• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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You Know It’s Just YOur Stupid Pride


53b16085bf8fe_elena_ferranteHow is everyone? I missed you.  I‘ve been on vacation. I read a history of the founding fathers and My Brilliant Friend, which a million people told me I HAD to read. Whenever lots of people tell me I have to read something or see a movie, I develop an immediate aversion to it. THis has been going on for some time. In the fifth grade, everyone said I would love the history teacher because he was so “cool.”  I hated him. I know it’s perverse, as if I’m so unknowable and unpredictable. I loved the novel.

What do you recommend?

14 Responses

  1. I loved The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale.

    And The Vegetarian.

  2. The obvious answer would be to recommend the rest of the Neapolitan novels, all of which I read largely because I was intrigued by the story. But truth (I know: it is the observation of one person): “My Brilliant Friend” is the best of the lot. The sequels had the discomfiting effect of making me feel as though I would have enjoyed them more were I knowledgeable of the history of Italian politics. Still, a good story is a good story, even with an unsatisfying ending.

  3. I recommend lots of water, sunscreen and Bridge Ladies. Keeps you regular, protects you and warns you, don’t show up at Betsy’ s house with silver polish..

  4. Your way of rejecting folks telling you, “you’ve got to read this!” would fall under the category of being contrary according to my Grandmother. 🙂

    Lordy, there are so many books! It’s like the universe filled with stars. I’ve never heard of My Brilliant Friend- or the writer for that matter. So, I had to go investigate, and Amazon gave me such a weird preview, I still have no idea if this is a story I’d care to read. I also had to look up the word tetralogy.

    Recommendation? I haven’t read anything lately I can rave about – but there is one book I read about a year ago that I absolutely loved – and it was the last book I ever thought I’d be crazy for – The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard. It was laugh out loud funny at times. I think you’d like it.

  5. I had the same deal with My Brilliant Friend. Everyone said, “Read!” and I just returned from Naples so… It was only ok for me. I wouldn’t dare recommend anything. I feel like that is the kiss of death. Which is why I have so much trouble with queries.

  6. Rosalina’s Restaurant in Providence, RI. Kind of an Italian/Greek mash up. Come in jeans or an evening gown. Olive oil to dip your bread in you’ll want to drink by the glass. Food that makes your face light up. Half price appetizers at the bar – you can sit there and read the next 3 books. Mangia!

  7. P.S. Welcome back!

  8. H is for Hawk, Ice Diaries (so we can moan about the shitty copyediting job together), or The Burning by Jane Casey

  9. Kent Haruf.

  10. I missed you, too. I think we all did. You’ve got that certain something.

    That aversion to widely recommended books and films, I’ve got that, too. I wonder if it’s something we got from the cultural revolution of the late 60s and early 70s, when all were tossing out the babies and drinking the bathwater. Or maybe it’s the result of living in a culture that is up to its eyeballs in bullshit. For my part, it had the unfortunate effect of discouraging me from reading all the classics.

    Recommendations? For all the time that I’ve spent on your blog, I don’t know that I know you well enough to recommend anything to you. Used to be, I was more than happy to share my enthusiasms, thinking that if I liked something, anybody with any sense would also like it. Turned out people were more complicated than that.

    That said, please allow me to recommend Ferrante’s “The Days of Abandonment.” It has power and depth — more so, I think, than does “My Brilliant Friend.”

  11. Callisto by Torsten Krol. Lots of fun, but scary, too — this detention camp shit seems all too real. And who is Torsten Krol?
    Bukowski in a Sundress — Confessions of a Writing Life by Kim Addonizio. Recommended in a post in this very column not long ago. Kim Addonizio has her own voice, but does mention Bukowski’s poetry. I liked this book a lot; the different places in time, random thoughts and how it’s all woven together.
    Braving It by James Campbell. Father and daughter roughing it, big time, in Alaska’s backcountry. Good adventure.

  12. Werewolf Cop by Andrew Klavin

    The guy’s a cop, but also…you know…he turns into a werewolf. Pretty great stuff.

  13. This has been around for awhile, but it’s amazing – My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry – followed by the new one, Britt-Marie Was Here. Descriptions that haven’t been heard, or read, before.
    Both made me cry… and I don’t think I’ve cried at the end of a book for maybe 30 or 40 years.

  14. Almost nothing. I would rather find out what other people recommend, unless it’s getting a lot of traffic or is over-saturating media all on its own. I’ll usually look into a “trendy” book, movie, whatever a couple of years after the luster has been lost. That seems to be when I like something best, after everyone else has left the party.

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