It's the end of the school year -- exam week. Student appointments have dropped way off, although the level of anxiety in any particular appointment is much, much higher. I have room to think about the year, how I do what I do and how I might be able to do it better next year.
NBT and I had a friend date with a couple we don't know very well but we think might be promising pals. It was so great that since then I've been feeling a little insecure. Their life sparkles with creativity, art, projects, plans. It left me a little less satisfied with our own life.
All I can really report that I've been doing faithfully is reading. Thanks to my new index card system I don't have to rely on my memory to tell you what I've been reading. It's a strange list, with chick lit books cheek by jowl with classics and dry nonfiction titles, but that's that. Below is the list of books I've read in 2010, with any remarks I jotted down on the card. Not listed in chronological order -- I haven't been dating the cards (should I?), just shoving them willy-nilly into the box. I'm torn between the desire to explain away some of the trashier books and just shrugging and saying, yep, I like trash. I think that's the right choice. I like trash.
Snobs by Julian Fellowes. great dry wry tone. some excellent lines. fun
This Charming Man by Marian Keyes. Lola & the trannies. This woman writes dialogue wonderfully.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. That dumb Pip.
A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink. B- workplace changes make creativity, empathy, design more important. Pseudo brain science, lightly addressed. Ideas may have been big at the time but aren't novel in 2010.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Pacing: slow, fast, very fast. Interesting. Flawed.
All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. I can see why Pat Conroy liked this, though I don't like it as much.
This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust. Killing. too hard, angry mobs. Dying: "good death" Burial: can't keep up. Naming: Whitman (contrast Haiti -- Twitter, Google).
Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. Web design basics: get rid of half the words on each page. Do usability testing.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Meh. p. 39 "For me, as for most married people, my marriage was the foundation of all the other important choices in my life: where I lived, having friends, my work, my leisure. The atmosphere of my marriage set the weather for my whole life."
My Start Up Life by Ben Casnocha. 14 year old kid founds Comcate, start up. Light book but good glimpses of entrepreneurship. Watch Ben, he's smart.
Candace Bushnell: 4 Blondes -- short stories. Trading Up -- Janey Wilcox. tiresome.
Slightly Settled by Wendy Markham.
Once and Always by Judith McNaught. Can you call it formulaic if this is the original romance formula?
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. I prefer MC on audiobook.
And then there are 8 books on one card: I am gobbling up the Patrick O'Brian novels, so this year I've read The Surgeon's Mate, The Ionian Mission, Treason's Harbor, The Far Side of the World, The Reverse of the Medal, the Letter of Marque, The Thirteen Gun Salute, and the Nutmeg of Consolation. Patrick O'Brian is wonderful, wonderful. It is an act of discipline to pause between his books to read other things.
Currently reading A Good Talk by Daniel Menaker. Charming.