Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition (Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 15 & 16, 2012)

Today self is peaceful and content.  Which means she is happy.

She managed to get a mani/pedi from Belle Nail Spa on Broadway.  She left before fingernails and toenails were quite dry, but she wanted to collect The Man and make it to the first screening of “Silver Linings Playbook” (Only $7 per ticket).  Despite all the hectic running around, she somehow managed to avoid getting the slightest nick on any of her fingers or toes.  Quelle magnifique!

Second, she really liked that movie.  Even though it only got a wan endorsement from Eric B. Snider.  And even though, OK, she’ll concede this point:  the odds are pretty slim that two people that good-looking, both emotionally damaged, live in that close proximity to each other . . .  OK!  So what!  Self knows this movie is totally in the land of make-believe!  She’d rather see Jennifer Lawrence end up with someone who looks like Bradley Cooper than with someone who looks like, like –  John C. Reilly?  Even though chances are the right man for her would look just like John C. Reilly? (Not to knock John C. Reilly –  self thinks he is a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL actor.  But given the choice between John C. Reilly and Bradley Cooper –  oh, NEVAH MIND!)

Jennifer Lawrence is a wonder.  This is the first movie where self actually believed in a Bradley Cooper character.  But, back to Jennifer Lawrence:  Self cried at the end!  She actually cried!  Something she hasn’t done in a movie theater since watching Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in treacly The Time Traveler’s Wife!

And then, when she and The Man got home from the movie, she got to peruse the Wall Street Journal weekend edition and –  Holy Cow!  –  it’s the one where they list Books of the Year!

But it’s not Books of the Year that self wants to post about –  Ixnay!  (BTW, it took self almost an hour to speed-read the entire books section.  But more about that later)

They interviewed all kinds of celebrities to get their lists of favorite books of 2012.  Self found a few choices enlightening.  Also, she was surprised at WHOSE choices she liked the most.  And here’s the list of people whose book choices self found the most intriguing:

  • Judd Apatow, Director and creator of the phenomenon that is Seth Rogen:  He said he wanted to read Henry Wiencek’s book about Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, Master of the Mountains.  He also recommended Dave Eggers’s latest novel, Hologram for the King.
  • Craig Brown, British, writer of satirical columns:  He recommended Robert Caro’s latest installment of his life of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power (like almost every other person interviewed by the Wall Street Journal), and Mimi Alford’s tale of having sex with JFK when she was a White House intern, Once Upon a Secret.
  • Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking:  She recommended a first novel, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, and Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero, by Chris Matthews.
  • Joseph Epstein, essayist and cultural commentator:  He recommended a novel, Only Yesterday, by S. Y. Agnon, and Once Upon a Secret (also recommended by Craig Brown, see above)
  • Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams: He recommended Robert Caro’s book on LBJ, The Passage of Power; John Keats, a biography of the Romantic poet by Nicholas Roe; several classic westerns:  Saint Johnson and Goodbye to the Past, both by W. R. Burnett; a novel about telephone linemen, Slim, by William Wister Haines; That Winter, by Merle Miller, a “pre-Kerouacian group portrait of the disaffected generation of the postwar 1940s”; Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and The Innocent; and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House.
  • Robert Harris, bestselling novelist:  He recommended Soldaten, a book by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, “based on secretly recorded tapes of German prisoners of war held in Allied camps during World War II.”
  • Thomas Keller, chef:  He recommended Killing Kennedy, by Bill O’Reilley and Martin Dugard, which “is not about a conspiracy.  It’s about how a presidential assassination can be at once a tragedy and a human-interest story.”
  • Ted Leonsis, Founder and Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment:  He recommended The End of Illness, by David Agus, “a smart look at how to extend a life of vigor by playing offense with life.”
  • Joe Maddon, Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays:  He recommended Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth (Self has been meaning to get to these books, for quite a while), and the first two books of Follett’s Century trilogy, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World.
  • Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning novelist:  She recommended The Yellow Birds, a first novel by Kevin Powers, an Iraq war veteran; and The Lifeboat, a first novel by Charlotte Rogan, “set in the summer of 1914″ and centering “on a shipwreck in the Atlantic.”
  • Karl Marlantes, author of What It Is Like to Go to War:  He recommended The Snake Eaters, by Owen West; Blackhorse Riders, by Philip Keith; Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, by Anthony Swofford; and Westmoreland, by Lewis Sorley.
  • Sylvia Nasar, author of Grand Pursuit:  The Story of Economic Genius:  She recommended Gulag, by Anne Applebaum, a book which “takes readers back to the events that triggered the half-century long standoff between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.”
  • Arthur Phillips, author of The Tragedy of Arthur:  He recommended The Vanishers, by Heidi Julavits, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, by Mark Leyner, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and A Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer DuBois.
  • Marcus Samuelsson, chef:  He recommended This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz, and The Click Moment, by Frans Johansson.
  • Colm Toibin, novelist:  He recommended Edmund Spenser:  A Life, by Andrew Hadfield and Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power.
  • Jim Webb, senator from Virginia:  He recommended The Last Lion, by Paul Reid (the last installment of a trilogy begun by William Manchester, on the life of Winston Churchill), and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, by Barbara W. Tuchman.

Self is pretty sure she can get to these books in about five years.

Self was going to make a count of the men who recommended women writers, but, alas, today self is very — and she does mean VERY — short of time!  She thinks Jim Webb did.  Yup, he most definitely did.  And Arthur Phillips.  Yes, most definitely Arthur Phillips.  In fact, the good man recommended three books by women writers.  Good for you, Arthur! And Gary Giddins recommended Louise Erdrich.

(She won’t single out women who recommended women writers because — hey, just because!  Let’s get on with it, or self will never get free of this post!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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