Wednesday, April 8, 2015

So far this month...

I've been listening to audio books more than I've been reading, which speaks to how much time I've spent in the car lately. It is not safe to read while driving. Thank goodness for audio books! I started the month with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Sweet, humble Harold sets off to right an old wrong by walking over 500 miles to see a dying friend and along the way he contemplates his marriage, his life, and the mistakes he has made. While there is a lot of rumination in this story, it is balanced with Harold's fumbling interactions with the people he meets along the way. What started out as a sweet story took a turn into darker, more serious territory that I didn't anticipate but which I found right and satisfying.

Then I picked up Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I have spent a good deal of my life in nursing homes, first with a grandmother who had dementia and then as a Activities Coordinator/Director. And I will say that this book absolutely captures the feeling of Alzheimer's. This is such a beautiful, haunting, humane story--everyone should read it and be reminded of the person beneath the diagnosis, amongst the confusion. I will say that perhaps this is not the book to read on your way into work. I arrived weeping on two separate days, although I am prone to crying for characters. At least make sure you pack tissues.

Finally, because I am sad that I am no longer a graduate student, and because I will forever want to learn, I picked up Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences About Writing. This is an excellent craft book that has caused me to slow down and think about what I'm trying to say, and what my words actually say. At first, this process tripped me up a bit. I started to fumble around in my early drafts, scared of how loose and unwieldy my writing was. But then I took a step back and decided that Klinkenborg's advice--for me at least--will be best used during revision. Which, as he says, is an ongoing process.