Currently Reading – July 21

I’m trying to get back into the habit of posting here, so bear with me.

A few notable items…

I am one of those people who consistently submits my email address to blogs and news sites I like so that I can receive their newsletters. Then, when my inbox is brimming with junk, I go through and delete and unsubscribe from all the newsletters I never read. Right now, my favorite newsletter is Ryan Holiday’s monthly reading list.

While Ryan predominantly reads non-fiction, I like that his emails are structured like epic journey’s in his reading life. For instance, in July he read the 2nd and 3rd volumes of The New York Times bestselling series “The Last Lion” – a three-part biography on Winston Churchill. I personally couldn’t give a damn about Winston Churchill (I know he is cool, but I’m just not at a point in my life to want to investigate him further), but I think it’s wonderful that Ryan isn’t afraid to fall into the depths of his current topic of interest and take his newsletter subscribers to the deep end with him. I recognize a true book lover when I see one. Inspired by his newsletter structure, I decided to revamp this section of my site (strategically re-titled “Book Talk”) to be somewhat similar to Ryan’s newsletter concept.

My goal is to post once a month with an update on what I’m reading. I will share the books I liked and disliked in the past few weeks. In addition, I will be posting on numerous other topics such as: the pros and cons of audio books, my favorite podcasts, cookbooks I am excited about, and anything that currently strikes my interest. Please feel free to comment with topic ideas and book suggestions – I’m all ears.

And onto my current reading list…

Ongoing reads:

current booklist 7.21“Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior” by Judith Martin. Love this book. I’ve been reading it off and on for a few years now. It’s a great mood lightener when I’m in between books, especially if I’m transitioning from one heavy, morose novel to the next. Not to mention the thorough discussions on how to deal with a boyfriend’s wandering eyes, intolerable family members, and how to hold one’s utensils at a formal, sit-down dinner. “Miss Manners” is appropriately comforting and chiding at all the right moments. She knows best, after all.

“Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. This is my spiritual guide book right now. I am only a few chapters in, but I pick it up when I am feeling like I could use some good, old-fashioned spiritual advice. Estés declares that the spirit of woman is much more animalistic and wild than modern western culture wants us to believe. She points to indigenous mythology and female thought leaders as evidence.

Currently reading in hard copy:

“At Night We Walk in Circles” by Daniel Alarcón. I picked this book up at the San Francisco Public Library. It was part of their One City One Book program, likely because Alarcón was living in San Francisco when it was published. Alarcón is from Peru and the novel is set in some ambiguous Latin American country. It is about a traveling theater troupe, but also about love and politics and…well who knows what else. I’m only on page 68 and loving every word.

Currently reading on audio book:

“The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger. Because sometimes I read books just to see what all the hoopla was about. So far it is exactly as I expected it to be: chick lit about a girl’s first post-grad job and an evil boss. I have the vague sense that I might end up liking the movie more than the book – for maybe the first time in my life.

Books I gave up on:

Michael Chabon’s “Telegraph Avenue.” I am so disappointed in this book. I really wanted to give it a fair shot, especially since I saw it show up on a number of different book lists of 2015. Since my move to the East Bay, I wanted to pick up a book that would give me a sense of place and a feel for the cultural nuances of the Berkeley/Oakland region. Chabon tries, but the book feels born of that same vein that the Berkeley underground snobbery (the author lives locally) that lambaste’s anyone shopping at Safeway because they can’t afford Andronico’s. I got a third of the way through and then gave up for all the reasons many of the good people on Goodread’s acquiesced.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey. I was reading this via audiobook, but I think that was the wrong format to approach it in. A book like this requires real contemplation and my undivided attention. Hopefully I’ll give it another shot at some point.


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