Slow Sunday Jam 12.15.2013

‘Tis the season for lists, y’all! Santa’s making a list and checking it twice. And he’s not the only one! I’ve got shopping lists, crafting lists, to-do lists. And all around the Interwebs, lists of gift guides abound. This is the time of year when my love-hate relationship with the book world flares up:  as lists of the best, most notable books of the year are issued from every outlet, I realize how many good books I’ve missed reading, and how many books I get to look forward to adding to my to-be-read pile.

In the spirit of all this list-making, I want to gear today’s Slow Sunday Jam towards the list. Enjoy.

Slow Sunday Jam

  • We love lists, and it turns out that there are reasons that our brains get all click-happy when we see lists. And therefore, publishers take note and publish things in list form to get our attention.
  • Let’s just get right down into these book lists. But not all of them. There are too many. So instead, I’m giving you the NPR Book Concierge app, which will show you the best book suggestions based on your interests and tastes.
  • So yeah, you read all these books, and you rank them on Goodreads (or whatever), but how do you keep track of your books. Jeremy over at Book Riot explained the virtues of a well-documented reading log, and my organizational heart just got so very happy. True story:  in 7th grade, I was failing Reading for most of the year because I didn’t fill out my book/reading logs. The idea of documenting how much time I spent reading was just baffling to me, so I didn’t do it. If only they could see me now.
  • This was one of my favorite articles that I read this week, and it’s not really a list, but it fits our purposes here. Amy Tan talks about her writing style, which she defines as highly microscopic, looking for the personal, individual details that create wonderful characterization. And if you think about it, a list is a highly personal, detail-oriented document. We tailor our lists to the contexts of our individual existences:  what we’ve already done; what we know we’ll remember and therefore don’t need to write down; what is important to us. Our to-do lists are documents of our unique characters. My favorite quote from Amy Tan’s interview:  “Stories begin with microscopic-level detail, in the particularities that make up each individual life. That’s my territory.”

2 thoughts on “Slow Sunday Jam 12.15.2013

  1. so it’s late and i’m all distracty but i hyperfocused in on the Amy Tan piece, because i read it and just love her for what she does. I think it caught my attention also because she was just here to give a talk at our library (i didn’t get a chance to go, but wanted to), and i heard she was fantastic. I haven’t read one of her books in a long time, but it reminds me that her attention to detail is why I loved her writing to begin with. I’m adding her to my library list thanks to you. :)

    • I loved the Amy Tan piece, too. Her new book sounds fantastic, so it’s going on my to-be-read list. I read Joy Luck Club in college and loved it. It was one of those books where, about 15 pages from the end, I shut down into bad reader behavior: any who dared interrupt me were met with glares or pleas to just leave me alone for 15 more minutes. It was wonderful. And her article really inspired me to look at the way I approach my writing, the way I approach the idea of daydreaming. I’m working on daydreaming. (Which sounds a little funny, but I am.)

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