Winter Reading

Some things I’ve been reading and obsessing over since mid-December that maybe you want to check out. (* indicates my dear friend Janet either recommended or lent me the book…I call it the Janet-Frishberg-curriculum-for-becoming-a-better-writer-and-human.)

Object of Beauty, Steve Martin (made me see the “art world” differently)
Bound, Antonya Nelson (after I read this mind-blowing piece on revision she wrote, I had to read her fiction)
Bluets, Maggie Nelson* (from Wave Books, so good it makes me want to write little prose pieces that I can compile into a slim obsessive volume)
Truth and Beauty*, Ann Patchett (about her friendship with Lucy Grealy)
Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy (Lucy’s memoir)
My Heart is an Idiot, Davy (hysterically funny essays)
Female Trouble: Stories, Antonya Nelson (compelling and character-driven)
Women, Chloe Caldwell* (a similar size to Bluets and a similar wonderfully transparent, up-front voice)

In progress:

Bad Feminist*, Roxane Gay (I’ve been recommending this to everyone I know)
Rome, Dorothea Lasky (her new books of poems with a polar bear on the cover!)
Monogamy Songs, Gregory Sherl (heartbreakingly sad; I’ve been reading it as I wait for the bike shuttle in downtown San Francisco to head back to the East Bay, and there’s something about the smell of the Bay and the dimming evening light that goes perfectly with these poems)
Lucky Us, Amy Bloom (Amy is one of my favorite fiction writers–I’ve re-read her other books multiple times, and am so glad she has something new out)

FAULTS: a teaser.

Our fingers ache from binding 200 copies of our latest zine, FAULTS but we’re stoked to share it with you. If you can’t make the party in San Francisco tonight, drop a line to indexfist [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll send you a copy (or local delivery by bike in SF proper!). Prose, poetry, and images from folks in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and of course, Fog City.

Habits of the Mouth: a few photos.

A little teaser for ya! We (Rebecca, Lulu, Francesca, and I) hosted the zine release party and reading for Habits of the Mouth on Friday night. Beautiful night, wonderful people who were great listeners, friends who brought things, strangers who became friends, the list goes on.

We’re doing another print run of the zine because we ran out of copies, so give a shout if you’d like one ($3 each). More posts to come with photos of the zine and some of the work.

Photo credits: Lulu Richter (top) and Shashin Chokshi (bottom).

Books I’m Obsessed With, Currently.

The title is pretty self-explanatory. I’m on a pretty big nonfiction kick these days, so take that into account.

  • Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fireeven if you have no interest in how the brain works, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, or The New York Post, you should still read this book. It’s a fascinating account of an early-twenties Post reporter losing her mind for a month, and how she gets it back.
  • Tash Aw’s Map of the Invisible World, a novel about the journey of a woman and two boys in 1960s-Indonesia. Gripping from the first few pages, and I’m not even finished yet, but already recommending it.
  • Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a classic about the 1959 murders of an innocent family in Kansas, and the investigation, pursuit, capture, and trial of the murderers.

And still in the middle of: Thich Nhat’s Hanh’s Fidelity and Dan Pink’s new book To Sell is Human. More on these soon!

Books I’ve Read Recently (that you should too).

In The Garden of Beasts – history written like a novel, the story of the American ambassador to Germany in 1933, the start of Hitler’s rise to power, terrifying and heartbreaking despite us knowing the ending

Tell Everyone I Said Hi – short-short and longer short stories by Chad Simpson, who won the Iowa Short Fiction Award (thanks to Lucy Schiller for giving me this one!), filled with poignancy

Reading Like A Writer – completely changed the way I view a *sentence* (Francine Prose also writes great novels)

Mendocino and Other Stories – a collection of brilliant, Bay-Area-based short stories by Ann Packer (read this after Prose’s book, and it will all make sense)

Reading List, Part 1.

Damien Keown’s Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction
Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupe
R.K. Narayan’s The Guide
G.L. Sharma’s Caste, Class, and Social Inequality in India
Women Writing in India, Volumes I and II