The Yellow Sofa by Eça de Queiros
I just started this. At this point in the plot the main character is thinking about why, exactly he is so interested in his coworker’s torrid love affairs, even though he (the main character) is very much in love with and very faithful to his wife. Foreshadowing?! I loved The City and the Mountains, so I have high hopes.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
I started this, got six chapters into it, and put it down (for now). I’ve wanted to read it for a while- it’s on my list, so I must have seen a good review of it at one time or another. But I’m sick of prescriptivist food writing. Once again I have to say that this is my opinion at this particular time in my life. But since everything a pregnant woman eats is up for discussion by everyone all the time, I got fed up with worrying about it about four months ago and now I’m eating all the deep-fried beignets, full-fat ice cream, unwashed strawberries, and factory-farmed hamburgers I can hold. Go ahead, tell me this is bad for the baby. I DARE YOU.
Also, I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma years ago and found it much more interesting, and it is practically the same book.
What I was reading last week:
Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner.
SO GOOD. And so unlike any other Faulkner novels that I’ve read! No, that’s not entirely true. Many of his other novels are funny (darkly, morbidly so) and poignant, but this is the only one that I could describe in any way as gripping. Like, I was staying up way past my normal bedtime because I wanted to know what happened. I suppose you could describe it as a stream-of-consciousness murder mystery? Perhaps it’s better not to describe it at all.
Highly recommended, though not to someone who doesn’t like Faulkner, or who has never read him, as there are probably other more accessible novels. Here is a good discussion about which of his novels is the best for a beginner, if you’re interested.
The Control of Nature by John McPhee.
Very good non-fiction about humans trying to control things that are very clearly beyond us (though sometimes we are successful). The book has three sections, about the Mississippi River, a volcano in Iceland, and debris flows in California. The most interesting part was the section about Iceland, because I love volcanoes, and also because it is an underdog story with a happy ending. The volcano just popped up out the nowhere and started spewing lava! A good portion of the town was saved, and people live there today! So cool.
The other two sections were more frustrating to read because they were about the ways we try to control nature for our own selfish purposes. I found myself rooting for both the Mississippi River (vs the Army Corps of Engineers) and for the San Gabriel Mountains (vs people who build houses in the path of debris flows), but then again I’m a bit misanthropic.