What to Read on the Subway This Week: 3/25
When’s the last time you bought a book, only to set it aside with plans to “get to it later?” One of my favorite bloggers, Manon at The Bliss Project, posted a list of 10 books she’d bought, but never read, drawn from a blogging prompt at The Broke and the Bookish. And she got me thinking about all the books that I haven’t read—yet!
This week, re-discover that neglected book you have at home, or pick up one of these titles that are still on my shelves.
On Your Kindle
Mistress of the Art of Death, by Ariana Franklin
I’ve heard good things about this book, but to tell you the truth, it was the gorgeously dark cover art and evocative title that caught my eye. Franklin’s novel is about the medieval equivalent of a forensic scientist, an investigator who happens to be female. Adelia—the “Mistress of Death”—is hired by England’s Henry II to investigate the deaths of young children during a period of political and economic upheaval. Can she avoid being charged with witchcraft for her skills and learnings?
On Your Smartphone
The Harrowing, by Alexandra Sokoloff
A few years ago, I went to a mystery novel conference where Alexandra Sokoloff was a panelist. She described writing her first novel, a ghost story set on a gloomy college campus over Thanksgiving break, so effectively that I bought a copy—but for some reason, I stashed it in a cabinet and never got around to reading it. This week, it’s going to the top of my reading list, and you can watch the creepy book trailer on Sokoloff’s website.
On a Podcast
I bought Elaine Sciolino’s book, La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, because I was interested in hearing about her take on the role of romance and seduction in French life and politics. But it got buried in my to-read pile and I only recently read the first chapter, where Sciolino describes her first interaction with French President Jacques Chirac as a New York Times reporter in Paris. (Chirac, she says, kissed her hand with an elaborate, even ostentatious, Gallic courtesy.) In this interview, Sciolino discusses the difference in cultural attitudes between France and America and why many French people believe that “seduction is life.”
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
Okay, I confess: I’ve never read David Foster Wallace’s landmark, 900-page dystopian satire, which has been described as “genius” by 99.99% of the bookish people I know. Something about the sheer weightiness of my copy has always scared me off. But I loved Wallace’s non-fiction essays, like “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” a hilarious examination of American cruise ship vacations, and his “Consider the Lobster,” which made me flirt with vegetarianism, so I’m sure that I’ll read Infinite Jest. Someday.