In my last post, I talked about Book Bay Fort Mason and what I bought there. Here are the rest of the bookstores I found noteworthy on my San Francisco trip. But first, a photo. I didn’t take any bookish pictures, but here’s one from my favorite long walk (Day 2, see the end of this post for more on my walks through the city):


Baker Beach

Now, onto the bookish stuff:

Needles & Pens is “an emporium of zines, d.i.y. goods, and an art gallery,” to quote their description of themselves from their website, and I went there because I like zines and I was walking around in the Mission anyhow. Unfortunately, the kind of zines I like did not seem to have much overlap with the kind of zines they stock, which is not really a negative comment about them: I’m really picky. I like zines that are text-heavy and personal rather than political; I like poetry zines if they’re good poetry (Katie Haegele’s poetry zines come to mind); I don’t like punk zines; I don’t like comics; above all, the writing has to be good, and by “good” I mean “readable, but ideally also graceful” and “smart.” Speaking of which: do any of you read zines, and do you have any recommendations? None of the zines I picked up at Needles & Pens excited me, but I am still glad I went there: I did like their cards and postcards, and bought one of Anandi Worden’s Future History of San Francisco postcards and one of Riley Noehren’s turret greeting cards (the green one).

I stopped into Forest Books after having walked 11.5 miles, so I wasn’t really in the best browsing mood, but it seems like a good used book store. I was tempted by a first edition of Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson and impressed by their poetry section. I also stopped into Dog Eared Books (new/used) in a bit of pre-dinner bleariness, and don’t remember too much of what I looked at there, though I remember it being a big and well-stocked shop.

The Green Arcade is another shop I went into after a long walk (are we sensing a pattern here?) but it was so good that I ignored my weariness and browsed for a while. They sell new books, with a focus on the environment/sustainability/urban planning; I like books about cities/places/spaces that are aimed at a general audience, and there was lots to see here.

I also visited Get Lost Books, a travel bookstore that is on the small side but seems to have a decent selection of travel writing + guidebooks. Another store I really liked was Modern Times, where I spotted Wendy-o Matik’s book on the shelves and realized I’ve been meaning to read it ever since, um, my summer internship in 2003, almost bought Donald Tetto’s small book/zine of poems, Shine in 09, which looked really satisfying. But I didn’t buy it, for some unaccountable reason—so I’m extra-pleased to see that I can read it on his website, yay!

One day I was in the Inner Richmond and browsed the outside bins at Green Apple Books, which I’ve heard described as the Strand of San Francisco, and I would believe it. Later that day, I walked past Thidwick Books, but it was already closed for the day, which is too bad, because they supposedly have a great selection of kids’ books. And the last bookshop I visited was Book Passage, in the Ferry Building, where I found TWO Diana Wynne Jones used paperbacks on an outside shelf (but didn’t buy them: I think both were second books in different series), and which seems to have lots of exciting author events. They have a good selection and a cozy kids’ books area, but I was feeling overburdened by my backpack + carry-on (I stopped here before taking the train to the airport), so I didn’t buy anything.

I kept track of where I was walking, so I could see how far I went: this is what I mean when I said that traveling alone = walking as much as I want to:

  • Day 1: 15.72 miles, though that may not really be right: I had to guess a lot at the Mount Sutro section and the Twin Peaks section, because I was on pedestrian-only paths rather than roads for some of that.
  • Day 2: 17 miles, though again, that is a guess because I spent a lot of time on trails rather than roads. This was a gorgeous walk, and also the day I went to Book Bay Fort Mason, which I mentioned in the last post.
  • Day 3: spent most of the day at SFMOMA, walked about 2.7 miles, felt like the previous two days might’ve been overdoing it a bit: I’m used to long walks, but not used to hilly long walks!
  • Day 4: farmers market, Cable Car Museum: walked about 2.7 miles in the morning, then took a streetcar to the Mission and walked back, about 4.6 miles, so about 7.3 miles for the whole day.
  • Day 5: Contemporary Jewish Museum, ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, 9.37 miles.
  • Day 6: 9.5 miles.
  • Day 7: about 9 miles.

As previously mentioned, I took a one-week vacation in San Francisco in late August. It was great. It’s been a while since I traveled solo for fun rather than for work, and it was a delight to have my days entirely free to do whatever I felt like, never to have any particular place I needed to be: I could spend as much time walking as I wanted, I could eat what and when I wanted (which involved having cake instead of lunch one day), and I could linger in museums and bookstores as long as I felt like.

Speaking of books: San Francisco seems to have rather a lot of bookstores, many of which are really good. Despite browsing in quite a few, I only bought one book while I was there: a paperback copy (British, with the original price marked in GBP on the back) of English Hours by Henry James, which I got for $4 at Book Bay Fort Mason. I stumbled across Book Bay by chance, but it is definitely worth a visit: its proceeds go to the San Francisco Public Library, and the Fort Mason location (I didn’t visit the other one) is a really great shop, spacious and friendly and full of a broad variety of books. I was especially excited by all the cookbooks (though most were too big for me to want to take them home with me) and the essays/literary criticism section. The Fort Mason location is home to the Readers Cafe, which is in the back of the shop and also benefits the library. I didn’t pause for a beverage, but they serve Blue Bottle coffee, which is a promising sign. And Fort Mason is home to the Outdoor Exploratorium, which has quirky/informative/fun exhibits. My favorite of the ones that I saw was the House of Days, which is a building that takes pictures of the sky once an hour every day, but I also liked this Ship Constellations one, which is right outside of the building where Book Bay is located—after my shopping excursion, I paused on a bench to look at it and then noticed that there was a seal leaping in the water.

The only other semi-bookish thing I bought on this trip was the 2011 Moleskine Volant planner, which I got at the SFMOMA store. I bought the 2010 version on sale this January, and love it enough to not mind paying full price to make sure I have one for next year too. (Besides which, I don’t mind spending money at museums, generally: they’re good places, and I’d rather spend my money at SFMOMA than at Crate & Barrel, which is where I bought my 2010 planner.) It’s a full page-a-day planner, with weekend days getting their own pages too (which is often not the case in planners, and it drives me crazy when Saturday and Sunday are combined on one page or given much smaller spaces than the other days: I use these for personal life, not work, so weekends matter!). Each month is in its own book, each book is a different color, and there’s a carrying case so you can line them all up together if you want. I love having a small book to carry around rather than a bigger planner, and the design of these makes me smile.

I’m reading the Henry James book now, by the way, and it’s reminding me how much I love him. I have to slow way down when reading him, but it’s the kind of writing that makes me want to slow down, to move through the sentences at a leisurely pace, savoring the long clauses, the turns of phrase. Also, English Hours is funny. Also, I love reading about London. So all in all, I’m feeling like this book was the perfect purchase .

It is summer, which means mountains of vegetables from my CSA farm share are filling my fridge every week. I was behind on cooking and eating all these veggies for a few week, but the other day I decided to have a great big fridge clean-out, in which I threw out everything that was past salvaging and stopped feeling guilty about it. Now that I’m not totally overwhelmed by veg—I still have a lot but it’s all sorted and organized and I have a list on the fridge telling me what I have —I am remembering how good Farmer John’s Cookbook is for CSA season. It’s full of veggie-centric recipes, and I’ve managed to find a few lately that are pleasingly simple, not boring but “I already have all the ingredients in the house.” Recent highlights: Last weekend Megan and I had dinner together and cooked the kohlrabi hash, which is gingery and surprising and great, even if the grating of the kohlrabi can be tedious. Last week at home I made “summer squash with a crispy cornmeal coating”: normally any recipes for breading and frying things seem like too much work, but this was simple and delicious and a perfect side dish. The other day I made some “broccoli with Asian-style dressing,” which is to say with vinegar and soy sauce and toasted sesame oil and garlic and ginger and peanut oil. And last night I made the Swiss chard with pine nuts and raisins and my boyfriend made us some cheeseburgers, and that plus white whine was the perfect summer dinner. Next up: curried rice and cucumber salad with walnuts and raisins.

Meanwhile, in non-vegetable-related news, a few recent conversations at work have been making me think about books/reading/how we choose what we read. Conversation one: someone was saying something about 1984, and how he felt surprised by how many details of the book had stayed with him through the decades, and then mentioned he’d recently reread Catch-22, another book whose details had stuck in his head since he first read it at age 15, and which surprised him on re-reading by being even better than he remembered it—and he’d remembered it as being quite good. (This made me wonder if I should also re-read Catch-22, which I only read because I had to read it for a college class. I liked it, but maybe I’d like it more now?) Another person in the room chimed in with, “wow, I don’t know when I last read a novel,” which prompted the Catch-22 reader and I both to say “you should!” Though of course, well, maybe he shouldn’t. If reading intelligent non-fiction (which I think is what this person reads: my impression is that his choices lean more towards the business/tech side of things than to general interest or history, though I might be wrong there) is what brings him joy, well, then, have at it, right? I might see something like Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business sitting on the sidewalk and pass it by (I *did* see it and pass it by the other day, actually, though not without briefly considering picking it up), but that doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t be reading it.

Conversation two: I was carrying To Say Nothing of the Dog in my hand on the way into the office one morning, and someone asked what I was reading. When I explained it, he said, possibly just matter-of-factly, or possibly a little dismissively, “oh, genre fiction,” then asked how I’d heard about it. So I said I’d heard about another book by the author on a book blog I read, to which his response was to ask if I read a lot of book blogs, to which my response was “yeah, I guess.” At which point he advised me to follow my own instincts. Which made me laugh, because of course I do, and I imagine most people who read book blogs do. It’s exciting to find out about promising-sounding books from blogs, sometimes especially exciting if the book is outside of my usual reading interests and therefore probably not something I would have discovered all on my own. But there are still lots of books I read about/hear about, whether on book blogs or elsewhere, that I have absolutely no interest in picking up—and I don’t see how reading book blogs is any different from reading the NY Times Book Review or book reviews in the New Yorker or Publishers Weekly (which I used to LOVE flipping through when Megan worked at Scholastic and would bring home old copies from the office). And of course, there are still times when I pick up a book just because it catches my eye, not because I’ve heard about it—or its author—anywhere.

All of which is to say: I sure do like having an ever-growing and ever-eclectic reading list. It’s exciting to me—and I’m OK with the fact that I’ll never read everything I want to read. (My boyfriend and I talk about this periodically. He tends to worry about whether a given book is worth his time, whereas I don’t really think about that. I mean, I guess I do think about it: there are, as I’ve said, books I’m entirely uninterested in ever reading. But once I hit the point of deciding that a given book might be interesting or fun, then I read it when it seems like I’m in the right mood for it.) What about you? How do you choose your books? Do you think reading book blogs has changed what you read?

Library Book Interlude

May 11th, 2010

New New New

For a while I feel like had been so good about reading books I own instead of library books… or maybe it’s just that I was really slowly making my way through The Captive & The Fugitive, so it felt like I was reading books I owned instead of library books, but really it was just one book I owned. But now I am in the library habit again, which is both exciting (new reads! all the time!) and dismaying (my TBR list languishing with exactly three books completed so far!). But, well, mostly I think it’s exciting.

Here’s what I have checked out from the library at the moment, from bottom to top in the above picture:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Craft Rubin. I forget where I heard about this, but it seems exciting. The subtitle is “or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun,” and it’s about one woman’s year-long quest to learn to enjoy her life. I love the idea of finding joy or contentment in small ordinary things, and think happiness is, basically, the life goal that makes the most sense to me, way moreso than “success” or “achievement” or what have you. So I’m looking forward to reading about someone else’s adventures with happiness.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis: I just checked this one out today, and was pleased that it was actually checked in! I just finished Willis’s newest book, Blackout, and loved it. This book is set in the same universe as that one, a universe where time travel is possible and is something that historians do to learn about the time periods/places/events they’re studying.

The Last Rendezvous by Anne Plantagenet: I read about this one on A Work in Progress and remembered the title. It’s a fictionalized life of the French poet/actress Marceline Desbordes-Valmore. I don’t know much about it beyond that, but it was sitting on the new books shelf and caught my eye.

The Other City by Michal Ajvaz is one that just caught my eye. It’s about an alternative Prague/another wold, and at least one review has called it “Borgesian.” The first few sentences are as follows—pleasingly bookish and atmospheric, I think: “I was walking up and down the rows of books at the antiquarian bookseller’s in Karlova Street. Now and then I would take a look out the shop window. It started to snow heavily; holding a book in my hand I watched the snowflakes swirling in front of the wall of St Savior’s Church.”

Eunoia by Christian Bök is a book of poetry with a twist: it’s divided into five section, and within each section, there’s only one vowel used. So there’s a whole bunch of poems in which the only vowel is “a,” and so on. Publishers Weekly called this book “a mythology of sound.”

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is the book I’m reading now. I heard about it from one of my friends from high school who is a big fan of John Green; I hadn’t read anything by Green yet, but I am a big fan of David Levithan. This YA book is about two guys named, yep, Will Grayson, who end up meeting by chance. The story’s told in alternating chapters, one written by Levithan about one Will Grayson and the next written by Green about the other, and I’m really liking it so far. Levithan’s chapters are, as his writing always is, funny and charming and sweet; Green’s chapters are wry and were less immediately endearing to me, but his style has grown on me. (Edited to add: Funnily, I realized after finishing the book that I had my authors confused and the chapters I thought were by Levithan were by Green and vice versa. Well, so much for me recognizing an author by style—it was actually Levithan’s writing, in this book, that took more time to grow on me. But that’s OK.)

So far I’ve only read two books from my TBR Challenge list, though one of those (The Captive & The Fugitive) was a long one. I started a third yesterday (Nigel Slater’s Eating for England), but I think it may get put aside for a little bit. I went to the library this morning to drop off two DVDs and to pick up one book and a DVD on hold, but I ended up leaving with four books and the DVD.

The books I ended up with:

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. This one was recommended to me by Danya, who quoted the first sentence (“Will you look at us by the river! The whole restless mob of us on spread blankets in the dreamy briny sunshine skylarking and chiacking about for one day, one clear, clean, sweet day in a good world in the midst of our living.”) and got me intrigued. It’s set in Australia and is about two very different families who end up sharing a house; it’s a big sprawling book that looks like it’ll be both smart and readable, so I’m looking forward to it.

The Mansion of Happiness by Robin Ekiss. The cover of this book of poetry caught my eye; a review quote on the back from Edward Hirsch says it is “replete with miniatures, with dolls and toys, with magic acts,” which sounds intriguing.

Transcendental Studies by Keith Waldrop is another book of poetry. I picked it up because the spine just says Waldrop and I thought it might be a book by Keith’s wife, Rosmarie, whose work I’ve read and enjoyed before. But it wasn’t, but I liked the cover, and Keith is also supposed to be an excellent writer (this book won the 2009 National Book Award for Poetry), so there we go, I checked it out.

Don Juan: His Own Version is a telling of the Don Juan story that’s set in contemporary France. I read about it in the New Yorker, which says, among other things, that it’s “suffused with the freshness of the French countryside in which it largely takes place.” The only other thing by Peter Handke I’ve read was a play, Kaspar, which I remember only dimly (I read it in college) but which I remember enjoying.

I also wanted to get The Happiness Project, with the promising subtitle of “Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun,” but, alas, it was mis-shelved: it was sitting in new nonfiction but was really supposed to be on the hold shelf for someone else. Oh well: I put a hold on it and will get it eventually.

Book-shopping in London

February 11th, 2010

In January I went to Cambridge (UK) for a few days for work: I arrived on a Wednesday, went in to the office for workshops with colleagues on Thursday and Friday, had pleasing dinners (including one at Alimentum), and did a little evening walking around town. Because transatlantic airfare is so much cheaper if there’s a Saturday night stay involved, I flew home on a Sunday, which left me a Saturday free to take the train down to London. I’d been looking forward to doing some serious walking, in particular around Hampstead Heath, but it was cold and wet and I didn’t have waterproof shoes with me, so I opted instead to wander around near Kings Cross for a while, after which I spent much of the day in the British Museum, which was warm and dry and lovely.

When the rain let up, I did a little bit of walking, which led me to a few bookstores, though I only made one purchase. Still, I wanted to write about the London bookshops I saw, and to ask for recommendations: what bookshops should I seek out next time I’m there? Here’s what I saw this time around.

My first stop was the Oxfam shop on Bloomsbury Street, which I passed by chance and which looked quite inviting. They’ve got a decent selection of travel books and kids’ books, including some pretty tempting vintage kids’ books, though naturally I can’t remember the names of any, plus some cultural studies stuff, plus lots of novels, in which I wasn’t so interested.

I passed by The Atlantis Bookshop but didn’t go in, as occult books aren’t really my thing. But I couldn’t resist stopping in at the London Review Bookshop, which is cozy and comfortable and has an attached cafe, though the latter is small and was too crowded for me to want to eat there. I didn’t explore the downstairs level; the offerings on the ground floor were exciting enough. I already own rather a lot of books, and given the dollar/pound exchange rate it seems silly for me to go shopping at all in England, but I always do anyhow. I was tempted by Waterlog, about swimming England’s waterways, which I read about on a blog at some point last year, though now I can’t remember where. I do want to read Waterlog eventually, but the book I ended up not being able to resist was London Orbital, Iain Sinclair’s book about walking around the M25 motorway (117 miles, goes around London) over the course of a year. I am a sucker for walking, and cities, and for books about walking and/or cities, so this one is very exciting to me; I also like buying a book about a place when I am in that place. (The one book I bought on my last trip to London was Nigel Slater’s Eating for England.)

From there: onward to Lambs Conduit, home of Persephone Books, which I managed to find without consulting my map. On my first trip to London, in 2005, I stayed at a hostel on Montague Street, right by the British Museum, and did a lot of walking; on that trip, I walked past Persephone but didn’t go in: I hadn’t heard of it, and was on my way somewhere else, or was hungry, or something. I’ve since regretted not having been inside, and hoped to rectify it on this trip—but alas, I was confused/didn’t realize the ground floor was office space but that the shop was indeed also in the building and open, and I didn’t want to barge in on the nice lady working at her desk. Next time! I mean it!

As consolation: I stumbled across the Magma shop in Clerkenwell Road, which I hadn’t heard of before but which is full of art books/magazines and stationery and small satisfying things. I was tempted to buy Wreck This Journal but decided that if I do want it, I can buy it someplace closer to home.

Reading everyone else’s end-of-year posts, plus reading Jenna Freedman’s Lower East Side Librarian Reading Log 2009, made me want to make a wrap-up post of my own. In 2009 I did not read as many books that I own as I wanted to—though I hope that will change in 2010 with the help of the TBR challenge. I did carry on reading Proust, and still am: I’m about a hundred pages into The Captive now. I read a whole lot of poetry in April, May, and June, and surprisingly few works in translation compared to last year.

This year I read 33 books total (that’s four fewer than last year), categorized as below:

  • Poetry: 11
  • Adult fiction (novels or short stories): 9
  • Adult nonfiction: 9
  • Kids’ books/YA books: 4
  • Books translated from languages other than English: 2
  • Books by women: 14
  • Books by men: 19

Favorites:

  • The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott
  • The Winner of Sorrow by Brian Lynch
  • The Printer’s Devil by Paul Bajoria
  • The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller
  • Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems by Mark Doty
  • Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit

Re-reads: just one: The London Scene: Five Essays by Virginia Woolf

Books I expected to like way more than I actually did (though I didn’t hate either of these, just didn’t like them as much as I thought I would):

  • Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott
  • Forgetting Elena by Edmund White

TBR Challenge

December 1st, 2009

I read about Emily’s Attacking the TBR Tome Challenge over on Of Books and Bicycles, and it seems like a useful thing for me, though I suspect I am not going to participate in the not-buying-new-books part of it. These days most of my book acquisition isn’t actually purchasing books, anyhow: mostly, it’s picking up books from the sidewalk (I live in a bookish neighborhood!) or from the kitchen at work (I work in publishing, with other bookish people!). But I have been buying the Proust books as I slowly read my way through them, and want to continue to do so.

So here we go: 20 books I currently own that I aim to read by December 31, 2010, not necessarily in this order!

  1. The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, trans. C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin: I’ve picked this one up and put it down a few times but want to pick it up again and get back in the Proustian mood!
  2. Inventing Japan by Ian Buruma: seems like smart nonfiction; I like smart nonfiction.
  3. Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski: ditto the above
  4. Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald: I think I bought this for school but only read part of it. But I think I liked it.
  5. Eating for England by Nigel Slater: picked this up when I was in England for work last year, but haven’t read it yet. It is about food and the UK and seems light and fun.
  6. White Teeth by Zadie Smith: seems like everyone else has read it already!
  7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: ditto the above
  8. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal: because I haven’t read any Stendhal.
  9. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald : because I never read any of the Great Brain books as a kid, and should have.
  10. The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter: because I’ve never read any Angela Carter.
  11. Elegy for Iris by John Bayley: I bought this when Iris, the movie, came out, but sadly, didn’t read it.
  12. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg: do I lose queer points for not having read this yet?
  13. Seeing Through Places by Mary Gordon: I think I read this in college but I sure don’t remember it. I think I kept it because it was good. I’d like to find out!
  14. The Green and Burning Tree by Eleanor Cameron: I’m excited for this—it’s all about children’s literature—though it will surely just add a bunch of children’s books to the list of books I want to read!
  15. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman: I bought this in college but never read it; Megan read it over the summer and said it was really good.
  16. The Uses of Literature by Italo Calvino: mm Calvino. I bought this in college but never read it.
  17. Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf: mm Woolf. I bought this for a college class on autobiographical writing that I ended up dropping; I kept the books because it was a good reading list, but I’ve never gotten to this one.
  18. The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson: mm walking. I loved Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit and have heard this is another satisfying walking book.
  19. Witch Grass by Raymond Queneau: when I first bought this I knew nothing about Oulipo but thought I’d like it. Now I know a little more about Oulipo and still think I’ll like it.
  20. How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith: I got this for Christmas last year and should have read it by now! This one might actually be tied with Proust for the one of these I plan on reading first—I think this book will be a good start to 2010. If you are not familiar with Keri Smith, go look at her blog and prepare to smile.

    and a bonus number 21…

  21. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, because Josh said I’d like it.

We shall see how this goes, as I’m not normally very list-directed in my reading habits, which is of course why I end up owning a bunch of books I haven’t read yet.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with someone at work who asked what I was reading, and what I was going to read next. When I said I wasn’t sure what would be next, he seemed surprised. I do have a mile-long list—actually, several lists. I keep one in a private wiki, divided up into adult fiction/adult nonfiction/cookbooks/kids’ books/YA books, plus a few themed or source-specific mini-lists, e.g. “from the Princeton Architectural Press Autumn 2005/Winter 2006 catalog” or “cited in Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik.” I also have a set of private Delicious bookmarks, and a written-down list in the back of my planner, in no order at all. So I have these lists of books I’ve heard of from various places—book blogs, reviews in The New Yorker, reviews in Publishers Weekly, books that friends have mentioned, books mentioned in other books I’ve been reading … and then I have a stack of books on my desk, plus shelves of books that I own but haven’t read yet, or that I own and think I’d like to re-read, books I’ve bought and books I’ve been given and books that have been loaned to me and books I’ve found on the sidewalk. But I don’t make any definite plans until I’ve finished one book and it’s time to actually physically pick up the next one. Often it’s a matter of chance, or maybe, better, serendipity: of the books I read in December, three I saw at the library without having heard of them before, one was on my to-read list and got read when it did because I saw it at the library and checked it out, and the other had been recommended to me by a friend back in, oh, January, and I finally got around to reading it (and of course, that was the one I loved best.) Sometimes I’ll know I’m in the mood for a kids’ book, or for poems, or a great big long novel, but often I’m just in the mood for something good, no genre in particular.

I don’t have very specific reading plans for the new year, other than to carry on reading Proust, slowly, mixed up with whatever poems and novels and non-fiction books catch my eye and spark my interest. I want to read some more of the books I own—and to give away some books after I’ve read them, especially if they’re books I’ve found on the sidewalk in the first place.

And for an end of year summary: this year I read 37 books, categorized as below:
Graphic novels: 1
Books of poems (including a YA poetry memoir, which I am also counting as YA): 10
Adult fiction (novels or short stories): 11
Adult nonfiction: 5
Kids’ books/YA books: 11
Books translated from languages other than English: 8