• Breath, Eyes, Memory

    Edwidge Danticat

    Krik? Krak! has been on my mental book list for a while, so even though the blurb on the back of this book didn’t make it sound very exciting, I decided I fared a better chance with it than the other lackluster titles found in the stacks at the library. Luckily it...more

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night‑Time

    Mark Haddon

    I must say I enjoy a murder mystery where the victim is a neighbor’s dog and the narrator is a 15-year-old boy who is autistic, keen on math, and more interested in numbering his chapters as increasing primes instead of the usual sequence. Of course, the book is not much of a murder mystery at all and instead more of a journal of this boy...more

  • The Sea, The Sea

    Iris Murdoch

    I’m so glad to finally be done with this book. This was one of those that I was hoping would have a big payback at the end, but in the end was just disappointing. Long books have no right in being so.

    There was a nice symmetry to the story, starting out fairly quiet with our retired actor protagonist beginning to write...more

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events

    Lemony Snicket

    I read The Bad Beginning several years ago and never continued with the series, which turned out to be a good decision, as I just spent the last couple weeks reading almost the entire series, up to The...more

  • The Elements of Typographic Style

    Robert Bringhurst

    Parts of this book are so poetic and idealistic about typography and other parts are technical to intense mathematical degrees that it’s sure to be a good reference for both inspiration and precise guidance. If you have a nerd-level interest in typography, that is. There’s a whole section about page proportions derived from the...more

  • A Short History of the Printed Word

    Warren Chappell

    This book is likely to retain its place as a design classic, as Chappell recorded a uniquely specific point in history, balancing at the point before computers completely infiltrated design, leaving printing presses and typesetting machines to archaism. This is a history of printing starting with the earliest alphabets evolving...more

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife

    Audrey Niffenegger

    I kept hearing this one mentioned by various people with that certain weighty esteem that only favorites get, so I wanted to know why people loved it so. It is, quite simply, about a time traveler’s wife, or really, a time traveler and his wife, as the story seesaws between their perspectives. Despite the vague incredulity of a person...more

  • Hotel of the Saints

    Ursula Hegi

    It’s been a long while since I even tried to read a short story collection—I read a lot of short stories in 2003 and I daresay it burnt me out. So I was glad that Melanie sent me this Ursula Hegi collection for my birthday. A nice reminder of my appreciation of...more

  • Kafka on the Shore

    Haruki Murakami

    Having now read all of Murakami’s books thus far, I wanted to like this more than I did. Something about the structure of the story seems rickety and unbalanced—the various layers of narrative a little misaligned. It could be that the main protagonist is a bit of an unbelievable 15-year-old...more

  • The Mother Tongue

    Bill Bryson

    Just after I finished Eats, Shoots & Leaves a friend recommended this book, as another take on the funny grammar book. It’s more about linguistics than grammar and namely how English came to be such a world dominant language. The history of how English...more

  • The Botany of Desire

    Michael Pollan

    Starting off with the question of whether gardeners could be “human bumblebees,” essentially goaded into spreading plants around much like bees assist in pollination, Pollan continues on to examine the histories of four key cultivated plants under the shadow of this question. He organizes them into categories of desire: sweetness (the...more

  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    Carson McCullers

    Somehow I have spent all of July trying to read this book. Over the past few days I’ve started to feel a bit of pull into it, but it’s reached an unrenewably due status with the library, so I am giving up for now. Some summers I seem to lose the reading bug, contrary to all those summer reading lists out there....more

  • Pinball, 1973

    Haruki Murakami

    Murakami’s second novel was a direct sequel to Hear the Wind Sing and was only published in English as a Japanese language guide. I had to interlibrary loan this one from Missoula, Montana. Montana! I got a kick out of that.

    Having read about this book in...more

  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves

    Lynne Truss

    manda just reminded me that I never read this book, having been much intrigued when it was published in the US last year with some mixed press. Readers who don’t have a nerdy interest in the finer points of grammar, as well as a working knowledge of British humour,...more

  • Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words

    Jay Rubin

    While vaguely biographical, this book is mostly a critical look at Murakami’s work (up until its publication). Jay Rubin is one of the handful of the translators who have brought Murakami’s work into English; as such this book looks at more than just the works available in English, since Rubin obviously has the means to read the...more

  • You Grow Girl

    Gayla Trail

    I’m sad I have to return this to the library today as I didn’t really get through it all, though I had felt that it will probably end up on my wishlist when I first took it out anyhow. Written by the woman who started the gardening website You Grow Girl, it’s the guide to gardening...more

  • South of the Border, West of the Sun

    Haruki Murakami

    This reminded me a lot of Norwegian Wood, a less fantastic and off-the-wall, seemingly more personal story.

    Everyone just keeps on disappearing. Some things just vanish, like they were cut away. Others fade slowly into the mist. And all that remains is a desert.


  • Dance Dance Dance

    Haruki Murakami

    I kept feeling like all of Murakami’s characters are so much the same while reading this, but also kept forgetting that this is the continuation of A Wild Sheep Chase and Hear the Wind Sing before that, so in this case the main character...more

  • The Art Lover

    Carole Maso

    After reading both this book and Ghost Dance, I wonder what has brought Carole Maso to write so eloquently about loss aside from the obvious fact that she has experienced it significantly. In this book she tackles loss through sudden death, slow death, and divorce all at once by maintaining...more

  • Beloved

    Toni Morrison

    This story is based off the true account of Margaret Garner, a fugitive slave who attempted to kill all of her children when faced with recapture. In this book the baby who is killed returns as a spirit to haunt her family, who manage to stay free.

    Morrison has just adapted the story again in to a libretto for...more