Some Favorite Books of Gotham Gal

A mix of some of my favorite books — all are worth reading to expand your mind.

 

The History of Love

by Nicole Krauss

A beautifully written book that must be read back-to-back with her husbandís book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (by Jonathan Safran Foer) — the writing has similarities. The two of them must have been discussing their stories daily.

 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

The story of how a child heals over a yearís time after losing his father on 9/11. Brilliant novel. I wept when it ended.

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

by Michael Chabon

Chabon's best book — it won a Pulitzer Prize. The tale of 2 cousins who meet after WWII and enter into the world of comic book writing. The comic industry of the 1930s was predominantly Jewish. There was an exhibit at the Jewish Museum a few years back showing work from that time period. I had no idea that the majority of comic book heroes that have become lore were a Jewish industry.

 

A Prayer for Owen Meany

by John Irving

I'm a huge fan of John Irving books and have read them all. "A Prayer for Owen Meany" is his best. From the first sentence, you're pulled into a classic, strange, bizarre story that is completely endearing.

 

The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood

by Mark Kurzem

I generally prefer novels but this true story is an extraordinary read. I couldnít put it down — it's historically fascinating and not only a story of survival, but how faded blocked memories can surface when you arenít expecting it.

 

The Company You Keep

by Nell Gordon

A well-written book with twists and turns about the choices people made who were involved with the underground of the 1960s. It's one thing to be 20 years old — and another thing to be 50 and still living with those old decisions.

 

Johnny Got His Gun

by Dalton Trumbo

One of the best anti-war books ever written.

 

Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

One of my all-time favorite books (that happened to win the Pulitzer Prize). The saga of a modern-day Greek family, and how genes show up in weird places and how every family has its issues.

This book also appears on Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction

 

The Brooklyn Follies

by Paul Auster

Paul Auster is one of the most prolific writers. I've read almost all his books. This isnít typical of an Auster book but I found it very relevant to the times we live in. It's about how people find themselves at 60 years old having to start a fresh.

 

The Secret History

by Donna Tartt

College students who keep a secret that, over time, unravels their relationships and lives. It's like something out of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment." Considering Tartt was 24 when she wrote the novel, it's truly impressive.

 

Blindness

by Jose Saramago

Saramago won the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is a brilliantly conceived story that's like no other. Human spirit pushed to the edge. Frightening, disturbing and real — all at the same time. Genius.

 

In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War

by Tobias Wolff

A memoir of his life with the Vietnam War as the backdrop. His writing is incredible and his story marks a time in history that should be read by all.

 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Di≠az

Another Pulitzer Prize winner. An intricate family history that goes from the present to the past and from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic while weaving historical facts in between.

 

Before I Die

by Jenny Downham

A teen book about a 16-year-old girl dying of cancer and she makes a list of the things she needs to do before she dies. Things that most people experience at one point during their years from 15-25... but she does not have that time. Really staying with me.

 

Bright Shiny Morning

by James Frey

I've read all of Freyís books. Regardless of the controversy surrounding his first two, the guy can write. We follow the present lives of different characters in Los Angeles. The characters are not related except for the fact they all live in Los Angeles. Their lives unfold throughout the book and in between each chapter, Frey writes about the history of Los Angeles.

 

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

Once I read the first page, I could have just continued reading without stopping until the book ended. Twists and turns. A famous author (like a J.K. Rowling-type) chooses someone, for a reason, to tell the secret story of her life. Dickens meets Austen.

 

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield

Melissa Daniel says:

This is a book that took over my thoughts completely. I couldnít put it down. For several nights I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning until I finished it (all 400 pages). The premise of this ghostly tale is a young biographer who is capturing the life story of Vida Winter, a successful author. Vida has always fabricated wild stories about her past, but is now ready to reveal all. The author, Diane Setterfield, weaves an intricate story that only reveals a little at a time and keeps you guessing the entire way. A great read!