I just discovered a previously lost file from the Cody’s Archives. For years, I prepared a summer recommended list. They were all books that I actually read and actually loved. I’m posting some selections from Summer 1996. That was a long time ago. And some of the books on the list are -well-forgettable. But the ones I am posting are still as delightful to read now as they were back then. In all modesty, people loved these lists . I will keep going through the Cody’s archives and post more.
Native Tongue, Carl Hiaasen. Carl Hiaasen is the most entertaining and amusing author of crime fiction writing today. Native Tongue is my favorite, but all of his books are equally enjoyable. His novels are filled with ultra sleazoid weirdoes from South Florida all intent on raping the environment or fleecing tourists in South Florida. You will marvel at the sheer loathsomeness of his characters. Read the rest of his novels too: Strip Tease, Skin Tight, Double Whammy, and Tourist Season.
A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr. This is a stunning mystery novel which truly transcends its genre. A brilliant serial killer seeks to outwit Inspector Isadora “Jake” Jacowitz. He is nicknamed “Wittgenstein”. He is as brilliant as he is mad. You will love this marvelous and intellectually satisfying thriller.
Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee. The author, herself an immigrant from India, has written a novel about the immigrant experience with great finesse and wit. The heroine flees from her family poverty and Sikh terrorism of her village to New York and finally, improbably to a farm in Iowa. The twists and turns of the plot tell us much about America from the eyes of an outsider. It’s funny and profound.
The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood. Margaret Atwood is a great novelist and this is my favorite of hers. It’s a very funny tale of an evil anti-heroine who masterfully manipulates the lives of 3 decent women. There are serious themes in this story, specifically the power of evil and the weakness of good in the face of it. You will find this book impossible to put down.
Small World, David Lodge. Lodge has written a brilliant spoof on academic manners. It contains side-splitting satire of the pretenses of scholarly conferences and the drolleries of French literary theory, all mixed up with much seduction of spouses and graduate students. Added to this is a new twist on the Holy Grail legend. Also read the prequel, Changing Places, a satire of Berkeley in the 60’s.
The Eight, Katherine Neville. What do Charlemagne, Napoleon, Rousseau, Catherine the Great, Tallyrand, Johan Sebastian Bach, and Muammar Khaddafi have in common? They are all characters in this remarkable feminist-historical-alchemical-cryptographic thriller. It is a gripping tale told in time and space for the search for the famous chess set of Charlemagne, the pieces of which unlock the power of the universe. The story is full of twists, riddles and mathematical puzzles. It’s great!
The White Hotel, D. M. Thomas. Rarely has literature revealed so profoundly the mysteries of the human soul as in this haunting and masterful novel. It is the story of Freud and his fictional patient, Lisa. Through the unfolding, imperfect process of psychoanalysis, the novel reveals to us the ambiguous connection between love and death as a metaphor of the human psyche and of European civilization in the Twentieth Century. this novel is astoundingly original and deeply, viscerally moving.