Reading Roundup: Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things

I don’t do enough reading reports/book reviews as you’d think. Sometimes I’m reading a book because I’m “digging,” i.e. reading the book to extract material to use in a particular project. And so my literary analysis lens is turned off. But some books — like The Luminaries and The Signature of All Things — I read for whimsy, curiosity and pure pleasure, and are compelling enough for me to sit down and outline my response to them in some way. I actually enjoyed both, and thought they made for interesting companions — though clearly I loved one over the other.

Reading Roundup: The Rules of Civility, Night Film, Country Girl

You know what’s also wonderful about fall besides apple cider donuts at the orchard, Neil Young’s birthday, riding horses and cozymaking in the kitchen? Reading books. Which I always do, but there’s something about doing it when the air is brisk and you’re curled up with some tea and a blanket that makes it an especially sensuous activity. Just burrow under a cozy throw, light a candle for some company and read away into the night, wind biting at the glass in the windows. Books becomes especially beloved to me when it’s colder, and I relate to them more sharply

Not Quite Through the Woods Just Yet

Just when I thought everything was okay after a string of unfortunate incidents — a bee sting, an infection and other tumults — I just got hit with something new. I developed a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotic I was taking for my infected finger. “Severe” means a sudden fever, chills, painful hives all over and my throat and airways swelling up — really, really not good. Like, Whoa, I have to get myself to the ER, stat not good. And just when I thought everything was going to be okay! Sigh. I got a crazy shot to stop

In Which I Commit Literary Sacrilege and Stop Finishing Books

I recently checked out a novel at the library — a contemporary book, just published, and getting great reviews so far. The back jacket featured blurbs by writers I’ve admired and read before, all praising the novel’s craft and comic wit. I was looking forward to reading it; I don’t read nearly enough modern fiction and am always angling to fill in the gaps of my knowledge. So a few days ago, I started it. It has an interesting premise, very zeitgeist-y you could say, and very hip. I could admire its craft, its subversion of narrative expectations; a lot