes a dark coda that reminds us that all…

Book #1 in 2018: “It’s All Relative” by A.J. Jacobs

Posted January 1st, 2018
Book #1 in 2018: "It’s All Relative" by A.J. Jacobs

I decided a few days ago that I would record every book I finished reading in 2018 and say something about each. As it turns out, this book, It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster, 2017), a Christmas gift from My Dear One, went faster…

DISCARDED

Posted July 2nd, 2017
DISCARDED

In the course of making some point or other, I asked the high-school age students in my summer workshop what their favorite books were. Any book, I said, it could even be a picture book you read with your parents. Not one of the eight mentioned a book. Finally, a lad allowed as how a…

Based in Batignolles 1: A Good American

Posted May 9th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 1: A Good American

What good American doesn’t dream of a pied à terre in Paris, especially now that we have elected Donald Trump president, lying, ignorant bully that he is, and the French opted for the rational and articulate Emmanuel Macron over harridan of the Far Right, Marine Le Pen? Not that real estate is cheap. We perused…