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These memoirs all recount experiments in living (most within a one-year time frame), from eating locally to reading the Oxford English Dictionary to cooking every recipe in a classic cookbook.

Related event:
A.J. Jacobs discusses The Guinea Pig Diaries, Sept. 30, 2009

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
By A.J. Jacobs
The Guinea Pig Diaries is a collection of essays written by Jacobs as he immersed himself in eight different lifestyles to see what he could learn. For “My Life as a Hot Woman,” the author lived undercover as a beautiful woman, signing his son’s nanny up on a dating web site. For “My Outsourced Life,” he hired a team of people in Bangalore, India, to answer his e-mails, respond to phone calls, and argue with his wife for him (and then buy her gifts when he wins).


The private detectives in these novels feature women solving the crimes – from V.I Warshawski to Sharon McCone to Kinsey Millhone. For more books with these women on the case, check out their mystery series.

Related event:
Sara Paretsky discusses Hardball, Sept. 24, 2009

By Sara Paretsky
Chicago politics – past, present, and future – take center stage in Paretsky's latest V.I. Warshawski novel. When Warshawski is asked to find a man who’s been missing for four decades, a search that she figured would be futile becomes lethal. Old skeletons from the city’s racially charged history, as well as haunting family secrets of her own and those of the elderly sisters who hired her make an appearance.  Hardball is the thirteenth novel in the V.I. Warshawski mystery series.


For a fictional look at the immigrant experience in the United States, check out one of these novels.

Related event:
Joseph O’Neill discusses Netherland, Sept. 22, 2009

By Joseph O’Neill
O’Neill delivers a mesmerizing novel about a man trying to make his way in post-9/11 New York City, and the unlikely occurrences that pull him back into an authentic, passionately engaged life.

The Namesakebook jacket

The Namesake
By Jhumpa Lahiri
Expanding on her signature themes of the immigrant experience, the clash of culture, and the tangled ties of generations, Lahiri brings to her poignant first novel remarkable powers of emotion and insight.