Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Five Books That Prove Erica is a Cheater

I am a big, fat cheater. Maybe you’d already figured that out. I’ve already confessed to snooping through people’s personal effects and reading the last lines of a book first, so this really shouldn’t surprise you. This month I’ve figured out a way to cheat this staff pick list. I’ve had someone else do the work for me, some poor unsuspecting volunteers at Housing Works Bookstore Café in New York. I snowed ‘em with the old, “I’m looking for a book. I don’t remember what it’s called or who wrote it but I think the cover was yellow and it might be about dogs’ butts?” Works every time. Give it up for evil genius, folks. Henceforth you may call me Madame Dastardly.

Typical of New Yorkers, the Housing Works staff pick list is all Nabokov, vampires, Booker Prize winners and coffee.

A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes (Vintage, $15.95)
Lot of chit-chat lately about Barnes, who just won the Man Booker with The Sense of An Ending. HoW10.5 finds him being a bit of an experimental smarty-pants. Yeah, the road to the Booker is choc-full of literary landmines.

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman (Canongate, $14.00)
A tale of two Jesuses. It’s the classic good twin/bad twin plot meets the classic Messiah plot. If you’ve read Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy then you know he’s not afraid to manhandle the man upstairs.

Queen of the Damned (Vampire Chronicles Book 3) by Anne Rice (Ballantine, $7.99)
Before there was Stephenie Meyer, there was Anne Rice, and her vampires knew how to do stuff like have sex before marriage because nobody who’s going to live for eternity wants to wait for eternity to get laid. I’m just sayin’.

Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast (Basic Books, $19.95)
Pendergrast is also known for his unauthorized history of Coca-Cola titled For God, Country, and Coca-Cola. Note to Pendergrast: stop making me feel bad about the things I like to drink.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (Vintage, $15.00)
Yep, the obligatory Nabokov entry, because New York can’t get caught with its pants down when it comes to literary prowess.

November 2011, Erica David

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