Monday, January 23, 2006

Writers Read

AKA: My Name is Maia and it's Been 1 Day Since my Last Book Purchase

So I had promised myself not to buy any books for the next while, but it turns out I have problems with truthiness. Oh well, these things happen.

I had bookmarked the website for Julie Powell's spectacular blog, the "Julie/Julia Project" a while back, but hadn't gotten around to sitting down and reading through it until recently. For those who haven't heard of this offbeat endeavour, it's a year (2002-2003) in the life of teetering-on-thirty-and-trapped-in-a-shit-job New Yorker Julie Powell who decides to work through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (circa 1961) and blog about it in an attempt to save her tenuous sanity. The writing is vivid, hilarious, semi-profane and delicious enough to make your mouth water every once in a while.

I was going to try to make it to the end of the blog before deciding if I wanted to buy the NYT bestselling book that she wrote based on her year of blogging, but I broke down by the December 2002 entry (Julie, you had me at Boeuf Bourguignon - attempt #1) and ordered "Julie and Julia".

On other reading fronts, I'm partway through "Open" by Lisa Moore, which is spectacular, strange, and beautiful. I'm also working through a few Anne Lamott books. I just finished her first novel "Hard Laughter", written in her early twenties after her father was diagnosed with a brain tumour. In "Bird by Bird", she describes how she found herself "desperate for books that talked about cancer in a way that would both illuminate the experience and make [her] laugh." On a trip to her local library she asked where the 'funny books about cancer' were and received a - how shall I put it - less than enthusiastic response. Folks, "Hard Laughter" is a funny book about cancer, a genre that might not have caught on, but a damn good read, nonetheless. I'm also working through "Blue Shoe", written after she sobered up and found Jesus. So far, I prefer "Hard Laughter". Don't know what that says about me, but there you go.

On another note, If there are any writers out there looking for good books on writing, I'd definitely recommend Anne's "Bird by Bird" and Carolyn See's "Living a Literary Life", which I've mentioned previously. I'd also suggest "Self Editing for Fiction Writers", which deals with the mechanics of editing in a straightforward and concise manner. They also have a helpful website at:

If you're in TO and want to borrow any of my books, just drop me a line. If you're in Tuktuyuktuk...well, I'd have to say that you're on your own. Sorry 'bout that.


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