Salt: a world history by Mark Kurlansky – the most common thing to every person on Earth, salt, is finally given its due in this historical, social, political, and mercantile look at salt. Salt’s use as food processor giving longevity to meats, fish and vegetables made it the commodity nearly equal to gold, and begat and destroyed empires, made families rich, and others destitute. Of course, once electric refrigeration came into being, salt’s reign as dominant commodity ended within 20 years, after more than a millenium. Recently I listened to a commentator speaking about the same possibility for the replacement of oil: take away its dominance, and there’s no more need to deal with Middle Eastern sheikdoms with their despotic religion and arrogant, hypocritical ideals.
Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth – Fucking has been Mickey Sabbath’s life—one might say his ‘raisson d’etre’—and he’s not about to give it up, even at the ripe age of 64, even when his wife hates him, even since his lover has sworn him to give up other women, even as his life is unraveling. Roth’s writing is scintillating, the story intricate, imaginative, and wholly psychological on a level that we all can relate. Read this book before you die.
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan – McEwan is the most compact writer alive, able to pack pathos, action, place, and atmosphere into shorter novels. Of course, his research into factual stories made fictional must take him a hell of a long time. In this tale, Joe is stalked by a man who believes that Joe “loves” him and is determined to show him that God is really on his side. Freaky story with beautiful prose on every page.