Several Ace Readers have asked for a reading list from last season’s Ace Book Club (our book club takes a summer hiatus) to use as a summer reading list, or to catch up before Ace Book Club resumes this Fall. Many of them are in paperback now, so you can save some money if you missed the first go-round.
We began with a Kentucky girl, and the debut collection from UK Alum Holly Goddard Jones, Girl Trouble: Stories (P.S.). You can read Heather C. Watson’s coverstory conversation with Holly for Ace here.
Switching from Catholic angst, we stayed with the father-theme, but moved to Jonathan Tropper’s sitting-shiva in This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel. The New York Times published an excerpt here. Tropper has a flair for the small detail: “even if you didn’t fall in love in the eighties, in your mind it will feel like the eighties, all innocent and airbrushed, with bright colors and shoulder pads and Pat Benatar or the Cure on the soundtrack,” observing “if you’ve ever been in a failed marriage, and statistically speaking, it’s a safe bet that you have, or if not, that you soon will be, then you’ll know that the first thing you do at the end is reflect on the beginning.” The novel is filled with highly cinematic scenes, like the one that begins with “There’s nothing in life, really, to prepare you for the experience of seeing your wife have sex with another man” and wraps up with “This is probably as good a time as any to mention that I was holding a large birthday cake.” (The movie version is in development at Warner Bros.)
Our next book club selection stuck loosely with the theme of infidelity, but moved back to non-fiction territory with Julie Powell’s, Cleaving, the much-anticipated “sequel” of sorts to Julie & Julia. (Ace hosted a sold-out sneak preview of the movie, so it seemed like a logical fit for the Book Club.)
If you are looking for a better book about a food apprentice-ship, go with Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany (Vintage) — Bill Buford’s classic remains the gold standard by which all others of the genre should be measured. (It topped Ace’s summer reading list when it was released.)
Our next selection stayed within the food-memoir-genre, but this time with a happier ending than Powell’s: Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes — Elizabeth Bard’s account of her transformation from American to Parisian in a 20-something professional coming-of-age romance. (Bard and her husband have recently relocated to Provence, and they have a 10-month old son.) She also has a blog, here, which is almost always tasty.
That catches everyone up on last season’s Ace Book Club. Stay tuned to the blog here for more recommended summer reading, and a look ahead at the fall selections for the next season of the Ace Book Club.