Things I have read lately

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (read this back in late August!). Reminiscent of Infinite Jest somehow.

A Primate’s Memoir, by Robert Sapolsky. Really loved this one. NYT review. Excerpt at Loved it. Recommended it to anyone within earshot. If you are reading this blog, you are within earshot: read this book.

A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today. I am not sure I loved this one but it was really interesting. It is about Kate Bornstein’s life in the Church of Scientology back in the day (also her name was Al, then) and how she got kicked out (still as Al) and then what she did after, and how she became Kate and also how she became the Kate that she is. It is not for the faint of heart; there is sexual and violent (consensually sexually violent) content. But it is written as a letter to her daughter, who she hasn’t seen in many years, and her grandchildren, who she’s never seen, I think, and every time it’s getting intense, she takes us a step away for a second to address her daughter and grandkids, and to say why she’s telling this story to her daughter and grandkids, difficult though it may be.
Also stories of early Scientology are super fascinating. That shit is fucked up right there.

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, by Bob Spitz, for which I coughed up late fines for a week and a half because it was so long but I couldn’t give it up. Of course I love Julia a lot, and have read several books about/by her: My Life in France by Julia and her nephew Alex Prud’homme, highly recommended; As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, by Joan Reardon (and much by Julia and Avis), also highly recommended; part of A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS, by Jennet Conant, which had to go back to the library, and I was not ready to pay late fines for this one. All of which is to say, Julia and I aren’t strangers. But this book was so great, and even the stuff I knew about was made lively and wonderful and so … Julia.
I will buy it when it comes out in paperback.

During that wonderful hugely physical (like its subject) book, I was also reading, on my magical iPad, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, which I got from the Humble eBook Bundle, no longer in the offing, unfortunately. Really liked this one a lot. If you do speculative/alternate universe/fantasy at all, read this. G. and I both found it very engaging from the first paragraph.

As soon as I finished and turned in Dearie, I was headed out for a short-ish weekend trip where I would definitely need some leisure reading. I went to the shelf that has replaced the pile of things to read somewhat urgently, and I was reminded that G. had read the latest Tana French, Broken Harbor, and I hadn’t. Tana French is an amazing mystery author who writes emotionally brutal, intricate, personal novels that suck you in from the first paragraph. G. didn’t know why I was always talking about her until I finally got him to open her first book, and then he basically didn’t talk to me for three days while he inhaled the first two books. Her stuff is not easy to read, from an emotional perspective, but it is really easy to read from a … reader perspective? Anyway, love her a lot, and if you are of a constitution that likes a dark murder story, check her out.

And now I am bookless! I have been listening to podcasts and getting some knitting done on the commute instead, but it makes me kind of itchy not to have a book in my bag. What should I read? All genres up for grabs. What have you loved lately?

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