Introduction: Moving, Being Moved.

From my desk, I watch rain dump sideways, then clouds splitting to make way for a sunny blue, back and forth, filling up gray, emptying, a strip of red clouds reflecting the sunset over Forest Park, the sky eventually fading in that slide toward dusk. I like how the sky moves here, where the Willamette … Continue reading Introduction: Moving, Being Moved.

Mortality. Connection.

Tonight I learned that Brian Doyle, who unquestionably ascended to status as my favorite writer, has been diagnosed with brain cancer and will undergo surgery tomorrow. In this brief window of availability to write, to post, to have wifi, I anticipated feverishly catching up on the many titles I've audiobooked since my last postings. Instead, … Continue reading Mortality. Connection.

A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)

A Visit from the Goon Squad is another multiple point-of-view novel, though unlike another recent listen, The Mare, which included two primary and a few supplementing POVs, this book by Egan took a much more kaleidoscopic POV approach. The end comes back to the beginning, though twenty-plus years after the beginning, with the middle dipping … Continue reading A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)

The Mare (Mary Gaitskill)

The Mare is one of those novels with multiple voices, the same story told from a few perspectives. This one addressed class, race, privilege, propriety, paternalism, and the ill-conceived and self-congratulatory farce of "making a difference." And it did this addressing by showing, rather than telling, and included apt sensory language around emotion, and language, … Continue reading The Mare (Mary Gaitskill)

What Happened, Miss Simone?: A Biography (Alan Light)

What Happened, Miss Simone? provided the most comprehensive work I've experienced thus far about the iconic artist, as I've not (yet) seen the Netflix documentary by the same name. Since I've recently listened to a string of memoirs, the form of biography was a bit rattling. Yes, there were some of Nina Simone's words about … Continue reading What Happened, Miss Simone?: A Biography (Alan Light)

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living (Jes Baker)

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living was my antidote for self-hatred. It was not effective. For years I've avoided the body/fat acceptance movement. I've nodded along blithely as friends have extolled the virtues, I've agreed with the "fitness at every size" model. But I've held myself at arms length … Continue reading Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living (Jes Baker)

Spark Joy (Marie Kondō)

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, the follow-up to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, delves further into suggestions for how to implement what the first book outlines. By demonstrating how the relationship with material goods is one of mutual support, Kondō (aka KonMari) asserts that our relationship with … Continue reading Spark Joy (Marie Kondō)

The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection (Michael A. Singer)

The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection was, frankly, a time-filler, a distraction, and although I didn't unequivocally love it, I did enjoy the descriptions of the north Florida woods, and the concepts of suspending personal preference or will in lieu of seeing how the plan of Life (as a feminine-personified Force in Singer's … Continue reading The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection (Michael A. Singer)

Animal-Speak (Ted Andrews)

Animal-Speak: Understanding Animal Messengers, Totems, and Signs was a quick listen, just over three hours. The author/narrator was clearly well-versed in the subject, and displayed a fervor for promoting stronger connections betweens humans and the rest of the natural world. Takeaways, most of which were gleaned from the last ten minutes of summary: Noting the universality … Continue reading Animal-Speak (Ted Andrews)

A Manual for Cleaning Women (Lucia Berlin)

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories pierced me, leaving discernible puncture points. I was uncertain how she arrived in my queue, but wild-blind grateful. That collection was stunning. The weaving of truth and fiction and perspective and compassion and the long view of life and loving and family and redemption have left lingering threads in my … Continue reading A Manual for Cleaning Women (Lucia Berlin)