Currently Reading: 

The Grapes of Wrath   John Steinbeck

My family on my mother’s side is from Oklahoma.  While I have read other Steinbeck novels, and find the John Ford film to be one of his finest, especially Henry Fonda’s portrait of Tom Joad, I am just getting around to the novel.  I would recommend the Viking Critical Library Edition containing essays that give it historical context.

American Terroir   Rowan Jacobsen

This is a fascinating account of how geography, cultural tradition, and a little  happenstance give our food a uniqueness we take for granted considering the rather historically late homogeny of the super-martket.  Jacobsen covers, maple syrup, coffee, apples, potatoes, oysters, avocados and salmon.

Read of late:

 Time Must Have A Stop  Aldous Huxley

This could be a life changing novel if read at the right time.  The question of How To Live One’s Life, is conveyed by a brief meeting between uncle and nephew: one looking back and the other forward.   What is important to live a meaningful life? If meaning indeed is to be found.

 How I Live Now  Meg Rosoff

A novel that lives in the moment.  How I Live Now is classified in the Young Adult genre, but Rosoff has written a transcendent novel in any genre.  She captures an idyllic that subtly shifts to the uncertainty of live during war as told though her young narrator fifteen-year-old Daisy.

 Revolutionary Road   Richard Yates

Unfortunately Richard Yates is an under-read writer.  Like Leonard Cohen, people seem to find his truths depressing and miss the humor.  Yates characters are brilliantly and realistically tragic: caught between the lives they don’t want, yet unable to articulate the desires of the lives they long for.  Vintage UK is adding a bitter-sweet element in publishing the series Vintage Yates: the covers are period advertisements: visuals of the ideal, yet remaining ironically inchoate.