Friday, April 15, 2016


That thud was me, falling off the wagon pretty hard.

After a solid run of books, and really loving making reading a priority again, I picked up Elena Ferrante's Troubling Love.  It seemed like a double duty slam dunk, with "love" in the title, and a slim little volume to introduce me to this Elena Ferrante dame I've been hearing so much about.

But you guys. I couldn't do it.  I read the first 10 pages about seven times, and then only made it to about 50.  It wasn't clicking with me, in spite of its clear psychological richness and the rich complexity of the characters' relationships. My defeat caused a spiral, and I went about 3 weeks without so much as touching a book.

(Also, I've been reading approximately one metric fuck ton of scripts a week for work, which I'm not counting here, so that might also have contributed to the lack of enthusiasm.)

A birthday gift from my husband, Daily Rituals, helped to reverse the spiral.  It's just a whole bunch of micro-peeks into the daily routines of various writers, composers, artists, etc. I made my own daily ritual of reading a handful of the profiles with my morning tea, which made for a rather satisfying start to the day.  The books is absolutely a "I wrote a blog and got a book deal" set-up, and it totally feels that way.  Also, I grew weary of the endless stream of self-destructive chain smoking white dudes, and would have loved a more diverse cross-section of artists. But it made for good morning popcorn reading, and for that I am grateful.

Next came Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming which was SPECTACULAR and I cannot recommend highly enough. It's a memoir, written entirely through short poems, for upper elementary aged readers. I am now convinced that poetry is the only way that memoirs should be written - the flashes of image, smells, sounds is so perfectly captured in a way that evokes the way that memory actually works. I rejoiced for all the sixth graders who will read this book and feel their lives transforming in a quiet way inside their bones.

Then, Philip Pullman's Clockwork, which I initially checked out from the library thinking it might be a good fit to adapt for a Filament show. It quickly revealed itself to be not-right-for-that, but I tore through it regardless. A dark, twisting yarn-within-a-yarn that includes murderous robots, clockwork hearts, and possibly the devil himself. Although very different from the His Dark Materials trilogy, it has all the Philip Pullman master storyteller hallmarks.  It's a perfect wintery not-quite ghost story for little ones who like to be spooked, or for big ones who like spooky things but don't actually want to be scared.

So it seems that right now I'm only interested in reading literature intended for twelve year olds, so I'm just gonna ride that wave til my reading mojo restores itself.


  1. I appreciate this little reading community having no judgement about whatever you want to read--big ass literature? go nuts. Kid lit? Have a great time. Bodice Ripper? not even mad about it. Thanks for letting us in on your reading journey.

  2. I'm in the same boat, having attempted to continue my nonfiction streak with a 500-page tome called The Nazi Doctors that has turned out to be full of Freudian psychology as well as history. Reading mojo and faith in humanity are both quite flattened. Those Woodson and Pullman books might be exactly the right remedy, though.