Saturday, January 28, 2006

Miss American Pie

I received an advanced reading copy of Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets and Growing up in the '70s by Margaret Sartor to review for Library Journal. The author teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The diary traces her life from age twelve to eighteen. I'm currently on page 82 of 272 and surprised by how much I am enjoying it. I was skeptical about the ability to enjoy or receive much insight from the diary of someone so young, especially since I take such pleasure in reading the memoirs of older women. My skepticism was only heightened when I initially scanned through the book and discovered many of the entries were only one sentence long. It has proved, however, to be a gripping read thus far. I have put my other reading aside to finish this book. I also need to write for my own book this weekend, so I'm stocked with coffee and ready to go.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Journal of a Solitude

I finished the masterful The Heart is a Lonely Hunter last week. Simple brilliance. I'm now nearing the end of May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude. I can relate to Sarton's anxiety and feeling that she must keep producing as a writer. For this reason, I loved the following line on p. 89:
"The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Great Article

I highly recommend Justine Alsop's "Losing Our Minds: The Impact of Technology on Reading and Reflection," which appears in College & Research Libraries News (Dec. 2005). Her article is beautifully written and truly resonated with me. I share her concern over the loss of contemplation in our fast-paced society.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Books Read 2005

Beginning in 2001, I started recording each book I read during the year in a small notebook. I now have a tradition of typing up the list after the new year. This will be the first time that my list is online. (In mid-2005, I started reviewing books for Library Journal. An asterisk follows the titles of the books I reviewed.)

1. Coelho, Paulo. Veronika Decides to Die
2. Hathaway, Katharine Butler. The Little Locksmith
3. Colette. Break of Day
4. Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Fifth Book of Peace
5. Shulman, Alix Kates. Drinking the Rain
6. Hegi, Ursula. Stones from the River
7. Erdrich, Louise. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
8. Sikelianos, Eleni. The California Poem
9. MacLaine, Shirley. Out on a Limb
10. Brown, Stephanie. Allegory of the Supermarket (Poems)
11. Gaines, Ernest. Mozart and Leadbelly*
12. Epic of Gilgamesh
13. Brittain, Vera. Testament of Youth
14. Chicago, Judy. Beyond the Flower: The Autobiography of a Feminist Artist
15. Briggs, Julia. Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life*
16. Best American Essays 2005*
17. Gorman, Michael. Our Own Selves: Meditations for Librarians
18. Lessing, Doris. Time Bites: Views & Reviews*
19. Smith, Alexander McCall. No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
20. Smith, Alexander McCall. Sunday Philosophy Club
21. Kavan, Anna. Asylum Piece
22. Kavan, Anna. Julia & the Bazooka
23. Martin, Steve. Shopgirl
24. Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World
25. Brownley, Martine Watson & Kimmich, Allison B. (Eds.). Women and Autobiography
26. Feinstein, Elaine. Anna of all the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova*
27. Kostova, Elizabeth. The Historian