Tibetan Peach Pie — A True Story of an Imaginative Life: Tom Robbins

At 80+, Robbins is still more eloquent and playful with words than I ever will be, but … I can’t believe I’m saying this about Robbins — it’s his “autobiography” after all … it was mostly boring.

If you want to be bedazzled, read Jitterbug Perfume.

City of Girls: Elizabeth Gilbert

Goddamn, I love this book! I fracking loved it. I almost couldn’t stand the part when Vivian’s first forays into adulthood in New York City ended and she drifted into “adulthood,” [and my interest started to drift, too] only to find the ending in her golden years so goddamn poignant and touching it outdid the prelude.

In a literary period when every other book title seems to have to have the word “girl” in the title, it was refreshing to read something so original and ‘real.”

The Cairo Affair: Olen Steinhauer

Not my first reading of this one. I always love when Steinhauer features Hungary somehow in his work, but this one speaks to me because I was living in Libya during the time the book is set (and we see now how that turned out (badly).

Good character work by Steinhauer here: almost all the people initially appear as sympathetic characters, but we soon find out how much damage they do to others. Somehow, we still sympathize with them nevertheless.

Cryptonomicon: Neal Stephenson

Yep, three weeks between book reviews, but that’s only because I’m switching between four different novels simultaneously and Stephenson’s tome is over 1200 pages long!

Oddly, it didn’t seem long to me, other than a few sections that went on for pages and pages of coding decrypts, which I just fast-forwarded through.

The novel jumps back and forth between the present and WWII, focusing on cryptography, multiple generations of the same family and lost Japanese gold in the Philippines.

Although not quite as adept as Tom Robbin’s Dolly Partonesque zingers, Stephenson has a similar way with similes, and my e-book dictionary certainly got a workout from Stephenson’s well-developed vocabulary.

Despite the length, read it.

Red Gold: Alan Furst

Furst and David Downing are masters of the atmospheric spy/war novels set in the pre- and WWII Europe most of us have forgotten, but was less than a hundred years ago.

Masterful. Hopefully, not prescient, given the collapse of the current socio-economic order that has kept the peace there since that time but is now collapsing as power vacuums open anew.