My Reading Month: April 2014

photo (16)For the past few months, I’ve been in a writing funk.

No, that’s not true. I’ve been writing. I write for Food Riot, and I’m working diligently on my book. But I have been in a blogging funk, which has distressed me. And every time I do manage to write a post, and I skip and celebrate and say, “Yay, I’m back!” it ends up being another month before I post again. One post does not a comeback make.

But I have been reading. And I thought I’d share some of my favorite things that I read during the month of April.


  • Shannon at a periodic table wrote about her own writers block on her blog in a brilliant series called the Just One Question Project. In a great collection of responses from writers around the web, she gets down to the pitfalls of writers blocks, blogger funk, and all the various and sundry issues therein. It was a tough question to answer – I know because I emailed Shannon and told her that I couldn’t answer the question, being in the midst of my own funk – and it hits on a common problem for writers.


  • Otis loves me! He loves me! And you know how I know? 1) Because he never leaves me alone. 2) Seriously, I can’t go to the bathroom alone. 3) Science. A new study tracks the emotional (or love) response in animals after interaction with humans (and other animals) and it’s true – they LOVE!
  • I ran across this essay by Tamar Adler in The New Yorker – “Learning How to Eat Like Julia Child.” I was doing some research for an article and ran across the essay. We always conjure up this image of a chortling, joyful Julia Child, uttering quotes like how the only reason to eat diet food is if you’re waiting for the steak to cook, and, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” But Adler points out that there’s a great deal of discipline to learning how to eat consciously – how to really taste food. As I spend more time these days eating solo – and cooking solo – this idea of learning to eat and learning to taste and factoring in discipline with enjoyment – this balance – really resonated.


  • I started the month reading Molly Wizenberg’s fantastic new memoir, Delancey:  A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriagewhich I reviewed for Food Riot. A fantastic book – I highly recommend picking it up when it comes out on May 6. Don’t go into it expecting it to be like A Homemade Life:  while it still communicates Molly Wizenberg’s fun, practical, and heartfelt approach to food, she is older and wiser and is, in this memoir, capturing a period of transition – a new venture.
  • Up next, I read Ann Patchett’s wonderful essay collection, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. I was inspired by her essays on writing, and I was the girl who cries on the airplane while reading the essay about when her dog died. At turns funny, sad, ambitious, and covering a range of topics from writing, to renting an RV, to divorce, to working to join the Los Angeles police department. Read this. It’s fantastic. And then read all her novels, which are equally wonderful.
  • Blowout, Denise Duhamel’s latest book of poetry, was challenging in a way I did not expect. Tracking the progression from losing love to healing to finding new love, the book was brutally honest and then also hopeful, and somehow also funny.


3 thoughts on “My Reading Month: April 2014

  1. I absolutely LOVED Ann Patchett’s “Happy Marriage”!! And I agree- the essay about her dog was a killer–thank goodness I wasn’t in a public place when I read it, but we’re definitely talking ugly crying face here. I can’t imagine reading it while sitting next to someone on a plane!
    Her novels have been a bit hit-and-miss for me–but I adored her memoir “Truth & Beauty” about her friendship with Lucy Grealy–have you read that one?

    1. I haven’t read Truth and Beauty (but I liked the essays about it in her book). I have read three of her novels and enjoyed them all. A professor once pointed out fatal flaws in Patchett’s novels – difficulty killing her darlings – but I think the redeeming qualities outweigh that flaw. The Magician’s Assistant was probably my fav – oh, but so hard to choose! 🙂

  2. whoa, hey, thank you for what you said about my JOQ Project! Honestly, i echo your thoughts about neglecting my own blog lately: it may not seem like i am, but in relative terms, i am: i’ve gone from a steady average of 2-3 posts a week to maybe 4 posts a month (some of which are Feast posts i do anyway and also JOQ which i mostly just let all of you write), which I don’t quite understand. I suppose i’m trying to determine 1) how i ever managed to do 2-3 posts a week and 2) how to get back to that somehow. It’s HARD though, and i’m sitting here unsure of how to do it, so we are very much in the same boat. I suppose if that last JOQ told you anything, it’s that you are not alone! 🙂

    I need to read all of this: especially the Julia Child article and the Molly Wizenberg one. I’ve admired her for a long time now and i’ve been so bogged down i completely forgot her new book was out. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂

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