So back when, I made a commitment to read at least one book a month. And I’m doing it! Sometimes by the skin of my teeth, and sometimes with glorious aplomb. Here’s what I’ve read so far (since May, to be exact). (And considering that I only read one book—Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox—in the six months prior to my commitment, this list is pretty impressive, thankyouverymuch.)
*Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I got bored halfway through. There’s a brain-scarring rape scene that I wish I hadn’t read. Interesting storyline but long and teetering on tedious.
*Natural Born Learners by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Dr. Carlo Ricci. Some good ideas. Glad I read it. Nothing amazing.
*The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Brilliant and engaging. The perfect Pleasure Read.
*Home Grown by Ben Hewitt. Slow, thoughtful, meandering. Lots of nature talk (not my thing), but a rewarding look at an alternative worldview. (Though I think I prefer his sharp Outside article and his shootin’-the-breeze blog.)
*Still Alice by Lisa Genova. For the first time, I feel like I have a handle on the monster that is Alzheimer’s. The book is sobering, educational, and easy to read. It reminded me of Flowers for Algernon.
*Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. Not as good as The Glass Castle, but still good.
*The Death Class: A True Story About Life by Erika Hayasaki. In which a reporter follows a college professor who teaches her students (her class has a three year wait list!) about death. Fascinating concepts. Challenged me to think more directly about death.
*The Astor Orphan by Alexandra Aldrich. Boring as heck.
*Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom. A renowned psychotherapist delves into his doubts, questions, and personal idiosyncrasies (he spares nothing) as he relates to his patients. The details got boggy, but I slogged through. And I’m glad I did! It’s those very details that gave me a better handle on what good therapy is all about (or at least what it’s all about according to Yalom).
*Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast. A graphic novel about caring for aging parents. Raw, harsh, ugly, and ultimately, profoundly beautiful. (I had no idea that a graphic novel could be beautiful.) My son read it and said, “I hope you guys die fast.” My mom is reading it now and she says it’s “sublime.” I’m recommending it to everyone I see. Everyone. READ IT.
And for the 2014 Grand Finale: here’s my current stack of reads:
It’s a little ambitious but I blame NPR. They did this nifty book of the year thing and so of course I had to immediately hop on the library’s website and put a bunch on hold.