The problem with giving yourself a reading challenge for the year is that, come fall, you have a horrible moment of realization that you’re running behind. My Goodreads app does not tell me how many books behind I am, but the website does (thank you), and so last month I realized I was lagging behind.
Compound that problem by being a blogger with ideas, like a Whisks & Words Reading Challenge (capital R, capital C). Not only did I need to catch up on the quantity of books, but I had to get cracking on the items left on the Reading Challenge, and y’all, some of these are harder. Classics? Books published before 1900? Those aren’t breezy beach reads. I have to concentrate.
So in the spirit of getting things done and using what precious few months are left in 2015 (yeah, we’re in the home stretch), I got strategic. And this month, I’ve managed to cross a few items off my Reading Challenge. Thank goodness!
My Reading Month: September 2015
- Ana of California by Andi Teran. I already sang this book’s praises earlier this month in the first installment of Shelf Life. Needless to say, I loved it, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone.
- Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Last year, I read Joanna Rakoff’s excellent memoir, My Salinger Year, in which she works, at her first post-college job, for the literary agency that represents J.D. Salinger. She sets about reading all of his works, and I have to say, the way she described Franny and Zooey, the impact it had on her, made me resolve to read the book myself. And I’m glad I did. Really, if for no other reason, than for Buddy’s letter to Zooey. It’s gorgeous.
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. You know I love food memoirs, and I’ve discovered in the past year that I love a good graphic novel. This book combines the two, and it’s a super fun read. And I’ve been craving apricot croissants ever since.
- Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. I started reading this book in April, and I finished it this month. I used it as my meditative opening to my writing time, and Goldberg’s advice was usually exactly what I needed to see before tackling my own work. My friend Tara recommended it to me, and I’m so glad I read it, and therefore, I pay it forward: writers, read this book.
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book is short, almost more of a pamphlet, based from her TED talk of the same title. By illustrating injustices facing women – small things, social exchanges, the things that could easily escape our notice – she shows how both men and women need feminism.
- Nine Horses by Billy Collins. Oh, Billy Collins. I always know what I’m getting with you, and I always enjoy it. I read his poems and I crave cool mornings, libraries, sweaters, and a moment captured in a poem.
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I really wavered back and forth on this novel. I wanted to shake Catherine Norland, the novel’s heroine, and shake her best friend, too. These girls! So silly! So naive! Where was my wry and clever (if slightly taken in) Elizabeth Bennett? I heaved a heavy sigh and kept reading – and I’m so glad I did! Jane Austen always gets me in the final hundred pages, so that I sit up a bit straighter, and read fast, because I have to, have to, have to find out what in the world is happening! It did not disappoint. A lovely read.
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I should preface by saying that I would read Mindy Kaling’s grocery lists. Her new memoir is fun and funny, with laugh out loud moments and a little dose of writerly inspiration.
So how did I do for the W&W Reading Challenge? I crossed off a poetry collection (thank you again, Billy Collins), and a book published before 1900 (Northanger Abbey). Sigh. Still so much to do.