Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Reading

{And Peach Blossoms in the Studio}








Instead of doing my political theory reading last night I poured a glass of (questionable) cheap wine and stayed up until two reading Swamplandia! and loving every Gothic, swampy, Sethy moment. What are you literate lads and lassies reading at the moment? The last time I asked that question you supplied the most comprehensive list (and prompted me to get my act in gear and finally compile a bigBANG reading list of m'own). Let's do it again, shall we?

So, spring reading. Spill it.

Pictures above from the studio this week, starring some off-the-HOOK peach blossoms from a friend's family orchard. Suck it, overpriced bodega cherry blossoms. 

68 comments:

  1. I cannot get enough of Joan Didion lately. Blue Nights, A Year of Magical Thinking, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and The White Album.

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    1. BLUE NIGHTS. Started tearing up just reading the jacket in the book store. I'm still reeling from Year of Magical Thinking, which I read in one go on a flight to Montana this winter on the way to visit someone I was very close to who was dying. Perfect companion book for such a sad time. Revolutionary, actually. There's no one like her. Been dying to get my hands on Slouching. It's a classic and I need to read it.

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  2. That is on my reading list! so glad to hear it is good!
    Right now I'm reading both The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
    and Four Fish.

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    1. Still haven't read Brief Wondrous Life. Everyone seems to love it. How's Four Fish? Just looked it up. Looks right up my alley. Have you read any John McPhee? You might LOVE him. And Michael Pollan's older book (and one of my favorite books, period, ever, in the history of the written word, Second Nature.)

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    2. Would love a McPhee rec if you have one? Been meaning to get my hands on something by him for awhile.

      Loving this list. What a bunch of bad-ass brainiacs your readers are.

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  3. Currently (simultaneously) reading Gabrielle Hamilton's (of Prune NYC) memoir "Blood, Bones and Butter" and "Holy the Firm" by Annie Dillard - two very different reads, but I don't want to put either down! I'll have to check out Swamplandia! next!

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    1. Heard BB&B is spectacularly, surprisingly, beautifully written (and makes Gabs out to sound like less than a saint!). Prune is one of my favorite places to take my mom for special occasions in the city, so I'll have to get us both her book, stat. My mom LOOOOVED Kitchen Confidential when it came out all those years ago and made badboy Anthony Bordain such a cult hero in the kitchen.

      Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is one of my cherished, favorite books. I've never read Holy the Firm, and just added it to my Amazon wish list. Thank you.

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    2. Loved Blood, Bones & Butter. Now I'm waiting for Charlotte Au Chocolat, written by the woman who grew up in Hasty Pudding restaurant at Harvard -- sounds delish.

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  4. somewhat shamefully, i'm reading bringing up bébé. nope. not expecting, just curious.

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    1. Lady, you totally get like THREE gold stars for honesty. I'm all for the French way of child-rearing, btw. I loved hearing her interview on NPR.

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  5. I read "Room" by Emma Donoghue and totally loved it! It was quite different than anything I had ever read before. I also just finished Mindy Kaling's (from The Office!) book "Is Everyone Hanging out without Me? (and other concerns)" and thought it was HILARIOUS! These book are polar opposites, but I loved both.

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    1. Keep seeing Room at St. Mark's Bookstore and picking it up but always putting it down again for no particular reason. Glad to hear you loved it. And Mindy Kaling is pretty hilarious; glad her book is amusing and worthwhile- I'm on it! Great recs!

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    2. I enjoyed "Room" as well. Totally different from anything else I have ever read.

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  6. Don DeLillo- the Angel Esmeralda. Short stories, weird and wonderful! Also just listened to a short story (via Selected Shorts) by Elizabeth Crane - Football, which made me want to read her other works. Go hear and select the March 11 show to listen. I also liked the Tobias Wolff from that same episode.

    http://www.selectedshorts.org/onair/

    Selected Shorts podcasts are the only thing that gets me through weekly housecleaning!

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    1. YOU JUST CHANGED MY LIFE. How did I not know about Selected Shorts? I've listened to every This American Life, The Moth, and RadioLab podcast since the beginning, so I've been hankering for something new to add to the mix. THANK YOU! (And thanks for the Don DeL' rec.)

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    2. Ahhhhhhaha- YES! I am the same way...podcasts (esp This American Life and Dan Savage) are the only reason my house is ever clean. :D

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    3. Oh awesome! The other podcast you should check out is the New Yorker fiction podcast available for free on iTunes. It's New Yorker authors picking their favorite stories from the New Yorker fiction archives. They always talk about it a little before and afterwards, and that can be really interesting. I loved the Lorrie Moore story Dance In America, among others.

      Another book recommendation - Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston. It was written in twelve sections of twelve, which makes it perfect for delicious bite-size reading just before sleep. Plus then you can dream of all the amazing places in the world that she writes about.

      I love that I'm not along with the podcast cleaning!

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  7. Just finished Swamplandia! So dark and entertaining. Also recently read The Tiger's Wife and can't recommend it enough. Really well conceived and just beautiful beautiful writing.

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    1. Mkay good to get a vote for Tigy Wyfie. I keep almost buying it and then being like, meh. I guess I can't get over the fact that Tea Obrech is like 13 years old, but everyone seems to effin' love this book. Maybe that's next.

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  8. I'm decidedly not reading the rest of the Hunger Games series.

    Right now I'm reading Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

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    1. One of my favorite books, period, but not for the faint of heart. It took me (just being honest here) about three SOLID months to read, and that was after several false starts over the years, but it really helped me understand Partition India. Actually, it really changed the way I thought about living *in* India last year, now that I think about it.

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    2. My book club is reading this in a couple months. Looking forward to it, and to the discussion!

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  9. Tamar Adler's "Everlasting Meal", and re-reading Brillat Savarin's Physiology of Taste (MFK Fisher edition). I also picked up Bossypants. It's not my style, but I felt like it would be a better in to modern culture than the rest of the hunger game series.

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  10. Aravind Adiga's Last man in Tower excellent

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  11. You might like Heidi Julavits' The Vanishers. I think Karen Russell blurbed that one. Cheryl Strayed's Wild. Stef Penney's The Invisible Ones. Ramona Ausubel's No One Is Here Except All of Us (and Nicole Kraus' History of Love, if you haven't read it). Happy reading!

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  12. i am seeing some of my recent reads already here in the comments (tigers wife and midnights children - loved both). also recently read and liked: norwegian wood (murakami), the snow child (eowyn ivey), and the apothecary (a young adult by maile meloy). read but didn't really like: the marriage plot.

    are you on goodreads?

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  13. I'll pick up on the theme Erin started ... reading Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf. I started reading it about 6 or 7 years ago after I bought it for a friend who was pregnant for the first time - had to force myself to put it down so that I could actually gift it to her. I now have my own reasons for reading it, and its fascinating, well written, informative and somewhat terrifying at the same time. And can I join you in thanking Heather for the introduction to Selected Shorts (and ditto to the TAL, Moth etc comment!)??

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    1. Yay! New Yorker fiction podcast too!

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  14. Currently reading Escape from the Goon Squad and just finished Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. Both excellent!

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  15. Lily, thank you for these posts! I have followed you blog for a couple years and your posts keep me inspired. Recently read Then Again by Diane Keaton, The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I would highly recommend the last two. Next week I'm off on a 10 day vacation and plan to bring Cutting for Stone and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Maybe I'll throw in Swamplandia, I've had it on my nightstand for months but haven't gotten more than 50 pages in.

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  16. I just finished The Virgin Cure. Kick-ass sort of historical feminism.

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  17. loooove those flowers, holycow. you always find the best blooms! :)

    book-wise as of right now, i've almost finished a discovery of witches, which is sort-of a romantic, scientific/alchemic mystery, with witches, vampires, and daemons. it was a good read, but a little too heavy on the romance for me (it reminded me a bit of twilight, or something jane austen would write!). a good beach read, i think, if there's any of that in your future? (which i hope there is!)

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  18. YESSsssssss! I was just perusing your last list over the weekend looking for inspiration and now POP! a new list appears. Bless you, child.

    I'm fresh off a solid run: Blood Bones and Butter, Then Again, A Visit From The Goon Squad and Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions (an oldie but a goodie.) Started Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life over the weekend because I've never read it and it's both my husband and my brother's *all-time favorite* book.

    And then I will be tackling the titles on this list. Thanks, Lady!

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  19. twins! I just finished Swamplandia! last night. The ending caught me off guard because apparently I'm incredibly nieve? It was a little abrupt for how much that book took its sweet time, but I thought overall it was great.

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  20. Ahab's Wife. It's older but I've now read it twice. Beautifully written and a lovely mix of adventure and tragedy.

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  21. i'm back on the blogtrain! these photos are so delicious - i can almost smell the peach blossoms in cali! ok, down to ze reading list:
    for business: a home at the end of the world by michael by michael cunningham. pretty sure you've never read this one and he is one of my favorite writers and i think this is a book we'd actually (ahem) agree upon.
    for pleasure: the hunger games: catching fire (book 2) "trust".
    xoxo

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  22. Swamplandia! it is here too. Skipped the cheap wine though ;) have a great weekend!

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  23. Oh, those peach blossoms are lovely!
    I just finished reading 'At Swim Two Birds' by Flann O'Brien the other night and I completely loved it. Reading through the comments here has made me want to go and dust off 'Midnight's Children' again.... I picked it up years and years ago now and read a fair way in and then put it aside for some reason. It seemed amazing though, I should try again. Looks like I should probably track down a copy of Swamplandia too!

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  24. i WAS reading the particular sadness of lemon cake, but it's not right for me right now, or i just don't like it enough (possibly just not ENGAGING enough? also, i have a lot of other things on my mind). picked up bossypants instead. yep! can't decide if it's a good or bad thing that i identify SO much with tina fey's life experiences (particularly early dating failures, etc). whatever, it's pretty enjoyable.

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  25. I saw on your previous list that you read Just Kids by Patti Smith. I read that too and loved it, and was compelled to pick up Robert Mapplethorpe's biography and read it directly following. Heartbreaking, fascinating and amazing (and graphic, I must say), but I could not put it down. I also loved Lamb, by Christopher Moore (the subtitle is The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, if that gives any indication of the book). Irreverent, hilarious, even poignant in some parts. GREAT read. And I'm just going to say it - Rob Lowe's autobiography was one of my favorite reads of last year.

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    1. I really want to read Robert Mapplethorpe's biography. Now I think I will!

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  26. I just finished The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst -- fantastic for most, slows a bit at the end, but anything by him is fantastic, esp Line of Beauty and Swimming Pool Library. I just bought a book of poetry, Love: An Index by Rebecca Lindenberg to read, but then stayed up until 3 am monday and tuesday nights finishing the hunger games series. real talk? they were awesome.

    also, if you liked just kids -- try wool gathering by patti smith, it's an early memoir of hers that is more loosely, lushly written (if that's possible) and is what eventually led her to write just kids.

    also, also -- anything by marilynne robinson. my boyfriend is reading spartina by john casey right now and i'm anxiously waiting for him to finish -- it's about a fisherman/boat builder in rhode island. up your alley?

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    1. can't leave a comment on your tumblr but can i just say there is NOTHING as darling as a christmas pointer? thanks for the great book recs. xo

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  27. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - super fun with heavy doses of dark comedy like only the English can pull off.

    Gotta get on the Swamplandia! bandwagon!

    xo
    cortnie

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  28. off topic - but that's a great goddamn purse. I've been on the hunt lately for the perfect leather tote...

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  29. Sadly I'm not reading anything besides the mags that come to the casa. (Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Sunset, blah, blah)I need to get my ass over to the library and get me a book! The last one I read sucked. "Imperial Bedrooms" by Brett Easton Ellis. Thought I would LOVE it since I was a huge lover of "Less Than Zero" Nope. It was tragically gross and well? Icky. Happy Weekend Lil!

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  30. Love reading other peoples' book picks! I'm reading an entertaining bit of fluff called "Miss O'Dell", a memoir by Chris O'Dell. She worked at Apple Records, was friends (and a lover) of some of the Beatles, and was tour manager for all the great bands of that era including the Stones, CSN&Y, Santana, Bob Dylan and more. Super entertaining glimpse into that world. Loved Swamplandia, too, but that menacing undertone sort of made me want to take a valium every time I picked it up!

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  31. Slowing savoring "Animal Dreams" by Barbara Kingsolver--- the woman can do no wrong. Also- love "Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life". Such a fab lady Georgia was.

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  32. Oh wow, those blossoms are amazing! I'm adding to my Goodreads to-read list right now. :) I've been re-reading the Outlander series....again. It's like good comfort food for the brain! Also miscellaneous business books and Jasmine Star's Exposed magazine.

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  33. Those blossoms are so pretty!

    I am right in the middle of Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini. It's a tale of her adventures learning to hunt for her own food. I am loving it!

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  34. Just finished Swamplandia! and loved it sososo much that I jumped straight into St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves. So far, it has not disappointed. I have an entire weekend....alone....hotel...Avila Beach, CA. The hammock on the roof deck is calling my name. I will either finish the book in one sitting...or nap.

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  35. I loved Goat Song (though it got a little too metaphorical at the end) by Brad Kessler. Beware, it will make you want to get goats.

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  36. do your homework young lady!....actually, i don't care if you don't do it.
    i just finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which was a bit slow-going to be honest. in the end, i thought it was pretty good, but mostly strange.
    re-reading A Visit From the Good Squad, which is probably the most well-written novel i've read in years. seriously. it's that good.

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  37. Ooh! Have you read Waiting for Bardot? It's amazing, weird and not really a novel, but awesome nonetheless. I have a pile of books waiting for me once I finish this final thesis. I'm so excited for it to be two weeks from now. All of this is getting added to the list.

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  38. Wow - I don't have a book to add because I'm actually reading the same one. I was astonished to look at your lovely photos, spot a purse that looks a whole lot like mine, and then to find that you're reading the same book at the same time! Here's a kindred spirit/stranger. ;) Sarah, from Vancouver, BC

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  39. My book club is about to embark on Shadow Tag by Louise Erdich. She is one of my favorite authors. I love anything about Native American culture. Can't wait to read over these comments and add to my reading list!!

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  40. "Wild" by Cheryl Stayed. Awesome

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    1. I get to meet her at a signing in Duluth soon! Can't wait!!!!

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  41. Unabashedly reading Tamora Pierce's Trickster series, totally written for thirteen year-old girls. They're like Twilight if Bella was a BAMF spymaster with a sexy crow for a boyfriend. MUST-READ.

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  42. Also just finished Wild. It was gripping and haunting, although **spoiler** there's a part about killing a horse which might be too real for someone who has actually owned horses, because I was in tears on the train reading it. But I thought it was just such a good solid adventure book and even though I know actual PCT hikers, I think this book brought the whole experience more vividly to life than even they do. I'm definitely going to go hunt down Strayed's fiction now.

    The Night Circus- although I'm not sure the plot really ever pulled me in all the way, it was deeply beautiful in the imagery department. Reminded me a bit of the Magicians, but not quite as heavy.

    Got pulled into a Moveable Feast, ended up blazing a path through Farewell to Arms and the Great Gatsby, found I really loved reading those as an adult instead of a callow high schooler.

    Tried to read Fire Monks and I really wanted to like it, but I found the writing to be just atrocious. I wished it had been more like The Wild Trees. So that's an anti book recommendation. I'll be moving onto In the Garden of Beasts shortly instead.

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  43. Ah those peach blossoms are beautiful! How lucky a friend gave you those! I'm currently in China and love seeing them every day outside <3

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  44. truman capote's music for chameleons. it's inspired me to make myself a black mirror like gauguin's, and i'll keep it around as therapy for my eyes even though probably ghosts come out of black mirrors at night.

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  45. I am with The Brick House on that tote girl....where and how much?!!!

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  46. oh..and my goodness, Happy Birthday Beautiful!!! Enjoy your surprise weekend!! xoxo

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  47. "Middlemarch, bitches" just may be my new motto.

    Not new by any means, but have you read The Known World? Someone told me once that they felt it was a perfect novel, and I'm inclined to agree.

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  48. Galore, by Micheal Crummey. A lovely, engaging read about a guy who emerges from a whale in Newfoundland. (Way better than it sounds!) Oranges, by McPhee, a classic! Also, I still love The Anthologist. A brilliant little novel that demystifies poetry and is so funny, by Nicholson Baker. So fun to see what others are reading and love.

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