Monday, February 01, 2010

Books I Read in January 2010

Instead of writing a long, rambling, multi-part series about the books I read all year I decided to go month by month. So here's what I read in January.

The Art of Simple Food
by Alice Waters
This is a cookbook, but I read it straight through. I like the idea of it, but I just don't like salad as much as Alice Waters. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet. They are probably good. The food at Pizzaria 712 is good and they like this book so, you do the math.

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
I just really like John Irving, sexually deviant characters and all--what can I say? It's always interesting when he writes about a writer, as he does in this book. Its' not life-changing or anything. Just good writing and an interesting story. A Prayer for Owen Meaney is better.

*Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
This book is compelling but troubling because I don't buy into the "new morality" Frank Lloyd Wright and his girlfriend try to promote. To me it was just a sad, sad story of two families that are broken up by an affair. But the ending!? Holy cow. It's a super shocker. And the architecture stuff is good. I do recommend this book. But the characters kind of bother me. I'd be interested to know if they bother you, too.

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
This is a book of essays. Some of them are really priceless.

The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete
I'm so obsessed with these monks!

And finally, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Yes. I know I'm the last person in the world to read this. It's pretty good and pretty interesting. I like Pollan's approach and suggestions and I do wish the conditions under which my food is grown were more ideal, but I couldn't help but feel a little bit impressed by the innovation of food scientists. I mean, high-fructose corn syrup? When you've got an abundance of corn--it's not a bad idea. This is how I feel--I can't help it. I read Michael Pollan and I'm impressed by food scientists. I watch Avatar and I'm repulsed by the special effects. At any rate, this book made me want to keep chickens and not abuse them. Maybe I could foster some chickens.

That's it! That's all I read in January. If you have a suggestion for a book you think I'll like, let me know.


  1. i'm kind of afraid of reading "the omnivore's dilemma" because i like eating meat. we really don't cook with it a lot so i'll just do my part by keeping that up. i did love "in defense of food" though. it also made me want to foster chickens, or green beans, or something.

  2. mitch has the omnivore's dilemma, maybe I should crack it. Owen Meaney will always and forever be my favorite but I'll read anything by Mr. Irving. May I suggest- "Under the Dome" by Mr. Stephen King? I read the last 200 pages from 4-6am sitting on an uncomfortable stool in my kitchen. Gripping and very strange. As usual.

  3. I've got Loving Frank and Owen Meany on my nightstand. I am a little scared cause mostly Irving makes me depressed for a week.

  4. My recommendation is to put down your books and netflix Twin Peaks. It's creeptastic.

  5. I love Owen Meany and I super love the Monks.

  6. I enjoyed Loving Frank - it's a pretty good read - but the main characters are pretty morally deficient - or maybe just very self-absorbed - an interesting study in itself.

    The ending once again proves that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

    I'm reading The Help right now - pretty good read. Timely too.

  7. I'm still plodding along with "Ireland". It's the book I read during Kung Fu and ballet, so it's taking me a while. Like it, though! It's not what I expected at all.

  8. It's hard to know what you'd like but I read all the time so I'll tender my best recent recommendations:

    Young Adults:

    The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex
    Feed - M. T. Anderson (might belong in adults)
    The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks - E. Lockhart
    The View from Saturday - E. L. Konigsburg

    The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
    Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
    The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

  9. I think I have a crush on Michael Pollan. Maybe Alice Waters too. Omnivores Dilemma was terrific, and if food reading is working for you I also loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

  10. I had a crush on Michael Pollan too until I found out he's only six feet tall. The media is so deceptive! Stupid Jon Stewart with his elfin stature.

  11. Good idea! I'm STILL trying to finish my 2009 list, this makes it more manageable!

  12. i am really interested in this "loving frank" book. my father in law worships the flw - literally worships him - so it might be fun to read it and then use it as ammo the next time it comes up. obviously i am a lovely daughter in law.

    also, i have a little bit of a nerd crush on michael pollan. i say nerd crush because, well, have you seen him?

    have you read "american nerd, the story of my people" by benjamin nugent? interesting and funny. sort of touches on mormonism a little which was weird and not totally accurate but still entertaining.

  13. I really struggled with Loving Frank. I think the story is well written, but I just couldn't love Mamah. I think the author was very generous to her. I read the ending at 3 am on a cruise ship with no one to discuss it with. I had no idea.

  14. Michael Pollan is super cute and he's great on the radio. I actually think In Defense of Food is a more useful book.

    Kammy, I felt the same way. And I kept wanting Frank and Mamah to NOT work out--for them to realize they made a mistake. Then I kind of felt bad for wanting something bad to happen because, holy freak.

  15. Loving Frank looks really interesting. I'm a HUGE fan of FLWright's work (but not in agreement with his lifestyle choices). Funny, because I was just reading about this (his affair etc) the other day. The full story is really heartbreaking. Fallingwater is a few hours away from my house--I keep telling my husband I would so much like to go...

    Thanks for the reviews...hard to find good book reviews these days.

  16. Ugh! Loving Frank just made me really sad.

  17. I'm going to read that book, if only to discover the big twist at the end!

    Fostering chickens?! Is this where I stage an intervention? (WITH my Beehive class?)

  18. If you just want the big twist at the end, google FLW and read the Wikipedia entry on him and his mistress. It's a lot shorter!!

  19. I hated Loving Frank. I felt like they were both just selfish. I had googled the full story after my husband hinted that it might not end the way I thought it would, so I wasn't surprised. Didn't help me get through it though. A lot of people in my book club loved it--I think they liked the writing rather than the story.

  20. Huge John Irving fan . . . I liked Twisted River.

    Right now I'm reading Born Round by Frank Bruni. It's the best of both worlds ... a well written novel by a guy working as a food critic for the NY Times. And yes, he has food issues. FUN.


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