Monday, August 24, 2009

Chip Brantley

Chip Brantley is the author of The Perfect Fruit: Good Breeding, Bad Seeds and the Hunt for the Elusive Pluot.

The cofounder of, Brantley is a former food writer for the San Francisco Examiner and features writer for the Albany Times Union. He has contributed to many other publications, including Slate, the Boston Globe, the Oxford American, and Gastronomica.

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I'd been thinking about reading Roberto Bolaño's 2666 for a while and felt like making it my big summer commitment. But my friend Joel suggested easing into 2666 by starting with some of Bolaño's stories and his shorter (but, at 672 pages, still long) The Savage Detectives. So I read Last Evenings on Earth, which is a sinister and just incredible collection of short stories. I'm not sure how to articulate why I love them. You could break them up and examine them, and I'm not sure you'd be any closer to knowing how and why they work so well.

From there, I moved right into The Savage Detectives, with the goal of finishing it in a week or two. That was six weeks ago. One of the reasons it's taking me so long is because I took a break to read Warren St. John's Outcasts United, and I've also been reading a lot about pistachios (for a new project). But also, Savage Detectives is one of those books I fall immediately into while I'm reading it, but then don't really look forward to returning to once I put it down. For the past couple of weeks, I've been reading in spurts, and I'm now getting close to the end of the long middle section. I've vowed to finish it before the end of August so that I can move on to something else.

I haven't decided whether or not to head right into 2666. I've ordered and am looking forward to Patrick Radden Keefe's The Snakehead, a book about the smuggling of Chinese immigrants into New York, and Langdon Cook's Fat of the Land, a book about foraging. Also, my father-in-law just gave me Daniel Silva's The Kill Artist, the first of his Gabriel Allon books, and that might be the perfect Bolaño intermission.
Visit Chip Brantley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue