May 2004

The past couple of months have been pretty exciting reading-wise. I went off to MacDowell where I wrote the first hundred pages of a novel in two weeks (more or less in Morse Code, but still), and my inspirations are on this list. The Translator by John Crowley I loved this book even though it has none of Crowley's trademark other-world stuff. Okay, maybe it does. A tiny bit.

What I loved by Siri Hustvedt This book was a good read, but somehow I wanted a little more. I don't know. Emotionally, maybe? Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom She's amazing, this woman. AMAZING. And she was married, at one time, to one of my favorite professors in college.

Use Me by Elissa Schappell She writes so honestly, especially about mothering. I can't wait to read her next book.

Love in the Asylum by Lisa Carey Lisa is still one of my favorites, and I haven't met her, we've just exchanged emails, so I get to keep my unbiased status. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender She's a beautiful writer, on a sentence level, and I know I could never do what she does. I needed a bit less distance, though. Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker I read this book because I interviewed Alice Walker, one of my favorite writers when I was in college, for the Commonwealth Club. I still haven't heard the show on NPR. If you do, let me know if I sound like a blithering idiot.

Natasha by David Bezmozgis Expect great things from this fabulous young writer. The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt Okay, so this is a good SHORT STORY COLLECTION but it is NOT a novel, and I really and truly resent being told that it is. As a novelist who spends a tremendous amount of time and energy worrying about the arc of her story and plot, it really pisses me off when publishers try to sell collections as novels. It does the author a disservice and makes a good book seem less well done. The Path of Minor Planets by Andrew Sean Greer Another marvel by Andrew Sean Greer. (My buddy and accomplice on the SF strip club scene. I'll reveal more later).

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Z.Z. Packer One of my favorites this month. This woman's descriptions are tremendous. Exciting, vibrant. Everything good writing should be.

The Mermaids Singing by Lisa Carey She's so much fun to read, and I think we actually are not dissimilar writers. At least I hope to be as good.

The Country of the Young by Lisa Carey My favorite of Lisa's books.

Little Children by Tom Perrotta I liked this book quite a bit, but you know what? He didn't get the female character right. He doesn't know what we talk about to one another. He doesn't get it. Alas.

Property by Valerie Martin A wonderful novel. Truly. I love a juicily loathsome main character.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris I was positively peeing in my pants I was laughing so hard. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler I'm so happy for Karen that this book is going to catapult her to a mainstream audience. This wonderful writer deserves it. I still love Sister Noon the best, though. The Known World by Edward P. Jones Okay, so the Pulitzer people were absolutely correct. This book is marvelous. MARVELOUS.