bookmarked for fall

As we slide into fall and I pull out my warm socks – not for today but a future and cooler California afternoon –  I’ve got an evergrowing list of books I’m looking forward to diving into.

I just finished “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford as part of my book club selection. I couldn’t put it down.


A debut novel for this author, it’s a story of friendship and young love between a Chinese boy and Japanese girl and the struggle of family and cultural conflict between generations. The story is set in Seattle and recreates the city’s history during WWII, the part it played in the internment of Japanese Americans and how the internment affected its people, city and jazz scene.  I was so moved by the book that immediately after finishing it, I located the author’s email and dropped him a note about how much I loved the book and how wonderful it would be to see as a movie some day. Jamie Ford emailed me right back thanking me for my message and wrote that he is close to selecting a film option, although there is never guarantee for the actual production. He did say, however, that this weekend he would be in Seattle for the opening of a stage adaptation of the novel, so if any readers live in the area, it’s worth checking out!

Next up….

Jess Walter’s “Beautiful Ruins” has been given excellent reviews by both the NY Times and NPR and many literary blogs I read. The book is described as “constantly surprising” as the reader follows the tangled lives of characters aspiring for love and success. The story bounces seamlessly between past and present across a span of 40 years  – from 1960s Italy to Hollywood,  Edinburgh and Idaho. “A dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel”….It’s caught my attention!

As a sort of follow-up to Adam Gopnik’s “The Table Comes First” that I recently read, I am looking forward to getting a copy of “La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life”. Written by Elaine Sciolino, a former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, it explores why seduction (the term used broadly – for a person or a baguette) and pleasure is the heart of French life.

Thanks to ciao domenica blog’s never-to-disappoint book recommendations, I am adding to my already full shelf of Edith Wharton books by including Jennie Field’s “The Age of Desire” on this list. The novel imagines Wharton’s illicit affair at age 45 with young journalist Morton Fullerton. I have been drawn to Wharton’s writing since my early 20s because of her social insight, irony, travels and her escape for expat life.

And, last, I am planning to read this season any travel book about Quebec City and the environs where we will be heading next summer when we visit Eastern Canada. Any suggestions, do share!


10 responses to “bookmarked for fall

  1. I am always looking for new books to read and love to get recommendations that I can trust. Thank you for compiling this list–I bought Beautiful Ruins as soon as I read this post and plan to read the others. I hope you will post a review of some of them. 🙂

  2. A wonderful post. The Age of Desire has been on my radar since Sunday posted it and The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet has passed my hands twice; once for myself and once for our book group. I loved it and wish I could have heard Jamie Ford. Thank you.

  3. Just finished Beautiful Ruins for my book group. Very readable. A bite lite but well-spun. A friend said the audiobook version was excellent and it’s on sale at audible if anyone is wanting a car book.

  4. HI Monique, thank you so much for mentioning my blog. All of these books sound intriguing. I want to read “The Age of Desire” and “Beautiful Ruins.” What a good idea that was, writing an email to the author of “The Hotel oh the Corner…” My book club facilitator wrote to Amor Towles and she got a response. By the way, his book is one I would recommend, “The Rules of Civility.” I am about 100 pages into Middlemarch, and will be putting it down at points to pick up these other books. It’s a big commitment and will take a while to get through.
    xx Sunday

    • Hi Sunday, thank you – I did read “The rules of civility” thanks to your blog post! It was excellent. I have found authors do like to get feedback, if correspondence is done respectfully and appropriately. Tom Rachmann, another author who had a debut novel in recent years (The Imperfectionists) is another that is very responsive to feedback via his facebook page.

  5. Loved The Imperfectionists!

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