What are you reading?

by Melissa Dalton
Published on: January 8, 2014
Categories: Other Topics
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It might be a hazard from working in a library but I’m always curious about what people are reading. I asked the Scrivas to share and here’s our round-up of current reads. Maybe you’ll find something new…

Here’s to a whole new year of reading and writing!

Amber is reading:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I am “in” every page. It’s nice to hang out with “my” people.

The Woman Lit by Fireflies, by Jim Harrison. Damn! Every one of Jim Harrison’s words hits me in the gut. It demands that I do better in my own writing.

Liz is reading:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. Creepy, cool fiction.

5: Where will you be in five years, by Dan Zandra. Good start of year visioning exercises with inspirational quotations.

Calling Dr. Laura, by Nicole Georges. An interesting graphic novel memoir.

Building Stories, by Chris Ware. A cool box of stuff from the cartoonist who is coming to Portland Arts and Lectures…

Melissa is reading:

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. In this book, the main character dies repeatedly only to start her life over and over again, and the reader glimpses the changes wrought by her different decisions. Though the premise can wear sometimes, I am loving Atkinson’s language. I sit down to read and look up 75 pages later.

The Not-So-Big House, by Sarah Susanka. I love all of Susanka’s design books and eat up her suggestions for customizing your smaller space. I find her to be an excellent, clear, and engaging design writer.

Ruth is reading:

If You Find Me, by Emily Murdoch This is one of ten “finalists” for the Mock Printz Award workshop that I’m part of at the Multnomah County Library in a couple of weeks.
It’s required reading. It’s also inspired reading. Murdoch makes writing a young adult novel look so easy!

Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth though the Twentieth Century, edited by Avigdor Levy. Research, research, research. The history part of my next work of historical fiction. (I relax by reading another chapter in If You Find Me….)

Sabina is reading:

Together: Annals of an Army Wife (1946), by Katherine Tupper Marshall, wife of WWII General George Marshall. As far as I’ve gotten, it’s an interesting evocation of Army society life during the ’30s, and of a very capable man, awake to, and having an impact on, everything around him. For example, when he’d be sent to a run-down base, he’d spruce up his own garden and lodgings–and soon enough, the rest of the base followed suit. Or, when he oversaw CCC camps during the Depression, he advocated for the young men’s dental health–AND urged the dentist overseeing their care to write up a study about dental health across America, based on the representative young men he treated. This study ended up being published again and again, even in Time magazine.  (As a writer, I guess this book shows me some things about how to build a character (through actions!) — and how to give the sense of a time and way of life so different from my own.)

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, by Jack Mayer. While the writing is just OK, the story is amazing. An ordinary young Polish woman, a social worker, managed to smuggle out of the Warsaw ghetto 2,500 Jewish babies and children. Remarkable, the impact of one person’s decision and will for good. (I guess this shows me the importance of an emotionally-gripping narrative–and the power of Very High stakes!)

Various titles, by Georgette Heyer. A decades-long favorite — I began the year by re-reading a couple of titles by Georgette Heyer, the novelist who OWNS the Regency period. I’ve read Arabella and The Foundling numerous times, know exactly what happens in each novel, and continue to read them, and many other Heyer titles, with the greatest enjoyment. (I guess they show me the importance of voice–and that when a book comes together well, in the hands of a master, it is vastly more than the sum of its parts.)

Thanks ladies! Happy reading! Please feel free to share what you’re reading in the comments below…

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