The reentry to television production from weeks of international travel was jarring, but I suppose in comparison to last year’s reentry to unemployment, it’s a mostly welcome change. Given the length of our trans-Pacific flights and the travel-free weekends since, I expected my reading recap to be a bit more substantial, but due to an increase in cake baking and an effort to be social, uninterrupted time has been harder to come by. What books I did read were pleasant, a meandering diversion from the heavier books I had been reading (and the sort I hope to return to this month).
Onto February, and beginning sweeps in earnest. Despite my shelves being stocked with many Good Books to read, none of them feel like the right kind of challenge, so I’m going to make a shift for the month toward books that are more oriented toward several personal growth goals I have, in particular, learning a language and developing a few business skills.
None this month
One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir by Diane Ackerman – This is a sweet book, and a scary one. Ackerman’s beautiful prose brings you into her relationship, her home, and her terrifying struggle of rehabilitating a loved one after a stroke.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald – I remember as a 3rd grader writing and illustrating a book called “How the Red-Tailed Hawk Got Its Tail”, so clearly I am predisposed to enjoying a book about hawks. That said, Helen Macdonald’s book is about so much more than training a goshawk – it’s a history of her relationship with her dad, and a history of falconry, and a personal account of grief and recovery – and is certainly one of the most interesting memoirs I’ve read.
How We Are by Vincent Deary – Foreign bookstores are wonderful doorways to discovery. Whether it’s merely books you already know given facelifts and new covers, or books you’d never heard of, but find because they’re boxed in between books whose titles are in a foreign script, and pick up because they are the only book you understand, the effect is magical. Vincent Deary’s book – which I found at an ESLITE Bookstore in Taipei – is challenging and intellectual, the first in a scheduled trilogy about human nature. It takes you from the comforts of habit through the pains of changing, and despite a sometimes wandering structure, is full of truth.
How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton – I have not read Proust, so I wanted to read this book to see if it’d whet my appetite for the quest that is Remembrance of Things Past. I was unmoved, and feel similarly as I think back on the Montaigne book I read last year – it may be a sign that it’s time for source material and not these books once-removed.
What about you? How’s your reading being going?