• Print is Dead : Books in our digital age

    Jeff Gomez

    Image of Print Is Dead: Books in our Digital Age (Macmillan Science)

    A few months ago I listened to some excerpts from this book, and finally got around to actually reading the whole thing.

    There’s something in the way Gomez has written this book that kept eliciting these knee-jerk, argumentative responses, and I’d find myself angrily relating some piece of what I read nearly every day that I was reading this book....more

  • Two Serious Ladies

    Jane Bowles

    Image of Two Serious Ladies (Peter Owen Modern Classic)

    This is one of those books that I didn’t know anything about when I started, and now that I’ve finished I have since been reading up about it and Jane Bowles and still feel like I missed something. I heard this mentioned on Show Me Your Titles film podcast as a suitable pairing to the movie Daisies. Thinking...more

  • A Spot of Bother

    Mark Haddon

    Image of A Spot of Bother

    I couldn’t quite figure out sometimes if things in this book were supposed to be funny or not and having to think about it got a little annoying. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was so good, and this is entertaining enough… But something felt missing in this one.

    The story is all third person but...more

  • The Learners

    Chip Kidd

    Image of The Learners: A Novel

    Back in 2002 I wasn’t yet officially, or perhaps consciously, interested in graphic design, but heard about Chip Kidd’s first novel The Cheese Monkeys somewhere random and put it on my Christmas list. That one is about a guy who goes to a university to study art and ends up in an intense design class that involves lots of...more

  • Bonjour Tristesse

    Françoise Sagan

    Image of Bonjour Tristesse

    French and emo naïveté turned coquette frolicking around a rented villa on the Riviera — thematic pairings for an ideal summer read? Narrated by the precocious teenager not long after the events happened, it dramatizes her meddling in her “affectionate rogue” father’s love life while pursuing her own sexual conquest on the side. There’s something about Cécile’s voice that is beguiling though...more

  • Wanderlust

    Rebecca Solnit

    Image of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

    I loved A Field Guide to Getting Lost, so it was only a matter of time before something else by Rebecca Solnit wound up on my hold list. This one is a pretty impressive history of walking, which has a rather left-leaning gait at times.

    For whatever reason the second section, covering “From the Garden to the Wild” kept...more

  • The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910–1934

    Margit Rowell & Deborah Wye

    Image of The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934

    I noticed this on my friend Leslie’s goodreads page and put it on my to-read list more to remember it as a potential resource. But I wound up with some time to kill in NYC and the Mid-Manhattan library has it for reference use only, so I went to visit. The book went with the 2002 exhibit that came...more

  • The Mother Garden

    Robin Romm

    Image of The Mother Garden: Stories

    Elissa was returning this at the library and told me I should read it, so I checked it out. This collection could be subtitled something like”variations on grief,” as all of them involve a core theme of loss, whether imminent or realized. Most of the deaths involve sickness, especially cancer, mostly parents. Somehow they all capture something a little...more

  • Difficult Loves

    Italo Calvino

    Image of Difficult Loves

    I’d only ever read Calvino’s amazing Invisible Cities, but I wandered into the FICTION C aisle the day I got my NYPL card and grabbed this collection. I guess I’ve always been worried of treading beyond Invisible Cities since it struck me so deeply. It’s kind of a collection of stories, as a young Marco Polo...more

  • The History of Love

    Nicole Krauss

    Image of The History of Love

    I kept hearing people talk about this book saying that Krauss wrote the same book as Jonathan Safran Foer (her husband), but she wrote it better. It’s somewhat true, being a multilinear story steeped in the Holocaust and its lost histories and secrets, driven by clever, young people who go through great lengths to reveal them. But in Krauss’s...more

  • Patrol : an American soldier in Vietnam

    Walter Dean Myers

    Image of Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam

    I often forget to post books like this that I read in passing, but I already know I’ll want to recall this one later, so luckily I remembered enough to find it easily. Though it probably wouldn’t be too hard to find, as there aren’t many other picture books about soldiers in Vietnam (if any). Unfolding measuredly like a poem,...more

  • The Children of Green Knowe

    Lucy M. Boston

    Image of The Children of Green Knowe

    Elissa sent me this book a while back and I finally cleaned all my piles and found it again. It’s a good Sunday afternoon read about a young boy Tolly who is at boarding school while his father and stepmother are in Burma. He usually spends his holidays at the school, but this year is sent to his great-grandmother,...more

  • The Seas

    Samantha Hunt

    Image of The Seas: A Novel

    Early on something about this book reminded me of Among other things, I’ve taken up smoking, I think because both are set around the ocean in the northeastern part of the US. But any notion of similarities beyond setting dissipated quickly.more

  • The World Without Us

    Alan Weisman

    Image of The World Without Us

    I feel as if I’ve been reading this book forever but it’s actually just been a month or so. The scope of Weisman’s imagining of the entire world suddenly depopulated of humans is so broad that inevitably some parts feel leggy. But the scenario may give the best look at our overall impact on the planet.

    There are moments where...more

  • Tony Takitani

    Haruki Murakami

    Image of Tony Takitani

    A friend told me about Cloverfield Press a while back — short fiction paired with art and letterpress-printed covers. Since I missed this Murakami story in The New Yorker (it’s only online in a terrible, abbreviated version) and never finished Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, I hadn’t read this one before. It’s a lovely piece on loss, and this little volume...more

  • Print is Dead : Books in our digital age

    Jeff Gomez

    Image of Print Is Dead: Books in our Digital Age (Macmillan Science)

    I have to preface this by saying that I haven’t actually read this whole book yet, but rather listened to some excerpts. I will appreciate the irony (noted by Gomez) that I will be reading a book about how reading paper books is dead when the time comes, but I wanted to put down some thoughts before I lost them....more

  • Get Down

    Asali Solomon

    Image of Get Down: Stories

    This is probably my favorite short story collection that I’ve read all year. I find the collections I enjoy the most are those where all of the stories are rooted in certain commonalities while each one retains a distinctive feel and focus, as if the collection constitutes an exercise in working out all the possibilities of those few specific themes.


  • Tolstoy Lied

    Rachel Kadish

    Image of Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story

    This is kind of the academic version of Sex and the City, and I kept finding myself using the words “it’s kind of a ‘chick lit’ novel” in describing it. But it’s more than just a quirky novel about dating.

    Our nearly-tenured heroine starts out by talking about the first line of Anna Karenina and how “literary types...more

  • One Hundred Demons

    Lynda Barry

    Image of One Hundred Demons

    I came across a mention of this book after I finished Cruddy, more specifically a mention of the story about Barry’s relationship with Ira Glass entitled “Head Lice and My Worst Boyfriend.” The hilarity potential was irresistible.

    One Hundred Demons was inspired by a Zen painting exercise; each of the stories represents some kind of demon she’s battled...more

  • Among other things, I’ve taken up smoking

    Aoibheann Sweeney

    Image of Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking: A Novel

    There’s something strangely straightforward and matter-of-fact about this story of a girl who grows up on an island in Maine and then takes an internship in New York where she experiences her “sexual awakening” (as a back-cover quote describes it). In many books there are moments that feel vaguely out of context for either the character or the progression of...more