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Let me know if you’ve read any of these and how you liked them, or let me know what you would highly recommend as don’t-miss-books. Wishing you all a Happy St. Valentine’s Day Thursday!
1. The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs (non-fiction) I love adventure, but the best I can do is Adventures in Barbecuing and an occasional camping trip so I live vicariously through books in the comfort and safety of my armchair. Childs will take me to Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico to discover beautiful creatures like the Great Blue Heron, ravens, owls, coyotes, mountain lions and jaguars. Some of these animals are in my own backyard and I often watch them through my windows so it won’t take much imagination for me to be transported to the great wildernesses of our American West.
2. Paris Review Interviews edited by Philip Gourevitch (Non-Fiction — the 3rd volume in a series is to be released soon) I’m a journalist and a writer so interviews, authors and writing are always of interest to me. Here writers have interviewed other writers like Steven King, T. S. Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, John Gardner and Alice Munro.
3. The Folded World by Amity Paige (Fiction) I’m not so much interested in the basic plot, but in the subplot dealing with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, as I once worked for a crisis helpline with more than our fair share of schizophrenics which always made me think that some local doctors must have been giving our phone number to patients. The book is about a young social worker torn between the needs of his clients and of his own family.
4. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan (Non-Fiction) It has history, travel and according to the reviews I’ve read, superb, award-winning journalistic talent, so how can I possibly resist?
5. My Life In France by Julia Child (Non-Fiction) My husband and I were at the bookstore recently, a favorite pastime of ours, and I became completely engrossed by this book. In this memoir, she recalls her years in “La Belle France” as she calls her adopted home during the 1950s. She describes my native country as only a lover of France and its people could. It is a consummate love affair with everything French and she transports us to a time where she finally finds her self and her calling while in the arms of her other amour, her husband Paul Child. I don’t know how I could possibly have missed this book for the last two years. Julia is my favorite chef because her recipes are well-tested. She is the only chef I would trust enough for me to cook a recipe for the 1st time and serve it to company or even to a stereotypical evil mother-in-law. I know without even the shadow of a doubt that she will guide me right down to the last grain of salt and will not only tell me what to do, but much more importantly, what pitfalls to not fall into. Julia doesn’t just give us recipes, she teaches us how to cook.
6. Reading For Writers: A Guide For People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose (Non-Fiction) In other words, a guide written for yours truly. 😉
7. House Calls: Reflections of a Family Physician by Thomas L. Stern, M.D. (Non-Fiction) Medicine is another field of interest for me. Dr. Stern was the role model and technical adviser for the Marcus Welby, M.D. television show, and in this book he tells us the story of his life. This quote on the back cover particularly caught my eye: “I’ll tell you stories of the warmth of patients’ feelings toward me as their doctor; but especially, I’ll tell you about how I loved each of them, the people who trusted me enough to refer to me as ‘my doctor.'” Having worked with doctors and having had a few doctors I call ‘my doctor,’ I can tell you that the ones who care are the ones who make all the difference in the world.
8. Rumpole And The Primrose Path by John Mortimer (Fiction) I have read all previous Rumpole books — several times — and it is high time I read this one. Rumpole makes me laugh out loud and heartily, and let me tell you, we adults need to laugh a whole lot more often. I also love the Rumpole PBS series with Leo McLeod also of The Prisoner.
9. The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran (Non-Fiction) From the writer and producer of The Wonder Years and Who’s The Boss, this travel memoir is reminiscent of A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and the cover promises another laugh-out-loud adventure.
10. Gerald’s Game by Stephen King (Fiction) I was recently given this book I had never read from the early 1990s. I hope it’s one of King’s really-scary-in-a-great-sort-of-way books and not one of his books describing evil because I don’t like those. But his truly scary ones are the work of a tremendously talented writer
11. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons (Fiction) From the library of the same person who gave me Gerald’s Game. I never read horror except for Stephen King, but since King says “one of those rare must-read books. I am in awe of Dan Simmons,” then I must have been missing something good all these years.
12. The Tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter (Non-Fiction) Another adventure in my armchair to help me experience the greatest archaeological discovery and excavation of all time. Tut has fascinated the world since 1922 and I too have fallen prey to his magical hypnosis from beyond the sarcophagus.
13. The Best Cat Ever by Cleveland Armory (Non-Fiction) If you too have ever been owned by a cat, you might also want to read about Polar Bear and his curmudgeon author.
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