I thought that I was going to be a little annoyed when the alarm went off at 5:15 this morning and I had to accept that real life was fully underway again, but I actually didn’t mind getting out of bed because I was so rested from spring break. Apparently six days of reading / watching The Newsroom / sleeping (at least) eight hours a night has some benefits.
Anyway, some of you (and by “some,” I mean “at least two”) have asked about my reading list, so I thought I’d do a quick recap of what I’ve read / what I’m reading. I think it’s probably obvious that I’m in a significant non-fiction phase, so if you have any good fiction to recommend (especially fiction where children are unharmed / not kidnapped / safe and treasured), I’d love to know about it.
All righty. Here’s the list.
I love books about writing, especially Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King. Given that, I was excited to finally get to read Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir since I tend to write memoir-ish books. I highlighted a ton of passages in this book, especially the parts where Karr chronicles her own writing experiences. There are a few chapters where she devotes a significant amount of time to critiquing other writers’ memoir techniques, and I found those parts less interesting just because they reminded me a little of grad school and clearly I still have some lingering stress from my grad school experience (especially as it relates to Vladamir Nabokov, a writer held in the highest esteem by Karr). Even still, I know that I’ll read parts of this book again; Karr is a brilliant writer and so fun to read.
So after I read The Art of Memoir, I immediately downloaded Lit, and I’m still reading it. There’s definitely an overarching tone of sadness (the book focuses on Karr’s battle with alcoholism), but there are also some hilarious moments, and I’m increasingly convinced that nobody writes a better simile than Mary Karr. So far I definitely like Lit better than The Liars’ Club, Karr’s first memoir that was hard for me to read because the subject matter was so heavy. I’ll also say that the pace and structure of Lit are a little fascinating to me; I’m kind of hyper-aware of those two elements when I read, and so far I really like how Karr handles both.
I read a chapter of this book back in the winter, and then I put it aside and told myself that I could start reading again after I finished my book. Well, that is exactly what I did. I tend to like a novel with any kind of CIA / government intrigue / secret and/or rogue government operation as a backdrop, and this one certainly delivers on that count. I was also interested in the mystery at the heart of this book. However, I felt like it got pretty dark about half-way through, and the dark never really let up for the rest of the book. So when the book was over, it just felt over – but I didn’t feel like anyone had really conquered anything / learned any big lessons / walked away better than they were before. Sorry if that’s a spoiler – I really don’t think it is – but ultimately there was something missing at the heart of this book (redemption, maybe?) that left me feeling hollow.
Reading Annie’s books is like having a conversation with a friend. I just started reading her newest book (it releases Tuesday 4/5), and I can honest-to-goodness hear her voice in every single sentence. I love that. Without spoiling the premise of the book, I will tell you that 1) in the nerdiest possible way, I am a fan of the way Annie has structured / organized the chapters 2) almost every woman alive will be able to relate to Annie’s stories and 3) you’re going to laugh and cry as you read. This book would be a great choice for a book club or a small group – lots to talk about, lots of ways to connect Annie’s experiences to our personal experiences. Just FYI. Yay, Annie!
I’ve mentioned this book before. I just don’t want you to forget about it. :-) IT IS FANTASTIC.
I finished this book a while ago, and I’ve been meaning to mention it ever since. Mindy Kaling makes me smile, primarily because she is hilarious. I loved her first book and was concerned that book two nmight be a let-down, but oh no it was not. So. If you liked her first book or Tina Fey’s book or Amy Pohler’s book, you’ll enjoy this one, too. Some of you who like to read Serious Things might want to keep in mind that this is not necessarily something you would read to strengthen your world view, but it’s light and funny and, in places, tender. I am such a fan of Mindy Kaling’s writing style (random-ish, stream-of-consciousness-ish, loaded with pop culture references, conversational, etc.).
I bought this book last week because I felt like I needed it. This presidential election has brought out parts of my personality that I don’t really love – a side of me that is super-opinionated and very certain of my right-ness and way too judge-y. Without belaboring the (boring) point, I’ll just say that I’m tired of feeling angry about it all, and after seeing mention after mention about Unoffendable, I decided to read it. No joke: I was teary-eyed by page three because it hit me right where I’ve been living. And while I haven’t finished it yet, this book is challenging me and encouraging me. I am grateful for both of those things. Also, Brant Hansen is HILARIOUS (I used to read his blog posts back in the day and wish I could write like he does), and he brings lots of levity to what could be a super-earnest subject matter. Also, I’m pretty sure that I’m on track to highlight more passages in this book than any other in recent memory. It’s a keeper.
So. Those are all of my current book-related thoughts. Have y’all read anything good or memorable lately?