A season of books

It’s been more than three months since I last wrote about anything I’ve read lately. That in-depth “Stigma” review must’ve really taken it out of me.

Here’s a quick run-down of what I’ve read since:

To the Hilt,” by Dick Francis.
I picked this up from my in-laws’ house, and I remember enjoying it. I didn’t write down anything particular about it, though.

Longshot,” by Dick Francis.
Also borrowed from the in-laws. I found it slower to get started than “To the Hilt,” but once it picked up it was a more engaging story.

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels,” by Jasper Fforde.
This series is ridiculous, and I love it.

How I Learned to Cook,” Kimberely Witherspoon & Peter Meehan (eds).
This is a book of essays by famous chefs, recalling how they were first introduced to the world of food. Except some of them didn’t write about that at all. One thing I learned from this book: Chefs have mighty big egos. Also, I never would’ve guessed that Sara Moulton got her start at a hippie bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As Simple As Snow,” by Gregory Galloway.
It reminded me of “Special Topics in Calamity Physics,” but the conclusion was even less satisfying.

The Butterfly Hunters: Adventures of People Who Found Their True Calling Way Off the Beaten Path,” by Chris Ballard.
This book — about people who have found their calling in unusual jobs — was equal parts very interesting and dreadfully boring. I think the concept would be great as a monthly magazine feature.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously,” by Julie Powell.
I don’t know why I was surprised by the Gen-X navel-gazing. This one was based on a blog, after all.

A Corpse in the Koryo,” by James Church.
I’d read great things about this one, but I was quite underwhelmed.

Caught Stealing,” by Charlie Huston.
Very well-written, but blurb-writer Harlan Coben certainly had it right. This is a “brutal, visceral” book.

Six Bad Things,” by Charlie Huston.
This book — and the Hank Thompson trilogy — just keeps getting darker. Relentlessly darker. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle the third book.

Heat: (An Amateur’s Adventures as a Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany),” by Bill Buford.
Buford’s account of his time working in a Mario Batali kitchen and with various people across Italy left me with three main impressions:

  1. I now have a more concrete reason for disliking Batali. His clogs-and-shorts wardrobe has always given me the heeby-jeebies. And in the book, he comes across as a conceited, loud-mouthed jerk.
  2. Buford is living quite the charmed life, apparently able to go for years working for free as he “researches” his books and jetting off to Italy on a whim.
  3. I’m far too squeamish to work in a restaurant.

Looking back over the list, I’m seeing a theme. Lots of non-fiction, lots of food. I could use some great fiction recommendations. Of course, my days of reading may be coming to a close soon. We’ll see if I’m able to work it in once we become a Toddler-and-Newborn household. Next week. Holy guacamole.