Fifth Five Books of 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009 by Audrey
21. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. Finished March 15.
This is the first review of the year that I've written immediately after finishing the book. I really loved it. The incredibly lush pictures of familial love and the comic book world of the 1940s were sheer fun to read. The author actually talked to Gil Kane, Stan Lee, and Will Eisner, who are huge names if you know anything about comics, to get a realistic feel for the time period of the great flowering of superhero comics. The book won the Pulitzer and it totally deserved it. I highly, highly recommend. Just make sure you start reading it on a weekend when you'll have the time to read all 700 pages.
3 days.

22. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver. Finished March 18.
I've always loved reading first-person accounts of people who seriously live the ideals of the local-food movement. I've wanted to do the same, and honestly, if you've determined to eat local, fresh, in-season food, San Diego is a great place to start, what with the 12-month growing season and all. Accounts like this one are an inspiration to me to start soon. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the origins of the food you put on the table.
4 days.

23. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler. Finished March 24.
This was a nice little collection of stories by famous writers or chefs recalling their favorite stories or ways to eat alone. Since I'm not married and I do a lot of cooking for one, it was nice to read about other people who enjoy eating alone as much as I do. And it was nice to read other people's stories about only eating one thing for months, since I also have a tendency to do that! I really liked the entire collection.
1 day.

24. Code Orange, by Caroline B. Cooney. Finished March 24.
A really quick YA read, about a boy who thinks he was exposed to smallpox in the New York City area and is worried that he's going to start an epidemic. I've always been interested in learning more about infectious diseases, and the idea of a smallpox epidemic is truly terrifying on so many levels. However, this book just wasn't that interesting. It wasn't terrible, I've just read so many more adult-level discussions of the history of smallpox and other diseases (The Hot Zone is a good one to read if you have any interest in Ebola or Marburg; I have one on the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and one on the Black Plague on my shelf of books to read) that this was a little basic. Which is fine, considering its YA audience.
2 hours.

25. How to Be Useful: A Beginner's Guide to Not Hating Work, by Megan Hustad. Finished March 29.
This was a nice compendium of information from the last 100 years of guides on how to be successful at work, framed in a modern perspective. It was interesting, but I think I was expecting something a little different when I checked it out from the library. Maybe more in the way of stories, rather than advice? The advice is good; if you're looking for a self-help book on how to become more successful in the workplace, especially if your first real job has disillusioned you a little bit (as mine has), you could do worse.
4 days.
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