This page covers only our recent reading, and does not attempt to recover the further past. We are always reading, but it takes us a long time to finish because we are always working on our own creative projects. We read books aloud to one another especially on car trips, and read others as well, independantly. You will notice that most (but not all) our comments are positive. That is because we generally choose books highly recommended by friends (we give them credit for their recommendations), or books by authors we already like, or books that we are quite sure we will appreciate. This is because we have limited time to read, so we are very selective! Thanks especially to our dear friend Harry Bower, of San Francisco who has mailed and handed us many books as gifts! We love suggestions:

Emails to Kathy and Rick
with your suggestions or comments

Currently reading aloud:

  • "The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters" by Julian Barnes
    also Kathy's reading "Lemon Table" (stories by Julian Barnes)

  • "Hot Rock" by Donald E. Westlake Excellent story and writing. (Harry Bower read this aloud to us on a car trip from San Francisco to Pasadena!)

    Kathy recently finished reading, (positive) reviews in progress:

  • "Amsterdam" by Ian McEwan
  • "Talking It Over" by Julian Barnes

  • "Atonement" by Ian McEwan We read this fascinating, excellent, long book aloud to one another! McEwan's versatility is fantastic. Each work has a distinction and a different flavor entirely.

  • "Saturday" by Ian McEwan
    Kathy read this i ntensely written, interior monologue. Joycean echoes. The main character is a neorosurgeon. Extremely well researched and effective.

  • "Between the Sheets" by Ian McEwan
    Kathy read these short stories during a plane trip. Dreamlike. If "Saturday" is "Ulysses", "Between the Sheets" is a minimal "Finnegan's Wake".

  • "Flaubert's Parrot" by Julian Barnes
    Harry Bower recommended this author and this was the first book Kathy read. Amazing vision and interior scope. Very unusual concept, and variations.

  • "The Book of Salt" by Monique Truong
    A fascinating and unusual point of view, looking in on Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. (We read this one aloud.)

  • Books by Qiu Xiaolong (All read aloud) :
    "Death of a Red Heroine"
    "A Loyal Character Dancer"
    "When Red is Black"
    Harry Bower pointed these books out to us. Qiu Xiaolong's work is a true pleasure to read. Full of poetry (the main character is a chief police inspector/poet) it is rich in detail. Since the action takes place in Shanghai and surrounding areas, (where we have visited several times) it is fun to recognize the "set". Exacting and lyrical.

  • "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides
    An amazing book. Mentally expansive and a story well told. Recommended by our friend Lisa Turetsky. We read this long excellent book mostly aloud to one another, then finished it seperately on a plane trip.

  • "Enders Game" by Orson Scott Card
    We got this book because it was listed as most read by Caltech students. Rick managed to finish it on a plane trip, and said "Interesting (but violent). Our taste for science fiction has waned. Kathy had started it too, but Rick's opinion made her decide not to finish, and she went on (appreciatively) to Mc Ewan's "Saturday" (bought in the airport).

  • Books by Luanne Rice
    We've read a couple of these aloud, and Kathy's read several more. While lighter reading than most of what we like, her talent, as Rick says, is "getting inside the heads of disparate characters" and Kathy says, "not shying away from treating difficult topics, and treating them with emotional warmth and insight." Kathy's sister Michelle-Nicole shared these.

  • "Leviathan" by Paul Auster
    Kathy read this because Mandana (our hostess during our visit to Iran translated this "American deconstructionist novel" into Farsi. It was (finally) published recently in Iran. A powerful book about truth, ambiguity, and unpredictable (sometimes intriguing, and often extremely difficult) intensities that emerge in life.

  • "The Cactus Club Killings" and "Death of an Orchid Lover" by Nathan Walpow
    (Recommended by our cactus and succulent loving friend and mathematician Doug Leonard.) We read these a while back aloud during car trips and enjoyed them. They are unusual and worth mentioning. Engrossingly written, and botanically accurate, these two Joe Portugal mysteries include detailed "Joe Portugal Guide to Botanical Nomenclature"and "Joe Portugal Guide to Orchids". Walpow really is a collectuor of cacti and succulents for over 20 years, has 400 specimens of his own, and is president of his local chapter of the Cacti and Succulent Society of America. We have not read his next two books, which concern other topics, because we tend to like plants more than mysteries! This is lighter reading, but fun, especially if you love plants and storytelling.

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