The thing about blogging is that it’s not at all hard to think of things to write about. It’s just a matter of noticing. Going through your days paying attention to the things that give you pause, the things you read that articulate some thought that you hadn’t yet quite formulated, the books you read that you want to press into someone else’s hands immediately. But, as in a fairy story, these bright bits and pieces you collect will turn to dust if you try to save them.
(The same with Instagram. It’s just a habit of being aware. Noticing the small things like the way the light falls in certain places only at certain times of the year. Spending the treasure of what you see, not hoarding it for a rainy day.)
What is hard though, is writing about a book, even one you’ve loved, weeks or months after you’ve read it. And this is my confession: there have been good books & I haven’t told you about them. This blog hardly has a mission statement, but if it did, sharing good books would be right at the top. I could read what Kerry has to say about messy blogging all day long & still love it even more. So, in the spirit of catching up, of clearing the decks for summer, and of just doing what I can rather than waiting for perfection, here are some books I’ve especially loved this early summer.
10.04 by Ben Lerner. See my review of Leaving the Atocha Station here. I loved 10.04 and would read anything Lerner writes. For a review, try this one, by Alex Preston in The Observer who writes: “In constructing the collage of stories that makes up 10:04, Lerner is saying that life is too fragmented, too multifarious to be narrowed down to one single narrative, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be captured, in all its heartbreaking variety, in the pages of a novel.”
A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffam. Kerry suggested that Buffam’s uncategorisable book might make a good pairing with Suzanne Scanlon’s Her 37th Year: An Index, which I wrote about here and she was right.
Turn by Anne Truitt. You might remember how very much I loved the artist Anne Truitt’s first journal Daybook which Theresa first suggested that I read. Turn too is full of beautiful observation and grace. I found I marked slightly fewer pages than my frenzied marking up of Daybook, but that was simply because it deals with a stage of life beyond that of living with young children. Here, Truitt is a grandmother coming into a stage of professional fruition at the same time as she starts to feel the physical and psychological limitations of aging. She writes: “My life has accumulated behind my own back while I was living it, and I am receiving its accruement.”
Also pictured, two John Berger books, one a novel and one a poetic non-fiction, both of which I loved. My first Anne Carson read, which left me hungry for more. And two debut novels, both lovely in different ways, Teri Vlassopoulos’s Escape Plans and Claire Fuller’s Our Endless Numbered Days. Not pictured, Nicholson Baker’s sequel to The Anthologist, Traveling Sprinkler, which, continuing the poet-narrator theme of 10.04, I also really enjoyed.
So here ends my confession. (And, oh my, that feels better!)