Caitlin Goodman Caitlin Goodman is a rare book librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She writes City Paper's readers' advisory column, The Grumpy Librarian, and sometimes also book reviews. She is actually pretty cheerful in real life. If you send her an email with two books you loved and one book you hated, she'll recommend one that you'll probably like in her monthly column.
♥ Loved: Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
♥ Loved: Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life
X Hated: Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Recommendation: Are you sure you didn’t just randomly grab three books off the “Book Club Favorites” table at the airport newsstand? The Grumpy Librarian is not a book club fan (well, unless there are cookies) but she does appreciate the sort of book that appends a coda with built-in “Discussion Questions.” Immediate cocktail party fodder, if your cocktail party pals tend toward those who preferred the book version of Water for Elephants to the Reese Witherspoon one.
Have you read Reading Lolita in Tehran yet? (For readers on friendly terms with Edward Said, the GL suggests you skip this pick and enjoy your smug sense of intellectual superiority.) Azar Nafisi tells the story of her life in 1980s and ’90s Iran, interspersed with the stories of her all-female book club discovering the classics of Western literature. You would probably learn more from reading Nabokov’s Lolita, but it wouldn’t make you feel as special about your sense of empathy.
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