Thursday, July 27, 2006

A few of Curtis Sittenfeld's favorite books

I number among the many fans of Curtis Sittenfeld.

The Man of My Dreams, which was released in May, earned Sittenfeld wide praise. Here's a passage from the USA Today review which--despite calling it a "women's novel"--gives you a pretty accurate feel for the book:

In The Man of My Dreams, Sittenfeld gets inside the man-obsessed motives that strike some women in their late teens and 20s. The result: Dreams could be the women's novel of the summer, the one they talk about, dissect, analyze and compare with their own experiences. In this insightful book, Sittenfeld asks: Does every woman deserve a soul mate? Modern women might cringe at a story about a young woman who, for most of this novel, is looking for the perfect man. Despite the title, Dreams is no frothy tale of looking for love. Hannah Gavener, Sittenfeld's protagonist, is no chick-lit chick.
Click here for more reviews, a plot summary, and an excerpt from the novel.

Prep, Sittenfeld's debut novel, was even more lavishly praised. Learn all about the book and its reception, here.

A couple of months ago she named some of her favorite books for The Week magazine. Among them:

Stop-Time by Frank Conroy

This is a vivid and hugely entertaining memoir about Conroy’s boyhood, originally published in 1967. While describing everything from mental illness to first crushes to a love of reading, it beautifully and honestly reminds you of what it’s like to really feel alive.

Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

LeBlanc spent 10 years following two young women—and their boyfriends and relatives—living in poverty in the Bronx. This 2003 book is an incredible feat of reporting. Many of the details are deeply disturbing, but LeBlanc unflinchingly and nonjudgmentally includes them all. The book just sort of gushes forward in a way that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and ultimately LeBlanc’s portrayal of these individuals is both riveting and compassionate.

Click here to read the full list.

--Marshal Zeringue