July 2008

I know I've been terribly derelict, but I've been trying to finish not one but two books. I went to Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, the most gorgeous writing retreat, and just powered through. The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich Louise Erdrich's world is reliably lovely and strange.

The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer It's so incredibly delightful when a book just nails it, you know?

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout This book transported me. Completely.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri She writes such delightfully confident prose.

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond This book will keep Michelle on the terrific trajectory her last book put her on.

Cost by Roxana Robinson Oh God. I haven't not been able to get this book out of my mind. What a terrifying object lesson. The Road by Cormac McCarthy Why the hell didn't I read this earlier? This book. God, this book. The Wild Palms by William Faulkner How ridiculous is it that I forget every time how much I love Faulkner? City of Refuge by Tom Piazza This book taught me so much about Katrina. It's amazing how fiction manages to teach you something new, no matter how much news you read. A Curious Earth by Gerard Woodward A lovely little novel. Travels with Alice by Calvin Trillin I cried pretty much the whole time I read this, when I wasn't laughing.

Time Will Darken It by William Maxwell Perfect prose. The Spare Room by Helen Garner Every once in a while a writer just comes out of nowhere. I mean, she's been writing a long time, but she came out of nowhere to me. Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen Terrific memoir. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley Funny little essays. Sweet. Art & Ardor by Cynthia Ozick These essays are so brilliant I can't believe it. Bogglingly brilliant. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron Reread this for my nonfiction book. Always funny. Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace This man is to footnotes what the raised glazed is to donuts. The best ever. Consequences by Penelope Lively This book lost me in the end, although I liked it very much for a while. An Equal Music by Vikram Seth I reread this for the music for my novel. Far more detailed than I could ever be.

The Best American Essays by David Foster Wallace His essays are better than any of these.

Changing Places by David Lodge Lord, I do love David Lodge. The Great Man by Kate Christensen I liked this, but I wanted, I don't know, something more.

Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell I love Gaskell, but in the end what she lacks is humor.

Nice Work by David Lodge Good lord this man is the most incredible writer.

Growing Up by Russell Banks Awfully sweet memoir.