Monday, December 21, 2009

Writing Down The Bones- Goldberg (Book #90)

Eh. This is a book about writing advice. Maybe its useful for someone afraid to write, who doesn't now how to begin the process of simply getting words down. She talks a lot about writing prompts and spontaneous writing but I'm writing short stories and novels and the advice seemed obvious and unhelpful. The main points, told over and over again in 100 different ways is "write", "don't be afraid of writing", "be honest". Got it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Crooked Little Heart- Lamott (Book #89)

I feel bad giving this book a low rating because I think some people will love it but it just wasn't for me. This is a book about a family and insights into their dysfunctionality. I was shocked to learn this book has been assigned reading in 9th grade english. The story is fine in and of itself but I think I've read too much of Lamott's autobiography in memoirs to be able to read the story as fiction and not just small vignettes about her real life. I think I prefer her memoirs to her novels but I will give her one more try in the fictional arena.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happier- Ben Shahar (Book #88)

I truly enjoyed this book written by a Harvard professor on the science of happiness. The book emphasizes finding meaning and purpose in your life, that money does not equate happiness, and remembering that this is it, this life we have, and to be happy we need not wait for a goal to be fulfilled, life is the journey. All of this is cliche but he does it a lot more thoroughly. I think its a must read for people who are confused about where they are in their lives and are searching for what they must do to be happy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Age of Grief- Smiley (Book #87)

I enjoyed Jane Smiley's writing in this book. She deftly captures human emotion and my favorite in this short story collection was her novella, the namesake of this book which has been made into a major motion picture, "The secret lives of dentists."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Traveling Mercies- Lamott (Book #86)

Are you noticing that when I like an author I start devouring everything they come out with? This is why I read this book, Lamott's thoughts on faith. She is Christian, I am Muslim but I was curious as to her thoughts on faith in general and that is pretty much what she focused on. This book is a series of vignettes on different areas of her life and her thoughts about God's hand in those moments. Its a nice gentle read, some parts made me get choked up, some made me laugh. I thought it would focus a little more on the struggle so I was a little disappointed but that was my expectation, not a promsie she made.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gourmet Rhapsody- Barbery (Book #85)

I love reading books that focus on the little things such as books by Alexander McCall Smith but I was disappointed in this book. This is a novel about a food critic who is both loved and hated. We find him on his death bed trying to remember a flavor from his past and we see his childhood and other musings on food. The story also has stories from others in his life. There are too many characters and its hard to know when you start reading whose perspective you are reading. A few titles do tell you but most just have random headings and how am I supposed to know who is narrating when there are at least 10 different narrators in a very slim book? I can tell some will find this book to be a deep and loving reflection on food, but I was not particularly impressed.

American Primitive- Oliver (Book #84)

Sometimes you will sit with a slim book of a mere 60+ pages for months, while you devour 400 page mammoths in a few simple days. I've been reading this book of poetry since at least February but have only today forced myself to sit down and complete it. I love poetry and I love reflections on nature and I know a lot of people love Oliver, she won a Pulitzer for her poetry! But I just could not get into her poems. Some were indeed beautiful but on the whole it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Operating Instructions- Lamott (Book #83)

I like Anne Lamott and as I've shown in my book reading selections of this year, when I like an author I start reading everything they write (Russo, Tropper, etc). I heart this book. Its an honest insight into the first year of raising a baby as a single woman and I found the book both hilarious, honest, and heartbreaking.

Bird By Bird- Lamott (Book #82)

Since I'm in the process of revising my manuscript I figured I'd re-read this book again. I did not like it that much the first go around but I think I liked it more this time. I think my needs were different then, as opposed to now. Then, I wanted to know how to get published and how to write a good book. She isn't writing about this. She's really just writing a long book that essentially boils down to this: believe in your writing and don't give up even if you think it sucks. Also, write the truth. It was a nice read now and a good reminder that all writers struggle a little, even successful ones.

I am Neurotic- Kong (Book #81)

This is a humor book based on a blog ( where people post anonymously about neurosis they have. It's a quick light read with interesting confessions.