Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Books - October 2007

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
I should not read something that starts off sounding like a knockoff of one of my favorite books. This is an ambitious story, but it was never going to be as good as I wanted it to be, and it really fell apart at the end.

Heat by Bill Buford
Another side of Molto Mario, shown by a writer who spent over a year in his kitchen, keeps the pace quick. Mario stories are interspersed with the author's later experiences as an apprentice chef and butcher in Italy. Pick it up if you are a FoodNetwork junkie, especially one who loves Italian food.


Anonymous said...

"A Secret History" is a great book and a guilty pleasure of mine since it flowed so easily. I read it in two days. That second day, I bartended for twelve hours and finished it up by 5am the next morning. I haven't had that experience with many books and the only one that did the same thing in recent memory was Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres." Being an East Coast boy, I didn't imagine that a book about an Iowa farm would capture my attention so much.

Agreed on "Special Topics."

"Heat" is a mixed bag. I went through a very big Batali phase and that part of Buford's narrative captured me the most, epecially when it highlights Batali's depravity. I still quote Batali's motto when I teter off the deep end: "Wretched excess is just barely enough." Buford lost me a bit when he apprenticed with Dario in Tuscany. I find I enjoy Buford's pieces in the New Yorker mainly because of their short length. He seems to go on too long in his this book, much like he does "Among the Thugs."

If you haven't already, try Robertson Davies.

- Erik

Nicole said...

I haven't read the others, but I totally agree on the Pessl. I had it checked out from the library and was, by midway through, so disinterested that I returned it rather than renewing it.

I'm reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides right now and quite enjoying it.

Barbetti said...


Brian said...

having nothing to do with your post, it occurred to me looking at photos of theo that he'll make the best charlie brown for halloween. just a thought.

Blythe said...

The Secret History is the book that I recommend when people ask me what they should read. It's a page-turner for me even now that I've read it five or six times before.

I found the Mario parts more interesting than the Italy/butcher parts too (Confession: I skipped ahead and read the last chapter when I got tired of the butcher shop, then came back and finished the rest.) But if you're interested in authentic Tuscan cuisine, the Italy parts could be fascinating.

LOVED Middlesex! I spent the whole book marveling at the gush of original, engaging ideas.

And, Dude, send these Halloween costume ideas BEFORE the holiday, please. (Then again, maybe he'll still be bald by next Halloween and we can by him a zig-zag t-shirt.)