Recent Reads

Recent Reads (All of which I have loved and checked out from the San Francisco Public Library!)

Autobiography, Biography, and/or Travel Memoir

* The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)

* Kim Sunee’s Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home—drool-worthy food descriptions (and recipes!) alongside a heart-touching autobiography.

* Susan Jane Gilman’s Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

* Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic–The first graphic novel that I’ve read and enjoyed. Very literate, intellectual, and sad and hilarious all at once.

* Stacey O’Brien’s Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love story of an Owl and His Girl—My gawd, I love owls!

* Asne Seierstad’s The Bookseller of Kabul

* Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking—Knee-slappingly funny.


* Katherine Powell Cohen’s Images of America: San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury—My beleoved neighborhood! Fantastic, brief historical overview from the 1880’s to 2008 with photograph’s gracing each page.

About Public Libraries and the Love of Reading

* Don Borchert’s Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library

* Emma Walton Hamilton’s Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment

* Vicki Myron’s Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World


* Andrew Sean Greer’s The Story of a Marriage

* Robert Charles Wilson’s Darwinia: A Novel of a Very Different Twentieth Century

Currently Reading

* Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World

* Donna Farhi’s Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living

* Carol Off’s Bitter Chocolate: The Dark Side of the World’s Most Seductive Sweet

Currently Browsing (i.e. not reading every single page)

* Mothisa Yamakage’s The Essence of Shinto: Japan’s Spiritual Heart

* Terence Conran’s The Chef’s Garden: Fresh Produce from Small Spaces

* Swami Vishnu-Devanda’s The Complete Book of Illustrated Yoga

Future Reads

* Hooman Majd’s The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran

* James Dalessandro’s 1906: A Novel (about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake)

The SF B&B Club–The Saturday Evening Version

Good times, great company, good book (Eat, Pray, Love), at Luna Park restaurant for The SF Book & Brunch Club-Saturday Evening Version.  (Pictured left to right: William, Angela, Maria, and me).
We started off with the Warm Goat Cheese Fondue with Grilled Bread and Sliced Apples, and then Maria and I split the Grilled Alaskan Salmon with Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Mushroom Vinaigrette–both of which were quite delish.
And, as no trip to Luna Park is complete without their Bananas Foster, we had a couple to share and some of the Make It Yourself S’Mores.  Finally, no grand meal is complete without some good wine, so I indulged in the Cava, Brut Rosé, Marques de Monistrol, Spain, NV (with desert) and the Albariño, Martin Códax, Rías Baixas, Spain, 2006 (which was divinely delicious!).

More Reading

Originally published on my site HollYarns on April 22, 2008.

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy=4.20 out of 5John picked this one up out of my books after we watched No Country for Old Men (which I give a straight 5!).  I had set this book aside this summer after reading Jim Crace’s The Pesthouse, as two post-apocalyptic stories in a row can be quite a downer.

I liked this book, but not as much as I would have liked to have loved it.  I had heard so much praise of the works of McCarthy (esp. Blood Meridian) that I imagine I expected so much more of him.  His writing is sparse–perhaps Hemingway-ish–and is pointedly missing punctuation; especially with contractions.

Oddly enough, I found the fundamentalist Christian nightmare of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to be much more frightening than McCarthy’s post-nuclear holocaust world.  I think we are conceivably at a stalemate with nuclear weapons–excepting perhaps North Korea?  (I think the Iranian nuclear rumor is just a scare tactic)–whereas, there seems to be a serious drive to re-imagine American history as a country founded upon/created by  Christian men (NPR Link here).

Nevertheless, I must tack on this gorgeous little excerpt:

Rich dreams now which he was loathe to wake from.  Things no longer known in this world.  The cold drove him forth to mend the fire.  Memory of her crossing the lawn toward the house in the early morning in a thin rose gown that clung to her breasts.  He thought that each memory recalled must do violence to  its origins. As in a party game.  Say the word and pass it on.  So be sparing.  What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not. (emphasis added, McCarthy 131)

Perrotta writes convincingly and lushly of the realities of everyday life.  Characters are detailed, real.

I especially enjoyed the main character, Ruth’s, spiel on her issues with Christian Fundamentalism as I am pretty much in agreement with her:

In a way she was grateful to Maggie’s [Ruth’s daughter] coach for making the situation so clear.  Until she’d seen those girls, those beautiful young athletes, sitting on the grass in the sunshine being coerced by adults into praying to the God of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and the Republican Party–the God of War and Abstinence and Shame and Willful Ignorance, the God Who Loved Everyone Except the Homosexuals, Who Sent Good People to Hell if They didn’t Believe in Him, and Let Murderers and Child Rapists into Heaven if They Did, the God Who Made Women an Afterthought , and Then Cursed Them with the Pain of Childbirth, the God Who Would Have Never Let Girls Play Soccer in the First Place if It Had Been Up to Him […] (Perrotta  161)

  • Currently reading–and loving–The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  Although set in somewhat contemporary times, it has a very Gatsby-ish feel to it.

Some Reading…

Originally Published on my site HollYarns on March 27th, 2008

During the months of November and December, I felt rather brain-dead, tired but not sleepy, and found that I was only succored to sleep or into a state of relaxation by cheap, paperback spy/intrigue thrillers. At last, in January, roundabout the time I started The San Francisco Book and Brunch Club, my mind awakened from its winter stupor, decided it wanted stimulation, and so I started reading “literature” again.

Here are some of the books I have consumed since then with a 1-5 rating system (wherein 5=superb and 1=blargh-boring):

  • The Passion of New Eve (my third reading)=4.90 for brilliance, quirkiness, and for being the inspiration for my masters thesis.

This book is enthralling in that it winds you around its metaphorical fingers like a master seductress. It is a mystery in the way that Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Dicken’s Bleak House are mysteries–stories that intrigue you as they lead you down a twisted path of discovery. It has hints of the literary Gothic (not the oftentimes cheesy mall gothic). It is a love letter to the novel in that it is a story of what makes a writer a writer, and through its adumbrating its literary forebearers–the Gothic, the 19th century British novelists–while staying firmly tied to the contemporary. The Thirteenth Tale is a perfect winter read. If only I had had a roaring fireplace to read it by…

  • Lilith’s Brood (Trilogy collection of Dawn=4, Adulthood Rites=4, and Imago=3.5) by Octavia E. Butler

I generally don’t consider myself much of a fan of science fiction, but this one was suggested by Matt of the book club upon hearing that my thesis considers gender, the deconstruction and/or distortion of the binary gender system, and the construction of gender in both Western and non-Western cultures.

For me, one of the most striking scenes in this book was when the characters go to visit the giant Buddhas in Bamyan before their destruction. This scene was amazingly well-written and brought forth my memories of watching the video of these Buddhas being destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. I remember being struck by the complete inanity of such actions* and being imbued with a deep sense of sadness at the loss of such great historical landmarks (constructed in the sixth century CE).
*(Of course, not being a Muslim, I say “inanity” as I don’t believe that it should be forbidden to depict living beings [humans or animals] as Islam does.)

I was definitely expecting more from this book; more Orwellian, more Atwood at her dystopic best. Nevertheless, it was an OK read–compelling enough to pull me through to the end, but nothing spectacular.

Definitely a polemic as Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals was a polemic. It is hard to read too much at once because Hitchens’ is so blisteringly on attack. I suppose that is his point, but taking the attack level down a notch would make for a much more readable thesis.

Just delish!

At the point of reading this, I was thinking to myself, “Please no more texts that have women at the mercy of misogynistic males!*”–nevertheless, I still read it. This story is set in the last part of the period of footbinding in China and makes for an intense read in its graphic details of the cruel practice of foot mutilation alongside the general degradation and self-internalized-degradation of women in Chinese society.
*Recently read texts with women at the mercy of misogynistic males: The Blood of Flowers, The Passion of New Eve (only portions of it), A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

I could only read so much of this story posed as an oral report on the takeover of the world by Zombies. Too gross, too creepy, just too much. It works well as an allegory for present political problems and unharnessed experimentation in biotechnology–but not well enough for me to read the whole thing. I recommend the first section.

I love the following quote from the book and see a possible connection being made to Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (This a note to myself for future reference, BTW!):

There was not only one photo in a negative, his father said; there were multitudes. A moment was not a single moment at all, but rather an infinite number of different moments, depending on who was seeing things and how. Paul listened to his father talk, feeling a pit open up inside him. If all this was true, his father was someone he could never really know, which scared him. Still, he liked being there amid the soft light and the smell of the chemicals. He like the series of precise steps from beginning to end, the sheet of exposed paper sliding into the developing fluid and the images rising out of nowhere, the timer going off and then the paper slipping into the fixer. The images drying, fixed in place, glossy and mysterious. (Edwards 214-5)

Started reading this before Arthur C. Clarke passed away in an attempt to better understand Kubrick’s film interpretation. Nyet–not so good of a book. Although I’ll give him some credit for sort of predicting the internet in 1968.

We’ve Been Bribed!

One of the authors–Liam Callanan of The Cloud Atlas–that we voted on for February’s Book Choice has graciously bribed us with 6 free copies of his book! I think we should take him up on the offer! What do you think?

Also, he has a newer book out, All Saints, which looks intriguing.

I think that at least 6 of us should take his bribe and give it a go!

February’s Book!

The poll results are in and the winner is…Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

What book do you want to read for February’s Meetup?

Kazuo Ishiguro’s–Never Let Me Go   (7)
Dianne Setterfield’s–The Thirteen Tale   (1)
Michael Cunningham’s–Specimen Days   (2)
Liam Callanan’s–The Cloud Atlas   (0)
Irene Nemirovsky’s–Suite Francaise   (0)
Jonathan Safran Froer’s–Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close   (0)
Khaled Hosseini’s–A Thousand Splendid Suns   (3)

Total votes: 13

Democracy in Reading!

What book do you want to read for February’s Meetup?
1) Kazuo Ishiguro’s–Never Let Me Go
2) Dianne Setterfield’s–The Thirteen Tale
3) Michael Cunningham’s–Specimen Days
4) Liam Callanan’s–The Cloud Atlas
5) Irene Nemirovsky’s–Suite Francaise
6) Jonathan Safran Froer’s–Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
7) Khaled Hosseini’s–A Thousand Splendid SunsView Results

Click on your book choice above which will register your vote.

Please vote by 6 pm on Tuesday, January 29th, so that I can post our book choice to Meetup.

A list of some books…

I’ve compiled the following book reviews from  Please read the reviews and vote for one in the post above.

Reader Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois), September 14, 2006 on–Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale carries the reader along like a turbulent river, with unexpected eddies and undertows you can’t escape. The characters are absolutely true to the worlds of Dickens and Austen, but they’re originals, not derivatives. They grieve and you do, they rejoice and you do, they die and you do- almost. The whole atmosphere of the book is powerful and sweeping, in the manner of Henry James or even Joseph Conrad. (Well, minus all those ships, of course.) If I had to pick one story that gave the same overall effect, I’d pick The Turn of the Screw, since the ghost element in Setterfield’s book is equally shocking and unique, although James’s classic novella lacks the grand span and scope of The Thirteenth Tale. Then again, Setterfield’s characters could just as easily find a home in Dickens’ dangerous London squalor or in the halls of a Bronte mansion, the air thick with secrets and heavy with troubled specters anxious to make themselves known.

Intriguing, daring and even downright heart-pounding at times, The Thirteenth Tale might well give you nightmares at the end, but they’ll be the best- and most original- nightmares you’ve ever had.

Reader Richard Seltzer (Boston Massachusetts), April 1, 2006 on–As with Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale”, “Never Let Me Go” begins like a contemporary mainstream novel. It takes awhile for the reader to realize that the world described is not the “real world”. Gradually, you catch on to the differences and learn the rules of this world, as the characters themselves learn. The mis-direction starts on the page before the first chapter, where Ishiguro indicates that the scene is “England, late 1990s”. Everything is plausible. No scifi technology would be needed to have led to this alternate world. No major cataclysmic change. Just a subtle change of direction — quite natural, quite credible, and hence foreshadowing a dismal future we may yet encounter.

From the first page, you feel that something is just a little bit off. Even the typeface is disconcerting, with a lowercase “a” that looks more like a handwritten “a” (an “o” with a tail coming off to the right), instead of the usual printed “a”, as here).

You also quickly notice that the narrator is a bit obsessive and oversensitive, over-interpreting every look and gesture and event. And by keeping this up, over the course of the book, the author manages to completely redefine the basis of communication and the texture of life, including how to read body language and context. Ishiguro gives an otherworldly aura to ordinary situations. You sense that there is always a mystery-to-be-solved behind what is happening, what is described, what is interpreted. Ordinary terms are used in extraordinary ways (cf. 1984, but far more subtle) — carer, donor, possible, guardian, deferral become laden with new and sinister meanings, hinting at the difference between these people and ordinary people, between their world and ours.

What we wind up with is a bizarre coming-of-age love story, combining innocence and horror, in a situation where the simplest everyday events and decisions take on heroic implications.

This is one of the best novels published in the last 100 years. Don’t miss it.

From Publishers Weekly–Engaging Walt Whitman as his muse (and borrowing the name of Whitman’s 1882 autobiography for his title), Cunningham weaves a captivating, strange and extravagant novel of human progress and social decline. Like his Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hours, the novel tells three stories separated in time. But here, the stage is the same (the “glittering, blighted” city of Manhattan), the actors mirror each other (a deformed, Whitman-quoting boy, Luke, is a terrorist in one story and a teenage prophet in another; a world-weary woman, Catherine, is a would-be bride and an alien; and a handsome young man, Simon, is a ghost, a business man and an artificial human) and weighty themes (of love and fear, loss and connection, violence and poetry) reverberate with increasing power. “In the Machine,” set during the Industrial Revolution, tells the story of 12-year-old Luke as he falls in love with his dead brother’s girlfriend, Catherine, and becomes convinced that the ghost of his brother, Simon, lives inside the iron works machine that killed him. The suspenseful “The Children’s Crusade” explores love and maternal instinct via a thrilleresque plot, as Cat, a black forensic psychologist, draws away from her rich, white and younger lover, Simon, and toward a spooky, deformed boy who’s also a member of a global network committed to random acts of terror. And in “Like Beauty,” Simon, a “simulo”; Catareen, a lizard-like alien; and Luke, an adolescent prophet, strike out for a new life in a postapocalyptic world. With its narrative leaps and self-conscious flights into the transcendent, Cunningham’s fourth novel sometimes seems ready to collapse under the weight of its lavishness and ambition—but thrillingly, it never does. This is daring, memorable fiction.

Patrick O’Kelley, Editorial Reviews––In his gorgeous debut novel, The Cloud Atlas, Liam Callanan merges fact and fantasy in a dual narrative set in Alaska amidst the waning days of World War II. In a hospice care facility Louis Belk is an aged priest providing religious comfort and confession to a dying friend, a Yup’ik shaman named Ronnie. But, as Ronnie reaches the final stages of life, Belk begins a confession of his own.

The narrative turns back to young Belk’s career as a bomb disposal specialist during the war. When Belk witnesses a bizarre balloon explosive kill several soldiers at Fort Cronkhite outside of San Francisco, he is summarily shipped to Alaska to join a top secret military unit dedicated to uncovering the mystery of what turn out to be Japanese balloon bombs (Callanan based this story on an actual Japanese program that was largely covered up by the US government during the war). Belk’s commanding officer, Captain Gurley–a cross between Conrad’s Colonel Kurz and Melville’s Ahab–is a disgraced former OSS man with a Princeton pedigree and an artificial leg. The leg is a permanent reminder of his failure to defuse his first balloon bomb, and it fuels an obsession to discover and collect all such bombs in the future. In possession of a captured leather-bound atlas filled with maps and neat Japanese script, Gurley is also convinced that the Japanese are about to launch far more deadly cargo on the balloons, perhaps spies or plague virus. Meanwhile, Belk and Gurley become embroiled in an explosive love triangle with the local fortune teller, Lily, a woman with an uncanny ability to read people’s lives but unable to understand her own destructive passions or escape her demons.

In unfolding this complicated story, Callan manages to keep the development of Belk, Lily, and Gurney in an almost perfect balance with the telling of a well-paced and compelling war-time narrative. Callanan enriches the novel with details of 1940s bomb disposal procedures and provides a thorough anatomy of Japanese balloon bombs. He also establishes Alaska–a place seemingly caught between American and Yup’ik culture–as a space for American magical realism, where spirit animals and Catholic mysticism can cohabitate. As a first effort, The Cloud Atlas is all silver lining.

  • Irene Nemirovsky’s Suite Francaise (author deceased—1942; book published posthumously in 2007)

From Publishers Weekly–Celebrated in pre-WWII France for her bestselling fiction, the Jewish Russian-born Némirovsky was shipped to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, months after this long-lost masterwork was composed. Némirovsky, a convert to Catholicism, began a planned five-novel cycle as Nazi forces overran northern France in 1940. This gripping “suite,” collecting the first two unpolished but wondrously literary sections of a work cut short, have surfaced more than six decades after her death. The first, “Storm in June,” chronicles the connecting lives of a disparate clutch of Parisians, among them a snobbish author, a venal banker, a noble priest shepherding churlish orphans, a foppish aesthete and a loving lower-class couple, all fleeing city comforts for the chaotic countryside, mere hours ahead of the advancing Germans. The second, “Dolce,” set in 1941 in a farming village under German occupation, tells how peasant farmers, their pretty daughters and petit bourgeois collaborationists coexisted with their Nazi rulers. In a workbook entry penned just weeks before her arrest, Némirovsky noted that her goal was to describe “daily life, the emotional life and especially the comedy it provides.” This heroic work does just that, by focusing—with compassion and clarity—on individual human dramas.

From Publishers Weekly–Oskar Schell, hero of this brilliant follow-up to Foer’s bestselling Everything Is Illuminated, is a nine-year-old amateur inventor, jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist. Like the second-language narrator of Illuminated, Oskar turns his naïvely precocious vocabulary to the understanding of historical tragedy, as he searches New York for the lock that matches a mysterious key left by his father when he was killed in the September 11 attacks, a quest that intertwines with the story of his grandparents, whose lives were blighted by the firebombing of Dresden. Foer embellishes the narrative with evocative graphics, including photographs, colored highlights and passages of illegibly overwritten text, and takes his unique flair for the poetry of miscommunication to occasionally gimmicky lengths, like a two-page soliloquy written entirely in numerical code. Although not quite the comic tour de force that Illuminated was, the novel is replete with hilarious and appalling passages, as when, during show-and-tell, Oskar plays a harrowing recording by a Hiroshima survivor and then launches into a Poindexterish disquisition on the bomb’s “charring effect.” It’s more of a challenge to play in the same way with the very recent collapse of the towers, but Foer gambles on the power of his protagonist’s voice to transform the cataclysm from raw current event to a tragedy at once visceral and mythical. Unafraid to show his traumatized characters’ constant groping for emotional catharsis, Foer demonstrates once again that he is one of the few contemporary writers willing to risk sentimentalism in order to address great questions of truth, love and beauty.

From Publishers Weekly–Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny—”There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten”—is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters.

From The New Yorker—At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for “balancing.” These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert’s exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, “It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, ‘I’ve always been a big fan of your work.’”

From Publishers Weekly; Reviewed by Jeffrey FrankRichard Russo’s portraits of smalltown life may be read not only as fine novels but as invaluable guides to the economic decline of the American Northeast. Russo was reared in Gloversville, N.Y. (which got its name from the gloves no longer manufactured there), and a lot of mid–20th-century Gloversville can be found in his earlier fiction (Mohawk; The Risk Pool). It reappears in Bridge of Sighs, Russo’s splendid chronicle of life in the hollowed-out town of Thomaston, N.Y., where a tannery’s runoff is slowly spreading carcinogenic ruin.At the novel’s center is Lou C. Lynch (his middle initial wins him the unfortunate, lasting nickname Lucy), but the narrative, which covers more than a half-century, also unfolds through the eyes of Lou’s somewhat distant and tormented friend, Bobby Marconi, as well as Sarah Berg, a gifted artist who Lou marries and who loves Bobby, too. The lives of the Lynches, the Bergs and the Marconis intersect in various ways, few of them happy; each family has its share of woe. Lou’s father, a genial milkman, is bound for obsolescence and leads his wife into a life of shopkeeping; Bobby’s family is being damaged by an abusive father. Sarah moves between two parents: a schoolteacher father with grandiose literary dreams and a scandal in his past and a mother who lives in Long Island and leads a life that is far from exemplary. Russo weaves all of this together with great sureness, expertly planting clues—and explosives, too—knowing just when and how they will be discovered or detonate at the proper time. Incidents from youth—a savage beating, a misunderstood homosexual advance, a loveless seduction—have repercussions that last far into adulthood. Thomaston itself becomes a sort of extended family, whose unhappy members include the owners of the tannery who eventually face ruin. Bridge of Sighs is a melancholy book; the title refers to a painting that Bobby is making (he becomes a celebrated artist) and the Venetian landmark, but also to the sadness that pervades even the most contented lives. Lou, writing about himself and his dying, blue-collar town, thinks that the loss of a place isn’t really so different from the loss of a person. Both disappear without permission, leaving the self diminished, in need of testimony and evidence. If there are false notes, they come with Russo’s portrayal of African-Americans, who too often speak like stock characters: (Doan be given me that hairy eyeball like you doan believe, ’cause I know better, says one). But Russo has a deep and real understanding of stifled ambitions and the secrets people keep, sometimes forever. Bridge of Sighs, on every page, is large-hearted, vividly populated and filled with life from America’s recent, still vanishing past.

As per Diane’s Suggestions…

Diane suggested (in the comments) that the following would be good reads:

“The Blood of Flowers by Amirrezvani
The Pillars of the Earth by Follett
The Thirteenth Tale by Setterfield
And of course Eat, Pray, Love would be great.”

I picked up and quickly read The Blood of Flowers, which was quite the page turner! I have to admit that I am finding The Thirteenth Tale to be absolutely delicious and would love to suggest it as a fine contender for the book of the month! Finally, I’d personally like to avoid reading the Oprah Book Club books (of which her latest selection is The Pillars of the Earth) at the same that she and her loyal fans read them. Only because, well, it is her book club and I’d like our book club to do something a little different. We are THE San Francisco Book and Brunch Club and San Francisco has always been a bit notorious for doing things its own way! Let’s continue that great tradition!

A few of My Suggestions…

Here are some book suggestions that I’ve thought up so far (in no particular order):