Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nightstand Companions

I’m never satisfied with my book posts here at NTB. I feel I simultaneously oversell and undersell the books I really like. Plus, I tend to ramble. I’m going to try to be more concise.

Here are a few titles from my 2010 reading list that I’d like you to consider.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson -- Set in England (I give bonus points to novels that continually mention cups of tea). Generational conflicts. Cultural differences. You can teach an old dog (or an old major) new tricks.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – New York City, post 9/11. This novel is one of the one-city-many-stories variety that I adore. I haven’t been consciously seeking a 9/11 novel, but I’ve found one that captures the best of what we might take away from that horrible moment in history. The innocence of the book’s young protagonist will break your heart and build it back up again.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell – Carrie Bradshaw during high school. Hard not to inform one’s reading of this novel with visions of SJP as Carrie Bradshaw, but Bushnell’s novel rings true for me as a portrait of the Carrie we all think we know. Final page of the novel is completely awesome.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – I wouldn’t describe myself as someone particularly interested in surgery, complicated gynecological issues, inner-city residency programs, or the political history of Ethiopia. I am interested in nuns and twins. This novel blew me away in the best possible way. Knowing that Verghese is a novelist and a doctor likewise blows me away--amazing to ponder the capacity of the human mind.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls – This memoir was really popular a few years ago, and I avoided it for no good reason. Since I read Walls’ Half-Broke Horses (a novelized account of Walls’ grandmother’s life) earlier this year, I thought I’d give The Glass Castle a try. This memoir would be a fabulous book club selection--so much to discuss about the resilience of children, the role of parents, and the complicated, imperfect nature of love. READ IT.

I still have more great books to tell you about, but I've bored you enough for now. As always, I ask: what are you reading?


Sharon Byrne said...

I read The Glass Castle a couple years ago and fell immediately in love. It's both funny and heartbreaking at the same time and manages to walk the fine line between storytelling and giving a "lesson." Amazing book. Amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

Last night I stayed up to finish Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. This was of course your recommendation so I know you've read it already. Thanks for the suggestion...I liked it! LAP

Heather said...

Okay, clearly our minds are in tune with each other over the miles. Must be the plan to coordinate our Frito candy posts...cause I just did a book post two minutes ago, then popped over here. Hilarious.

I listened to the book on CD of Extremely Loud...it was good. Brought me to tears several times.

Have you read My Name is Memory? AWESOME book, especially to listen to. It will definitely be on my "re-read" list!

E... said...

I also loved The Glass Castle, and can't believe I haven't read Half Broke Horses yet. I was really moved by Jeannette Walls when she read from it at last year's Books by the Banks. Super interesting and real person, it seemed.
My next read is going to have to be Cutting for Stone after this review. I already have the sample chapter on my Kindle but hadn't ordered the whole thing yet.
I'm currently stalled out halfway through the audio version of The Passage by Justin Cronin, and reading Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw in short bursts as well.

CaraBee said...

As always, I love your suggestions. I think your book posts are insightful and witty. Don't hold back, mama!

I read The Glass Castle a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I need to add Half-Broke Horses to my list.

When I read the Carrie Diaries, I'm going to have a very hard time not reading the last page first.

Stacia said...

Loved The Glass Castle. Hated parts of it, of course, but loved it as a whole. What a story.

I just finished Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. Definitely worth a read.

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