I started a book journal this morning, to try again to keep track of what I read in the year ahead, and I immediately realized why I've never do managed that:
I rarely read one book at a time, start to finish. If I wait until I finish them, I might never record them.
Maybe every once in a while I'll just photograph the piles of books lying around.
These are the books I'm reading right now--none but the novel An Arsonists's Guide are meant to be read straight through anyway.
1. I try most things Julian Barnes writes because his Flaubert's Parrot is in my Top 100. (SPOILER: There's more than one parrot!)
So far, Levels of Life is about ballooning & photography. Great opening:
"You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed. People may not notice at the time, but that doesn't matter. The world has been changed nonetheless."
2. The Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
I started this last week and didn't keep on, so I don't know if I'll finish it. Unlike J. Barnes's nice, dry style, it's full of the gratuitous glibness that is in style now but that bugs me--mentioning, for instance, that Emily Dickinson's empty house has a "dust problem."
Just because you can write a clever comment doesn't mean you should, at least not on every page.
3. Diplomatic Baggage is meant to be glib--an amusing romp through the world by a woman married to a diplomat posted to inconvenient places. When I'm feeling low, I read a bit anywhere in it before bed.
4. You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello
I'm slowing down on researching dementia, so I may not finish this one on the Montessori method anytime soon, but I love it's positive, creative approach.
You wouldn't wish dementia on anyone, the authors say, but it needn't always be the full horror the popular press and the fundraisers paint it as.
5. Sculptor's Daughter
Tove Jansson's short pieces about being a child. She really gets what weird & natural sociopaths children are, telling, for instance, about how she built a Golden Calf in the woods, hoping to bring down God's wrath.
6. Pauline Kael's movie reviews
Great in small doses.
7. And one I finished in 2015!
(Plus some little elf who stuck her head in the photo.)
Dee Williams wrote The Big Tiny about how she built an 80-foot house (plus loft) in her 40s after she was diagnosed with heart disease.
Another book stamped with the relentless clever-cuteness that serves as the sell-by date of the 20-teens. (Hey! I can do it too! It doesn't have to make total sense.)
Also a curiously large number of references to underwear...
But still a good story about choosing what kind of place [I almost wrote "space"--talk about a date marker] to live in.
Living as I do with another person in an apartment that is tiny by American standards, I related to what an ongoing adventure it is, the physical way we live, and how we can enter into that intentionally... or not.