What I’ve been reading

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella. I was number 76 in the hold queue for this book, but my library has this excellent thing called Lucky U, where they keep some copies of new, popular books to put on the shelves so everyone has a crack at them. The day this came out, I raced to the library after work and managed to snag a copy, which turned out to be really excellent, because then later in the week when I was stuck in bed sick, I could read the whole thing. Anyway. In this book, a couple is told by a doctor that they are in such great health that it’s likely they will both live to 100. The prospect of 68 more years together sort of freaks them out and sets in motion a bunch of events and thoughts that threaten to derail their marriage. An engrossing read about trust, secrets, partnership, and truly living your life.


10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

I’ve read scads of books in the past few months on meditation and mindfulness as research for the book I’m currently working on. I don’t include them on here because they cover a lot of the same ground and aren’t necessarily my “fun” reading, which is what I like to write about here. Anyway. This one managed to cross over from “semi-arduous research” into “fun reading.” Nightline anchor Harris, a religious skeptic with a monkey mind full of anxious thoughts, finds himself journeying down a path of meditation and mindfulness after having an on-air panic attack. Harris writes about all of this rather humorously, casting a judgmental eye on himself as he starts exploring this new part of his life. This is by far the most engaging and readable book I’ve read yet on mindfulness.


This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

I’m just going to quote from the flap copy here: “Doubly disenfranchised by race and gender, often deprived of a place within the mostly white mainstream feminist movement, black women are objectified, silenced, and marginalized with devastating consequences, in ways both obvious and subtle, that are rarely acknowledged in our country’s larger discussion about inequality. In This Will Be My Undoing, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.” That about sums it up. A powerful collection of personal and political essays about racism, sexism, and white feminism.


Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J. Georges
A graphic memoir about a punk zinester girl who desperately loves her cantankerous little shar-pei dachshund? SIGN ME UP. Yes, I loved every page of this long book. Yes, I cried repeatedly. Yes, I now will force this book upon anyone I know who loves dogs, especially “bad” dogs. A beautiful ode to friendship, love, loyalty, and the way our pets can keep us tethered to the earth.


Invincible Summer by Nicole J. Georges

After reading (and loving) FETCH, I had to check out some of Georges’ other work. This zine anthology collects issues of her zine from the early 2000s. A few bits in here show up in an expanded and more polished form in FETCH. Her zines feature stories about dogs, heartbreak, friendship, work, coffee, relationships, and so much more. They’re a mix of comics and narrative pieces, some sort of hastily done and hard to read/decipher, some much cleaner. Having spent my youth devouring zines, the messy format and sometimes hard to read pages didn’t bother me. There’s a second anthology, too, that I still have to track down.


Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges

When I find someone I like, I generally obsessively burn through their stuff. Obviously. This memoir covers a lot of the same ground at least briefly mentioned in FETCH, but goes into much more detail, especially in her childhood. Like the other two books I read by Georges, it’s a lot of stuff about punks, relationships, music, dogs, and identity. Here, the two pivotal secrets she is keeping/is being kept from her are about her sexuality and about her biological father. I greatly enjoy her drawing and her writing, so I’m okay with how this rambles and meanders, but stronger editing would have made this pack more of a punch. A highlight is, of course, when she begins to date a girl with four dachshunds.


Every BUFFY thing I can get my hands on

This picture here is my pile of BUFFY library books. I have others on order. If you follow me on Twitter, then for the past three months you’ve seen me OBSESSIVELY tweeting about BUFFY. Somehow, we had never watched it. Somehow, 20+ years after it aired, we all became obsessed with it. I am mostly stuck in the 90s anyway, so it makes sense that this show would be the one to snag my complete and total devotion. We watched the whole series in three months (and I wrote an entire draft of a book–as Matthew said, you really can have it all!). I now harbor an extremely problematic crush on Spike. After the last episode, I went to my room and cried my eyes out. So now Matthew and I are both listening to the Buffering the Vampire Slayer Podcast, and I’m reading the graphic novels, and we started the series all over and are watching it from the beginning (or, as I keep saying, once more, with feeling). OBSESSED.