Essay Challenge

essaychallenge2010I’m joining the Essay Challenge sponsered by Books and Movies at the 30 essay level once again.   If I can find the essay online, I’ll provide the link.

1.  “The Naked and the Conflicted” by Katie Roiphe – For the first Sunday of the year, The New York Times Book Review opened with an essay rather than a review of a book.  Interesting.  This essay compares how the Great Male Novelists of the 1950s and 1960s (Roth and Updike) crafted sex scenes to how current writers (Chabon and Eggers) describe sex.  Read it, you’ll think about it.

2.  “My American Friends” by Geoff Dyer – the latest English view of Americans.  My favorite quote:  The archetypal American abroad is perceived as loud and crass even though actually existing American tourists are distinguished by the way they address bus drivers and bartenders as “sir” and are effusive in their thanks when any small service is rendered.  We look on with some confusion at these encounters because, on the one hand, the Americans seem a bit country-bumpkinish, and, on the other, good manners are a form of sophistication.”

Essays from Heatwaves in a Swamp:  The Paintings of Charles Burchfield

3. “A Natural Preference:  Burchfield and Watercolor” by Cynthia Burlingham – A discussion of the consequences of Burchfield choosing watercolor as his primary medium.

4. “Conventions for Abstract Thoughts” by Nancy Weekly – A fascinating look at Burchfield’s creation and use of certain forms to relay specific emotions.

5. “Burchfield’s Highway” by Dave Hickey – A psychological look at the artist.

Another batch of George Orwell essays, this time from Facing Unpleasant Facts:  Narrative Essays, the book of essays Kyle gave me this year for Christmas:

6.  “Shooting an Elephant” – one of  my favorite essays, I read it the first time three years ago, it is a compelling portrait of colonialism.  Favorite sentence:  I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.

7.  “Bookshop Memories” – Love this and it reminded me of watching Doug Dutton greet and maneuver some of our own “not quite certifiable lunatics” at Duttons:  “In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops, because a bookshop is one of the few places where you can hang about for a long time without spending any money.”

8.  “Marrakech” – While “Shooting an Elephant” confronted colonialism, “Marrakech” exposes the undergirding of racism.  “In a tropical landscape one’s eye takes in everything except the human beings . . . It is only because of this that the starved countries of Asia and Africa are accepted as tourist resorts.  No one would think of running cheap trip to the Distressed Areas.  But where the human beings have brown skins their poverty is simply not noticed.”

9. “My Country Right or Left” – Orwell’s ponders about patriotism, it rings true for any liberal who lived through the Bush years.  Written at the start of WWII, it has interesting reflections on WWI.

10.  “In Defense of English Cooking” – When I read the title I thought, how can this be?  I read the essay and, in 1945, is was indefensible.

11.  “A Nice Cup of Tea” – Very clear and opinionated instructions about how to make tea, my tea bags are sure to horrify Orwell!

While traveling in Mexico I read the essays D.H. Lawrence wrote while living there from Mornings in Mexico:

12.  “Corasmin and the Parrots” – This essay captured the peace and beauty of courtyard living interwoven with thoughts on evolution, masterful turn of writing.

13.  “Walk to Huayapa” – I was in Mexico 90 years later, and yet witnessed almost the same thing during Holy Week:  “Thursday was the day of the Virgin of the Soledad, so the church is littered with flowers, sprays of wild yellow flower trailing on the floor.  There is a great Gulliver’s Travels fresco picture of an angel having a joy-ride on the back of a Goliath.  On the left, near the altar steps, is seated a life-size Christ–undersized; seated upon a little table, wearing a pair of woman’s frilled knickers, a little mantle of purple silk dangling from His back, and His face bent forward gazing fatuously at His naked knee, which emerges from the needlework frill of the drawers.”

14.  “The Mozo” – A curious portrait of the Lawrence’s houseman and the impact of the Aztecs.

15.  “Market Day” – A chuckled through this essay, we attended the local market day in San Miguel de Allende and so much is the same, very little is changed (although the sandals we bought had not been cured in manure, thankfully.)

16.   “The Mistress’s Daughter” by A.M. Holmes – Yikes!  The essay that spurned on the book.

July is for Essays!

Essays from Birth of Impressionism (fuller description of the essays in my review of the book and these essays were translated by Allison Anderson, click here for my interview with her last year):

17.  “Diversity and Discontent in Nineteenth-Century French Painting” by Eric Zafran

18.  “The Salon:  Ancients and Moderns” by Dominique Lobstein

19.  “Realism:  The Legacies of Millet and Courbet” by Dominique Lobstein

20.  “The Terrible Year” by Alice Thomine-Berrada

21.  “Manet on View” by Stephane Guegan

22. “Manet:  Between Tradition and Innovation” by Alice Thomine-Berrada

23.  “Impressionism and the New Painting” by Charles S. Moffett

24.  “The Ecole des Bagignolles” by Alice Thomine-Berrada

25. “Classic Impressionists:  Monet, Renior, and Sisley” by Lynn Federle Orr

26.  “Pissarro and Cezanne:  An Early Modern Friendship” by Krisa Brugnara

27.  “Degas:  A Snapshot of Modern Life” by Maria Lopez Fernandez

28.  “‘Secret Affinities':  The New Painting andRationalist Architecture in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Alice Thomine-Berrada

Anne Fadiman

29.  “Marrying Libraries” – about books and commitment

30.  “The Joy of Sesquipedalians” – meaning the joy of long words, this essay will cause your dictionary.com to implode

31.  “My Odd Shelf” – Amy’s essays describe fairly organized bookshelves, thereby creating the need for an odd shelf.  My bookshelves have little organization, they are all odd shelves.

32.  “Scorn Not the Sonnet” – incredibly touching, even though I don’t miss sonnets

33.  “Never do that to a Book” – I will be reading this essay to my family the next time we have a leisurely family dinner, my kids always do that (whatever that is) to a book

34.  “True Womanhood”

35.  “Words on a Flyleaf” – Keith and I exchanged dictionaries on our second anniversary, destined to be lawyers, we wrote much longer inscriptions

36.  “You Are There” – I’m a huge advocate of ‘you are there’ reading

37.  “The His’er Problem” – love her solution to the his or her issue

38.  “Insert a Carrot” – Keith and I have said for years that we could have a full time job correcting menus in Chinese restaurants

E.B. White

39.  “Clear Days” – quote:  And though I’m no warrior, I would gladly fight for the things Nazism seeks to destroy.  (Living in a sanitary age, we are getting so we place too high a value on human life–which rightfully must always come second to human ideas.

40.  “The World of Tomorrow” – I was in NYC, so I read this essay again, it’s amusing to see how accurately he perceived today by attending the 1939 World’s Fair, quote: In Tomorrow, most sounds are not the sounds of themselves but a memory of sounds, or an electrification.

41.  “Here is New York” – read it sitting on a bench in Central Park, the essence of ‘you are there’ reading.

42.  “Stuff I’ve Been Reading, May 2010″, Nick Hornby is back!

43.  “The Death of a Civil Servant:  In 1905 Modernism and Fantasy Met in the Jungles of Colonial Ceylon” by Lex Grossman – In one of my book groups, we’ve spent the year reading the ‘modern novel’ and right now I’m in the middle of Once and Future King, Grossman writes a beautiful essay about how both the modern novel and fantasy are a reaction to the changing world in the early 20th century

44.  “Only Disconnect” by Gary Shteyngart - every vacation we spend at least 48 hours where we are completely disconnected, it’s wonderful.

45.   Meeting Mrs. Jenkins by Richard Burton – his essay about meeting Elizabeth Taylor, quite a kick.

2009

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read an essay a day the first trimester of the year (short stories are the second trimester and poems the third trimester). Every day means Monday through Friday not including holidays, birthday, anniversary or vacation. Plus, I’ve joined the essay challenge at Books and Movies at the 30 essay level. If I found the essay online, I’ve provided a link.

A commercial moment for our own Independent Bookstore Reader’s Challenge – we’re offering our own challenge to encourage everyone to visit new bookstores, check out the rules and join us.

The essays I’m reading:

Jan 1 – Holiday

Jan 2 – “Goodbye to All That” by Joan Didion

Jan 5 – “In Bed” by Joan Didion – favorite quote: And I have learned now to live with it, learned when to expect it, how to outwit it, even how to regard it, when it does come, as more friend than lodger.

Jan 6 – “The Crack-Up” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – favorite quote: [T]he test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

Jan 7 – Anniversary

Many of the essays are from this wonderful book

Jan 8 – “Once More to the Lake” by E.B. White – favorite aspect – when White was doing an activity with his son that he had done with his father and how he saw his son as himself and himself as his father, the folding over of generations is a bizarre experience.

Jan 9 – “On Being American” by H.L. Mencken – favorite quote: The Americans do everything with the best of motives, and with all the solemnity that goes therewith.

Jan 12 – “My First Passport” by Orhan Pamuk

Jan 13 – “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin – one of my favorite essays, one favorite quote: I learned in New Jersey that to be a Negro meant, precisely, that one was never looked at but was simply at the mercy of the reflexes the color of one’s skin caused in other people.

Jan 14 – “The Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf – favorite quote: It was as if someone had taken a tiny bead of pure life and decking it as lightly as possible with down and feathers, had set it dancing and zigzagging to show us the true nature of life.

Jan 15 – “My Face” by Robert Benchley – I chuckled as this portion: The snapshots in which I do not appear are so much dross in my eyes, but I pretend that I am equally interested in them all . . . I surreptitiously go through the envelope again, just to gaze my fill on the slightly macabre sight of Myself as other see me.

Jan 16 – “The Courage of Turtles” by Edward Hoagland

Jan 19 – “When Buckley Met Reagan”by Ross Douthat

Jan 20 – “The Threshold and the Jolt of Pain” by Edward Hoagland – Favorite quote: Pain, love, boredom, and glee, and anticipation or anxiety–these are the pilings we build our lives from. In love we beget more love and in pain we beget more pain. Since we must like it or lump it, we like it. And why not, indeed?

Jan 21 – “He and I” by Natalia Ginzburg – I think this is a beautiful and humorousviewof marriage. I love how she interweaves a description of her husband, herself and their relationship. Others have read it with a much darker voice that I have, for me it reminded me how after being in a long relationship the couple mold and bend to each other.

Jan 22 – “Going Out for a Walk” by Max Beerbohm – I laughed, especially since I’m the type who loves to go for a walk, but now I’m going to consciously upgrade my walking conversation skills.

Jan 23 – “A Chapter on Ears” by Charles Lamb – I enjoyed the beginning with the transition from a description of physical ears to ‘no ear for music.’

Jan 26 – “Boarding House” by Samuel Johnson

Jan 27 – “The Solitude of the Country” by Samuel Johnson – I couldn’t agree more with many parts, it reminded me of how perplexed I am when people retire and move away from their entire lives and community

Jan 28 – “In Honor of the Complicated Mother”by Anne Lamott – not one of her best and she completely gets the Biblical reference wrong combining two separate stories which really irritates me, where were the fact checkers? How hard would it be to re-read the story to make sure it was right?

Jan 29 – Birthday

Jan 30 – “Spanish Stucco and Common Dreams” by Caroline See – a Californian I spent the entire I was reading this nodding, it is a description of the Californian (I’d say Los Angeles) home, favorite quote: And I don’t like houses that are too large. You rattle around in them. You get lost in the bedrooms. You find yourself alone.

Feb 2 – “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli”by Adam Gopnik – an essay on parenting and the pace of life, it makes we wonder if we are neurotic parents because of the pace of our lives.

Feb 3 – “DNC”by Michael Chabon – Favorite quote: The Obama camp would rightly dispute the charge of offering only “pretty words,” but they never seemed to argue the larger truth: that ultimately words were all we had; that writing and oratory, argument and persuasion, were the root of democracy; that words can kill, or save us; something along those lines.

Feb 4 – “On the Pleasure of Hating” by William Hazlitt – one overriding thought: hasn’t he heard of paragraph breaks? But a great essay on how we’re petty and base and life isn’t fair, but we struggle on despite it all. My favorite quip: For my own part, as I once said, I like a friend the better for having faults that one can talk about.

Feb 5 – “New Year’s Eve” by Charles Lamb

Feb 6 – “On Going a Journey” by William Hazlitt – a great companion piece to “Going Out for a Walk” by Max Beerbohm (Jan 22nd, above) and would be enjoyed by travelers

Feb 9 – “In My Mother, a Fear Stripped Bare”by Susan Sajadi – I strongly felt the author’s yearning to know her mother better after the insights she gained from her mother’s death bed disclosures.

Feb 10 – “Dream Children: A Reverie” by Charles Lamb – I know as a reader I’m supposed to contemplate why the dream children, but really, the essay didn’t conjure up enough interest for me to care

Feb 11 – “The Fight” by William Hazlitt – A peek into another time, but I think I would have understood it better if I knew all of the references

Feb 12 – “The Superannuated Man” by Charles Lamb – adjusting to obtaining your dream, not as easy as it sounds, an interesting companion piece with “The Solitude of the Country” by Samuel Johnson (Jan 27)

Feb 13 – “On Noise” by Seneca – Favorite quote:  Men and birds together in full chorus will never break into our thinking when that thinking is good and has at last come to be of a sure and steady character. Hopefully, someday.

Feb 16 – President’s Day holiday

Feb 17 – “Kept Together by the Bars Between Us” by Amy Friedman – my teacher and friend, Amy Friedman, earned the personal essay jackpot this week when her essay appeared in the New York Times Modern Love column.  It’s about her marriage to a prison inmate, my favorite lines are the last two, but they are spoilers, so you’ll just have to read them yourself.

I HAVE COMPLETED THE ESSAY CHALLENGE!!!  I’M STILL READING AN ESSAY-A-DAY THROUGH THE END OF APRIL, BUT WANTED TO STOP AND DO A BLOG HAPPY DANCE!

Feb 18 – ‘Spell “World” Backward’ by Bernard Cooper – a very touching essay for anyone who had/has family or friends with Alzheimer’s disease

Feb 19 – “The Chicken’s in the Oven, my Husband’s out the Door” by Theo Pauline Nestor – favorite quote:  I urge myself to find something else I am grateful for but can’t. And then I realize there is something.  It’s this rawness of spirit, the way the crust of my middle-age shell has been blown off me, and here I am, the real me.

Feb 20 –  “My Grandmother’s Autobiography” by Valerie Ann Leff

Feb 23 –  “The Trial” by Heather King – a convicting essay about the difficulties of being a Christian, especially with other Christians

Feb 24 –  “My Women” by Edmund White – okay, so I want to read his essay on Dickens (especially after reading Orwell’s) and I was excited about reading this one, but truthfully, ick.  I just don’t want to hear about adolescent boys or young men trying to figure out their sexuality.  Just not for me.

Feb 25 –  “Death:  Bad?” by Jim Holt – As a former estate planning attorney, I very upfront when talking about death.  I don’t hedge with “God forbid,” as if death is an option.  But as the same time, I don’t take it lightly, just fly on a plane with me, you’ll see.  I enjoyed this essay arguing that it isn’t irrational to fear death.

Feb 26 – “Meatless Days” by Sara Suleri – couldn’t wait for it to end and it went on and on

Feb 27 – “Why Do I Fast?” by Wole Soyinka

Viriginia Woolf Week - I wonder if I intend to like her writing more than I do, or if the fact that she committed suicide never leaves my mind when I read her writing so I always see darkness lurking or if my world is too loud most of the time for her writing, but sometimes I just fall in love with it and others it leaves me perplexed and cold

March 2 – “Evening Over Sussex:  Reflections in a Motor Car” by Virginia Woolf – I am impressed by her ability to take one scene, here the sun setting over Sussex, and make an entire world of it

March 3 – “Three Pictures” by Virginia Woolf – here, even stronger than in Evening Over Sussex, Ms. Woolf tells a dramatic story in three scenes, the emotion she packs into these four pages is beautiful

March 4 –  “Old Mrs. Grey” by Virginia Woolf – a sad portrait of a woman who has lived too long.  Loved the last lines:  So we–humanity–insist that the body shall still cling to the wire.  We put out the eyes and the ears; but we pinion it there, with a bottle of medicine, a cup of tea, a dying fire, like a rook on a barn door; but a rook that still lives, even with a nail through it.

March 5 – “Twelfth Night” at the Old Vic by Virginia Woolf – A very interesting theatre review, while discussing the play she also discusses the difference between writing for the mind and writing for the body:  The printed word is changed out of all recognition when it is heard by other people.  We watch it strike upon this man or woman; we see them laugh or shrug their shoulders, or turn aside to hide their faces.  The word is given a body as well as a soul.

March 6 – “Jones And Wilkinson”by Virginia Woolf – I enjoyed this story of two men who reap what they sow, it reminded me of the song ‘Ironic’ sung by Alanis Morissette

George Orwell Week - My son gave me All Art is Propaganda:  Critical Essays of George Orwell, I love these essays!

March 9 – “Charles Dickens” by George Orwell – he argues that Dickens saw and described the plight of society, but he was a conservative in that he never advocated change.  He calls him a moral writer because he didn’t see institutions changing unless there was a change of heart, the world would be a better place if people acted decently.  Favorite line in a long essay:  The outstanding, unmistakable mark of Dicken’s writing is the unnecessary detail.

March 10 – “Drama Review” by George Orwell – After reading Virginia Woolf’sreview of Shakespeare play at the Old Vic, I was eager to read Mr. Orwell’s take on The Temptest at the Old Vic seven years later.  He argues that audiences don’t understand ElizabethanEnglish, so won’t understand much of Shakespeare other than the physical gags.

March 11 – “Wells, Hitler and the World State” by George Orwell – I found this an interesting look into the intellectual discussion of the times (the essay looks back from 1941).  Mr. Orwell discredits Mr. Well’s thesis that society will be better under scientific men and orderly planning because he didn’t give enough credit to the power of bigotry, nationalism and feudal loyalty.

March 12- “Confessions of a Book Reviewer” by George Orwell – love this:  “any regular reviewer . . . [is] constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feelings whatever.”

March 13 – “Such, Such Were the Joys” by George Orwell – an autobiographical essay that is a touching reminder of how our perspective changes from children to adults.  More importantly, how events in our childhood cement beliefs that last a lifetime or take a lifetime to disabuse.  “It is not enough to say that I was “silly” and “ought to have known better.”  Look back into your own childhood and think of the nonsense you used to believe and the trivialities which could make you suffer.”

Essays on Writing Week

March 16 – “The Sentence is a Lonely Place”by Gary Lutz – I learned more from this essay than two writing classes combined!  Carrie at Books and Movies, who is running this challenge, wrote a great review.  I will keep this essay and read it over and over.

March 17 – “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell – He thrashes the writing of the time (1946), but then gives very specific suggestions (well, orders) for writing better.  An excellent guide.  Specifically, “[t]his mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing.”

March 18 – “Listening” by Eudora Welty – Favorite quote:  “Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories.  Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them.” I enjoyed her observation of the voice that she hears in her head when she is reading, how it is different from any other, but a voice that she trusts when she writes her own stories.

March 19 – “Learning to See” by Eudora Welty – An ode to her mother as much as observations on her writing, the last two lines are priceless:  “The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily–perhaps not possibly–chronological.  The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow:  it is the continuous thread of revelation.”

March 20 –  “Reviewing 101:  John Updike’s Rules” by John Updike:  Six short, sweet rules for writing a book review, I’m going to try them next time to see how it feels.

Nick Hornby Week - I went to my local bookstore, Diesel, to buy some books for my daughter’s birthday (our family mantra is “the best gift is a book”) and the bookseller mentioned Nick Hornby’s books of essays about what he’s been reading from “Believer” magazine.  I have loved them!  These five are from Shakespeare Wrote for Money.

March 23 –  “August 2006″ by Nick Hornby – (two books bought, six read) The essays are not only mini-book reviews, be prepared to add to your TBR list, but a primer in soccer/football.  He’s prepared me (given the little I want to know anyway) for watching the World Cup in 2010.

March 24 – “September 2006″ by Nick Hornby – (two books bought, none read)  It World Cup month, so no reading.  He starts the essay with promising to induce a Scientist of the Month Award, but his scientific knowledge appears to be similar to mine.  He realizes that naming Madame Curie month after month because that’s one of the few scientists he knows would be boring.  But the essay isn’t, it’s fun.

March 25 – “October 2006″ by Nick Hornby – (five books bought, five read, I’m going to buy Field Notes from a Catastropheby Elizabeth Kolbert) In which we learn that Robert Harris is Nick’s brother-in-law, that’s an intimidating Christmas dinner.  I like his philosophy about writing about books you like and want others to read.

March 26 – “April 2007″ by Nick Hornby – (six books bought, four read, I’m going to rent Robert Altman’s movie “Nashville”) On 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro:  The only thing you have to care about to love this book is how and why things get written.

March 27 – “May 2007″ by Nick Hornby – (five books bought, four books read, I’m going to add Naples ’44 to my TBR pile) I don’t completely agree with his thoughts on Orwell’s essays, remember I love them see Orwell week above, I found his thought that Orwell wrote about things that have utterly disappeared from the cultural landscape intriguing.

March 30 – Vacation

March 31 – Vacation

April 1 – Vacation

April 2 – “Art and Neurosis” by Lionel Trilling – Trilling isn’t an easy read, but it is well worth the effort.  In this famous essay he examines the connection between neurosis and artistic genius.

April 3 – “Why We Read Jane Austen” by Lionel Trilling – Claire and I both love Jane Austen, I’m not sure the essay has a satisfying answer and at times if feels dated to the 1970s when it was written.

Anne Fadiman is probably my favorite living essayist, I love her “familiar” essays.  I was in A Portrait of a Bookstore and the manager recommended this book, I have savored every word.  (I’m not the only one participating in the challenge that loved the book, here’s the review from A Life in Books.)

April 6 – “Collecting Nature” by Anne Fadiman – I enjoyed the realization of the dual nature of collecting, the finding and then the organizing and administering of your collection.  My favorite line:  “One may progress through life surrounded on all sides by drabness, but if there are butterflies at the center, they will never be a want of beauty or romance.”

April 7- “The Unfuzzy Lamb” by Anne Fadiman – After reading this tribute to Charles Lamb, I went back andre-read the Lamb essays I read in late Jan/early Feb, just reading them a second time was enjoyable but especially after reading of another essayists’ love for them.

April 8 –  “Ice Cream” by Anne Fadiman – A song to my ears, ice cream is my favorite dessert, and learning the history of ice cream from Europe to the United States was fascinating.

April 9 – “Night Owl” by Anne Fadiman –  my best thinking is at night and I’m right there with Anne and Dickens “For Dickens, as for me, the urban night was best enjoyed indoors, preferably with a book in hand.”

April 10 – Good Friday

E.B. White Week - I’m a groupie.  I will be reading E.B. White for the rest of my life.  My son saw One Man’s Meat on my desk and said “he writes something other than children’s stories?”  Kyle started an essay and said “wow, these are great.”  If you can impress a 15  year old teenager, you are great.

eb-whiteApril 13 – “The Ring of Time” by E.B. White – What feels like a roundabout but powerful observation of Southern racism.

April 14 – “Removal” by E.B. White – In July 1938 he wrote “we shall stand or fall by television.”

April 15 – “The Summer Catarrh” by E.B. White – I’m so glad we have allergy medication!

April 16 – “The World of Tomorrow” by E.B. White – His thoughts on the World’s Fair and what the future would hold.  Interesting to read decades later.  These words were particularly striking in 2009:  “When night falls in the General Motors exhibit and you lean back in the cushioned chair  . . . and hear . . . the soft electric assurance of a better life–the life that rests on wheels alone–there is a strong, sweet poison that infects the blood.”

April 17 – “Incoming Basket” by E.B. White – It’s comforting that E.B. White had a hard time staying organized also.

Anna Quindlen Week - I go to her essay as soon as my copy of “Newsweek” arrives, I will miss her.  These essays are from Living Out Loud

April 20 – “Bookworm” by Anna Quindlen – Despite the fact that I agree with almost everything she writes, she really hit the bulls-eye with this sentence, “I’ve always liked to hang around bookstores; among other things, I like the way they smell.

April 21 – “The Name is Mine” by Anna Quindlen – Keith and I didn’t decide on our last name until 6 months after we were married, neither of us wanted to change to the others, Anna understands, “it so happens that when it came to changing my name, there was no consideration, rational or otherwise.  It was mine.  It belonged to me.”

April 22 – “Husbands and Boyfriends” by Anna Quindlen – Date Rhett, marry Ashley, or if you marry Rhett, don’t expect him to become an Ashley.

April 23 – “Mother’s Day” by Anna Quindlen

April 24 – “I am a Catholic” by Anna Quindlen – For better or worse, here is how Anna describes her responsibility as a Catholic “that people should be kind to one another, that they should help those in need, that they should respect others as they wish to be respected.”

April 27 – “Got Poetry” by Jim Holt – The importance of memorizing poetry, Jim convinced me that we can all do it.  I’ll give it a go when I spend the last third of the year reading poetry.

April 28 – “Swapping Fathers, Swiftly” by Jane Alison – Another dysfunctional family essay in Modern Love, this one is truly odd.

April 29 – “Keeping the Faith” by Anna Quindlen – Favorite quote:  “the Catholicism of “Father, forgive them.”  That is the faith in which I have remained.  It is one in which the messages of your heart and your conscience take precedence over messages from Rome.”

April 30 – “June/July 2007″ by Nick Hornby – (two books bought, four books read) I’m impressed that there was a book Nick aas readingthat he didn’t like so first, he stopped reading it (I find that hard), and second, he didn’t reveal in the essay the name of the book.  Bravo!  There’s enough junk written out there, use your writing brain cells to talk about the good stuff.

7 thoughts on “Essay Challenge

  1. I LOVED I Feel Bad about my Neck, I laughed so hard until I wondered if it is a middle-age test, if you understand the book and love it, you’re definately in middle age. I read it last December, so it didn’t make the list. We just saw David Sedaris last month, he was brilliant as usual.

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  2. Pingback: Update: Essay Reading Challenge 2009 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  3. Pingback: Bookstore People · What I Learned in 2009

  4. Pingback: Bookstore People · Reading for the Maker of Lists – 2010 Reading Challenges

  5. Pingback: Bookstore People · Essay Challenge Complete!

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