Recent reading

Just finished Southern Exposure and After the War, two novels by Alice Adams. These two linked novels–written several years apart–stand together as a tremendous work of American literature, right alongside Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety. I’ve enjoyed Adams for many years, but seen her really as a social diarist/comedy of manners type of writer–very Jane Austen–and these two books seem to be shaded more deeply, with finer sensibilities.
Also read Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed, Patricia Cornwell’s account of how and why she determined Victorian painter and man of letters Walter Sickert was also the brutal serial murderer Jack the Ripper. Excruciatingly detailed, full of forensic data, and completely grisly, this is not a book to read alone late at night—I did, and regretted it.
Also: Judith Moore’s The Left Coast of Paradise(didn’t care for it), Ann Barry’s At home in France: Tales of an American and her house abroad (eh), Loss within Loss: Artists in the Age of Aids, edited by Edmund White(a superb book!), Naked in the Promised Land, a Memoir by Lillian Faderman, and Silicon Valley, Women and the California Dream by Glenn Matthews(this is a great book, will post more on it this week).