What I Read and Maybe You Should, Too.

One of the neat things I took advantage of while traveling through ten cities was book exchanges. I left the country with two books and returned with two different ones six weeks later. I loved finding beaches and coffee shops on/in which I could just relax and read. Over the last few years, reading for pleasure has become more of a treat than a regular activity, and I don’t imagine that will change. So, when the opportunity arises I take it immediately.

In case you’re looking for new reading material, here is a list of the ground I covered since graduating in May, and my thoughts [where I have them]. This [rainy] afternoon I plan to curl up with Tender is the Night and a second iteration of one of my new favorite raw dishes:


Zucchini noodles with sun-dried tomato pesto. It’s a raw, vegan dream. I can’t get over how much flavor this dish has. I followed Girl Cooks World‘s recipe, subbing spinach for basil and adding a little balsamic vinegar on the finished product. Today I might try it with lemon. BIG DECISIONS. For now, I have to find out what happens to Dick and Rosemary…

Summer Reading List 2012

1. My Custom Van, Michael Ian Black [6.6.2012] – Not nearly as good as You’re Not Doing it Right, but I did really enjoy this. It’s a fast, mindless read.

2. Animal Liberation, Peter Singer [6.21.2012] – a book to tackle after you’ve done some gateway vegetarian philosophy reading like Omnivore’s DilemmaHe sets forth an argument based on “speciesism,” which roughly claims that because animals can feel pain, too, their set of rights shouldn’t be different from human rights [it would be a form of discrimination]. It’s dense but really, really interesting.

3. A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin [6.16.2012] – Just do it. I’ve got the second one lined up. If you’ve been watching the show, it follows it nearly verbatim, but it’s still a good read.

4. Top of the Rock, Warren Littlefield [6.20.2012] – HIGHLY recommend. A history of NBC’s “Must See TV” era [FriendsCheers, Will & Grace, etc.]. It’s a really fascinating amalgamation of stories from producers and actors.

5. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides [6.22.2012] – Just because I had never read it and the lovely Lauren let me borrow it. Better than the movie, of course.

6. Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton [6.25.2012] – Please, please read. You can check out my comments here.

7. Heat, Bill Buford [6.27.2012] – Not my favorite food book, but has some good writing on Italian cooking and insights into Mario Batali’s eccentricities.

8. Born to Run, Christopher McDougall [7.2.12] – Again, please read! You can check out my comments here.

9. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald [7.12.12] – Because I hadn’t read it since high school and it is so freaking phenomenal.

10. Victory, Linda Hirshman – Trapped in this one. It’s really the first written history of the modern gay-rights movement, and the New Yorker gave it a stellar review; however, I find the writing stiff and difficult to keep up with. I’ll finish it someday because I truly do value the information, but it’s not at the top of my pile.

11. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn [8.16.2012] – Do not recommend. Do not understand the hype. That is not a “twist,” that is a waste of hours of your life only to find the author was “just kidding.” It’s childish.

12. Sleeping Murder, Agatha Christie [8.23.2012] – Left Gone Girl in Barcelona and traded for this one. Agatha Christie is always a win. I won’t tell you who did it, though.

13. Dirt Music, Tim Winton [8.30.12] – Left Agatha Christie in Nice and got this guy. The author was compared to Bret Easton Ellis. Sadly, I couldn’t really relate to the heroine. That’s only because I am not yet in my 40s and facing a mid-life-crisis. A little long, but an interesting plot.

14. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [9.5.12] – Bought this for two Euro fifty in Siena. It’s super cool to re-read it after watching the BBC’s take on the book. Loved it.

15. On the Road, Jack Kerouac [9.13.12] – Picked up this baby in a bookstore in Budapest because I had never read it [I know, I know] and figured my giant Euro-road-trip would be the perfect time. Shaun is enamored with the Beat Generation writers and I can see why – vibrant, fast and honest. Had I been a teenager, I would have idolized these characters.

16. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald – My current project that I picked off of a bookshelf in our villa in Siena. Not quite as fast-paced as The Great Gatsby, but damn, Fitzgerald is a beautiful, beautiful writer. Maybe I’ll finish it today…

I’d love to hear recommendations for where I should go next. I need to finish Victory, I have the next in the Game of Thrones series, and I picked up a book called The Namesake in our bed and breakfast in Rome that I heard was a decent read, but as always I’m open to more suggestions.

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Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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3 Comments on “What I Read and Maybe You Should, Too.”

  1. Laura McDonald
    October 3, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Such a varied reading list! I got through three and a half of the Game of Thrones books (which is some 3500 pages or something totally ridiculous) before I got frustrated and threw them aside, so I’m interested to hear what you think as you go. I LOVE The Great Gatsby, but a book club I joined read This Side of Paradise and I found the central character (really the only fully fleshed character, who’s supposed to be a version of Fitzgerald) to be too arrogant, self-obsessed, and yet beautifully written. A conflicted read for me. Maybe I should go for a tie breaker with Tender is the Night 🙂

    • October 3, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      Yeah, I didn’t realize there were more than four! Apparently there’s like, seven. I heard George R.R. Martin give an interview on NPR. I don’t think I’ll make it that long… As for Tender is the Night, it’s NO Gatsby for sure. I’m sort of stuck in the middle of it right now, to be honest. His prose seems to fit shorter novels better. I’ll keep you posted on it!! And if you have any suggestions for new reading I’d love to hear them, too. We seem to have similar tastes!


  1. Back to Cooking, Sort of. | Ryes and 'Shine - October 3, 2012

    […] been hooked on this raw recipe for lunch that I mentioned in my last post: Raw Zucchini Noodles with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from Girl Cooks World. Her entire blog is gluten […]

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