Reading Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, by Fannie Flagg. She's been on a Southern reading kick that started with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt. She's also been reading about southern cooking. A recipe she's trying to perfect (and she's not quite there yet)--shrimp and gritz. She says it may sound disgusting, but done right it's really great. It's a South Carolina specialty.

Recently she read American Pie and Crazy Ladies by Micahel Lee West and Heat, by Bill Buford, who used to be the fiction editor for the New Yorker but then went off and apprenticed himself to chef Mario Batali.

One of her favorite books is Homicide, by David Simon, who used to write for the Baltimore Sun and shadowed the Baltimore police force. She says it's good even if you're not into police work, that it's good for the anthropological aspect, the language and all the nuances in his writing.

Other favorite books are The Three Muskateers, by Alexandre Dumas and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. She recently read a story by a man who lived next door to Harper Lee about his feelings of experiencing her literature and how, even though they were neighbors, he didn't really know her because she is a recluse.

(update on January 1 post: Katya is still working on the Henry James novel and is no longer enjoying his flowery prose. Apparently, she read, as he got older he dictated instead of recording his thoughts himself and the more time he dictated, the more flowery his language got.)