Hello again and thank you for allowing me to cheat by combining two months into one. August got away from me with frequent trips to Chiang Mai and starting the new school year. I already wrote about it here.

Years ago, I got turned on to micro-memoirs through a short online course. Most folks are aware of short fiction stories, but non-fiction has be relegated to a kind of literary hell, only to be written by the rich and famous.

But we read micro-memoir all the time in the form of social media posts and text messages, Beth Ann Fennelly was simply smart enough to create a collection based on her publications in various literary magazines.

Heating & Cooling was something that I picked at for months, not unlike Seinfield’s Is This Anything? They provided short bursts of amusement and/or contemplation. And both writers inspired me to start my own collection.

What do you think of short-form non-fiction?

Like many, I was surprised to hear that British comedian Richard Osman wrote a murder mystery. His first endeavor The Thursday Murder Club was a lot of fun. His sophomore effort picks up where he left off, and isn’t as fresh as his first, but is still a good read. I can really see this becoming a television series, but what to do with all that inner dialogue?

I think what made the first novel sing was the fact that these geriatrics at an old folks home were being nosy neighbors and essentially solving a murder. More of the same is what we want, but the trick for writers is how to level up? For me, what stood out was when the characters act senile and play up their age in an effort to get their way and pull one over. Not only is it funny, but let’s the reader in on the gag.

Is there an elderly protagonist from a novel that you admire?

After reading The Name of the Wind, I took a break before reading Book Two: The Wise Man’s Fear, but I couldn’t get into it. Perhaps all those hours of waiting in hospitals (see link above) made me more prickly than usual. I don’t know, so I went scrolling through novels that I had on my Kindle but hadn’t read, and this one looked appealing.

The Last Garden in England is a historical fiction by Julia Kelly that follows five women across different times all connected to one garden. It was a little heavier on the romance than I would have liked, but an easy read that turned me on to the preservation and restoration of historical private gardens! As an American, I had no idea a thing like this existed.

Overall, it’s a nice light read, just what the doctor ordered, and now I’m on the hunt for something with more heft. I’ll have to look through past comments and bookmarked pages.

How was your August, and what’s your September been like so far? Read any good books?

16 replies on “Aug & Sept 2022 Reading Roundup

  1. Glad I just saw your post! I literally (pun intended!) have a library copy of “The Man Who Died Twice” sitting on the floor next to the bed. I read a few pages & then felt like it was too weird but maybe now I’ll keep going. Thanks for the review & I hope you have a good school year.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I do love micro nonfiction–and I never really thought about our social media posts as such! Of course that’s so true. One of my favorite memoirists (besides you) writes the best little piece on IG, and now I’m thinking, of course she does! I am very excited to read your memoir in micros–is that how you’d describe it? I’m impressed you get any reading done with your busy schedule. I’d heard good things about the first Thursday Mystery Club book. It’s such a fun premise. I know I already touted it to you but The Old Woman With the Knife featured such an interesting older MC–a very thought-provoking take on aging. The most recent book I read that I really enjoyed was Deer Season by Erin Flanagan. It was from Univ. of Nebraska Press (their “Flyover Series”). I feel like I always get so much from the series–all the novels take place in Nebraska, which I know little about. This novel was a literary murder mystery–and I never read mysteries, so that was a nice little reading detour. Keep up with your writing–can’t wait to hear more about it! xoxo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rebecca. I downloaded The Old Woman with a Knife and passed it along to my friend, too. I’ll definitely check it out.

      I’ll keep Deer Season in mind, too. I enjoy reading about those little heard about places. I mean, besides Nebraska football, what do you ever hear about the State? 😛

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  3. Sounds like you have been very busy, Lani, but I hope you’ve also managed some moments of peace in-between all that. Also so happy to hear that the school year has started on a better note. I really hope that this will be a very different experience from last year.

    As for reading, I finished “Jerusalem – The Biography”, which I mentioned before, and although it took a while, it was a truly fascinating read. As I am trying to learn Portuguese, I’ve gone on a bit of a nonfiction language reading binge for some inspiration. ” Mother Tongue” by Christine Gilbert was an interesting read about her experience of trying to learn a couple of languages and moving with her husband and toddler to places like China, Lebanon and Mexico to do so; “What Language do I dream in?” by Elena Lappin was a gripping memoir of how she learned a couple of languages (she was born in Moscow so Russian was the language she always spoke to her parents, but as she grew up in Prague and Hamburg, and then as an adult lived in Israel, Canada, the US and London, she gained a new language through necessity); and lastly “Every Word is a Bird we Teach to Sing” by Daniel Tammet – a collection of essays looking at fascinating aspects of different languages.

    I think I’m ready for a light read now. 😆

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    1. Whew. Yes, you’ve been reading heavy, and now must be a linguistic expert 😉

      I remember when I asked my mom what language she thought in — and I think I blew my teenage mind. Hahahahaha. It was probably the realization (hey, I’m slow) of how much my mom struggled with English. 😛


      1. Teenagers really have no idea that their mothers are human too, Lani. 😆 It takes a while before we can see our mothers in that light and have any kind of empathy with their struggles.
        My English definitely improved by leaps and bounds when I started to think in the language, instead of just translating into it. And I am a long, long way from getting to that point with Portuguese. Not sure if I will ever be able to get past the translating phase, but I will keep going. Who knows!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful that you found time to read in between your trip and hectic life. Hope Eric’s eyes are alright now.

    That’s so true many are aware of short fiction stories and fiction in general, and not non-fiction short stories. I like short form non-fiction, and I guess that’s what I write on my blog and most of the time. In general I see it as a form of writing that is short and seeks to get to the point really quickly.

    My September has been flat out busy. That is all 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For some reason I’ve been missing your newsletters, but hopefully I’ve solved that. I really appreciate the intro to Alma Thomas. And now to short-form non-fiction! I love it and had never thought of it that way. So happy to see genres being broken out of their usual constraints. My favorite elderly protagonist/mystery detective is still Ms. Marple. And, finally your garden novel reminds me of two things: a beautiful TV series from a while ago where Audrey Hepburn used to go around showing fancy gardens and the movie Enchanted April in which several well-to-do ladies find themselves in Italy. Hope this finds you well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear it. Ahhh, Ms. Marple, of course! Makes me wonder if I’m just an old lady at heart as I seem to gravitate towards older people and their tastes. Maybe I just want to grow up. Hahahahaha.

      Thanks, A. You too, xo

      Liked by 1 person

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