March 2002

Another pretty good month for novels. And now that I can upload them myself, you'll see more regular updates. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold This is the first novel by the author of the remarkably moving, horrifying, and deadly funny Lucky. It's every bit as good.

The Family Orchard by Nomi Eve I'm just going to refer you to the brilliant Daniel Mendelsohn's review of this novel:

Where You Find It by Janice Galloway And odd but charming collection of short stories by a Scottish writer. I reviewed it for the SF Chronicle. Drinking the Sea at Gaza by Amira Hass This was the highlight of my reading months. I mean, it was an amazing book, and it made me weep. Over and over again. Every single American Jew should read this book. Read it, and then argue to me that the Occupied Territories should remain in Israel's hands. The Secret Lives of Girls by Sharon Lamb, Ed.D. Did you know the extent of sexual play that goes on in the lives of little girls? I bet you did, but thought you were just...unique. Weird. Odd. Read this and find out how normal it all is. Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut by Emily White As someone who suffered by being branded the school slut for absolutely no good reason, I was desperate to read this book. It's pretty good. Read what I have to say about it in the SF Chronicle. Night of Many Dreams by Gail Tsukiyama Full disclosure: Gail is a good friend. But this is a terrific book! Mouthing the Words by Camilla Gibb I haven't really appreciated the "incest novel" genre for a long time. Dorothy Allison and Jane Smiley wrote astonishing books, and enough was enough as far as I was concerned. But I did read this all the way through, and did come to appreciate it as a good read. In the Image by Dara Horn This actually accomplishes everything the execrable Family Orchard claims it does. It's a wonderful first novel. Friendly Fire by Kathryn Chetkovich This book is AMAZING. Fabulous stories, every single one of which should be a novel. Life at These Speeds by Jeremy Jackson This book is a wonderful tear-jerker that really deserves the adjective "haunting." The Silent Duchess by Dacia Maraini Maraini is one of Italy's premiere novelists. The book is interesting, and the writing is by and large very good, although the translation is a bit clunky. The story left me cold, though. In Our Strange Gardens by Michel Quint Okay, so what in the world is wrong with the French? Do they really think this is the best fiction to come out of France since Proust? They seem to...but it's so...slight. The Dying Animal by Phillip Roth I loved the previous Roth, but this one is just too much of the same old sex and misogyny. Enough.