Perusing THE ECONOMIST’S Books of the Year 2007

Books self is interested in reading after perusing The Economist’s Books of the Year 2007 :

Biography

Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, by Linda Lear

    A spunky, humorous woman who fought conventional Victorian family expectations to lead an independent life as an artist, businesswoman and conservationist.

Edith Wharton, by Hermione Lee

    Money, status, marriage and divorce: all became grist to the mill of the turn-of-the-century American writer whom Henry James called “the great generalissima.”

History

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, by Tim Weiner

    A survey of the agency’s failures since its founding in 1947, which concludes that the world’s most powerful country has yet to develop a first-rate spy service.

The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England, by Adrian Tinniswood

    Meet the family that was involved in cheesemaking, sword-buying and scandal-mongering — as well as the English civil war, the Great Fire of London and the coronation of William and Mary.

Politics and Current Affairs

Gomorrah: A Personal Journey Into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System, by Roberto Saviano

    A national bestseller in Italy that traces the decline of Naples as construction, fashion, drugs and the disposal of toxic waste all fell under the systematic control of organised crime.

Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe, by Judith Garfield Todd

    A harrowing tale of courage and betrayal by a white heroine of the liberation struggle against Ian Smith who has been punished (and stripped of her citizenship) with extraordinary vengefulness by Robert Mugabe for speaking out about the regime’s abuses of power.

Fiction and Memoirs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling

    Books written as part of a series that start well almost invariably fall off in quality. Not so the seventh and last HP, the end of the decade’s most successful morality tale, which shows J. K. Rowling at the height of her magical imaginative powers.

The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer

    A successful jeweler and gem merchant, patronised by the Tehran aristocracy and the wife of the shah, is arrested by two armed Revolutionary Guards. His wife searches frantically for him, while in prison he asks himself how he can survive. A powerful depiction of a prosperous Jewish family in Iran shortly after the revolution.

Mr. Pip, by Lloyd Jones

    A young girl finds escape through the pages of Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations,” thanks to the efforts of a new teacher who is drafted into the local village school during the 1990 blockade of the Melanesian island of Bougainville. The cadences of Pacific vernacular make spare, moving prose.

The Ghost, by Robert Harris

    A racy political thriller that has earned its high sales in Britain, “The Ghost” is the tangled story of a former British prime minister, a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, and his wife and political adviser. Brilliantly persuasive, right up to the last page of its astonishing and unpredictable conclusion.

The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett

    Witty and urbane, physically tiny and charming, this account of Queen Elizabeth II discovering the work of J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, Ivy Compton-Burnett and other writers is a Swiftian tirade against stupidity and philistinism, and a passionate argument for the civilising power of art.

Culture and Digressions

Letters of Ted Hughes, edited by Christopher Reid
The roaring, intemperate missives of one of England’s great primitives.

The Famous “Batchoy”

from Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s Memories of Philippine Kitchens, a description of the dish that has the same name as self 🙂 :

Batchoy, or batsoy, is derived from the Chinese ba chui, meaning “meat water.” The batchoy of La Paz Market, Iloilo’s signature dish, is a rich pork and beef-based broth filled with yellow noodles and topped with cut-up roast pork, chicharron, fried garlic, and scallions. Reynaldo Guillergan owns the original batchoy stand at the La Paz Market in Iloilo City. He inherited the recipe and business from his father, who worked for and later bought the original noodle stand from its Chinese owners who started it fifty years ago.

The La Paz Batchoy begins with a basic batchoy stock made with a mix of pork bones, intestines, liver, and beef bone marrow simmered in a stockpot with water seasoned with salt, sugar, and guinamos (Visayan fermented fish paste) for hours. The next day, the stock is skimmed and he adds two separately prepared stocks: sauteed red onions (called Bombay in Iloilo) simmered in water, and guinamos billed in water and strained. Sahog is the pre-cooked and cut-up meat that is added to the soup. The meat from the stock ingredients is added, including the pork liver. Before serving, the marrow from the beef bones is added, along with pieces from a lechon snipped with scissors. The soup is garnished with fried garlic, chopped scallions, and pieces of crispy chicharron.

And, self is getting mighty hungry, after typing this post 🙂

Kanlaon’s Favorite Books (Of Those She Read in 2007)

Nonfiction:

Mark Essig’s Edison & The Electric Chair: A Story of Life and Death
David Freedberg’s The Eye of the Lynx
Adrian Hartley’s The Zanzibar Chest
Philip Kafalas’ In Limpid Dream: Nostalgia and Zhang Dai’s Reminiscences of the Ming
Mary Beth Norton’s In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692
Nathaniel Philbrick’s Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery
Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead
Jenny Uglow’s Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World
David Wise’s Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI’s Robert Hanssen Betrayed America

Fiction

Linh Dinh’s Blood and Soap
Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex
M. Evelina Galang’s One Tribe
David Guterson’s Our Lady of the Forest
Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies
Joan London’s Gilgamesh: A Novel
Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It
Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years
Samrat Uphadyay’s The Royal Ghosts

Poetry:

Louise Gluck’s Averno
Luisa Igloria’s manuscript of Juan Luna’s Revolver
Barbara Jane Reyes’ Poeta en San Francisco
Joel Barraquiel Tan’s manuscript, Type O Negative
and self always loves the poetry of Anne Sexton and Jean Vengua

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