11 Books I Read Recently

1. The Golden Bowl by Henry James (Up to the very end I was enthralled. And in suspense. Comp-lit moment: Compare the antique shop in La Peau du Chagrin with antique shop in The Golden Bowl. What different minds James & Balzac have.)

2. The Street Lawyer by John Grisham (I like Grisham’s work, especially when he gets going on a social problem–The Appeal a good example, as is The Rainmaker.)

3. Bleak House by Chas. Dickens (I gave up on this a decade or so ago now I like it.)

4. The Paris Edition by Waverly Root (Note: James Thurber, A.J. Liebling and Waverly Root were all reporters in Paris at the same time, about the time of Lindberg’s solo trans-Atlantic flight. I sent Root’s book on to Ben Bradlees, who met Root when Ben was a young newsman in Paris.)

5. The Progress of Love by Alice Munro (Alice Munro, I love you!)

6. After Lives by John Casey (Another John Casey but one I’m proud to share a name with. this book is an excellent and beautifully written history of Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Christian and Muslim ideas of what happens to us after death.)

7. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (This novel won the National Book Award.)

8. Nothing But Blue Skies by Tom McGuane (He still has it. I also admire him for his review of Out Stealing Horses in the NY Times Book Review–a good example of the right reviewer for a book that might have gone unnoticed but quite rightly didn’t.)

9. Hurlyburly by David Rabe (Deborah Eisenberg and Ann Beattie wanted him to come for a week to talk to our fiction MFAs which is why I read the play. Very glad did. Still hoping he’ll come.)

10. Cecilia by Linda Ferri (Orignally in Italian, now available in English published by the excellent firm Europa. A view of ancient Rome by someone who seems to channel the life of Saint Cecilia. I translated Linda Ferri’s first book, Enchantments.)

11. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. (The language and the story are on fire.)

Can you suggest, based on these books I liked/loved, another one I’ll like/love?


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