1. IQ84, Haruki Murakami. This was the first book of Murakami’s that I’ve read, and I am absolutely in love. It begins a little slow, but the ominous current is strong from the beginning. 1Q84 is the story of two protagonists coping with a skewed version of what we may presume is the “real world” (this one is for all of you dystopia fanatics). Juxtaposed with a growing sense of danger, the two main characters remain decent, likable people, which I found refreshing. This is the perfect book to curl up with on the couch as you pile the blankets on and listen to the noises of the night.
What Tengo needed more than anything was wisdom–the wisdom of the night that had put down roots into the soil. The wisdom that might only be found in the depths of sleep. ~Murakami
2. Fanny Says, Poems by Nickole Brown. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that even non-poetry lovers will find something special in this collection. I picked up a copy at the dreamiest bookstore in Asheville, NC and finished it while we made our three-day trek back to Corpus Christi. Driving through the capital-S-south while reading a collection of poetry about the Southernest of Southern ladies made for a perfect reading experience. Fanny Says is a portrait of Brown’s eccentric grandmother. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, it “distills the whole of America into one woman,” as Rebecca Gayle Howell so aptly puts it.
Pepsi though? Well, Pepsi was enough for Joan Crawford,
Pepsi was a bitch who knew how to ash with two taps from a two-inch filter,
not one nicotine stain on her manicured hands.
3. Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home, Emily Schuman. If you’re not already a follower of Schuman’s blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere, I suggest you check it out. Shuman is a lifestyle artiste, a master of themed desserts and casual California dressing. Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home is her second book, and it focuses on creating a practical and beautiful home that showcases your own design savvy while putting the spotlight on your favorite tokens and memories. My favorite part, however, is the last chapter on throwing parties. E. and I love having people over, and this book has got me thinking about hosting an evening of wine tasting!
Throughout my life, I’ve walked the fine line of being a homebody…This is no surprise, really, because I’ve always believed that your home is one of the clearest reflections of who you are. If I didn’t find it to be far-and-away the most comfortable place to be, something must be wrong. ~Emily Schuman
4.House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski. I bought this book because I like intellectual thrillers–stories that scare me a little but not in a cheap way. House of Leaves is about a family whose house continues to grow and shift on the inside while retaining its original dimensions on the outside. But this is only part of the book. We encounter the house narrative through a critical text, The Navidson Report, written by a character named Zampanò. That “scholarly text” is edited by Johhny Truant, a troubled young man who stumbles upon Zampanò’s unfinished manuscript. We catch glimpses of Johnny’s story via loooong footnotes and various appendixes in which we learn of his institutionalized mother. Like the ever-expanding house at the center of book (if there is a center), the entire work is built upon layers that seem to shift between sittings. I’ve especially enjoyed reading the footnotes provided by Zampanò–if you’re an academic you’ll love all of the faux scholarly sources he mentions. In some ways, this anti-novel is frustrating for me because I sometimes read to escape the postmodern, the fragments of life that resist fitting together, but I am determined to finish it!
This is not for you. ~Johnny Truant’s epigraph to The Navidson Report.
What’s on your reading list this fall?