Am achy and sleepy and just finished wandering around the house looking for something to snap. Books, being very slow-moving and prevalent—one might say the wildebeest of the Johnson home—were the obvious target.
Also it requires almost no mental energy to copy and paste my reading list for the year.
Here’s the list (in chronological order):
- The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
- Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
- Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf
- The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine
- Birthing from Within by Pam England
- The Documents in the Case by Dorothy Sayers
- Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener by Dominique Browning
- Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul by Brett Hoover
- Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols
- Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion by Phil Zuckerman
- The Best American Essays 2011
- Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner
- Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
- The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan
- A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
- Spirit-Led Parenting by Megan Tietz
- Breaking Up With God by Sarah Sentilles
- Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
- How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness by Harold S. Kushner
- What Good Are You Without Your Cheesecake Recipe? by Virginia Sobel
- The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
- The Black Tower by P. D. James
- Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
- In Praise of Messy Lives by Katie Roiphe
- Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
- The Autobiography of Margot Asquith
I seem to be allergic to fiction lately, a bad sign for a writer of the same. Bah. I also seem to be reading a lot of self-help—understandable in parenting matters but getting dull in personal enrichment. For a while I was reading self help with the hope it would tell me I wasn’t suited at all for writing and my real, true, genuine purpose was to do something else… hopefully something easy requiring very little ambition or motivation.
No such luck.
The most important books were by far Delusions of Gender and Good Calories, Bad Calories. Those are the ones that noticeably influenced my own life. For pure enjoyment, I would nominate Beverley Nichols, Amy Tan, and Twyla Tharp’s brief musings on the creative life. Although any of the essay collections I read were worth the time. I do like a good essay.
Next year: more books on creative process, childhood development and psychology (may read a textbook as I’m getting weary of upbeat parenting manuals trying to sell me things), personal finance, anything related to World War I and England, and a better showing of fiction.
Ok, and essays.
Some lovely, languid, rambling essays.