06.22.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • June marks the start of “summer reading” for me (though school isn’t out until tomorrow).
    • What I’ve read so far: Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, Peggy Orenstein [nonfiction] and Chemistry, Weike Wang [novel].
    • What I’m currently reading: Hunger, Roxane Gay [memoir] and Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri [short stories].
    • What’s in the “purchased” TBR queue so far: Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny [novel], Evicted: Poverty and Profit in The American City, Matthew Desmond [nonfiction]; When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead [YA novel]; Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds, Lyndall Gordon [biography], plus my book club is reading Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi [novel] for July.
  • Who are your favorite book reviewers? I’m talking about the longer types of reviews rather than the 200-300 word quick take, the ones where there might be criticism too (not a mean takedown, but thoughtful push back). (Incidentally, if you haven’t seen any of Ron Charles’ Totally Hip Video Book Reviews, you are missing out. Here’s a recent one for The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. I love his dry wit on Twitter too.)
  • I’m thinking about this “don’t read the comments” related piece recently on CNN. (The video at the top is so great.) As a writer, I don’t necessarily think it’s healthy to read toxic comments on something one’s published, and over the past year or so I’ve essentially taken a “don’t read the comments” stance. So has my husband; I have way thicker skin than he does when it comes to mean or unhelpful comments coming in my direction. To be clear, my pieces don’t generate a ton of comments, but there always seems to be at least one that is mean-spirited or resorts to name calling, particularly if there is a feminist angle. It’s also comically amazing when people comment on stuff you didn’t include, ignorant of the word count limits that most places strictly enforce and yet thinking your piece has gaping holes because it was not the length of a Ph.D dissertation (and sometimes that feels like the hardest kind of comment to endure). But what do you think, writers? Do you read the comments? Why or why not?
  • Bonus: some shameless promo! My short story, “Three Angies,” went up on Random Sample Review yesterday. The inspiration for the story was the random shopping carts you see on the side of the road sometimes…what’s the backstory of how they get there, I often wonder? Then it bloomed from there into two additional stories, with all three trying to show the common but invisible threads that likely tie so many of us together despite leading disparate lives.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

06.15.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • When you have a particular affinity, say to a poet or a quote or a theme, do you seem to notice it more regularly among things you’re reading than maybe something that you feel neutral on but probably which occurs with equal frequency? I do. Here’s an example: I have a “thing” for triangles and Emily Dickinson, and lately it feels like virtually every book I read has one of these things pop up, beyond a frequency that would seem average. While I’ll stop short of saying it’s a “sign,” I do think it maybe underscores why we are drawn to certain things such that the writers we are reading also think like we do, and therefore we are drawn to them too. What do you think?
  • When it comes to newly published books, do you tend to favor first time novelists or those writers who are tried and true? I seem to be in the former camp, though not exclusively. I’m not sure why but I think some of it has to do with trying to be among the lucky few who stumble upon that hidden gem no one else has overturned. Maybe also my hope is that their ideas are super fresh in a way that someone on their fifth or tenth novel might not be, though perhaps that is unfair and misguided because there are plenty of bad first novels too.
  • When it comes to nonfiction, is there a topic that you really love to watch on TV or in documentaries but never read? I just realized, for example, that while I really enjoy series like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on CNN and the Netflix series, Chef’s Table, I don’t ever read cooking or travel nonfiction. I think I really enjoy the visual element of the shows in a way that I’m not going to find as satisfying in a book. But give me a city life-to-farmer memoir any day and I’ll be into that far more than a show about it. Go figure. You?

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

06.08.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • I have been enjoying the hard copy issue of Slice Magazine (Issue 20: Corporeal), like Brian Gresko’s interview with authors Melissa Febos and Garth Greenwell. You can’t read it online [another reason to support writers by buying hard copies at the bookstore or subscribing if you can!], but here’s a teaser online which is not in the hard copy. I love these kinds of interviews because it allows readers and writers to go “behind the scenes” into a writer’s mind and process. I also very much now want to read both of Febos’ books.
  • Shameless self-promo: I recently had a bit of flash published by Harpoon Review. You can find that here.
  • Last week I noted I’m having a hard time getting to or through longer, novel length fiction. There are many reasons for that, but it doesn’t mean I’m not reading…it just means I’ve adjusted (for now at least) my material to suit my attention span and disjointed pockets of time. Enter the short story and flash fiction. I’m discovering lots of people don’t know about these as viable options or are unclear about what to read. Here’s a list from Harper’s Bazaar UK to help get you started, and bonus: they are all female writers (I’ve read a few of these already but there are some I still need to check out).

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

06.01.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • My reading seems to have slowed a bit in the past six weeks, mostly because I’ve been focusing a lot of time on my writing and editing. A bit distracted too, I think. I cannot seem to focus on anything terribly long like a novel length book. Which is why reading Sarah Manguso’s tiny book 300 Arguments felt like a no brainer. I loved her book Ongoingness when it came out and this didn’t disappoint either. So many passages that I loved (it’s comprised entirely of 300 1-2 sentence “arguments” or observations), like this one because it gave me the boost of confidence (and affirmation) I needed about continuing to work on short fiction right now, even though I am taking longer to complete some of the things I’m working on:

The smallest and shortest pieces of art strive for perfection; the largest and longest strive for greatness.

  • I am slowly falling in love with the stories and essays on Litro, a site out of the UK, like this recent essay, “The Lost Art of Letter Writing,” which is about women writers, letter writing, and friendship.
  • I wish I had known about this Novel Knight backlist reading challenge sooner but only stumbled upon it by accident just this week (though maybe I can do a half-year one?) because HELLO? YES…my TBR list is ever growing too long…and yet people keep writing amazing books! The struggle to keep up is real. Novel Knight describes the challenge as this: “The Beat the Backlist Challenge is focused on knocking off titles that have been on your TBR for a while, or even ones that get pushed aside for new releases.” Sounds cool, right? And I poked around their site for a bit and there is some good stuff there, so check them out.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

05.18.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • A quick easy way to get writing prompts: pick up some paint chip strips at the hardware store. The names of some of those are so intriguing and bound to get the juices flowing. On the other hand, I definitely avoided using one color (which I loved) when repainting my office these past two weeks. Why? It was called “Mayonnaise”…um, no.
  • Related: I’m working on a short story that I simply cannot find the right title for. And my recent poem at (b)OINK was re-titled at the suggestion of one of the editors; I admit that the title I originally used probably got more at what the poem was about, but I like the one we actually used better. There is definitely an art to all of it, and I find titling short stories more difficult than essays. Here is an article I found in Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America relevant to this current struggle of mine (even if you don’t write sci-fi, it’s got good info).
  • Another thing always in the back of my mind: the someday possibility of compiling a short story collection. Seems daunting. Articles like this one in Writer’s Digest help make it seem less so.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

05.11.17 (Muse Edition)

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

GRUB STREET WRITERS THE MUSE & THE MARKETPLACE EDITION

This past weekend, I attended all three days of the Grub Street Writers annual writers’ conference, The Muse & The Marketplace. It was my first time attending, and definitely not my last. I signed up for craft classes because that is where I most need advice in my own work, but it’s really where I am professionally too (vs. say, a writer with a completed manuscript who might want to attend the agent consultations/manuscript mart to shop it around). No matter what stage of your writing career, there is something for everyone at this conference and I highly recommend it. I’ve broken down my thoughts into the writerly/practical ones (including several good nuggets from the courses), and then a few random navel gazing observations. 

General Practical Advice / Takeaways

  • The conference is held here in Boston in early May (it starts on May 4 in 2018). I suggest you sign up early (follow them on Twitter/Facebook for updates about registration) and register for your classes as early as possible too. I got into about 90% of the ones I wanted to take, but I signed up in the first week of registration (March) and by then there were a few that were already full or filling. I overheard a few people try to choose the day of and they weren’t allowed to, and the Grub Street volunteers generally didn’t let people in the classroom if it was fully registered (they scan your badges before each session). Also, you don’t have to attend all three days if it doesn’t fit your budget or schedule.
  • Register for classes in genres you write in, and maybe a few you are exploring (I did this with YA fiction, a genre that I intend to start dabbling in very soon). So much of the advice is applicable across many genres but try to find a few that are specific to what you write because the instructors and other attendees can often better answer your particular burning questions.
  • Attend the keynote speeches because they will inspire you. I was particularly moved by the Saturday keynote given by Isabel Wilkerson who wrote The Warmth of Other Suns, not just about the body of work that she wrote but how long it took her (15 years!). Very humbling and she is an amazing human. I aspire to be as eloquent and intelligent as her.
  • Every single Grub Street volunteer there that weekend was extremely kind and helpful.
  • Be prepared to “work” in the classes. Maybe it’s because I have only attended a few writer classes in my life, but I must admit I was surprised at how many of the instructors had us do writing prompt exercises, read alouds, and “talk amongst ourselves” type stuff. Remember these were only 75-90 minute classes. It was mostly helpful to do those exercises (I left with three things that I am going to expand into essays), but if you’re an introvert like me, by the end of each day you might find yourself drained.
  • Look at your courses and instructors a few days in advance, and write down any specific questions you might have for them either about their own process or something you are working on. Trust me, you will forget the ones you want to ask when you are sitting there in the classroom! Conversely…please don’t be THAT person, the one who dominates with 15 questions. There was one THAT guy who was in my last 4 sessions and I was so sick of him by the last one! Ahem. Know when to raise your hand and know when to hold it for after the class so someone else can ask a question or the instructor can talk without interruption.
  • Another way I was drained: the amount of people. Hundreds attend this conference. On both Friday and Saturday mornings during the buffet/keynote I found myself sitting (by choice) at empty tables in the ballroom because I am not only not a morning person, but I am not great at networking. It felt like everyone around me was having 8-10 person conversations and I was in the minority in that way. A few other folks sat down eventually and we talked and it was lovely, but I was not in network mode with this first time around. Next year I hope to force myself to do more of that, and certainly as a book takes shape in the future. I did give out my business card to a few people so it wasn’t all hiding under rocks.
  • That said, so many of the attendees clearly knew other people there (I’m guessing from their writerly circles) so don’t feel bad if you’re just there to absorb advice like I was.
  • When you get handouts, write “Day 1, Session 1” or something like that on every packet/paper you receive. You will thank yourself later when you are trying to figure out who said what.
  • Bring a good spiral bound notebook and a few pens to take notes.
  • There is a pop-up bookstore run by Porter Square Books and they sell the works of the instructors in attendance. So bring money and an extra tote bag! Also, the keynote speakers signed their books which were being sold at the end of their talks. The line for Ms. Wilkerson was LONG.
  • Virtually every instructor talked about the “rules” for whatever thing they were teaching about…and quickly mentioned that there are so many people who break them (and successfully so). In other words, take all the advice with a grain of salt.

COURSE SPECIFIC ADVICE (a gem or two from each…happy to tell you more if you email me about a specific one)

  • Essentials of the Young Adult Novel: every YA story has a “point of no return” and the text is (usually) more breezy, voice driven, and dialogue heavy
  • Spaces of Home and the Shape of the Story: stories set in homes are personal to the character(s) but also a venue for contextualizing social and cultural change, social status and social struggles, generational conflict and change, psychology of intimate family relationships, nebulous forces that threaten safety and security
  • Stealth Description: every description should be doing more than one thing (setting scene, mood, or feeling; context, plot, or foreshadowing; establishing POV; narratorial attitude; relationships between people)…plus this quote from Sarah Manguso offered by the instructor: “Details aren’t automatically interesting.” GAH! Yes!
  • Experimental Uses of Form in Fiction: This was definitely one of my top three fave courses and that was largely because of the handouts Idra Novey provided, containing excerpts of various works I’d not yet seen. But one gem she said was this: the “experiment” of form/structure can be just 1-2x in the piece, or the whole way through (again, no rules); this was timely advice for me personally.
  • Action Talks: Revealing Character Through Behavior: This was the coolest writing prompt of the weekend because she had laid out two “outfits” with a few personal items on a table, and asked us to choose one and then come up with who this character is within a scene, but also getting at what her past might be, morals, etc. using those specific details/items. It was mind-blowing the various directions all of us went with the same two outfits. But here’s what she said makes a good character, all of which help set up the narrative: What the character sees, fears, wants, dreams, and needs…and you can incorporate all of these and reveal who the character is through their behavior. And you might eventually edit out a lot of those details in the final product, but really get into them early on for yourself to understand who the character(s) is/are in your story. Needless to say I took the most notes for this course.
  • How to Write a Kick Ass Essay: Easily another one of my top three faves. I could write a love letter to Ann Hood here, but instead I will give you one of her “Top Ten” things to writing a kick ass essay: Write the hardest line first so you don’t avoid it; doing that takes away its power. And though that line might not stay in the essay as is (i.e. you might edit to a different spot, wording, etc.), write it down. Get it out! She was talking about those really personal kind of essays that many of us write but which sometimes never really go as far as they can because we are avoiding something (a dark or painful truth, usually). If you write essays and want me to email you her other nine tips, please reach out. She is a master and I am happy to share.
  • From the O. Henry Files: Practical Advice for Writing/Submitting Short Stories: This instructor (Kelly Luce) talked about her days reading through the stories submitted for the O. Henry Short Story Anthology (i.e. these were stories that had already been published elsewhere). I think the biggest take away for me was her list of what they’d wished for more of (wild imagination, humor, unusual and vivid settings/voices, frank dealings with real-world issues, and dark, raw emotional honesty from characters) and what they saw too much of (stories set in college, with heterosexual couples arguing in their kitchen, set at lake house where a girl drowns, mass shootings, and stories about death without humor for levity).
  • Dialogue in Fiction: How Art Does Not Imitate Life: The instructor mainly a provided a list of “don’ts” and the kind of tics all of us writers rely upon once in a while. Here’s my favorite one: Don’t state the obvious in dialogue. As in, a character watching a sunset saying, “That’s beautiful.”
  • Essentials of First Person POV: Another really excellent instructor (Stacy Mattingly) and my notes on this one are a mess because I was so absorbed in paying attention. There are several pitfalls when using first person POV, like how to get in another character’s story. She advised finding a way to make the narrator emotionally invested, and finding devices to get information in if the first person narrator was not actually present to have first hand knowledge (she noted Elena Ferrante’s use of the narrator relying on the contents of her friend’s notebooks, which she’d surreptitiously read, to thread in information that would not have otherwise been known to the narrator).
  • Essaying Identity: Finding Voice in Hybrid and Mixed Genre Forms: Jericho Parms advised that there are three primary areas to explore identity in an essay: content (situation, story, and self-characterization…the material we are using for the essay), style (crafting persona, tools), and form (shape, structure). The gems here were the examples she handed out of who has done these very well in essay form (like Katelyn Hemmeke’s “What You Are” in Brevity).

NAVEL GAZING

  • If you have an eyeglasses prescription for bifocals, fill it before the conference. Big mistake on my part!
  • I now see it’s time for me to become more immersed in my local writer scene. I have plenty of writer friends online who are supportive and helpful (you know who you are!), but I need some face-to-face connections that are consistent. Seeing the happy little groups of people who’d taken a Grub Street incubator course together was mildly jealousy inducing and I plan to correct that.
  • It is OK to eat lunch alone if you are an introvert! I am glad I did this both days.
  • I wasn’t the youngest nor the oldest. Also not the newbie-est or the most seasoned. In other words, there’s a really wonderful spectrum of people there to listen to and learn from.
  • This was a really excellent way to not only take myself seriously as a writer, but also get a much needed morale boost (particularly in light of the current political atmosphere where writing can make one feel indulgent and not important).
  • One of the courses above was a complete waste of time and the instructor was woefully unprepared. I won’t say which, but it made me realize that not all really smart writers are meant to be instructors.
  • I am not used to people texting during courses and felt myself thinking it was rude. I’m sure they were live tweeting the sessions and that’s helpful, but there must be a way to do that more discreetly? I’m clearly old school.
  • There was a fire alarm during one session. My third grader acts more calmly and listens better to directions than adults do in such situations. Yikes.
  • You never know who you’re talking to! I inadvertently talked for a while before realizing I was talking to an agent (I didn’t say anything incriminating, thankfully, and we exchanged cards) and I bumped into more than few well-known writers not even realizing it until after the fact. That’s what weird about the writerly world…faces are often not as immediately recognizable like they might be in TV or other media.
  • Many folks were taking about the AWP conference they’d attended and said that one is way more “academic” than the Muse. It was enough for me to realize I don’t feel like I am missing anything quite yet by not attending AWP (though I know so many loved it too, so who am I to say?).
  • What I packed in my bag (I ended up using all of it): water, many pens, notebook, folded tote bag, umbrella, tissues, headphones (for T ride), biz cards, two granola bars, wallet, phone and charger, Tylenol/migraine Rx, lipstick, hand sanitizer, and a few mints.
  • Dress in layers! Those rooms are mostly too warm but some are like fridges. Also, writers seem to like wearing scarves and boots…just like I did.
  • Pet peeve: people who do not know how to give constructive criticism. We read a passage from a published story (so, you know, vetted a bit already) and one person remarked how she thought it was “a really stupid narrator choice” (it was a fetus POV). Ugh. There are better ways to say something wasn’t working for you, and I felt sorry for anyone who might have similar stories in draft themselves.
  • I jotted down this cucumber mint martini cocktail recipe from a menu when I ate lunch alone on Saturday (I drank iced tea, don’t worry!): Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint. Sounds refreshing, no?

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts. I have so many about this excellent writers’ conference so please ask away if you have anything specific you’d like to know more about.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

04.27.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • I’m having some serious self-doubt as a writer lately. That’s the honest truth and it comes from a variety of sources and character flaws. (Note: I’m not looking for a pity party here. Really! This is NORMAL on the sine wave of a writer’s life, I’m pretty sure, and just something I’m sitting with.) So this piece about imposter syndrome over at Fast Company feels like an important sign in the “I found it at the right time” world of serendipity.
  • A few Thursdays ago I linked to a review of Michael Finkel’s latest book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit. I read the book over the weekend and it was incredibly good. Not just the story and the storytelling, but the abundance of bibliographical references that I will absolutely be seeking out. If you are interested in stories about solitude, you need to read this one.
  • Next Friday through Sunday I will be attending Grub Street’s The Muse & The Marketplace. Is anyone else out there going? (There seem to be spots still available.) Although the introvert in me is a little anxious about it, I’m extremely excited to go; it’s the first time I’ll be attending something on this kind of scale. I will report back in a few weeks with whatever insightful information I can glean.

Please note there will be no Thursday Three on 5.04.17.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

04.20.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

April vacation is happening here in our house and though we aren’t doing anything special other than enjoying unrushed, unstructured days at or near home, I cannot seem to gather three cohesive thoughts for this space today. So, the easy route: quotes/passages from books.

  • From A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales From the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year, by Tom Nissley, which my dear friend Corinne gave me, on this day in 1827,

Charles and Alfred Tennyson, ages eighteen and seventeen, celebrated the publication of Poems by Two Brothers by riding to the coast and shouting their verses into the wind and waves.

I love thinking about that, the idea of celebrating publication in some way. When I have something published I try to mark the day in a very small way with a little edible treat; unless you’re a writer also, the road to publication is often longer than most people realize and so I think it’s important to recognize what it took to make it happen.

  • From 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater, by Sarah Ruhl, consider what Ruhl is asking here:

Is one person an audience or is it not an audience? Does being an audience depend on the act of watching a thing, or on watching a thing with others? . . . I determined at the end of seeing many audience-of-one performances that an audience of one was not really an audience but instead a form of intimacy, a form of listening.

I’ve been pondering this as a writer, particularly with things that I have published but that have not (to my knowledge, at least) been widely read. Is that also a form an intimacy or, as it sometimes feels, futility? I wonder. Looked at another way, is it just the act of writing that makes me the writer (inherently, I suppose, yes) . . . but how much of the equation are readers too?

  • From Roxane Gay’s list-of-rules essay, “How to Be Friends With Another Woman” in her collection, Bad Feminist:

5. Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful, it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy.

5A. If you’re having a rough go of it and a friend is having the best year ever and you need to think some dark thoughts about that, do it alone, with your therapist, or in your diary so that when you actually see your friend, you can avoid the myth discussed in Item 1 [“that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive”].

5B. If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. It’s not your fault that your friends are awesome. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. It’s okay for women to do it too.

The list goes on, but these three in particular really resonate with me. I’ve got a few really, really great women writers in my back pocket, friendships that have formed through my writing and theirs too, and I think these “rules” really make that work well.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

04.13.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • My daughter (9.5 years old) recently read a slew of Roald Dahl books in a row. I asked her why she loved his writing so much and her response was, “Because of all the weird possibilities.” Isn’t that just a magical way to put it? Possibilities. Yes. And not just Dahl’s writing, but virtually any fiction. It got me thinking that the only time I’ve really ever “binge read” an author was the summer between sophomore and junior years of college while I was at living at Clark University conducting a research. I’m not even sure how it started but it was Michael Crichton and I must have read five or six that summer. Looking back I think my attraction to his writing at the time was also “because of all the weird possibilities.” Have you read an author’s work like this before? Who was it?
  • I’m looking for dialogue heavy scenes in stories that really capture the emotion of anger, particularly from a first person POV. Would love any suggestions!
  • I own a copy of Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks and it is a gorgeous gem of a book for word lovers. I thumb through it from time to time because I love the kinds of words he lists in there, even though I have yet to use any of them because they are largely relevant only to the British Isles. But this week while working on a short story that centers on trees, I flipped to the “Woodlands” glossary to jumpstart some ideas, and stumbled upon this glorious entry:

shadowtackle shifting net-like patterns of shadow formed on woodland floors by the light-filtering action of the canopy in the wind (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

What a great word. Of course I immediately Googled Gerard Manley Hopkins because I’d not heard of him; I was curious about his use of the word. It is from this lovely poem, chock full of more most excellent words.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz

04.06.17

Thursday Three

a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week

  • I’ve read several books about solitude over the past fifteen or so years (it’s probably one of my top three favorite themes), and there are few new ones out or coming out very soon that I am eager to get my hands on. The first is The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, by Michael Finkel. It’s the true story of Christopher Knight who lived as a hermit (and, to be clear, a criminal) in the woods of central Maine for more than 25 years. I remember the news in heavy rotation when law enforcement finally caught up with him. Until I read the book, this Electric Literature interview with Finkel is keeping me fascinated. And if you have concerns about the veracity of Finkel’s storytelling (you might remember his dismissal from the NYT after deceptively creating a story of composites), this author Q&A gives me confidence that Stranger in the Woods is on the up and up.
  • The other book is Michael Harris‘ Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World. I read Harris’ The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection a few years ago and really, really loved it. (note to self: re-read that one!), and so I was frustrated when this new book of his took awhile to be published in the U.S. I’ve seen one book review that describes it as a sequel or more of the same, but I am hopeful there will be a nuance different enough that I end up liking it as much as the other one. I will report back!
  • Friends…it’s already early April. Summer is barely three months away. Who’s already got a stack of summer reading started? I have one book that’s been on my nightstand that I’m thinking of moving to the summer pile because it doesn’t feel like the right time of year to read it and the spine is passively-aggressively staring me down each night. I know that Roxane Gay’s Hunger will go on the summer list too (if I can force myself not to read it sooner). When and how do you compile “summer” reading? Is there such thing, really? I wonder. I’m not seeing a true bright line between the kind of books I’ve read when school’s out vs. in, but there is something different about it for sure.

Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz