Books in September:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon: Back when I was traveling to see Conor every other month, I ended up with just-shy-of-a-reward-flight points with every airline. My United points were about to expire, and they offered me the option of trading them in for theater tickets. Having never read Curious Incident during its heyday, but having heard great things about the London production, I can now confirm all the superlative headlines and reviews. So good. SO GOOD. THERE IS A REAL PUPPY. STAY AFTER THE CURTAIN CALL.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Re-reading in preparation for movie-going this week. This thought was shared by scores of New Yorkers; at least one other person in almost every train I’ve taken this month was reading Gone Girl.
It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig: Since moving to NYC, my food habits have been a mess. Adjusting to cooking for two people, trying every restaurant, the siren song of the Seamless app — it was a slippery slope into too much macaroni and cheese. And a screwy internal clock, terrible energy levels, debilitating allergies, and feeling like a grubby dish towel. I have more to say about the Whole30, but on day 24, it feels too preemptive. The book is easy to read, straightforward, and prioritizes breaking poor habits and getting over the use of food as a psychological crutch over losing weight or restricting calories.
A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night by Diana Harkness: Full disclosure: I spent the first 200 pages of A Discovery of Witches ROLLING my eyes at all of the over-the-top swooning over Matthew’s handsomeness. Okay, okay, he’s so beautiful it hurts; he looks perfect in gray cashmere sweaters, we GET IT. Still, Kelsey has never steered me wrong, so I kept on. Then, page 200-something in, BAM. Things got interesting. Diana is a ass-kicking heroine and I was on board once she shifted from “just your regular genius tenured professor, oh, ha ha my hair is naturally unruly, no magic here, no way” to “WATER FIRE WIND ARROWS MOST POWERFUL WITCH IN HUNDREDS OF YEARS.” Shadow of Night picked up right after the first book’s suspenseful end, never losing momentum; it felt like its own world, and not just a transition into the third book (though by the end, you want them to get back to the business of ass-kicking). These books were bricks, though, and after 1,200 pages with Diana and Matthew, I needed a breather. October seemed a fitting month to finish the trilogy, so it has been sitting on our coffee table, waiting until the leaves turn.
The Third Plate by Dan Barber: This is a Silvia-Conor book club title, but I’ve been trying to work it into every conversation I’ve had since starting it. Case in point, from an email I wrote to Elizabeth, who is vegan (and not reading this book): The Third Plate "is a beautiful book, and a good successor to The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Barber’s thesis is — so there’s all of us, in the wake of Food Inc. and Pollan, and in general, who opt out of traditional food production systems. Whether via veganism, farmer’s markets, buying local eggs, buying organic and grass fed beef, heirloom seeds to grow in your garden — we are trying to find ways out of a scary-flawed food world…Except — we do all these things because we are special; we are privileged and have power. What about everyone else? What kind of sustainable farming/fishing/butchering is actually…sustainable for everyone? That’s a GOOD question." Barber doesn’t quite get us to a satisfying answer, since most of his solutions to the food problem remain out of reach for everyone but the most privileged. That said, this book did push me to buy three whole unknown, wild-caught and plentiful fishes this week (rather than salmon or cod filets) and to put sweet potatoes at the center of the plate. Conor is considering grain mills.