9/20/11

Summer reading...better late than never

Cover of "Traveling with Pomegranates: A ...Cover via AmazonIt was, you may recall, a discouraging summer when it came to my summer reading.  Every book I picked up irked me or bored me, but I finally found two that you might like, both, a bit surprisingly, nonfiction.

Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. This is a great travel memoir by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and her daughter.  Kidd and Taylor reflect on their changing relationship and their struggles to figure out what they want to do with their lives as they travel through Greece, France and Turkey.  My blog friend Bec sent me the book because a lot of reflection is inspired by the images and tales of the divine feminine (included goddesses) that they discover on their journey.  Especially if you have a daughter, I think you might like this book.  In fact, I was going to do a "Pass the Book" with it, but then I decided Carrie over at Rosalind's Revival needed it.  So I'm sending it her way.




 Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff.  Wow!  Talk about your epic life!  This biography is a fun and fascinating glimpse into not just an amazing life, but an amazing world.  There's sex, violence, intrigue, murder, mayhem and jewels.  So it's sort of like the CW only not lame.  (I tried to upload a picture but my computer was being difficult.  Sorry.)

Now I am reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, which also has murder, violence and mayhem.  But no jewels.  And that's a definite minus.

Thoughts?
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18 comments:

Joanne said...

I tried the Monk memoir, just couldn't connect with it and didn't finish it. As for your other two reading projects, wow. You'll have to stop by Whole Latte Life for a little "lite" diversion!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

In Cold Blood? I won't tell you how it ends.

I just finished (after two previous attempts) Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." I was ready and it was worth it. Now I'm waiting my turn for "Bed: a Novel" and when I get some ink for my printer I'll start on Dez's novel.

Margaret said...

Joanne: The Cleopatra bio just sounds weighty. It reads like a popular novel.

PA: I know how it ends, but I've never read anything by Capote and I thought that was wrong.

elizabethreinhardt said...

AHH! I read Capote's *In Cold Blood* when I was pregnant with my little girl. Now I can't think of the horrible brutality without linking it to my newborn. But it was a lovely, dark, twisted book, and I don't regret reading it. The timing is another story...

Petrea Burchard said...

I think I know why you're attracted to nonfiction right now. Sometimes when you're writing fiction, the writer's tricks are too obvious to you and you need a break. You can't get into fiction because you can't read it without analyzing it.

Or maybe not.

I'm currently reading Kidd's "The Mermaid Chair" and having that experience.

I read Didion's book and found myself unsympathetic, not to her grief, that is awful, but to her lifestyle. Not only do most of us not get to go to Paris even when it's inconvenient, but enough with the Dan Brown italics already.

I've been hooked on the Writers on Writing podcasts lately and have listened to a lot of memoir writers telling their tales. Keeping a list.

I'll stop now. Books on the brain.

Susan Campisi said...

I hate that I don't have time to read these days. But I did enjoy a memoir over the summer, purely by chance when I picked it up at LAX: Lit by Mary Karr. Happy to pass it on if anyone's interested.

Cleopatra bio sounds great.

Shell Sherree said...

I'd like to read about Cleopatra. I'm shamefully ignorant about her, and if there are jewels, I'd like to rectify that. By somewhat of a contrast, I've just checked two Seth Godin books out of the library. I'll have to get back to you on those.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Thanks for this recommendation! Strangely enough I had a hard time reading this summer to- the books I had on stock just didn't do it for me.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

I know my Carrie will love the book from you, Margaret. She has me reading "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller at the moment and I really like it. (I think she mentioned this to you on the day we met for lunch...)

Daisy said...

I've read Sue Monk Kidd's other books and enjoyed them so will have to try this one too! I find "serious" books take longer because I read a little and think a lot. Someone passed on two Dean Koontz books and I've indulged in them both. Also good for murder, mayham, spookiness! ;-)
Barbara

Olga said...

I read The Monk memoir and thought of you so I'm glad you have read that. My sister-in-law is getting the Cleopatra book for Christmas. I read IN Cold Blood in high school and really never forgot it.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

In defense of Didion, there is great wisdom in her experience, especially when your going through a period of grief. This article, struck a chord with me.

A favorite passage in the article and why I returned to "Magical Thinking"

"When I mention Didion’s belief that we are not allowed time to grieve, her eyes fill with tears. “After just a few days,” she says, “even friends don’t want to hear about it. They would rather you act ‘normal.’

@Susan...please pass it on to me. The last two books I read through were Karr's "Liars Club" and "Cherry; A Memior" I couldn't make it through Lit but I did earn a rather sizable library fine on it. Yes, another book I'm ready to return to.

Margaret said...

Funny how different books speak to us at different times in our lives. I remember reading the Grapes of Wrath in high school and hating it. But then I had to teach it as a grad student in US history and I thought it was so beautiful. Also, I loved How to Be Good by Nick Hornby when I first encountered it, but then I tried reading it this summer (the summer of disenchantment and couldn't do it.) I did re-read Moo by Jane Smiley. I can't even say how much I love that book.

altadenahiker said...

I like Breakfast at Tiffany's (and don't confuse the book with the movie; they have little in common)far more than In Cold Blood. In Tiffany's, he never uses one word too many.

I just started The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch and My Uncle Oswald by Raold Dahl.

Carrie Rosalind said...

Oh, I can't wait to read this book! Just realized I never sent you my address - I will send it your way now! :) Thanks for passing it on to me.

Desiree said...

YES I'll be reading this.
WHY In Cold Blood, why?

Star said...

Have I mentioned "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," yet? (No, I haven't seen the movie.) Also loved "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel" (did they make a movie? If they did, I haven't seen it). Both of these I found fantastic. Am I repeating myself? Handy hint for increasing your serenity factor: keep a copy of Marcus Aurelius' (marvelous) "Meditations" by your bedside, and read a few paragraphs every night before turning out the lights.

Coppertop said...

Now that I have children my relationship with my mother has changed... it's been a process but we are closer now, and I see things from her perspective in a way that only in-your-face experience can bring. To hear that there is a book out there about mother/daughter schtuff is cool..I'll check it out.