I’m in the middle of three books, all very different. The first is Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean. It’s a look at 10 mid-twentieth-century women critics, including Dorothy Parker, Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, Rebecca West, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm. I’m loving it so far, about a third of the way in, especially the section on Mary McCarthy. The focus is biographical, with particular attention to how these women’s careers and reputations as critics fared throughout their lives, and also the ways they were in contact with each other and in some cases, friends.
Next is The Leper of St. Giles by Ellis Peters for my mystery book group. This group has been going for ten years now! That’s pretty excellent for a book group, I think. I’ve never read Ellis Peters (I didn’t even realize she was a woman), and about halfway through I’m enjoying it very much. It’s fun to read about medieval England, even though I understand it may not be very historically accurate, and I like Brother Cadfael as a character. The story is fairly slow-moving in a way I like — it takes awhile for a murder to happen, but you have just the right amount of time to get absorbed into the world and the characters.
Finally, I’m listening on audio to Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, about her experiences growing up trans, figuring out her gender identity slowly over time, figuring out how to tell her family about that identity, and figuring out how to make her way in the world. It’s also about growing up poor, in a family that couldn’t always take care of her well, in Hawaii, mostly, and also California and Texas. It’s an interesting story, and the audio is particularly good, read by Mock herself. I’m trying to listen to more audiobooks; I spend a lot of my listening time with podcasts, but want to add more books to the mix.
And then there’s this stack of books on the table next to my writing space. I’m not sure what I’ll read next, but possibly one of these. The stack includes gifts, books I’ve bought at my local indie, books I got from publishers, books I bought online (because my local store isn’t likely to carry them). Or quite possibly I will read none of these at all! I’m running out of book space and need to do some weeding, ASAP. Story of my life (and probably yours).
What are you reading these days?