Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've done more pleasure reading than I thought possible in these early weeks. I've read Life Work by Donald Hall, and my goodness, I am more excited about this poet's prose than his poetry. But I've also been reading poetry-- Marilyn Nelson's (though this book is published under her former last name, Waniak) The Homeplace. Like all her work, this is such good reading, and so rich with history and imagination. This book is a collection of poems about different family members, some of whom were born into slavery. I'm also reading essays of E.B. White, whose prose is so breathtaking that I can't help reading passages aloud to my husband if he is in the room. I just finished an essay about a pig dying, and various attempts to save him by enemas and expectorants, and yet the best word to describe it is beautiful. Next on my list is one of the many Sam Pickering books out there that I haven't read, probably Living to Prowl. Praise be that he is so prolific. I might perish if I ever come to the moment when I'm reading the last unread essay. I'm still waiting for Anne Fadiman to put out another book of her essays, but it's slow coming. If I were a wee bit less lazy I could hop on the MLA database and see if she's had anything in journals lately... but then again holding a book in my hand is what I crave. I'm starting my Christmas wish list now, and the second volume of L.M. Montgomery's journals is definitely at the top. I loved the first volume, and although I know she heavily edited them (i.e., probably took out a lot of the good, juicy stuff!), I still enjoy a peek into the mind of the genius who created Anne of Green Gables.

And so despite the typical newborn stressors-- the poop analysis, the fussy/gassy episodes, the volcanic spit-up (and it's no exaggeration), the diapers to wash/dry/fold-- and the typical toddler episodes of elation and despair (often within 15 minutes), I am finding moments that are mine alone. True, on almost all reading occasions I have my little nursling happily sucking, they are still moments of indulgence for me and I'm appreciating them. Before long we'll hit the phase of nursing when he'll be more interested in my book than my breast, so HURRAH to long, sleepy newborn nursings.

What's on your bookshelf right now?


  1. I love how you are living in the moment right now. I'd like to read some E.B. White essays - you have inspired me. I just read the first short story of Ian McEwan's first collection "First Love, Last Rites" and was so horrified that I think I won't read any others in the book. I'm really not sure that I'll do much pleasure reading for a while. You just made me want to sit with my chair and bookshelf for an entire day. I'm working in a depressing Starbucks in California, instead. I can't wait to meet that little munchkin - and hopefully I will have something more interesting in literary terms to share.

  2. Reading this post made me pick up the Anne Fadiman essay book you loaned me (and which I should have returned this week - sorry!). In reading her essay "True Womanhood," a quote reminded me of you. She wrote, "I first read "The Mirror of True Womanhood" while nursing my daughter in a rocking chair, in the midst of the tumult, part ecstasy and part panic, into which all first-time mothers are thrown by sleep deprivation and heal-long identity realignment." You're not a first timer, but I think you can relate to the words. Em, you need to start writing YOUR book of essays. I promise, I'll buy it.