1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 was hyped as Haruki Murakami’s magnum opus before its American release in 2011 and I remember being as intrigued by its description as I had been about Donna Tartt’s equally hyped The Secret History many years earlier. Even though I rushed to buy a copy, my cherished hardback with its amazing translucent dust jacket says Third Printing.

Continue reading “1Q84 by Haruki Murakami”

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is one of those writers that has me laughing out loud while I’m reading, even in public places. In fact, I recommend not taking a drink of anything while reading Sedaris lest you end up spitting, choking or having liquid come out your nose. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud behind my anti-virus mask when I was tucked into a comfy chair at the BMW dealership, waiting for my i3 to have its oil changed and I think I made the other people in the waiting area uncomfortable.

Not every essay in When You Are Engulfed in Flames made me laugh out loud and some didn’t even make me chuckle silently. Sedaris can be perverse, gross and even mean, and sometimes his subject matter doesn’t appeal to me. However, since I’ve read that he is an avid roadside litter collector–something I would like to be more avid about, especially since I often find cash while I’m picking up trash–I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Continue reading “When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris”

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow

When I first began my career as a personal organizer I worked with a few hoarders. A hoarder is defined as someone who accumulate so much stuff that their life is unmanageable and several rooms in the house are unable to be used for their intended purpose. I stopped working with hoarders when I realized that the disorder is much more of mental illness than disorganization and, even with therapy, is very difficult to “cure.” But people are fasciated by it and it is usually the first thing someone asks me about when they find out what I do. E.L. Doctorow’s novel Homer & Langley is based on the lives of two men who are sort of the original American hoarders, Homer & Langley Collyer.

Continue reading “Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow”

Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli and Me by Patricia Volk

I ended up loving everything about this book, yet when I first pulled it from my library and looked it over, I thought it might go into the give away bag without a reread and blog entry. The gorgeous, heavy and shagreen-pebbled dust jacket, in shocking pink of course, convinced me to at least give it a try. It had been a long time since I read it and didn’t remember it at all. It hooked me immediately.

Continue reading “Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli and Me by Patricia Volk”

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

For some reason I was hesitant to pick up this book again. I’d read it at least twice before and remembered loving it but didn’t recall too many specifics; it had been a long time. Nothing about the Library of Congress list of themes particularly appealed to me: hermaphroditism, teenagers, Greek Americans, Detroit. One did lightly strike a chord–gender identity–because I’ve recently completed an experimental class on body image and sexualization of females. So I pulled Middlesex off the shelf.

Continue reading “Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides”

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

It’s been a while since I’ve chosen a book from my library for this blog. Virus and fire have put the fear of angry Mother Nature into me and my thoughts have been mostly short term and skittish. I haven’t experienced such an undercurrent of dread since I listened to the Beatles Revolution #9, forwards. (I was too scared to listen to it backwards and besides, didn’t want to screw up my turntable.) I’ve been longhand journaling, but on sadly mundane topics like home projects, workouts, finances and what I’ve been putting into my mouth. Food, mostly.

Continue reading “If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland”

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Back in late March 2020 I was on a kick to think of books that would be good to read during the pandemic, specifically under the shelter-in-place conditions. A Gentleman in Moscow immediately came to mind, reviewed earlier, as did Bocaccio’s The Decameron, which I don’t own, so won’t review. Then I remembered Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, a favorite novel of mine that has only dimmed a bit in favorite-ness because I have liked so few of Patchett’s other novels. Continue reading “Bel Canto by Ann Patchett”

Polishing the Mirror by Ram Dass

Over the last seven or eight months, the man I’m seeing and I made a pact to incorporate some spiritual growth activities into our couples life. We started meditating in the mornings, which we have been very diligent about, and have tried to read spiritual literature aloud to each other in the evenings, which we have been less diligent about. Somehow in the evenings, especially after many months of Covid-19 situational stress, we end up zoning out with an episode of Sons of Anarchy instead. Continue reading “Polishing the Mirror by Ram Dass”

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The first time I read A Gentleman in Moscow was for a real book club. I absolutely adored it on my first read, and I had been very attentive, knowing that I would be discussing it with some very smart women in a few short weeks. I had really enjoyed Amor Towles first novel, Rules of Civility, although it had a somewhat chilly tone, and found A Gentleman in Moscow to be a much warmer and even more satisfying a read. Continue reading “A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles”

Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna

I grew up in a windy town on California’s Central Coast that often smelled of broccoli. Later the town became famous for strawberries, and even later for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine grapes, all fragrant and lovely. But when I was young the dark, slightly sulpherous stench of raw broccoli hitched ¬†on the Pacific breeze from the west like a hobo soul escaped from a corner of hell reserved for flatulent failed farmers. Continue reading “Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna”