Updates 10/21/2015

I’m very late following up with my response to the Man Booker news, but Marlon James won it for A Brief History of Seven Killings, and I’m thrilled for him! The judges made the right choice. I think it was the best book by far from the long list. It’s not the book everyone wanted to win, but many were rooting for him and it was fun to see the celebration happening on Twitter after the announcement was made.

Looking over my list of reviews published elsewhere, it appears that I have published seven (seven!) of them since I last blogged about my review writing, which was in June. I won’t mention them all here, because if you are curious you can hop over to the “Other Writing” section of this blog to see the full list. But I will highlight a few. I’m proud to have had my first review in the Seattle Review of Books where I wrote about Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir. I didn’t like the book much, but it was an enjoyable review to write and I include some thoughts about books that try to offer writing advice.

I’ve been on a memoir kick lately and also reviewed Margo Jefferson’s fantastic book Negroland over at Bookslut and Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City at Open Letters Monthly. I also had fun participating in a Bestseller List feature at Open Letters Monthly, where OLM writers reviewed the fiction bestseller list from the New York Times. I tackled Jennifer Weiner’s Who Do You Love. You can find the first part of the feature here and my piece is #8 on this page. I tried hard to review the book honestly (I didn’t love it) without getting snotty or snobby about it, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

As for recent (non-Booker) reading, here are some highlights:

  • I finally got around to reading Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. What took me so long? It was amazing.
  • Some other amazing — amazing!!!! — books I read over the summer before the Man Booker madness: Heidi Julavits’s The Folded Clock and Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness: The End of a Diary. Both books are innovative takes on diaries and I fell in love with the voices in both. I resonated with their material on motherhood the most, but they cover much else as well. Another great book as far as experiences of motherhood go is Elisa Albert’s After Birth. I loved the book’s fury. So good.
  • I read the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle and was mesmerized. I’m eager to get to volume two (but you know how it is — it may be a while anyway). This is a book that should totally be boring, but it’s not.
  • Paul Beatty’s The Sellout — so good! Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk — so good!

I read some books that weren’t so good, but I’m going to dwell on the positive in this short post. I hope to be back before too long!


Filed under Books

11 responses to “Updates 10/21/2015

  1. My literary Twitter feed wents NUTS when Marlon James won the prize. It was really fun to see the support for a book that I loved. Now I need to read his other novels.


  2. I loved Folded Clock and Ongoingness too! Didn’t like My Struggle much at all. I abandoned it halfway through. Win some, lose some 🙂


  3. Rohan Maitzen

    You have been very busy! I really enjoyed following the shadow panel on the Booker, and more because of what I read from all of you than because he actually won, Marlon James is definitely on my TBR list now.


  4. It was just yesterday that I heard an interview on the CBC radio interviewing Mary Karr re. her book The Art of Memoir and now I see it here in your post. Thanks for the links to your reviews in other publications. I’m interested in reading them. And, I think I know what you mean about Jennifer Weiner’s book. 😉


  5. Nan

    I have both the diary books and the hawk book. Now to just find time to read them all! There was a piece in the Barnes & Noble Review about the diary books: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/review/songs-of-themselves-heidi-julavits-and-sarah-manguso


  6. The Folded Clock is definitely one I really would like to read and I am usually not a fan of memoirs. Hope you are doing great!


  7. Been meaning to read H is for Hawk for some time. Congratulations to Marlon James BUT I really wanted Anne Tyler to win!


  8. Unlike Nicola, I didn’t like A Spool of Blue Thread at all. Maybe because it was an audiobook for me and was just…dull. I’ve been wanting to read H is for Hawk and maybe I can get to it next year. Now, off to read your review of Who Do You Love.


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