SOL 17: By the Book

Every Saturday, my day begins with the New York Times Book Review over breakfast. One of my favorite features is “By the Book.” In this column, an author with a recent or upcoming book is interviewed about his or her reading. I’m always astonished at the breadth of reading of these authors. So many books and writers I’ve never even heard of! Still, I’m fascinated by the responses and each week come away with a list of books I’ll probably never read.

I’d always thought this would be a good format for a Slice of Life, and last year, another Slicer (sorry, I don’t remember who) thought so too. Now I’m going to borrow their idea.

“The New Novel” Winslow Homer, 1877 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What books are on your night stand now?

I always have at least three books going at once. I just started Dava Sobel’s The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. In another life, I might have been an astronomer. Everything about our universe fascinates me. The jacket copy states that this book “is the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed the understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.” Dava Sobel is an excellent writer who makes her subjects engaging and accessible. Her book Longitude is one of my favorites.

See You in the Cosmos, by Jack Cheng, was just published by Penguin Random House. I have an ARC on NetGalley that I was hoping to read this weekend, but life got in the way of that plan. Maybe I’ll get to it on Tuesday during the blizzard.

My book discussion group is currently reading Dispatches, by Michael Herr. This first-hand account of Herr’s experiences as a war correspondent in Vietnam is brutal and unsparing, but written with the style and grace of a poet.

Speaking of poetry, I also have Billy Collins’s latest The Rain in Portugal, in the pile. Elaine Magliaro’s charming Things to Do is right underneath. I have long been a fan of Elaine’s poetry, and am thrilled for her that her first book has been published. I’m looking forward to sharing it with our Kindergarteners and writing “Things to Do” poems with them soon.

Finally, there is Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer, edited by Bret Anthony Johnston. This book is chock-full of ideas and ready to come to the rescue when I need one. There’s a section on “Getting Started,” “Character,” and more. I’ve been dipping in and out of each, and I’m sure one will show up here in the next few days.

There are at least ten more books beneath these, patiently waiting their turn. What books are on your night stand?

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, MelanieLisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

12 thoughts on “SOL 17: By the Book

  1. I like Dava Sobel’s books, and this is a new one to me. I have too many books on the nightstand, and now reading your post, I have a few more on my list. I too read more than one book at a time, have essays and poetry for bedtime, but reading the children’s books during the day. I have started the new Barbara Crooker, but have read just a few poems. Happy reading, Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great idea for a slice, Catherine! I love to hear what others are reading. I had to laugh at the idea of books neatly piled on a nightstand–mine are in piles on the floor tumbling under my bed. I’m definitely going to investigate a few of your titles!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks a lot! Now I have more books to add to my pile. I, too, read the Times Book Review section every week and “By the book”. I love to hear what others are reading. I put both “Exit West” and “The Sympathizer” on my list based on the stunning book review on yesterday’s front page of the NYTimes Book Review section. So many books, so little time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I should do a slice like this. Sometimes I am embarrassed by how many books I have going. I’m glad to see you do, too. My stack is about 6 deep and that doesn’t count the ones on the kitchen table.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post and post idea. I have so many going on my kindle and laying everywhere. Audio in my car: Quiet Leadership. On my kindle: Floria Steinem’s memoir. In my handbag, Readers Front and Center. I see I’m going to have to add some more.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this peek into your reading life, Catherine. I’m reading Roxanne Gay right now, re reading the New Jim Crow, and Jane Kenyon’d The Boat of Quiet Hours. That’s my “grown up” pile… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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