Reading list

I have  been keeping track of books since December 2008, when I realized that my list was overwhelming and if I didn’t write it down, I’d never remember what I read. Some of these are forgettable. Some I will never forget. Most are still in my library, if you wish to borrow. Three stars (at top of list) is ultimate praise, but every book deserves to be read.

FICTION — THREE STAR

  •  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini ***

With the snow came the kites.

  • Run by Ann Patchett *** (a favorite writer)
  • Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo ***

     The shit that matters, you’ve got no say in.

  • Child of my Heart by Alice McDermott ***

…I had a funny recollection of Petey’s rabbit trap in the yard – of the thin twig he’d used to prop up the cardboard box, of something slight and fragile holding back a weighty darkness.

  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann *** (WOW!)

There is, I think, a fear of love.

  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese *** The best by one of my favorite writers.

The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not.

  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri ***
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami *** (Thanks Meg!)
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin *** (Sad to know of the deception, though I still think he does good in the world.) Also Stones into Schools
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave *** (Chris Cleave is a brilliant writer and story-teller.)

I remember she told me her story once and it went something like, the-men-came-and-they … All the girls’ stories start out, the-men-came-and-they.

  • Incendiary by Chris Cleave ***

FICTION

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (with Jeffrey Zaslow) (Making OMHS proud!)
  • Away by Amy Bloom (didn’t quite finish)
  • The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Netherland by Joseph O’Neill (didn’t finish)
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated from the French by Alison Anderson *

Thinking back on it, this evening, with my heart and my stomach all like jelly, I have finally concluded, maybe that’s what life is about: there’s a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same.  It’s as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never…. Don’t worry Renée, I won’t commit suicide and I won’t burn a thing.

  • A House and Its Head by Ivy Compton-Burnett
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (What am I missing?)
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore *

Still, there was always a circus somewhere.

  • Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan **
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson

She went out to the garden and picked young spinach, enough to fill the colander, pressed down and flowing over, as her father would say.

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Coventry by Helen Humphreys
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
  • Something Red by Jennifer Gilmore
  • Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  • The Infinities by John Banville * (Heard him read at Inprint Houston, along with Verghese.)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro * (The land of lost things) 
  • In a Heartbeat by Rosalind Noonan (Go Roz!!)
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • Nemesis by Philip Roth (I am not a Roth fan, but liked this one.)
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen
  • Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • Windy City by Scott Simon
  • A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Eagen
  • How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  • The London Train by Tessa Hadley
  •  Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin (teaches at Rice)
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff
  • Wildwood by Colin Meloy
  • Father of the Rain by Lily King
  • Taft by Ann Patchett
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
  • In the Bleak midwinter by Julia Spencer Fleming
  • You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
  • The Marriage plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
  • Please Look After mom by Kyung Sook Shin
  • The Cat’s Table by Michael Onadaatje
  • Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
  • Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

NONFICTION

  • Beauty Will Save the World by Gregory Wolfe***
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver ***
  • A Bittersweet Season by Jane Gross
  • Dog Years by Mark Doty **

You’re the crown of creation and fodder for every little mite and laboring insect that carries the earth’s own children back into the dirt.  Everything and nothing

  • By Way of Grace by Paula Huston
  • February House: The Story of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin
  • Decoding Air Travel by Nicholas Kralev
  • Stalking the Divine by Kristin Ohlson
  • The Spirit of Food, Leslie Leyland Fields, Editor
  • Even Silence has an End by Ingrid Betancourt
  • My Own Country by Abraham Verghese
  • The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
  • Nella’s Last War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49 by Nella Last
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
  • Dakota by Kathleen Norris  (also Acedia and Me) (Rereading in preparation for a seminar in Oahu with Kathleen and the folks from Image.)
  • A Walk on the Beach by Joan Anderson
  • In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith ***

So my last image was as the first. A sleeping youth cloaked in light, who opened his eyes with a smile of recognition for someone who has never been a stranger.

YOUNG ADULT

  • Sweethearts by Sara Zarr **
  • How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr **
  • Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr **
  • Once was Lost by Sara Zarr **

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