Content for Thursday, December 20, 1990

News & Stories

Reader writers tell their favorite books

There's nothing like a good read.

Reader Writers' Faves Worn, Solid, Absolute — Mary Lang Staying Power — Paul Krueger Babbittry — Joe Daley Hillerman’s Climb — Colin Flaherty Macabre Reminder — Ray Westberg My Adult Card — Eleanor Widmer Not ...

Judith Moore favorites: Joan Didion, Richard Ford, V.S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, John Updike, Tobias Wolff.

Whatever I’m reading is what I like best

I have stretched out on the couch — a plumpish well-lit haven upholstered with rough, nubby cotton, ivory in color. In the kitchen the man I love shuts and opens and shuts the oven door. ...

You start with Childe's What Happened in History, Clark's The First Half-Million Years

Dead end

They said you might get out. You had a chance. Out of this hellhole. There's a secret. It's a game. That's what you think. Books. Salvation. To know is to be able. You start with ...

My admiration for Jerzy Kosinski's Painted Bird and Nelson Algren's Walk on the Wild Side

Forget Hemingway, Melville, James

College professors strain to convince novitiates that the boring "masterpieces" of Western literature (Hemingway, Melville, James, etc.) deserve their reputations solely from the "test-of-time" standard. But I, for one, do not believe any worthwhile art ...

For those who resist mystery novels, James Lee Burke is a find

In the city of jazz and desire

James Lee Burke is one of those writers who has been quietly toiling in the vineyard (or cotton fields, he might say) for decades, producing first-class work that has remained invisible to the bookbuying public ...

We couldn't get enough of the Brothers Karamazov

Dimitri’s passion

Once upon a time, I was a non-hippie proto-post-punk semi-amniotic undergraduate at UCSD, floundering in the concrete-and-topsoil wastes of an almost brand-new Muir College—searching for a major, a mentor, or something magic (not to mention ...

I'm determined to pull A Christmas Carol from my bookshelf again

December Dickens

Dear ... I'm sure you've got snow, that your fireplace warms the living room. You can bet it's 70 here. I've just turned on the furnace for the first time, but even so, only after ...

As I Lay Dying, which prob'ly the most people read because it's the shortest

Faulkner, okay

All right, let's see if I can do this in one sitting, no leaving the typer, a thousand words on Faulkner, should be a snap. Faulkner, wait, Hemingway. Why does (or did) anybody, even as ...

Robert Louis Stevenson vs. Henry James on childhood

Signifying, and standing for it

There are those authors who mean a lot to me because of how much they mean. I mean, how much they represent, signify, stand for, as separate from what they wrote. And they go on ...

Dalmatian's last known speaker, one Antonio Udina, was blown up by a land mine in 1898

Encyclopedia Britannica rules

I know a written work whose scope and purpose are unsurpassed by any other in the English-speaking world. Moreover, I know of no other that can match its paradoxical ability to arouse, equally, both hope ...

Let me root for underdogs Norman Maclean and Wendell Berry

Not playing favorites

All the usual suspects: the Bard, Chekjov, Emilk D., Villon, whoever wrote the Book of Job—ditto the Book of Love. But instead of playing favorites, I'd much rather plug a few texts that knocked me ...

I plowed through The Interpretation of Dreams when I was 14

My adult card

I read my first novel at the age of seven, after which the printed word became my obsession. In the ghetto where we lived, the public library was endowed by Andrew Carnegie; to get to ...

Lord of the Flies in Vietnam

Macabre reminder

Lucid rays beaming down pencil thin through holes in the canvas, pierce the dim and give to the dead air an aura of nebulous presence — a macabre reminder, or perhaps visitation, by disembodied spirit. ...

Tony Hillerman is half Sherlock Holmes, half Carlos Castaneda

Every time my friend picks Gabriel García Marquez up, he falls asleep

My buddy Fred has been reading A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez for more than a year. But every time he picks it up, he falls asleep. "That's a great book," he ...

I continued to read Babbitt through my four years at college

I was a loner who considered Lewis a kindred spirit

Thirteen years ago, while a freshman at a small private college in Florida, I picked up Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt. An amusing, often vicious satire of mindless conformity and middle-class morals, Babbitt plucked a chord in ...

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood showed me how good journalism can get

Staying power

Newspapers - five of them each day — have consumed my reading hours for the past decade. That leaves little time for books, which often sit in stacks on my bedroom dresser, unopened, until they're ...

Books about Seabiscuit, and Man o' War, and Mustang Annie – I read them all

Worn, solid, absolute

I admit this wincing: For a time I was one of those little girls who lives for horses. Since living was for me largely a matter of reading, the obsession took the form of reading ...

The death of Womancare's Deborah Fleming

Debby really was pro-choice

“Yes. I remember the case,’’ the doctor said. “It was a home birth, with, I believe, a midwife. We could have saved the child, had it been born in the hospital or treated right away."

The marks on Jessica – could it be child abuse?

A doctor's dilemma

Her name was Jessica. Chubby arms and thighs, the skin electric with the immense energy of growth. No obvious illness, no dehydration or apparent pain here. Chewing on the stethoscope tube. “What’s wrong?” I asked.