Terrific Books

Brain Pickings & Some Good Books

The best way to get Trump out of your head is to read the smart, inspiring, eloquent website called Brain Pickings written by Maria Popova. Her piece on the new memoir by Bill Hayes about his relationship to Oliver Sacks and New York caused me to order it instantly. (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and…

A Gift From the Sea

God willing we’ll be able to exhale tomorrow. Meanwhile I’m rereading A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and feeling calmer. This book is amazing – first published in 1955 and still necessary reading. She writes about searching for a purity of intention, a singleness of eye, a central core to her life,…

The Odd Woman and the City

Oh, this is such a good book! It’s wise, funny, smart, cranky and full of love for New York and delves into the important questions about life and friendship and connection. The author is Vivian Gornick, (author of the wise, cranky, smart etc. The Situation  and the Story) When I love a book I make marks on…

Why We Write/Why We Read

Here are some of the reasons my students write: for validation, for the love of language, to heal, to get their story out, to go deeper in their life, to find the perfect words or sentences to express feelings, to connect, to entertain. And everyone said they’d write even if they didn’t get published. (Though…

Book Hoarding

My name is Barbara and I’m a book hoarder. Though I confess I’m still in denial – I mean there’s a reason I can’t give up the books on these shelves (in my office, living room, bedroom.) The reason is that the books are old friends. We have history.  I remember when we met, where…

My New Addiction: Tales of the City

I have become seriously addicted to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City (I’m a little late to the party, the first volume was published in 1978). For some reason I started in the middle of the series with Babycakes and it took me a while to get into the book. I kept losing track of…

Holiday Reading

I’ve just started reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. It got rave reviews when it came out last month but the plot sounded so complicated that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. I got it anyway and I’m now around page 100 and can’t put it down. I read her earlier two books ages ago and…

Shadow Tag

I just read Louise Erdrich’s gripping novel, Shadow Tag, about an out-of-control marriage that reads like a literary thriller – which it really is. You can’t put it down. I always tell my students that fiction is fiction, period. If it’s called a novel you don’t start wondering what was true, what was made up,…

The Wonderful Wild Rumpus

I cried last week reading the obit for Maurice Sendak, realizing there would be no more wild things, no more wild rumpus. No more books from this grumpy, brilliant, wonderful writer. If you haven’t read Where the Wild Things Are for awhile, get it out and reread it. It’s poetry and psychology rolled into one…

Beautiful Sentences

If you didn’t read the Sunday Review section in the New York Times yesterday, follow this link to Jhumpa Lahiri’s eloquent essay on sentences, “My Life’s Sentences”. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/my-lifes-sentences/?ref=opinion Here’s an excerpt:  For surely it is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time. To conjure a place, a person, a…