I follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.
What I read
- GirlBoss, by Sophia Amoruso – If you like business biographies, this has got a healthy dose of that, which I think is the best part. Less interesting is her “advice” for young women. On one page she's giving you interview tips, on another page tips for hiring, and it left me thinking: who is this book for? A woman entering the workforce? Middle management? What I was hoping for was a book aimed at US, women who build our own businesses…but the advice was a little shallow for that.
- The Odyssey, by Homer – I'm sure I read parts of this in High School, but as part of my Great Books Project (details below) I wanted to read the whole thing. I was completely shocked by how gripping and … modern it all felt, especially if you read any sci-fi. I wholeheartedly love it, recommend it, and can't believe it took me so long.
- Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles – Another Great Book that was actually great. Of course I knew the story, but Sophocles's play positions us so we watch Oedipus discover his crime. My favorite bit from the forward (written by the translator, Robert Fagles), that perfectly explains its relevance:
“Sophocles play has served…our own terror of the unknown future which we fear we cannot control– our deep fear that every step we take forward on what we think is the road to progress may really be a step toward a foreordained rendezvous with disaster.“
I mean, right?
- 10 years in the Tub: a Decade of Soaking in Great Books, by Nick Hornby. I picked this up randomly from the Reading section of my library (geek alert!) and I am so happy with it. It's a collection of Hornby's “What I'm Reading” articles (you know I love that!) for the Believer magazine, which he wrote for 10 years. The articles are funny, memorable, and perfectly express what it is I love about reading. It's a biggie, and I've been reading a few articles every day, stretching out the enjoyment. (Warning: It caused me to add over a dozen books to my To Read list. Beware!)
- (Some of) How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler. I didn't read it all, because the tone totally turned me off. The author gets snobby (or as British Nick Hornby would say, sniffy) about reading and how to properly do it and while I learned bits, I didn't like his voice or style enough to keep going. But according to Mr. Adler, the only fair criticism is to agree or disagree (with a non-fiction book). I agree with this:
“The first piece of advice we would like to give you for reading a story is this: Read it quickly and with total immersion.”
“A story is like life itself; in life, we do not expect to understand events as they occur, at least with total clarity, but looking back on them, we do understand. “
What I’m reading
- Make it Mighty Ugly by my pal Kim Werker. I'm taking it slow, because I really really love it.
- The Magician's Land, by Lev Grossman
- Fictitious Dishes, by Dinah Fried
- Aeneid, by Virgil
- Confessions, by St. Augustine
The Great Books Project
After months of waffling, the Great Books Project is finally underway. At your suggestion, I'm holding most of it over on the Facebook page, with discussions of our lists, our progress, and regular quotes from the books I love. I'll be sharing a little update here each month, and you're welcome to join in on your own project, either in the comments, or over on the FB page (the joy of FB is that we can all reply to each other).
My project officially started October 1, but as you can see I got a little excited and hit two of my books already (The Odyssey and Oedipus Rex). This month I hope to plow through Virgil and St. Augustine. Do you have any recommended resources for any of them? (For example, I'll be using CraftLit when I hit Dickens and Wilde.) My entire list is here.
What are you reading?