After a busy summer, it’s been good to settle into the security of fall.
But then, I remember: I live in Southern California. Fall is really just summer, but in months that end in R.
For me, though, fall is more than just weather. (I mean, it’s the weather. That part still depresses me.) But fall means back to school, which for me always meant back to reading more – reading for homework, reading to learn, to enjoy, to grow. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to challenge myself in my reading life, reading things that stretch me out of my comfort zone (like Roxane Gay’s collection of essays, Bad Feminist and Annia Ceizadlo’s memoir, Day of Honey) and also things that further immerse me in the areas I want to learn more (like the biiiiiig book I’m currently reading, The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher).
So while I might have to be satisfied with only the tips of the fronds of the palm trees turning a bit yellow, and the warm days and cool nights, I still have fall reading, and that’s no small thing.
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: This book has gotten tons of buzz, and it’s just as good as everyone says it is. Gay takes a kind approach toward feminism, embracing empathy, human fallibility, and common sense. This book made me uncomfortable at times, but it also made me think, made me ask questions, which is what I had hoped it would do.
- The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant: My first Diamant! This book reminded me a lot of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and told the story of a young girl growing up at the beginning of the 20th century in Boston.
- Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo: Holy crap, this book. As Iraq descended into civil war, Annia Ciezadlo and her new husband spent their honeymoon in Baghdad, where her husband would be working as a war correspondent. Herself a freelance journalist, she spent the next six years living in Baghdad and Beirut, eating, learning, and writing about the people as wars and skirmishes flared up around her. A thoughtful historical look at food and war and what both mean in the lives of civilians.
- Delicious by Ruth Reichl: This may be unfair, but I didn’t expect this book to be as good as it was. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel set at a food magazine, written by the women who would know that world best. A definite recommendation for those who love food and fiction.
Over at Book Riot
This month at Book Riot, I held forth about the necessity for writers to read; my editor crush on Judith Jones; how much I loved the novel The End of the Point; my weird habit of evangelizing to people about books; my outright giddiness over three memoirs by funny ladies coming out this fall; and four methods for choosing your next book to read.
- I’m super excited for Reese Witherspoon’s film, Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, to come out in December, and Witherspoon’s interview in October’s issue of Vogue just stokes that flame even more.
- Steve Almond drops some truth bombs about snark and respect and reading and writing.