October 12, 2011

A Book List

A Book List


The house was dark so I had to turn on a light.

I started to flit about. Engaging myself in making a list. In no particular order, but with great urgency.

1. A fluttering or darting movement.
2. Informal An empty-headed, silly, often erratic person.
Source: The Free Dictionary

A shelf, here. A bedside table, there.

Book after book. It seemed like many at first. Many, it was not. Not as many as I would have liked.

And I know why.

Anne Sexton, A Biography
by Diane Wood Middlebrook

I read about Anne at night before drifting off to sleep. A deep book, thick with tiny words and psychosis. It droned on and on. It was a struggle, but I couldn't look away.

But I was pulled from the depths of literary tragedy when a new friend (Julie of Kitchen Culinaire) sent me not one, but two books. I remember the morning I was handed the package by the office mailman. I looked at the return address. Canada! I turned around in my cubicle, my back to the outside world and quietly opened the envelope.


Tin Fish Gourmet, Great Seafood from Cupboard to Table
by Barbara-jo McIntosh

A thin volume filled with simple recipes starring tinned fish. I read it from cover to cover. A first for me, reading a cookbook straight through.

Cooking for Me and Sometimes You, A Parisian Romance with Recipes
by Barbara-jo McIntosh

It wasn't just the first paragraph that drew me into this second thin volume. It was the entire package. The ribbon bookmark, the fabric cover. It had the smell of summer's past to it. Trips to the library. I got lost immediately. And soon I was fully engulfed by the day to day quiet adventure of Barbara-jo in Paris.

Julie had hit the nail on the head. Not once, but twice.

After that, for the most part, it was a Parisian summer of sorts.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery

Lunch in Paris, A Love Story with Recipes
by Elizabeth Bard

The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain

And because I'm a sucker for a good food memoir, I threw one of those into the mix as well.

Home Cooking, A Writer in the Kitchen
by Laurie Colwin

But I like to keep things interesting and diverse. Or, at least I like to try.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Edited by Karen V. Kukil

The Summer Book
by Tove Jansson


And that's the list. The short of it anyway.

I wonder what you read over the summer.


  1. My list isn't quite as robust as yours but we have some titles in common:

    Lunch in Paris
    The Paris Wife
    Home Cooking

    I enjoyed the first two titles but could not, for the life of me, connect with Colwin.

    Cooking for Me and Sometimes You sounds delightful.

  2. Wendi – We need to start a book club :)

  3. tin fish gourmet! love it (and tinned fish).

    you have read laurie colwin's more home cooking, yes? they never get old.

    happy fall to you, tracy

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  5. I love that you love the books. One day, when you are in Vancouver, we can go down and meet Barbara-jo in her cookbook shop. I am pretty sure that you will love it as much as I do.

  6. molly – I have not read more home cooking, but now I will :)

    Julie - That would be a treat :)

  7. tinned fish looks like such a charming book. I love Laurie Colwin's work.
    my latest reads: A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx
    about to start Blood, Bones, and Butter...

  8. nancy - I'll add these to my list. Thanks!

  9. I love this post and I keep thinking about it. I like the sound of Barbara-Jo's book. I must see if I can get hold of it here.

  10. I am delighted to see that your book list includs reads about Paris. As we contemplate a Paris trip for our 40th (!) anniversary, I am reading "The Sweet Life in Paris" by David Lebovitz, and will go on from there. : )

  11. Oh Reading, for me it is a necessity and a luxury, at the same time...difficult to explain. Happy to see you've been enjoying so many books. I'm about ready to return to The Cat's Table. It's a good one.

  12. Michele – 40! Wow. I hope you have a wonderful time and take lots of pictures.

    Denise – I have not heard of The Cat's Table...


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