Going Through the Motions, Getting Back in Gear: Intentions for 2018

sunrise over cadillac mountain with words "intention 2018" overlaid
sunrise over Cadillac Mountain, October 2017

After a year of fits and starts with this blog, I unofficially took a few months off (you may have noticed my last post was in September, and even then, I was just re-posting piece I'd been writing for Shelf Awareness anyway). In that quiet space, I walked away from most all of my writing projects and the computer and, as made sense for me, the internet (though I still overshare on Instagram, and I'm not even sorry about it). I contemplated giving this space up and calling it quits, weighing the amount of work it is to find the time and energy to write something meaningful against the ever-limited amounts of time and energy I seem to have these days.

But something in me couldn't let go. Because even though I haven't been the best blogger, or the best reviewer, or the most consistent writer of late, a not-so-small part of my heart loves this space I've carved out, the time I find to write about books and running and the things that make me excited.

In a world full of bad news, I want to make an effort to make space for the things I'm passionate about. In a life full of ups and downs--and 2017 brought quite a few downs, both personally and politically speaking--I want to have a space to think through my thoughts, and this is that space.

Book Review: The Followers, by Rebecca Wait

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

The Followers starts in the "after": Judith is entering a prison to visit her mother, Stephanie, imprisoned for as-yet unknown reasons. Rebecca Wait (The View on the Way Down) then moves skillfully through time to reveal their life "before." The mother works as a waitress to support herself and her young daughter; Stephanie meets Nathaniel, a charming man who takes an interest in her difficulties. Mother and daughter move in with Nathaniel and his "followers" in order to pursue a new life with a new sense of purpose.

Book Review: The Distraction Addiction, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Every once and a while, a book comes along at exactly the right moment in time. The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul, was just such a book. This one first crossed my radar when Kim posted about it as part of her 100 Days of Books project, and her description immediately leapt out to me:

The Distraction Addiction starts with a good question: “Can we stay connected without diminishing our intelligence, attention spans, and ability to really live?” I like this approach because it addresses both the positive (more connections) and the negative (more distractions) ways that technology impacts our lives. Unlike many books about technology and the mind, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang doesn’t suggest we should get rid of our phones or go off the grid. Instead, he advocates for a more mindful approach where we make deliberate choices about how to engage with our devices and the world. This is one of my favorite books on the subject that I’m due to re-read soon.

Recently: Essays on Feminism, Gender, Race, and Identity

Without realizing it at the time, I've been on a bit of a kick with essay collections lately--especially those related to feminism, gender identity, and race--and particularly the intersection of the three.

Book Review: The Long Run, by Catriona Menzies-Pike

Every once and a while, a book comes along that rings all my bells--and then some. The Long Run is one of those books. Running. Distance running. Trail running, even. Grief. Loss. Meditation. Feminism. History. Feminist history. Memory. Writing. Literature. Books. Here's a book that manages, in the span of a few hundred pages, to talk about dactyls and iambs, trans rights, art history, the Ancients, and distance running without any piece of it feeling out of place. Yes, please, sign me up.

Book Review: Careers for Women, by Joanna Scott

This review modified from a review written for Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Careers for Women is a novel ambitious in scope: Spanning the late 1950s to the present day, Joanna Scott (De Potter's Grand Tour) uses the building of the World Trade Center as a lens through which to examine power, feminism, modernity, progress and the power of dreams to shape a life--or many.

Exploring Poetry: Milk and Honey; Love Her Wild; Delights and Shadows; Mary Oliver

I've long said that I struggle with reading poetry; it's like my brain can't figure out how to look at the words on the page and make them make sense in my head. I've found recently, however, that this is less of an inherent inability than it has been a refusal to slow. down. and read more meaningfully, purposefully. And so I've made a more conscious effort to explore poetry of late. A few stand-outs, in no particular order: