I read a lot of mediocre books this winter. These are some of the good ones:
“Await Your Reply” by Dan Chaon. Normally I don’t like novels that are too current. For some reason, I get weirded out when a novel even mentions email. This one is about online identity theft, but that’s just the surface. It has a sparseness that takes it out of the present and makes it feel like a three-dimensional Hitchcock movie.
“Gossip of the Starlings” by Nina deGramont, a novel about boarding school and cocaine set in the ‘80s. There are some gems of universality hidden behind the anorexic blonde on the cover.
“Stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers” by Mary Roach made me want to donate my body to science. I have an irrepressible habit of reading while I’m doing other things, especially while cooking and eating. My meals were much less palatable the week I was reading this book, but I didn’t want to put it down.
“Denali: a literary anthology”. A collection of Native legends, stories about the mountain, and accounts of early expeditions to Denali (Mt. McKinley). I picked this up after a short visit to the Denali region this winter and immediately began dreaming of a summertime visit.
One of the best things I read this winter was actually an essay in the Patagonia winter catalog, “Bread crumbs in the dark” by Katie Ives. The style and voice are a perfect echo of what I would want to write.