Book Fifteen: Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri

Sometimes it feels like I'm only reading books for my book club, but when the books are this good, I honestly don't mind. And since I haven't been reading short stories much lately (maybe because of shit like this), it was refreshing to read short stories done well. I particularly liked "A Temporary Matter," "Sexy," "This Blessed House," and "The Third and Final Continent." But honestly, I loved them all.

Book Fourteen: Tears of the Giraffe

Tears of the Giraffe, Alexander McCall Smith

Wheeeeee! More Precious Ramotswe!

(Shortest review ever.)

Book Thirteen: The Unprejudiced Palate

The Unprejudiced Palate, Angelo Pellegrini

I have so many things so say about this book, that I honestly don't even know where to start. I had been looking forward to reading it for quite a while, since I heard some wonderful things about it--"It's a classic! Way ahead of his time!"--but reading it felt like punishment. Seriously, it's like spending two weeks with some guy who lectures you on what an idiot you are, how you are a failure because you don't grow all your own vegetables and make your own wine (I'm not kidding--who makes their own wine?), you don't drink enough or you drink too much and in the wrong places, and how America blows. While I can imagine it would have been interesting to hang out with this guy and eat all his tasty food and tour his expansive gardens, I can't imagine that there wouldn't be any minute of silliness or fun or joy.

About half way through the book, in an effort to make it even mildly palatable, I imagined it being read by Dwight Schrute from "The Office", and suddenly it was hilarious. But really, it had nothing to do with Angelo Pellegrini at all. In fact, I suppose anything read by Dwight Schrute would be pretty funny. The only redeeming elements came in the final few pages, when he talked about the future of food and how our country really does need to make some serious changes toward sustainability and think more about our food and where it comes from. I think these must be the passages that all the praise of this book is based on.

Speaking of praise, it sometimes pays to go back to the blurbs and read between the lines. Take this back cover blurb from Alice Waters:

"I have always thought that Angelo Pellegrini misnamed his charming but opinionated book. It should have been called "The Prejudiced Palate," because he is so absolutely sure and unwavering in his vision of how to live a beautiful and delicious life."

Is this really praise? Even the word "charming"--which is often used to describe rundown little houses in real estate listings or your boyfriend's old Southern grandmother who is subtly but persistently racist--isn't really praise, is it?

Book Twelve: Three Junes

Three Junes, Julia Glass

Just as everyone promised, this book was a bazillion times better than The Whole World Over. Fenno, who I loved in the second book, is pretty much the main figure in her first book, and I loved him even more wildly this time around. Everything about this was lovely and wonderful.

Book Eleven: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

Though I loved every page of this book, it was so bittersweet since it's the last Jane Austen I hadn't yet read. What's next? Surely not one of the many modern continuing-story-of-Elizabeth-Bennett-and-Mr.-Darcy novels, or the postulations about Jane Austen's life that might be less than accurate. I was recently listening to Nancy Pearl on NPR recommend Georgette Heyer to readers in my same predicament--apparently the writing is up there with Ms. Austen's and the novels evoke the same feelings--though the covers turn me off a bit. Don't you think they look a little too romance-novel-esque? I suppose I could also read The Mysteries of Udolpho to really understand what Ms. Austen is mocking in Northanger Abbey. Or perhaps I can just start the cycle over again and re-read them all every few years or so!

I've really been enjoying taking more time lately to read. I spent a couple of hours between meetings on Thursday at a bakery with my book, some coffee, and the most delicious potato mini baguette. I hope to have many more days like this.

Northanger Abbey