Now that I’d like to explore personal essays and creative nonfiction more fully, it makes sense to read more in that genre. These are a few nonfiction titles that have been on my radar for awhile. Since I’ll still be reading fiction for my book club, it could take some time to actually get to these books and read them. But I’m certainly going to try.
On writing and creativity:
Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir, by Natalie Goldberg. I’m surprised there’s a book of Natalie Goldberg’s that I haven’t read, but this one somehow slipped by me. Can’t wait to get to it and plunge in.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, as well as her recent novel, The Signature of All Things. I’m eager to see what she has to say on living the creative life.
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay. I’ve always considered myself a feminist-as a woman, how could I not?-but have been more on the sidelines, a “silent feminist”, if you will. I think it’s because somewhere along the way, “feminist” became a dirty word. The issues got all muddled. I’m interested to see how Gay tries to unravel the knots in these essays.
Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, by Lee Smith. I’ve never heard of Lee Smith (though she’s written 17 novels), but I’m always interested in how writers are formed. Lee grew up in the Appalachian South, and though she left it to go to college and get some “culture”, she never really left it behind. I think it’s the culture we grow up in that truly forms us.
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. Pre-Lilly, my husband and I would often camp and hike at Mt. Greylock in North Adams, Massachusetts. The trails there are a part of the Appalachian Trail, and we’d often talk about how great it would be to hike part or all of it. What an adventure that would be! It never happened, of course, nor will it ever, owing to Lilly’s issues and my deciding, quite a while ago, that I hate camping (though I still enjoy hiking). I’ll live vicariously through Bill Bryson’s funny recounting of his trip through the iconic trail. If I don’t get to it, there’s always the movie with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed. Another hiking story, this time by a troubled woman who was reeling from a crumbling marriage and the death of her mother to cancer. Her decision to hike over 2,000 miles from Washington State to the Mojave Desert-alone, with no previous hiking experience or training-is ludicrous and incredibly brave, born more from desperation than a passion for nature. Again, if I don’t get to it, there’s always the movie with Reese Witherspoon.
I’m hoping to get to at least a few of these books this year, and you can be sure if I do, I’ll talk about them here.
What about you? Have you read and enjoyed any of these books? Let me know, and we’ll talk about it!