What I’ve been reading

Warped Passages: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions, by Lisa Randall.  Have you ever tried to read those Scientific American articles on the weak and strong forces, or on how we might live in a three-dimensional universe on a 3 + n dimensional brane?  This book is the closest you will get to understanding such matters.  You can skip the chunk which recaps Einstein and quantum mechanics.  Alternatively, you might wait until scientists figure out the apparent paradoxes, and then read a book with the answers.

Veronica: A Novel, by Mary Gaitskill.  If I like a novel about an aging hippie temptress with hepatitis, and her older AIDS-ridden friend, and the sadomasochism of the fashion world, it must have something going for it.  Nominated for a National Book Award, and rightfully so.

Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500-2000, by James McCann.  If you are ever bored, go out and read all the books about the history of corn you can find.  Start here.

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, by Tony Judt.  I know what you are thinking.  "I read Tony Judt all the time.  I already know lots about Europe after 1945.  Why do I need this 800-page book?  Why should I pay almost $40?"  Don’t be lured down that fallacious path.  Go for the excellent book by the excellent author, every time.

How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, by Mark Bittman.  If you could only own one cookbook, this would probably be it.