Tag Archives: Book Blog

Book Blog – Literary Intentions – A Book A Week in 2015 & You?

How many books are you planning to read this year? Will you log and record them like notches on your literary belt before the details of what you’ve read slip almost entirely from your memory? Pile-of-Books-2That’s my plan for this writing sabbatical year.

As much as I am always reading something, I love the fact that this A Book A Week (52 minimum) in 2015 challenge has me not only reading with more of a sense of deadline and purpose, but I’m also making notes of things that stood out, instead of just turning down the bottom corner of a page on a memorable passage that I will almost certainly never go back to. That’s kind of symbolic of how much of what I read I forget, and the scattered attention span and memory deficit of our internet heavy lives. I’ve always read several books a month, but to even remember their titles a few months later is a challenge in itself. I’m usually reading 3 or 4 books at the same time, and this challenge is helping me focus a little more closely on one (ok, two) at a time.

I’m also more self-conscious of the narrative nutrition (or lack thereof) of a given selection, given the writerly company I’m in. (Thanks to Amy Stuart for quantifying a reading challenge for the year!) For example, I just read a technical book on writing for the web – that I will definitely not be including in my 52 books for 2015, no matter how much it looks and smells like a book, and no matter how helpful it might have been in explaining some concepts to me. On that note, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my guilty pleasure (ie – YA) selections don’t make it onto my official list, either – though those reads will probably push me well over the book-a-week mark to 52 on that less official tally 🙂

My current reading: (Books 2 and 3 on the list) The Writer’s Notebook II – Craft Essays from Tin House, and The Divinity Gene by Matthew Trafford, Short Stories of amazing inventiveness.

You can read my blog post on Book 1 – The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill here:  https://tenalaing.com/2015/01/09/book-blog-the-girl-who-was-saturday-night-by-heather-oneill-45-book-reading-challenge/

You can read about my Literary Intentions for 2015 – (My Writing Sabbatical Year) here: https://tenalaing.com/2015/01/01/writing-sabbatical-a-midpoint-check-in/


Book Blog – The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill – 45 Book Reading Challenge

Just finished The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, by Heather O’Neill. Without revealing too much, I hope: I expected to like it, and really did. I responded rather viscerally to the twinship – having a twin of my own. It was interesting to sThe Girl Who Was Saturday Nightee that fierce love and competitiveness played out from the perspective of fraternal boy-girl twins who’ve also known each other since “we didn’t have brains? When we were just heartbeats and thumbs?”

I found myself reading O’Neill’s English words with a French cadence, and feeling nostagia for a time in Quebec that I experienced first hand – though I lived in Quebec City and only visited Montreal. The idea of Separation and the looming Referendum were never far from conversations in the early nineties. Loved Nouschka’s voice, and although I found myself frustrated with some of her choices, often it felt like she had none… For someone who went to 13 different schools, it’s hard to imagine a girl who spends virtually her entire life on the island of Montreal. Despite the limitations (largely the men) in her life, Nouschka keeps pushing forward, creating opportunities for herself, while still loving the ones who stand in her way or hold her back. She even shows generosity toward her narcissistic father: “How lovely to be in a production of your life instead of being in your life itself.”

Finally, the imagery is so strong – as if Nouschka turns over every stone and has you crawl under it with her to see what’s underneath. I was squirming at points, imagining the smell of apartments filled with feral cats and crapped pants. Makes me want to reread Lullabies for Little Criminals.