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The upside of family visits – good book recommendations

October 27, 2008 at 5:30 am

A fair portion of my immediate family descended upon me and the critters this weekend and we made do with the crammed quarters of my celebrated penthouse. Thank goodness for the view and thank goodness for the terrace should anyone misbehave. The happy news is we haven’t lost anyone yet. It was a little overcast with intermittent misty showers and the occasional gust of penthouse wind. Surfers were lapping up their favorite bi-product of these stormy days — gnarly waves (dude).

With less than optimal Florida weather, when we weren’t watching dvds, we were curled up in our respective nooks with our trusty books. So, what does an 84 year old retired teacher/secretary curl up to? How about a clinical psychologist and psych professor husband? Never mind me. I’m still plodding through the baby boomer lit, rock n’roll memoir of King, Mitchell and Simon (Girls Like Us)

Then I decided to extend the question to family that wasn’t present namely my art teacher sister, her college-bound gifted daughter and my poet niece. There are some other kin that I will investigate at another time. From what I’ve observed today, this family is better than Shelfari.

Ok, here it goes. Dear old mom the former teacher is reading the latest in the Alexander McCall Smith “no.1 ladies detective agency series,” The Miracle at Speedy Motors. Egghead brother-in-law and psychology professor (did I mention, with a chair at Carnegie Mellon?) is reading Enemies: A Love Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Some of you may remember the film with Angelica Houston.

The wife of my genius brother-in-law, which would make her my sister, the eldest at that, is reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Ann Fadiman. She was also packing a poetry book, All Things Seen and  Unseen by Dan Masterson. What’s more, she couldn’t help but give a shout out to all of Jhumpa Lahiri’s books having most recently read Unaccustomed Earth. She was a little disappointed that my only contact with Lahiri’s work was via the movie version of The Namesake. I was only marginally ashamed.

The poet daughter of the entwined psychologists, is reading Play It As it Lays by Joan Didion.

Now that the house guests are accounted for, let’s investigate the literary intake of my middle sister and that of her bionic-brained daughter. I was happy to hear that her most recent read was The History of Love (remember my early post kvelling over this book?). She, too, loved this book.  Now she’s struggling through a book she’s not too crazy about for her school’s professional development book club called Family Matters. Poor dear. The daughter is still in the required reading mode at high school currently devouring The Scarlett Letter.

the sisters Weiss

What fun, don’t you think? All my adult life I have relied on these very people to suggest books to me and I’ve almost never have had to look any further. Rarely, if ever, have I been disappointed. This coming from the fancy book blogger, publishing career hottie who’s childhood claim to fame was one Bobbsey Twin book in exactly one year. While living under the same roof, even in the same room, with a Nancy Drew book a day reader. Yes, that was a book a day.

Funny how things turn out.

If you’re in between books and looking, take it from some really great readers, and sample their libraries.

Please report back or let me/us know what you’re reading and/or recommending now!

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