Andrew Solomon’s ‘The Noonday Demon-An Atlas of Depression,’ which won a National Book Award in 2003. Hadn’t read anything self-helpish in awhile, but the dense Grey Cloud has been with me for a month or so, and I thought it might help, and assumed it would be well written.
Sarah Manguso’s ‘The Guardians’ is a memoir about her grief process after her friend dies unexpectedly. Since I’m kind of a student of Grief I thought it would be interesting and informative. It appears to be. We shall see.
Yesterday I got a book that the author contacted me about on Twitter and I was so disappointed. I thought it was nonfiction and it was not. I’m not wanting to read it but hopefully I will pick it up.
So, on to a little reading!
Last night I read this book. It is the first novel of a writer named Jan Ellison. She didn’t ask me to review it, but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to tell you about it. It is a suspense novel, but mostly it is a novel about love, the nature of love, how fluid it is. The book was incredibly moving. I read this review at The Rumpus. I wasn’t expecting the book to be as well written as it was, mainly because it is a first novel and I didn’t know of the author. However, when I researched a bit I found out she is a very accomplished writer. Her first story won the O. Henry prize!
I mentioned the book was moving. I could feel how much this mother loved her children, and others in her life. It is written in the form of a letter to her son, which is unusual, but didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment. I think it was more enjoyable because her first person made it so relatable. I could have been that young girl, and middle-aged Mom. It spans the course of about 20 years. She is about 8 years younger than me, but close enough in age for me to relate to what the world was like during the times she writes about.
I actually read it through the night, and was too lazy to go downstairs to get a highlighter, but there were quotes in the book that I wanted to remember and reflect upon, so I dog eared many pages. Also, I read and enjoyed a well known and successful contemporary novel last week. Since I don’t read a lot of fiction, the contrasts stood out, in terms of how well the book was written, how fleshed-out the characters were. I sure didn’t feel like tweeting and blogging about it after I finished it, although I enjoyed it.
Love, love, love. Yes, it is about family, secrets, trust. But it is mostly about love. To me, anyway. If you are a woman, you probably have felt the rush of a risky relationship, and how it makes you feel about yourself. There was so much introspection in this book. I highly recommend it.
I recently (yesterday) ended a job that was very stressful, and am obviously grieving. However, I just looked over a series of texts I sent to a friend and it was kind of funny. You really do have to laugh at yourself, no?
“Sometimes you look at yourself and your age and it’s sad when you can’t even keep a job. I wish I had the confidence to do something to make myself really successful. I know that is all that holds me back.”
“I am a positive person but I get so fucking tired of these character building events.”
“It hurts sometimes to be so passionate.”
“And I am not being dramatic.”
Now, how is that for some sincere angst?
So I received and read this book this weekend. It was excellent. Chris Thomas was one of the last juveniles sentenced to death in Va. He and his girlfriend murdered her parents. She was 14, he was 17. She was sent to Juvie & freed at age 21 (with no felony record), he was executed in January 2000. This took place close to where my hubby grew up. I think this book is used as a textbook in some law classes. It was very informative about Virginia’s death penalty and also very moving, a good story of redemption.
Another very interesting book I read about Virginia’s death row is Dead Run by Joe Jackson. This chronicles the life of Dennis Stockton, who helped mastermind the infamous 1984 death row escape, although he didn’t escape himself.
I highly recommend both of these books, if you are interested in the death penalty, and its effect on, well, everyone.
I took a class on deviance at U of Richmond awhile back, and the instructor used to work at the old Penitentiary. She worked there when this escape occurred, and talked about it in class. It was so funny. A lot of the criminal cases she mentioned were events with which I was familiar. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing!
I do find human nature fascinating.
I think the subject of memory is fascinating. I’ve repressed unpleasant memories; I can think of 2 I definitely suppressed, only to be reminded of them later, and remembering it happening. Huh-suppressed or repressed? Not sure.
Anyhow, I used to have this flash of a memory. In the memory I’m at my great Aunt Mary’s river cottage, and my view is out the screen door, ground level. That’s all the memory was. I loved Aunt Mary’s cottage. There was a ladder leading up to a balcony that surrounded the whole place, where all the kids slept.
About 8 years ago an aunt passed, and my Mom’s cousin, who is a bit younger than her told me when she saw me she remembered she and her husband babysitting me at the cottage when I was about 2. She said I crawled out the screen door. As soon as she told me that I “remembered” the scene and realized that was what I was remembering all these years. I was surprised a memory from that age would be even a little conscious.
Verrrry inter-esting, lol!
I leave you with a picture of a couple of felt bowls I made in a wet-felting class a few months ago.
Here are books in my Nook library I haven’t read yet:
Stealing Secrets – H . Donald Winkler, about female spies during the American Civil War.
South of the Big Four – Dan Kurtz, a novel
Divide – Matt Taibbi, about the wealth gap
Dangerous Ambition – Susan Hertog, about authors Rebecca West & Dorothy Thompson
The Kingdom of God Within You – Tolstoy
As A Man Thinketh – James Allen (more a story)
A Little Revenge, Benjamin Franklin & His Son – Willard Sterne Randall
Sister Queens – Julia Fox
The Sisters Who Would Be Queen – Leanda De Lisle
The Everlasting Man – C.K. Chesterton
Several true crime books, which I try to always have on hand.
Lancelot – Walker Percy
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons – Sam Kean – read about 2/3 of it.
Fire Shut Up In My Bones – NYT’s Charles Blow (pre-ordered, coming out in Sept)
Time Warped – Claudia Hammond
Hollywood – Charles Bukowski
And All the Saints – Michael Walsh
An Uncommon Education – Elizabeth Percer
Appetite for America – Stephen Fried (about restauranteur Fred Harvey)
Jungleland – Christopher S. Stewart (adventure tale)
13 Years in America – Melanie Steele
Orthodoxy – Chesterton
Pilgrim’s Progress – Bunyan
Adams: An American Dynasty – Francis Russell
I’ll See You Again – Jackie Hance
Hallucinations – Oliver Sacks
Several books by Edgar Cayce
The Fifth Child, The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
Faithless: Tales of Transgression, Marya: A Life – Joyce Carol Oates (Love her!)
Stuffocation – James Wallman (our materialistic society)
To Die For – Joyce Maynard
Biographies of Henry James & Amelia Earhart
Anatomy of An Execution, The Life & Death of Douglas Christopher Thomas – Todd Peppers (on its way)
Epilogue, A Memoir – Will Boast (a writer who has suffered the most unimaginable loss. I’ve read a few of his stories & like his writing.–pre-ordered)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
So, what do you think? Tackle one of the above, or be lazy and read a longform magazine article?
I’m going to leave you with a picture, just not sure which one yet. Ahh, here is a pic of my son with his future bride. Love!