Sunday, April 30, 2006


I've recently finished reading:

  • Everything David Sedaris, over and over
  • He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (Again; it's the Bible)
  • Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life - Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Really great book in a very original style; great for thinking through issues of identity, and a very quick read)
  • Off the Cuff - Carson Kressley (Advice from a Queer Guy; really for dudes but interesting anyway, who's funnier than Carson?)
  • Bel Canto - Ann Patchett (This book took my breath away, I didn't want it to end; top five books of all time)
  • Nine Hills to Nambonkaha - Sarah Erdman (Interesting story about two years in the Peace Corps in Africa)
  • The Disappearance - Genevieve Jurgensen (Letters from a mom describing the years after her two young daughters were killed; I heard about this on NPR and it's really something)
  • Smart Women Finish Rich - David Bach (This guy is a cute little peanut with good advice)
  • A Girl Named Zippy - Haven Kimmel (Good book but a little slow for those of us who can't relate to a memoir of a happy childhood)
  • The Sea - John Banville (Like one long poem, an amazing fictional story of loss and emptiness; every sentence in this book has at least two words that I had to look up in the dictionary)
  • Tsunami - Bill O'Leary (A very sad collection of stories from Phuket, Thailand)
  • A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer (I must be the last person to read this; story of the third worst case of child abuse in the history of the State of California, excellent)
  • Love Smart - Dr. Phil (Um, I purposefully didn't read this in public; it's kind of good)
  • The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (I liked this but only because the material must be driving the Church crazy and that's kind of fun for me; the writing is just ok)
  • Honeymoon with My Brother - Franz Wisner (Great concept, interesting because of the travel but not great writing)
  • A Thousand Days in Venice - Marlena De Blasi (Really fun book, although the writer comes across a little snooty at first; great for someone living in another country who feels like an alien)

A great passage from this last book about the author trying to blend in but feeling alone in Italy:

"I hardly notice the malaise that is settling on me: a suggestion of sadness, a bruise that comes and goes and returns, nostalgia. This feeling is not tragic, nor does it contradict the fullness of this new life. It is mainly that I miss my own language. I miss the sounds of English. I want to understand and be understood. . . . I feel squeezed by this northern stance of bella figura, the keeping of the facade . . . It prescribes a short list of approved questions and answers. . . . Unimpressed by, insensitive to my own blunderings, I talk to everyone. I am curious, I smile too much, touch and peer and inspect . . . "

I love it when other people put into words what I feel. Sometimes in Japan, that is how I feel, especially about the concept of "face" or whatever it is called here.

I'm currently reading:

  • After the Quake - Haruki Murakami
  • The Art of Mending - Elizabeth Berg
  • Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

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