Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Book a Week

I read about a book a week. Here's what I've read so far in 2015. The list is in chronological order (I read Watership Down in January)...

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Show Your Work by Austin Kelon
Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
California by Edan Lepucki
Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
A Matter of Breeding by Michael Brandow
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill
The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac by Sharma Shields
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Her by Harriet Lane
Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Fever by Megan Abbott
The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire
Love's Promises by Martha M. Ertman
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
Live Right and Find Happiness by Dave Barry




What have you been reading?

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Friday, June 19, 2015

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

I am in the middle of All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews and am really enjoying it.

Several years ago, my partner and I discovered Miriam Toews on a trip to Canada when we found and her book Complicated Kindness. Reading this one now reminds me what a good writer she is.


Here are a few passages from All My Puny Sorrows that I love. In this one, I love how this woman takes care of her old dog...

Shadow the dog is too old and arthritic to run but is still very excited by the idea of running so Julie plays a game she calls Run for Shadow and it involves her saying things like shed or fence and then running there herself while Shadow sits still in the yard and barks excitedly. When Julie has exhausted herself playing Run for Shadow she plops down beside me on the back steps and finishes her cigar.

In this next passage, Yoli talks to Elf, her older sister, who is in the hospital after trying to commit suicide...

I came across a man playing his guitar in the park the other day and a lot of people, just people who happened to be in the park, were singing softly with him, so beautifully. I stopped to listen for a while.

What was the song? asked Elf.

I don't know, I said, one line I remember was we all have holes in our hearts. Or maybe he said lives. We all have holes in our lives. And this impromptu choir of park people singing along with him, repeating the lines we all have holes in our lives...we all have holes in our lives...

And then I thought that people like to talk about their pain and loneliness but in disguised ways. Or in ways that are sort of organized but not really. I realized that when I try to start conversations with people, just strangers on the street or in the grocery store, they think I'm exposing my pain or loneliness in the wrong way and they get nervous. But then I saw the impromptu choir repeating the line about everyone having holes in their lives, and so beautifully, so gently and with such acceptance and even joy, just acknowledging it, and I realized that there are ways to do it, just not the ones I'd been trying.

So now you're going to stop talking to random strangers? asked Elf.

I guess so, I said. That's why you're so lucky to have your piano.

Thanks for stopping by! Clicking ont he book covers will take you to Powell's web page for each book. Check out this blog's Facebook page: NOT The New York Times Book Review. Happy reading!