The Sunday Salon: January Reading Wrap-Up

The Sunday Salon

January 31 near Pittsburgh, PA

This week has seemed like a month, and this month has seemed like a freakin’ year. I am no fan of February (hate, hate, hate that damn month), but am glad to drop-kick this January to the dirty snow-crusted curb.
~ my Facebook status on Friday.

Wasn’t January just about the longest month EVER? Ugh. Even I’m getting tired of my complaining about the weather. It’s gotten to the point of being ridiculous. And, as our friendly groundhog just informed us, we’ve got six more weeks of this shit to put up with.

One of the only good things about January was the reading I did. I read 5 books (with 3 of those being audio books). I also read 6 magazines, which included several issues of The New Yorker, Creative Nonfiction, and The Writer. There were also 3 books that I abandoned.

Here’s what I read: (links take you to my full review):

Next to Love

 Next to Love, by Ellen Feldman (audio, read by Abby Craden)

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted

 Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made the Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (audio, read by Amy Landon) 

Kayak Morning

 Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats, by Roger Rosenblatt

Mating Calls

 Mating Calls: The Problem with Lexie and No. Seven, by Jessica Anya Blau

Pandora's Lunchbox

 Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, by Melanie Warner (audio, read by Ann Marie Lee)

Definitely a variety, which makes it hard to play favorites for the month. I enjoyed most of these for various reasons (although “enjoyed” probably isn’t the right word for Pandora’s Lunchbox, which was eye-opening.) Kayak Morning was the only one that I found difficult to get through, because of the slightly rambling and disjointed nature of the narrative.

The True Secret of WritingI’m starting February with three books. I’m really enjoying Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing, which would seem to be a pretentious title if it was anyone but Natalie Goldberg. (And, to be fair, she does have her critics, as anyone does.) Obviously, there isn’t a magical true secret to writing – but in this book, Goldberg gives her reader the benefit of her wisdom as learned through leading “True Secret” writing retreats with small groups of writers and by showing her reader how to combine one’s writing with walking and meditation. It’s very rooted in the practices of Zen. I’m absolutely loving this. 

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It

Maile Meloy is an author I’ve been curious about for awhile; I’ve checked her short story collection Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (love that title!) out of the library several times, only to return it unread. I finally started it yesterday and liked the first story, “Travis, B.” about how, for whatever reasons, sometimes the distance between two people can be more than we’re emotionally or physically able to overcome. Meloy says so much in just a few pages with this one, and I’m looking forward to reading more.

Looking for MeMy audio book this week is Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, whom I feel I owe an apology to. Because this is a book that, despite being praised by almost every blogger, I had been dismissing as fluff. I greatly underestimated this one. But, I checked it out of the library anyway and when I had a 40 minute wait for the car wash yesterday, I put in the first CD … and I was hooked from the first few lines. I’ll be listening to this during my commute to and from work this week (and I suspect I might be reading some of the print book, as well).

I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done during the Super Bowl. My boy has been hard at work creating some kind of competitive game for us to rank and score the commercials, so we’ll be participating in that.

Happy Sunday – and happy February!

Thanks for sharing this post!
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4 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: January Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Laura@BunnyTales

    I stopped reading to go put Pandora’s Lunchbox on my ‘want to read list’ on goodreads and then came back and finished reading your post… then went back and put Looking for Me on my want list then came back to make this comment!! And after this I’m off to look up all the info on the True Secrets to Writing. Thanks for a great post!

  2. Beth Hoffman

    Hey, Melissa …. thank you so much for the shout-out! I’m glad that “Looking for Me” surprised you and I’m delighted that you’re enjoying Teddi’s story.

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