March 2009 Books

a bouquet of ranunculi (a very late YIP: 88)
For some reason this bouquet evokes the Jane Austen in me- tea parties and dinner dances and lovely English courtyard gardens.

GN= graphic novel

  • = recommended

[]= on hiatus

Books Read This Month
24. A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg*
25. Service Included, Phoebe Damsroch
26. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, ed. Jenni Ferrari-Adler*
27. Made From Scratch, Jenna Woginrich
28. Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi*
29. The First Person and Other Stories, Ali Smith*
30. Among Other Things, I’ve Taken Up Smoking, Aoibheann Sweeney
31. Delicate Edible Birds, Lauren Groff*
32. The Other Queen, Philipia Gregory
33. Black Jack, Vol. 4, Osamu Tezuka (GN)
34. Elegance of a Hedgehog, Muriel Barberry
35. Tales From Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan (sort of GN/children’s book)

Currently Rotating Reading list:
Central Park in the Dark, Marie Winn
A Year in Our Gardens, Letter by Nancy Goodwin and Allen Lacy*
Goldengrove, Francine Prose
[Netherland, Joseph O’ Neill- had to return to library]
The Red Leather Diary, Lily Koppel
[The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd ]

[Poems on hiatus til April’s Poetry Month]


The Red Leather Diary, Lily Koppel
A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg
Old Friend From Far Away, Natalie Goldberg
City of Dreaming Books, Walter Moers
Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan
Our Life in Gardens, Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd
Black Jack, Vol 4., Osamu Tezuka

Currently tempted by:

The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, Joan Aiken
Our Life in Gardens, Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd
Montrose: Life in a Garden, Nancy Goodwin
The Inviting Garden, Allen Lacy
Garden Anywhere, Alys Fowler
Don’t Cry: Stories, Mary Gaitskill (at last, a book without the word ‘garden’ in it.)

March seems to be the month of food books. Or rather, foodie books. There’s been so much said about Molly’s book that it seems redundant to say it here, except I will just say that if you love reading Orangette, her blog, then you will love her book. Even if it is stories you’ve read before, recipes you’ve used before, you will still love her book. It’s that forgiveable. Because Molly is one of these people that you can always excuse and count on to satisfy your hunger, either physically, or in your soul. I devoured my copy in one sitting, the same way one would eat oatmeal raisin cookies and a glass of warm milk in one sitting, never stopping (ok, I stopped to eat burritos- my ultimate get-out-of-making-dinner food card- only way I could get away with reading the book the whole night).

My only regret? I loaned it to someone who is decidedly not a slow reader, and now and then I itch for my copy back, but then I remember there’s always the blog.

Everything after that was a little bit of a letdown- like having a friend you’ve known forever just leave after a fabulous weekend. Which brings me to Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant– a collection of food stories about eating alone (how apt). It made me want to write my own story (still haven’t decided on what constitutes as the perfect alone food, as I tend to cook for an army and can subsist on leftovers for weeks) but I got to experience other equally good food writers, especially Laurie Colwin, whose book Home Cooking was highly recommended.

But what really blew my mind was finally reading Azir Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran. I’m surrounded by NPR listeners (and probably NPR itself), except I can’t listen to radio, and that book happens to be a particular NPR favorite, so I finally read it. I can see why– Nafisi does a great job of pulling you into Iran of that time, but her real talent is using literature as a tool for understanding the politics and limitations of freedom in Iran. Half of the time, it’s like listening to a fantastic literature professor, and the other half, a frustrated liberal woman alternating between paralyzed fear and righteous indignation and overwhelming guilt. The second thing that blew my mind? Lauren Groff’s Delicate Edible Birds. Perfect for that little story you want to read at a picnic, that one extra hour of daylight at end of the day.

Next month, well, this month now, is National Poetry Month and I’m looking forward to that, if only for the daily poems I receive in the inbox. If you wish to celebrate, you can find more info here. What are some poems/poetry you look forward to reading or re-reading? I might undertake in a little poetry-related project of my own on this blog- stay tuned.

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2 Responses to March 2009 Books

  1. marthasnail says:

    the sweeney book wasn’t great, huh? sorry about that. our life in gardens and garden anywhere are at home with me waiting for a more spring-like day to be read.

  2. ejchang says:

    books that aren’t marked as favorite aren’t necessarily bad– if they really were I would have stopped reading and have a new category: “books i don’t think i’ll finish reading” 🙂 as for the sweeney book, it was actually very well written– it just didn’t leave me with that deep of an impression as other books did.

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