July 2002

I've been terribly derelict in my book log duties, and I'm afraid I won't even remember everything I've read. But I'll do my best. When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler I didn't expect to find this particular character very compelling. She wasn't someone I would normally identify with. But Tyler's writing is so remarkable she just kind of sweeps you up with her. I will say that there's one male character I just absolutely didn't buy. The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter The mystery here isn't very good, and neither is it much of a thriller, but the window into the universe of wealthy African-American society was interesting, and I enjoyed the book for that reason. The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer I loved this book so much that I actually accosted a complete stranger in the bookstore and made her buy it. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall Udall can write wonderfully well, but something about Edgar's story left me a little cold. Florence, A Delicate Case by David Leavitt I read this right before we went to Florence, and it was a delightful window into that particularly gorgeous little city. As the Romans Do: An American Family's Italian Odyssey by Alan Epstein This book is awful. Truly. The author must have mentioned his "frequent" appearances on Oprah at least thirty times. Wretched. Truly.

The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami I thought I was done with my India phase, but I managed to read another. I liked it okay -- although it wasn't the best of that particular genre. Lying Awake by Mark Salzman He's a wonderful writer, but this is, ultimately, a book about a nun. Great if you're Catholic. Or just love nuns. The Rotters' Club by Jonathan Coe Coe read with Michael in Italy, and had way way more fans that he did. I decided I had to read something he wrote. It was tremendous fun.

Homestead by Rosina Lippi I didn't even know this part of Germany existed, and the author did an amazing job of creating the world. I wish we had gotten to spend more time with each individual character, though. How To Be Good by Nick Hornby This is as much fun as everything Hornby writes. I was ready to KILL that David. No Heroes by Chris Offutt I can't believe poor Offutt had to go back to Appalachia -- but he sure wrote an amazing book about it.

Three Junes by Julia Glass This wonderful book is a perfect little gem. The writing is beautiful, the story is compelling. The only thing I wish is that we didn't skip through time so quickly. It could have been twice as long for me. Man and Boy by Tony Parsons I read this book in one sitting. I'm incredibly excited to have the same publisher. Speak Memory by Vladimir Nabokov I think this book is perfect. I've never read prose like this. I can't imagine having that kind of magical gift.