In case you miss this blog when I don’t write, which I doubt, I thought I should explain why my entries have been few and far between recently. It is because I am working on a book and it sucks up all my writing energy. In fact, it sucks up most of my energy, period, in something like two to five hours a day, and leaves me with long, low-energy stretches of time in which I am good for nothing except reading, watching TV and movies, and making endless, hamster-like rounds on the walking track at the Y.
The book is going well but I don’t want to talk about it yet. Which gives me little to do but list the books I have read recently to fill the dull-headed hours left after squeezing out a thousand words or two. Here is the list of recent reads on my Kindle, beginning with the latest. After a morning of writing I have enough energy only for one-line reviews.
All Our Names, Dinaw Mengestu. In the middle of this now. Intriguing but I wish I liked the characters more.
The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison. This is making the rounds and I read it with high hopes. Unfortunately I could not summon much empathy with the author.
From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson. This blew me away because it is an academic-ish exposition of the main themes of the memoir I am working on.
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Michael Lewis. I have a horrified fascination with Wall Street machinations and if anyone can make sense of them, Lewis can.
Living with a Wild God, Barbara Ehrenreich. Amazing. I loved seeing this other side of social-activist-writer Ehrenreich.
The Husband’s Secret, Liana Moriarty. Pretty good chick lit.
Foreign Gods, Inc., Okey Ndibe. Started this novel about a Nigerian immigrant but lost patience with it.
Dust, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. Ditto. What’s happening? I usually love books by African novelists but these two left me cold.
Leaving Church, Barbara Brown Taylor. I love honest spiritual memoirs, whether by atheists (Ehrenreich) or ex-Anglican priests (Taylor).
Ghana Must Go, Taiye Selasi. I loved this African émigré novel, a portrayal of what can happen when brilliant people get lost in another culture.
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton. An absorbing, prizewinning, long novel set in 19th century New Zealand that entertained me but didn’t quite live up to the hype.
Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo, Anjan Sundaram. This guy went to Congo on his own, on an urge, without a job, and lived with/off of Congolese acquaintances. Nitty-gritty real.
I won’t begin to list the movies I’ve watched except to say that the BBC series Doc Martin has 33 episodes and is super-great escapism. Although I am getting royally fed up with the main character, the others (receptionist Pauline, the pharmacist who has a crush on the doc, the Larges, father and son) are a riot.