Thumbs up for Essays on Russian Novelists by William Lyon Phelps. Literary criticism.
After I finish this *grrr* book I’m writing, my reward is going to be delving into Russian literature. (If you’re shocked that I consider this a reward—hi, I’m Emma! We clearly haven’t met.) It seemed like a good idea to do a little preparatory reading around the subject so I could know firstly, what to read, and secondly, what works are supposed to be satire, because it can sometimes be hard to judge that without context.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin. Sociology/Memoir.
A mishmash that works surprisingly well together: the history of women who walk in cities (flaneuses, to match the male term flaneurs); biography of some female writers like Jean Rhys, George Sand, and Martha Gellhorn; academic discussions on the social meaning of the suburb; the history of Paris; the plot of an art film; fragments of memoir from the author, which serve to keep it from being too academic.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard. Nonfiction/Memoir.
Obviously, you shouldn’t read this if you are easily grossed out, or are offended by the mundanity of death. Before you think my reading tastes are horrifying, let me tell you: you have no idea. I know people whose reading tastes make even me—a novelist—want to back away slowly.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Nine Hills to Nambonkaha by Sarah Erdman. Travel.
I picked this up as research for a story and within a few pages realized it was not what I needed. But by that time, I’d been hooked by Erdman’s writing. There are so many ways that a white woman’s memoir of her Peace Corps work in an African village could have been irritating or obnoxious.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism by Jim Krane. History/travel.
Astonishingly good. I would wish that all countries had books this riveting written about them, but I don’t think it’s possible; most places just won’t make your jaw drop this often. If this were a story about oil, I wouldn’t find it very interesting. But oil came late and comparatively little.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Psychology/business.
If you are interested in, hmm…business, creativity, learning, philosophy, travel, diet, training, or just generally getting shit done while becoming a better human being, you do listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, don’t you? Seriously, I hate podcasts and I listen to it.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years – Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.
Curse you, Amazon, for knowing my desires before I do. I was so good, wasn’t I, when you recommended this to me, and I ordered it from the library? You just knew that after I read it I would come straight back to your electronic embrace and order a copy for myself, because oh did I need a copy for myself.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman. Business.
Quick test. Can you define bootstrapping? The principle of loss aversion? Parkinson’s Law? What a CTA is and where you might use one? If you pass, you’re probably okay. If flunked any of those, my next question: do you want an easy-to-read crash course that will help you become an educated member of a modern economy?… >> Read more