It’s not April 1st, but I’m all too ready to jump out of January. Call me restless. Here’s my oddball mix to start the month off right:
1. I am reading way too many books. Too. Many! I’m talking 10. Or is it 12? And they range from CUTTING FOR STONE (the book club pick), UNBROKEN (which I need to get back to), WENCH (which I wish I loved more), Lorrie Moore’s SELF-HELP (for the 3rd time), Lee Child’s KILLING FLOOR (finally trying to figure out what this Jack-Reacher-character is all about) — I’ll stop there. You get the crazy.
2. What’s with all the nay-saying about memoir? (Thank you, Betsy, for your defense — you have a hell of a sold-list). Before I even started writing my own memoir (more than 7 years ago), I gravitated to them in the bookstore and on-line. Real lives, re-imagined. I buy books of author interviews, like CONVERSATIONS WITH WILLIAM STYRON and CONVERSATIONS WITH CAPOTE, the PARIS REVIEW INTERVIEWS. I’m addicted to The Actor’s Studio with James Lipton, who starts every interview with, “Where were you born?” Real life. Over at Dystel & Goderich, Stacey says she’s looking for narrative nonfiction and memoir, though she does say that memoir is becoming much harder to sell. Really? I have 2 full library shelves and counting …
3. Memoir-wise-speaking, I have a confession: I did not read the dreadfully self-indulgent EAT, PRAY, LOVE because the whole concept pissed me off. All that whining about her unhappy love life and having to buy (gasp!) size 8 jeans — too much wine and pasta and pizza! — broke my pizza-packed piggy bank. Can I say this story is dreadful, even without reading it? I say yes. I saw the movie. (I hate when people say that, but there it is.) I saw the movie. A beautiful, skinny, hot blonde living large and getting laid and looking for “real” experiences, while manufacturing said experiences. What a crock of bullshit.
4. But hey, EAT, PRAY, LOVE sold bazillions, so what the hell do I know?
5. Deep breath.
6. To fight the good memoir-fight, I’m also reading Caroline Knapp’s PACK OF TWO and APPETITES (thank you for those suggestions, Lisa G).
7. Lucky Seven. I’m listening to Joan Didion’s THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING while walking my dogs. Today, this line about the death of a parent stuck with me: “Despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, [a parent’s death] dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago. We might, in that indeterminate period they call mourning, be in a submarine, silent on the ocean’s bed, aware of the depth charges, now near and now far, buffeting us with recollections.“ It’s not a hot blonde getting laid in Bali, but …