Monday, January 31, 2011

January Reading Wrap-up

It's been a decent month of reading. I want to highlight two books I read and then I'll finish with the completed reading list for the month.

Poser by Claire Dederer is a memoir based on the author's journey into the world of yoga after the birth of her first child. Dederer titled each chapter after a yoga pose and wove throughout the chapter her experience with the pose as well as life story. She did title five chapters "Child Pose" and each of those dealt with her eccentric upbringing in the 70s. As with many memoirs, the author is finding herself and that journey can be a bit self-centered, but I am by nature a curious girl, so I went along for the ride. Dederer is a writer, wife, mother, and yogi with the knack for weaving a tale.

In general I enjoyed this read, particularly because of my recent foray into yoga. I could relate to some of her distress from different poses and the personal comparison to others in the class. However, my one complaint was what she wrote in her Author's Note at the beginning: Some of the events and people in this story have been "run through the scrambler," to use Clive James's phrase. I've tinkered with the chronology of a few events for the sake of narrative flow or discretion. I've changes the names and identifying characteristics of some, but not all, of the people. Those changes aside, this is a true story, constructed from memory.

Okay, I appreciate the fact that Dederer was adhering to the pattern of full disclosure; however, knowing this made me question which friends were true to life and what facts she twisted to fit into her yoga-pose pattern for her book, etc. Would that bother you?

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin was my first read of 2011 (Betsy's Wedding aside as I had to finish that series first!) and a fitting read it was! Outside of my reading goals, I'm not so much of a New Year's Resolution kind of girl. But, I do know that something I want to focus on this year is contentment and cheerfulness.

The Happiness Project follows Rubin's year long project of focusing on building happiness in particular areas of her life. This is a very methodical project with monthly measurable goals that build on each other. Marriage, work, parenting, organization, fun, self-fulfillment are some of the categories she tackles.

I found myself encouraged by this book; it caused me to think more deeply about my life. Rubin doesn't come from any sort of spiritual perspective, so some of her process I took with a grain of salt, but I was quite glad I read the book. And even contemplated embarking on my own happiness project (nothing started yet, but the seed was planted). If you're in need of a happiness perspective boost, consider reading this.


Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Crispin by Avi (read for work)
Poser by Claire Dederer
The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (read for work)
Feed Me!: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image compiled by Harriet Brown

I am currently in the middle of Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell and have a pile of library books waiting to be read.

Did you read anything good in January?


Heather L. said...

Am loving the Happiness Project. Had to return it and re-request it in the middle!!! UGH! Lots to think about and a fun read.

Jeremy said...

May take up the Happiness Project based on your recommendation. Reading an end-times sci-fi yarn by Robert McCammon called Swan Song...a 900 page magnum opus. Reading "Finding God at Starbucks" and "Is God a Moral Monster?" both by the insightful Paul Copan.

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