Some favorites


March, Geraldine Brooks.  The world of Little Women seen through less rosy glasses, complete with Marmee’s unhappy marriage and what Mr. March was doing during the Civil War.

The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle.  Dreamy, comic, odd.  Molly Grue might be my favorite character in literature.

St. George and the Dragon, Margaret Hodges, ill. Trina Schart Hyman

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers.  My favorite of the Peter Wimsey detective novels – but it’s more about 1930s feminism and about the love story than about the mystery.

Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn.  A dystopia in which letters of the alphabet are successively banned.

Father Fox’s Pennyrhymes, Wendy and Clyde Watson.  Very Vermont.

Fingersmith, Sarah Waters.  The underclass of Victorian London, an insane asylum, a plot twist, and a love story.

Work, Louisa May Alcott.  A virtually unknown novel by the author of Little Women.  A young woman’s career in 1850s Boston, complete with socialites, prostitutes, escaped slaves, Quakers, and a Henry David Thoreau stand-in.


Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Judith Martin.

The DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association.  I know it’s unpopular to actually like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, but it’s fascinating.  I haven’t read the new one yet.


All Souls, Michael Patrick McDonald.  South Boston.

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi.  Iran.

Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt.  Ireland.

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel.  By the author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.


The Philadelphia Story.  Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant.

Tootsie.  Still one of the best takes on gender I’ve ever seen.

Victor/Victoria.  Julie Andrews gets a little less wholesome.


William Butler Yeats.  Dreamy.  Unrequited.

John Donne.  Runs the gamut from romantic to sexy to religious.  I’m glad I discovered him early enough that I wasn’t put off by the 17th-century gender stuff.

Hafiz/Daniel Ladinsky.  Apparently the poems “translated” by Ladinsky are Ladinsky’s riffs on themes by the 14th-century Persian mystic and poet Hafiz, not an actual translation.  I still like the poems, though.



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