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Horny Toad Fall Reading List

sohlson posted this September 14th, 2011

Looking for something great to read now that the days are cooler and the nights are longer?  Here are some of the books currently on Toad nightstands.

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Kate:  I’m currently reading a very good book – Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  It’s fascinating and satisfying on many counts – a perfect mash-up of science, entertainment, human nature, history, endurance and great characters. Fundamentally, it’s about the amazing Tarahumara tribe, ultramarathoners who live in the forbidding Copper Canyons of Mexico and the greatest race you’ve never heard of. But it’s so much more. It makes you want to get out and move.

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Courtney:  I just recently finished Submarine. It follows the life and times of charmingly neurotic Oliver Tate, whose obsessions are: the dictionary; saving his parents’ marriage by unearthing and understanding each of their ‘mental disorders’ and losing his virginity… as soon as possible. Hilarious, sweet, and surprisingly thought-provoking. *Note, Submarine was recently made into a film, which Courtney says is not nearly as good as the book.

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Ellen:  When you take a good look around and see how much of our world is covered in concrete it’s pretty easy to get bummed out.  This book is the antidote for that feeling, as it shows just how much of the planet is teeming with life in places we don’t often think about.  The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring is the story of a handful of renegade climbers who teach themselves how to scale the last remaining giant redwood trees of the Northern California coast.  Within the canopy of this primeval forest is an entire eco-system, full of plants and animals – much like “coral reefs in the air.”

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Brian:  Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.  Show me a person not totally sucked in by this character, his food writing and the culinary-badass vantage point he offers into the underworld of commercial kitchens and I’ll show you a liar. You will never look at restaurants the same way.

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Safia:  Every couple of years I re-read the novel Light Years by James Salter.  The fun is in the way it’s written.  An entire chapter depicts an interaction between the main character and his tailor – something akin to a sacrament.  Another chapter is devoted to the description of a dinner.  His insights are true and cutting and generous.  Also, the book takes place in the Long Island and Manhattan of the mid-70s – a special place and time depicted most popularly by folks like Wes Anderson and Woody Allen.  What a sweet read.  I envy the people who get to pick this book up for the very first time.

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Family Toad: We’ve been passing Bossypants around the HT office.  The jacket blurb says it best:  “Totally worth it.” — Trees.

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KB:  I’m reading Bridge of Sighs by my favorite author, Richard Russo.  He’s got a way of developing characters so deeply that they become part of your life. When I get close to finishing, I’m always a little sad because I’m never ready to let them go. Most of his stories take place in small, depressed towns in upstate New York or New England whose heyday has passed. Bridge of Sighs is told from the point of view of two different characters, boys who were childhood friends.  One stayed in their hometown and ran the family grocery and one moved abroad to become an artist. It’s so much more than that, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers!

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