sunday salon: summer’s end

The Sunday Salon

To say we (as in, our family) are dealing with a difficult transition brought on by the unofficial end of summer to the forced beginning of fall is …well, a bit of an understatement. Anxiety is always heightened as August segues into September, what with a new school year and all the adjustments that brings, but the past 10 days have brought something entirely different.

It’s the autism and yet it isn’t the autism. There are limits to what I can say in this space, which is in direct contrast to what I want to say. Most of this is not entirely my story to tell. This is new, unknown, and scary territory.

I’m finding myself in need of a step back from the outside world and have prescribed a modified Facebook break for myself for this holiday weekend and possibly beyond. I tend to check Facebook somewhat obsessively, and I’m trying to limit myself to twice a day.

I noticed that quite a few books in my immediate to-be-read queue were rather dark, which is not unusual for me but also not what I can handle right now. (Yes, I’m looking at you, A Little Life.) Back to the library they went.

Rising StrongWhile at the library yesterday with The Girl, Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong was prominent on the Nonfiction Bestsellers table. I hadn’t noticed it earlier in the week, so I took that as a sign of sorts that I should probably grab it despite having never read Brene Brown and being only slightly familiar with her work. Enough people are devotees of hers that I figured she might be helpful for me to read right now.

(UPDATE: Rising Strong is going to be a DNF, as I’m finding this too jargonish and … well, lacking anything I didn’t already kind of know. Perhaps Brene Brown isn’t for me or maybe this wasn’t the right book to start with.) 

Go Set a Watchman – the Harper Lee novel that is either much-celebrated or a representative of elder abuse, depending on your viewpoint – was among my planned reads for this blessedly long weekend. Alas, I made it through only two chapters last night before declaring this a DNF. I’ll probably do a longer post with my thoughts on this, which I approached with some skepticism and an open mind (at least I’d like to think so).  Suffice it to say that 43 pages was enough to put me solidly in the “this should never have been published” camp.

The UnspeakableThis week I finished The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum. Several of these essays in this collection resonated with me, particularly “The Best Possible Experience,” “Not What It Used to Be,” and “Difference Maker” – all of which best fit the theme of “the unspeakable thoughts many of us harbor…and the unspeakable acts that teach no easy lessons and therefore are elbowed out of sight.” (pg. 5-6)

Wonderful TownMy attention span for audio books is similarly limited; I’m listening almost entirely to podcasts these days. That said, I’m also listening to Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker, which has been on my TBR forever. I’m finding this to be a fantastic collection for filling in the gaps with authors and stories that I probably should have read by now.  The order of the stories presented on audio doesn’t match up with the print edition, though. So far I’ve listened to “Poor Visitor” by Jamaica Kincaid; “The Five-Forty-Eight” by John Cheever (another author on my list I need to read more of); and “The Whore of Mensa” by Woody Allen, which gave me a much-needed laugh.

Aside from the life lessons these dark days are teaching me, I finished my first MOOC, “Literature of the Country House” through the University of Sheffield and am now immersed in “Plagues, Witches, and War: The World of Historical Fiction” from the University of Virginia. One of the readings is The Physick of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, which fits perfectly with the 10th annual R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril challenge being hosted this year by The Estella Society. I’m planning to sign up again, as I do every year.

Hope you’re having a good Sunday – and if you’re in the States, hopefully it is part of a three-day weekend.

Thanks for sharing this post!