What Are You Reading in January?

What is on your reading list this month?

How are you approaching the new reading year? Eagerly? Obsessively? Or slowly but surely?

I recently started doing research for a book I’ll be writing later this year. A lot of my reading is geared towards that goal.

Since 1st January, I’ve finished:

  • Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee
  • The Tale of Beatrix Potter: A Biography by Margaret Lane
  • Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms by David C. Tucker
  • The Art of Asking: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
  • The 1950s Kitchen by Kathryn Ferry
  • The 1950s American Home by Diane Boucher

I’m in the midst of reading:

  • Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr (not my normal cup of tea)
  • Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain’s Great Modern Painter by Geordie Greig
  • Coreography: A Memoir by Corey Feldman (reading it on a dare to myself…but it is actually not bad)

To be read by 31st January:

  • The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink by Pamela Katz
  • 1950s American Fashion by Jonathan Walford
  • The 1950s and 1960s (Costume and Fashion Source Books) by Anne Rooney
  • Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips by Michael G. Ankerich
  • Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s by Gerald Nachman

What is your favourite book this month?

Which book on your list are you most looking forward to reading?

Please share with me in the comments!

Happy reading.

What Are You Reading in December?

What is on your reading list this month?

Have you given yourself permission to take it easy, as the year comes to a close?

Or, as we race the clock to 2016, are you trying to stuff as many books into your brain as possible?

I am still doing the latter, albeit at a slower pace compared to November.

The other difference between this month and last is that I am currently committed to reading lighter fare.

Since 1st December, I’ve finished:

  • Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema by Tom Lesanti
  • Busted by Thomas J. Craughwell

I’m in the midst of reading:

  • Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era Edited by Lean’Tin L. Bracks and Jessie Carney Smith
  • Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors by Andrew Shaffer

To Be Read by 31 December:

  • The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-1964 by Zachary Leader
  • Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais by Suzanne Fagence Cooper
  • My Golden Flying Years by Air Commodore D’Arcy Greig
  • The Mind of the Artist by Laurence Binyon
Effie Gray Ruskin by George Frederic Watts, 1851

Effie Gray Ruskin by George Frederic Watts, 1851.

What is your favourite book this month?

Which book on your list are you most looking forward to reading?

Please share with me in the comments!

Happy reading.

Here’s a Nifty “Poster” Featuring a Quote from One of My Essays

I made this “poster” from an excerpt of one of my essays. It was fun! If you want to make a quote poster of your own, go to Recite This. A big thank you goes to Gala Darling for introducing me to this site.

A quote from one of my essays.

A quote from one of my essays.

[Intermezzo] Wherein I Offer You a Few Disjointed but Heartfelt Memories of My Dead Friend Frank on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dear World,

Frank died at 87 1/2 years old. Picture this: When he was a tow-headed little boy, just a toddler, his parents dressed him in short pants and a striped shirt and posed him on the hood of the family Model T, grinning. Feisty. He was named after a prominent ancestor, Benjamin Franklin, and they shared more than a name: both were brilliant, larger-than-life, charismatic. Actually, he came from a long line of characters: a grandfather who died, in his 90s, as the result of a bar fight, a father who was an early aviator. That family bred their men big, bold, and memorable. Frank, my Frank, my friend, came of age during the Great Depression. He had an older brother, equally brilliant; when it came time for Frank to attend college in ’37 or ’38, there was no money left. None. His brother had the degree that Frank would never get. He didn’t sweat it, moved on with life. Somewhere along the way he met a beautiful lady and they got married. Everything changed on 7 December 1941. Continue reading

A Year in Books/Day 135: Writing Dramatic Nonfiction

  • Title: Writing Dramatic Nonfiction
  • Author: William Noble
  • Year Published: 2000 (Paul S. Eriksson, Publisher)
  • Year Purchased: Probably circa 2000 or 2001
  • Source: Unknown
  • About: It’s nice-and occasionally necessary-to be reminded of the fundamentals. Most of us know that only by understanding the rules are we capable of breaking free of them. After awhile, it is easy to forget the basics; when the basics have been forgotten, it is all too easy to drown in your own hollow virtuosity. Beautiful but empty. It is smart to have instructional books like Writing Dramatic Nonfiction as part of your professional arsenal. Even if  rarely consulted, their very existence on your shelf is helpful. Whenever I look at the reference section in my studio, I am reminded that writing is not all style and instinct; it is a trade, a profession, a chore. It requires labor, skill, stamina. It is hard, technical work. This particular book is middle-of-the-pack. It doesn’t contain revolutionary advice; it will not change your life. You likely won’t find yourself turning to it again and again, until the pages are wrinkled and dirty, but it is solid and workmanlike; it serves the purpose of making you think, logically and clearly, about constructing your nonfiction using the pacing, demands and artistry of fiction. Noble deconstructs some of the most powerful passages from the nonfiction writings of Hemingway, Dillard and Capote, among others. That is what makes it worth the cover price.
  • Motivation: Oh, I’ve no idea. I honestly don’t remember how this book came into my life (which is extremely rare). Whether by accident or design, it doesn’t really matter. I’m a professional writer so it only makes sense that I own books about writing.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 30: “But the point is this: nonfiction or fiction, we can begin our conflict on the first page, and it will work just fine.”
  • Happiness Scale: 7