Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day to Read: Books on My Nightstand

I've fallen down on my Day to Read, promotions. There have just been other things to write about in the past week.

But it's coming - January 10, 2008. This will be a time to shut down our computers and read from actual pages - To lose our blog friends for one. day.

It is also the brainchild of Soccer Mom in Denial.

And for me, it's none too soon. I have a teetering pile of books on my nightstand, all waiting for attention. So in case you're still looking for reading for this Thursday, here are a few suggestions, in no particular order:

Bangkok Haunts by John Burdett. This is the third book in the Bangkok 8 series by Burdett. The novels follow the narration of Sonchai Jitpleecheep as he fights vice by day and helps with his mother's brothel by night in the bundle of contradictions that is life in Bangkok. The major contrast in the books is Sonchai's striving to be a good Buddhist while living a life steeped in corruption and sex. These books are not for the faint of heart, but I've been fascinated with the first two and the world they've opened up to me.

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. This is a semi-autobiographical comic novel about a young girl traveling to Paris in the early 50s. It's been touted as both the precursor to the entire chic lit movement, and the female version of A Catcher in the Rye.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. If you read contemporary fantasy of any type, you should be familiar with Gaiman. And if you're not, I repeat: you should be familiar with Gaiman. This is a collection of a wide variety of Gaiman's stories, several of which are major award winners. Again, Gaiman is not always for the faint of heart, but he will always stretch your imagination in new ways.

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone. This is the quest of James Beard Award winning culinary historian Schenone to find the original ravioli recipe that her great grandmother brought with her from Genova at the turn of the century. Through her search, she finds herself in traditional kitchens in Liguria and looks at the bigger social history of the immigrant experience of women and cooking.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is Fitzgerald's attempt to create something "beautiful and new", and it is, arguably, his finest work. We watch the tragedy of Gatsby and Daisy unfold through the eyes of cynical Nick Carraway. This will be the first book for the second semester of the American Lit. course that I teach, so it's required reading for me, as well. But enjoyable required reading, nevertheless.

Italian American Folklore by Frances Malpezzi. This was a book recommended to me by Sognatrice. It has been a huge help in researching the Italian American experience in the U.S. Fascinating stuff!

Dead of the Day by Karen E. Olson. This one is a wild card for me. It was C's Christmas gift to me. He wanted specifics, so I told him to "pick out a mystery he thought I might like". He admitted he didn't actually read anything about the book - he just liked the cover. The blurb was from Laura Lippman, though, and she's D's favorite mystery author of the moment, so hopefully there's potential. I'll write more after I've actually looked at it more carefully.

Maybe one of these will catch your fancy. Maybe none of them will, but they'll inspire you to think of something else. However it turns out, I wish you happy reading!


Jenn in Holland said...

Gosh, Jen, could you just like start a service (for me) and log onto Amazon and order me books on a regular basis? Your choices are stellar, and all sound quite intriguing.
Here's wishing for lots and lots of good reads coming our way!

Unknown said...

Don't you just love to have a stack of enticing books to choose from?

Anonymous said...

Wow, and to think I was running out of books on my TBR pile. I should have just come to you straight away. ;)

Looking forward to Thursday. Thanks for reminding me to put up a reminder. :)

Jan said...

I will be reading on Jan 10th too, but I will also have to blog. Does this take away from Day To Read? I mean, I read every day ! I always have my nose in a book if I'm not on the computer. I love it ! Happy reading ! (((HUGS)))

anno said...

What a wonderful list! I might have to read them all...

La delirante said...

Hi, I saw your blog at "sognatrice's" blog. Thanks for the books suggestions!

painted maypole said...

you know I'll be reading, too.

and my stack is incredibly high, so much so I had to put it on the bookshelf. ;)

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, that's a FUN pile! Love it. I've GOT to get that Gaiman book; I think it's the only one I haven't yet read.

Wholly Burble said...

I've often felt I could probably create a great circus act from my life time of balancing piles of books on my nightstand! It's an artform not really recognized or lauded.

Quite the list, and thank you for the recommends. My stack of "not read yet--but drooled over at the bookstore and had to bring home" is getting pretty tall. I guess I could just tell the world to bugger off and read for a few weeks . . . but at least we can get started January 10th on whittling down our piles (ouch, piles just sounds nasty).

soccer mom in denial said...

What a great list. I've got a few to add to my list after I finish City in Amber.

Goofball said...

oh wow, how tempting! I don't know any of them.

The dud avocado sound really fun. The title is already fun.

The lost ravioli recipes of Hoboken: Hoboken is a town near Antwerp in Belgium? Does the book have anything to do with that?