erica lori goldman

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What Erica Read in 2003.

In order. Is this fascinating or what?
Burnt Bread and Chutney: Growing Up Between Cultures - A Memoir of an Indian Jewish Girl Carmit Delman Carmit was in B'yachad with me!
Stream Runner David Seed David Seed is my friend Cotton's father. 
From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor Jerry Della Femina The next installment in Erica's advertising series. Not nearly so... informative, I guess, as Ogilvy on Advertising but very funny and very interesting. 
Post Office Charles Bukowski.  
She's Come Undone Wally Lamb. A good book, but don't read it if you're depressed. Oops. 
Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart Joyce Carol Oates People who know me well know that I generally keep a little spiral notebook in my back pocket (or more recently in my new little leather backpack/purse (which I LOVE)), and in that notebook is always a copy of my favorite poem ever:
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter-bitter," he answered,
"But I like it
"Because it is bitter,
"And because it is my heart."
The poem is by Stephen Crane. I found out there was a book of this title and had to read it, knowing nothing about the book itself or the author. I actually liked the book pretty well. Though I do sort of share the sentiments of the reviewer on who wrote the following (mistakes the reviewers, not mine!)
This book was ok. I bought it because the title was a direct quote from a stephen crane poem. Why no attribution anywhere to crane? I guarantee less than 1% of Americans could attribute the quote. If you search the web now on "Because is is bitter.." you'll get Joyce Carol Oats 90% of the time. BOGUS. She robs Crane and gets away with it.
(One wonders if the reviewer knows that 83.6% of statistics are made up on the spot =)
The Quality of Mercy Faye Kellerman A fun read - a little mystery, a little sex, a little history, a little religion. William Shakespeare is a main character. Sometimes the author did some really good stuff with that, like throwing in little puns he'd have made. Other times, the whole attempt at the language of the times is annoying, especially with the inconsistent you/thou thing. (Ok, maybe it is consistent and I just don't know all the rules. Definitely possible. But in that case, I find that the apparent inconsistency of it is distracting.) 
Naked David Sedaris This is a funny, funny man. Here is my favorite bit from this book: It's from the chapter "Next of Kin".
The theme of the book was that people are not always what they seem. Highly respected in their upper-middle-class community, the Rivers family practiced a literal interpretation of the phrase "Love they neighbor." Limber as gymnasts, these people were both shameless and insatiable. Father and daughter, brother and sister, mother and son: after exhausting every possible combination, they widened their circle to include horny sea captains and door-to-door knife salesmen. They did it in caves with their Doberman pinscher and on their slanted roof with the construction crew hired to replace the shingles. The first two times I read the book, I found myself aching with pleasure. Yes, these people were naughty, but at the age of thirteen, I couldn't help but admire their infectious energy and spirited enjoyment of life. The third time I came away shocked, not by the characters' behavior but by the innumerable typos. Had nobody bothered to proofread this book before sending it to print?
The Broom of the System David Foster Wallace This guy is terrific, I admit it. But I also admit that I like books to have some kind of, you know, ending. This was also my problem with Infinite Jest.
Love, Etc Julian Barnes I have really enjoyed a lot of other books by this guy (notably A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters) but this one just didn't do it for me. The whole book is in dialogue format, and it seems immature to me. Similar to things I wrote when I fancied myself a writer in roundabout the eighth grade.  
Love: Enter Paul Kafka (Gibbons) Paul is a great guy who was very nice when I called him and asked him to inscribe a million books for me (ok, only three. This one and two copies of the terrific Dupont Circle.) This was remarkably reminiscent of Julian Barnes, which I didn't expect because Dupont Circle wasn't. A very absorbing read.  
Xenocide Orson Scott Card.  
The Magician W Somerset Maugham  
The Sicilian Mario Puzo  
Starship Troopers Robert Heinlein Interesting similarities between his "bugs" and Card's "buggers". Though you've probably already thought of that. 
Tepper Isn't Going Out Calvin Trillin Not quite so hysterical as the reviews say, but a light and quick fun read.
My Name Is Red Orhan Pamuk This was my book-that-takes-place-in-Turkey-that-I-can-read-while-I'm-in-Turkey book. I quite liked it, actually. It fits into the same category for me as Calvino and Kundera. A more tightly wound plot than them, probably, but with chapters told from varying points of view in a whimsical way. Sort of a murder-mystery that's largely about manuscript illumination in the 1500s, believe it or not.
Bee Season: A Novel Myla Goldberg This book actually made me want to be in a spelling bee again, but it didn't last long enough - I took it with me on the plane home from Turkey and finished it hours before we landed so I had to scrounge. That's points against it.
A Wild Sheep Chase Haruki Murakami This is the first book I've read by him, though Marc reads him all the time. I only read this one because I finished my book (below) on the plane back from Turkey with hours left to kill, Marc was sleeping and I couldn't, so I swiped it from him. Decent read, sort of full of despair but in a good way =). Got really weird at the end...
Tales of Ordinary Madness Charles Bukowski Not at all like the yummy Post Office. Don't be fooled.
The Dearly Departed Elinor Lipman I first read a book by her because my cousin sent it to me as a present. I liked it a lot, so I went to a reading at Barnes and Noble by Elinor Lipman, planning to get her to inscribe a book for my cousin as a birthday present. It was probably the first reading I ever went to, outside of Brandeis, and I felt a little weird there by myself. Then, before she could start, the electricity went out. They cleared out the store so we decided to do the Q&A first, outside on the pavement. Then they let us back into the store, having moved all the chairs and the lectern up to the front of the store by the window so that there'd be enough light for her to read by. She took the whole thing in stride, made lots of jokes about it, and read until it was too dark to continue... and then she signed books by candlelight! The whole thing was pretty cool. She was really a doll. I've read most of her books by now; they're fun and quick and easy, so I pick one up when I want to get away but don't want to work too hard.
Enchantment Orson Scott Card Quick: what's the story of Sleeping Beauty? No wait, that's Snow White! Try again.
Guts: Advertising from the Inside Out John Lyons  
Dr. Zhivago Boris Pasternak This is the only Russian novel I've read that actually takes place DURING the revolution and it was a very interesting perspective. The funny thing about this book for me is that I owned a copy that I bought for a college Russian Lit class but never read. Now, did I not read it because it ended up not being assigned? Or because I was actually supposed to read it and just skipped it completely? I have seriously no idea which.
Kaaterskill Falls Allegra Goodman  
Skin Game Caroline Kettlewell Wow. This is an *excellent* book.
And Then She Found Me Elinor Lipman  
Children of the Mind Orson Scott Card  
The Torah J, E, P, D, and R Finally! Since last Simchat Torah, I read one portion a week, just like God intended... though how come I'm done and it's not Simchat Torah again yet? Of course, now I'm going back and looking at all the "doublets" and inconsistencies, because of Who Wrote The Bible? (see above)
The Odd Todd Handbook: Hard Times, Soft Couch Odd Todd, of course I love his movies at so I had to cough up the mon-ay to buy his silly book.
Thirty Seconds Michael J Arlen   More in the advertising series - a light look at the filming of the one of the first of the AT&T "Reach out and touch someone" commercials. Well-timed on account of their re-launching of this theme!
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon   This book was great. Truly.
Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life Rabbi Ed Feinstein who recently came to Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton, MA (where I teach Israeli dance), to talk to the students. He was a great speaker, very animated and interesting, and I thought he gave the students a lot of good stuff to think about. His goal is to stress the goodness of asking questions and looking for answers, not the questions or the answers themselves, and I think he did a nice job of it, as well as a nice job showing what useful answers to some tough questions might look like.
Who Wrote the Bible? Richard E. Friedman I was really impressed with this book. I never read anything before about who Biblical scholars believe actually wrote the bible, but this book was really interesting and easy to follow. I thought the author made a good case for who wrote the different sections of the Torah and gave a nice introduction to how scholars have determined which parts were written by different authors and which by the same. When I read a translation of the Torah itself, I didn't notice all these little things (and some of the big things, like serious inconsistencies and double stories) but when I read this book, I had a lot of fun going back to the Torah and re-reading those bits and marveling how I'd managed to miss them or somehow reconcile them when I read it the first time.
The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century Paul Krugman who read from this book and discussed it on 9/19/03 with Christopher Lydon. Details here. It probably would have been very interesting if it weren't so crowded that we couldn't see or hear all that much.
My first Economics book ever (ok, you can argue it's not strictly Economics, but it's certainly more economics than I've ever read before.) This fall I had this lovely Thursday afternoon routine in which I finished teaching my classes for the week (Israeli and then tap) and then ate dinner at Fresh City (mmmmmmm) and read this book. I take my time, get good and angry, and then go to Collage rehearsal. It was one of the best parts of my week. (Except, of course, I'm really angry. Paul Krugman, can you write a book that says what to do about it all?)
Prodigal Summer: A Novel Barbara Kingsolver This wasn't as good as The Poisonwood Bible, but it was way better than The Bean Trees. (Both of these last also have "A Novel" in their titles. What's with that?) This book was kind of a nice introduction to evolutionary theory couched in a fictional novel with interesting characters. I didn't love the very beginning but I'm glad I kept going, 'cause I got really into it a little farther in. [And by the way, I also really want to read Small Wonder so if you're looking to buy me a present, there's a great idea! :-)
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens We got hit with some serious snow this weekend, so on Saturday (12/6) my all-day rehearsal was cancelled and I was stuck inside. So I read this!
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right Al Franken  
Mystic River Dennis Lehane Um, not that good. Heart-wrenching, and not so worth it, in the end.
The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown Read this in December, while on vacation in California. Managed to finish it between plane trips. Only saw three people reading it in the airports on the way home...  I had some fun with it, trying to solve the puzzles before the characters did (and succeeded occasionally). Still, I'm not sure I understand why this book is sweeping the nation. It's actually quite hard for me to imagine so many average Americans, men especially, reading it and getting excited about it. I don't quite get it.

I have here lists of just about every book I've read in past years, though some years are nicely formatted and some are a big mess. One day I'll get them all looking nice, but when? Oh yeah, the 23rd...

Here we go. This is some thrilling stuff, folks! We have: 2008 in reverse order because I'm a little bit busy right now, 2007 and 2006, pretty clean, and 2005, very messy. We have 2004, also messy but slightly more interesting. Here is 2003 and 2002, which I think aren't as bad.

Hey, what's your favorite book ever? What would you recommend as a Great Book to just about anyone? E-me!

By the way, the reason these books are all hyperlinked to their pages on is that I'm an "associate", meaning that if you click through to amazon using any of the links on this page and then buy *anything* (even if it's NOT the item I have hyperlinked), then I get "credit" for having referred you in and I get some little percent of what you spend. So I LOVE IT WHEN YOU CLICK THROUGH! Please do it all the time, every time you want to buy something on amazon, come here first! You're the best!

You can also use this link to Amazon's main page to buy anything and I'll get a kick-back, yippee!!

© Erica Goldman. e at ericagoldman dot com
People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading.    ~ Logan Pearsall Smith
Take me home.
Last modified January 9, 2004