When it’s cold the reading comes out

It’s been cold lately, and the days getting shorter, and there was that big snowstorn last weekend – a drumstick’s worth of snow on our fence here at Chez Sweetcakes. That’s somewhere between 13.5 and 16 inches of snow, according to the Google oracle and the average size of a drumstick.

So, yes, winter, which makes me want to hunker down with a warm blanket and lounge about reading. Or worse, it makes me want to eat all of the carbohydrates in a four-mile radius and then hibernate. I struggle to resist the urge. (Oh, tennis, how you save me from myself.)

I’ve read a range of books this year, some of them great, some of them terribly bad. And there’s a shelf full of books I still need to read. I love the little indie bookstore down the street and frequent it often, in no small part to make sure it stays around. It was in fact, an influencing factor in choosing this cozy Salt Lake neighborhood with its funky little bungalows.

One of the changes to my reading habit this year? The Kindle app on my iPad. I was surprised to find that I do enjoy reading that way. I like that it simplifies the packing when I’m on a trip, and I like how much easier it is to read in bed. And yet, I still love the heft of a hardback in my hands.

What will you learn about me from me list? I’m in a Paris phase. I deliberately work to read more female authors than male authors. And my range between high- and low-brow is a little wackadoo -- from Phaenomena, by Aaron Poochigian, a poem from the classic Greek that helps the reader learn how to predict the weather and read constellations, to yes, I confess, the Shades of Grey series. (Sometimes a girl needs a little smut.) I am also reading more nonfiction than I ever have. Looking at this list myself, I also see that I should be reading more poetry, since that’s what I’m writing right now.

In terms of how this is influencing what I write, well, the constellation series of poems I’m working on is benefitting from the Aratus read, and I suspect my fiction coming up will have some French flair. Reading in general makes me want to put my ass in the chair and write. I’m working to be better about that.

Here’s my list…very roughly in order of my favorites

Wild – Cheryl Strayed
Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Lunch in Paris - Elizabeth Baird
French Lessons – Ellen Sussman
Phaenomena (Aratus) – Aaron Poochigian
Blue Nights – Joan Didion
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving – Jonathan Evison
The Voice of the River – Melanie Rae Thon
Contents May Have Shifted – Pam Houston
Fifty Shades – all three of them – E.L. James
This is Where I Leave You – Jonathon Trooper
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice- Terry Tempest Williams
How It Will End – Denise Duhamel
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal – Jeanette Winterson
The Sweet Life in Paris – David Lebovitz
Mortality – Christopher Hitchens
The Next Best Thing – Jennifer Weiner
Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down – Rosencrans Baldwin
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake – Anna Quindlen
Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) Amy Thomas
Courage and Croissants, Inspiring Joyful Living, A Story and Life Guidebook- Jean P. Roux
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

Currently reading
The End of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe
Requiem, Mass – John Dufresne
Damned – Chuck Pahlinuik
For the Love of Physics – Walter Lewin

On the shelf
The Dog Stars – Peter Heller
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
Small Fires – Julie Marie Wade


Books I’ve Started Several Times and Still Want to Get To
The Marriage Plot – Jefffrey Eugenides
Finding Beauty in a Broken World – Terry Tempest Williams

Tell me what you’re reading?