Category Archives: Books

The Books That I Read in 2014

December 29, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 4 Comments

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen. History has never been my strong suit. In high school, I took A.P. European History and hated having to memorize kings and popes and battles and lines of succession. It felt like rote memorization. So when a book comes along that hides its history lessons like a mom hiding medicine in a bowlful of Jello, I’m a happy camper. This book, which tracks Von Bremen’s childhood in Russia and her eventual migration to America, allowed me to confront a huge swath of 20th century history all through the prism of my all-time favorite subject: food. Though it’s been almost 12 months since I read this book, the scenes of deprivation under Stalin–women sharing a kitchen in a communist apartment building putting locks on their pots of meat, so no one would steal anything out of them–stay with me, as does the tale of young von Bremzen going to an American supermarket for the first time, viscerally overwhelmed by the experience (so much choice! And yet the strawberries smelled like nothing). I wasn’t brave enough to make any of the recipes in these pages, though perhaps one day I’ll muster up the courage to tackle kulebiaka.

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The Books That I Read in 2013

December 29, 2013 | By Adam Roberts | 6 Comments

Remember that lyric from Rent (admit it: you know all the lyrics to Rent) about measuring your life in love? Well, based on these year-end book review posts, I’m pretty sure I’ll be measuring my life in books. What’s so interesting about looking back on the round-up posts from last year and the year before is the way they evoke a sense of time and place way more than pictures do. Not only do I remember where I was while reading a particular book, I can vividly recall how I felt while reading that book. Same for the books of this year, which were all consumed under varying circumstances–flights to Australia, periods of Craiglessness while he was shooting his movie, at my favorite coffee shop in New York as the weather turned cold–and all of them worked different kinds of magic on me, altering my moods, my attitudes, my feelings about the world and life in general. And so, here they are, the books that I read in 2013.

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The Books That I Read in 2012

December 28, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 4 Comments

My year, this year, was very full of books. Between our temporary move back to New York City for The Skeleton Twins, and my cookbook tour—which took me through Atlanta, San Francisco, Napa, Seattle, L.A., Austin, Richmond and D.C.—there was lots of opportunity for reading. Looking at the list of the books that I read in 2012, it’s like looking at a list of friends that kept me company through so much journeying. It’s hard to pick favorites, but I’ll put asterisks next to the ones I most heartily recommend. And so, without further ado, the books that I read in 2012.

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The Books That I Read in 2010

December 30, 2010 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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This year I made a point to keep a list of all the books that I read. I’m a big reader and by that I don’t mean that I plow through 1,000 books a year. No, I’m a slow reader–a deliberate reader–but I’m always reading something, usually a novel or a memoir, and like the tortoise in “The Tortoise and the Hare,” at my slow and steady pace, I make my way through a decent number of books each year. My book total in 2010, if I include the last Harry Potter book (which I finished last January), is, appropriately enough, 10. Here are some capsule reviews of those books.

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Nixonland

October 4, 2009 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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This morning I finished reading a 750 page book by Rick Perlstein called “Nixonland.”

I won’t lie, it was a bit of a struggle to get through it. There were parts of the book where I’d get frustrated with all the minutiae (whoah, is that really how you spell that?) details of political machinations and national conventions involving Senators and delegates and party leaders and Mayor Daley of Chicago. It made my head spin and often times I’d throw the book down in frustration. In fact, halfway through the book I read two other books before picking the book back up again.

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