Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Research


It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I have lots to report on. But first I’ll focus on my recent reading. Lately I’ve been picking up title after title, consuming as much literature as possible, some fiction but mostly of the memoir genre. I plan to write a book, so I consider it not just a beach/bedtime hobby but very important research J Just as writer Harold Brodkey said, “You really can’t write unless you read. You have to know what the game is all about.”

So, I re-read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love.
I originally read Eat Pray Love when I was going through a rough patch in my early 20’s, living in a different city and feeling kind of lost. My friend Tory introduced me to this unknown memoir, which of course became a #1 New York Times Bestseller and (in my humble opinion) a disastrous major motion picture. But the book had – still has – its merits. I dog-eared many pages reading it the second time around. Like Gilbert, I’ve embraced yoga for its principles, not just for its poses. And Gilbert quite smartly broached the topic of yoga in a non-preachy manner in Eat Pray Love, while at the same time using the yogic japa mala number of 108 for her book’s structure. Eat Pray Love really resonated with me as a reader and as a student of both yoga and writing.

And I finally read Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck.
It was SO enjoyable. Literally laugh out loud funny. Ephron was hilarious and unapologetically “her.” I practically inhaled this first compilation of essays.

Then I immediately read Ephron’s next collection of essays: I Remember Nothing.
This was hugely disappointing. Not nearly as funny or enjoyable as book one.

Desperate for a plane read, I purchased this memoir at an SFO bookshop. I have a love/hate relationship with Lots of Candles. Only a few pages in, I regretted picking it up in the first place. I couldn’t relate to this woman with her country house and her NYC townhouse and her perfect nuclear family. Yet I felt compelled to keep reading. Quindlen is an amazing writer no doubt. Her memoir tells an optimistic tale of womanhood and aging, and her success story is certainly aspirational. Perhaps I wasn’t so into it because I’m still in the quarter life crisis zone, and not in the middle age demo this book is really speaking to. But as a student of literature (and of life) I don’t regret reading Lots of Candles, and I hope to revisit it in many, many years and have a whole different take. 



A

P.S. I also recently read The Newlyweds, a novel by Nell Freudenberger. This was not research. This was for pleasure. And it was enjoyable, but not can’t-put-it-down amazing.

P.P.S. Here’s a must-read list from Daily Candy. I think I’ll pick up The Receptionist.

8 comments:

  1. Read The Interestings and Where'd You Go Bernadette.
    Couldn't put down.

    ReplyDelete

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