Thursday, October 19, 2017

Things I Want to (Want to) Write About

It's been awhile since I've written here, but I haven't stopped reading.

1. In fact, as of yesterday, I finished my Goodreads goal to read 52 books this year:

I didn't know about the nifty 'Completed' sash, but it sure feels satisfying. After my first year of Goodreads, I'm overall satisfied but not impressed. The most addictive quality of Goodreads is ticking off your self-set reading goal one-by-one, similar to NaNoWriMo's word counter, but otherwise, there's less functionality than I thought in terms of categorizing books, and I've found Goodreads' recommendations less helpful than finding books from other bloggers or browsing in the library. Still, I'll probably continue for next year at least; I'm contemplating the slightly loftier goal of 54.

2. Similarly, after my first year of The Economist, I'm satisfied, but not impressed, this time, with my own reading abilities. I had hoped The Economist would provide more worldly and economic/financial knowledge for me, and also that I would manage to read a majority of the weekly issues. Although I do think my awareness of international issues has improved (for example, I've been following outsourced private schools in Liberia, charges against Brazil's president, the rise of Macron, and so on), I've found that I tend to skip and skim the boring financial articles, and I don't feel like I understand economics much better than I did before. Finally, although I read far more issues than I did when I subscribed to The New Yorker, I still don't feel like the price (or waste) is worth the number of magazines I toss unopened or barely skimmed. Instead, I'm planning to replace my Economist subscription next year with a subscription to three or more local literary magazines (because I can do that at the same price point). That leads neatly into my next topic...

3. Poetry feels essential at this moment. I'm drowning in it happily. Besides full-length collections, of which I've read at least as many as last year (2-3, not bothering to check), I'm subscribed to the Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day, sent directly to my inbox, and I find myself clicking on links to poems on Facebook, Twitter, everywhere. It's a refuge and an outcry that seems to find its expression best no other way.

4. I want to write more about The Cooking Gene, and also I read Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and attended an event to hear her talk in person about dealing (or choosing not to deal) with her daughter's hair because some things are more important than looks and how some of the characters in the book would have gone to New Zealand today instead of America. Adichie is a fabulous speaker, and I highly, highly recommend you try to attend an event with her, and furthermore, I'm proud of myself for finishing her book, and also it took two days because I was so entranced. And also, the book is set in Nigeria, and the food mentioned was familiar to me--not because I've ever eaten fufu or soup made with palm oil, but because I'd recently finished The Cooking Gene--and there was nothing like his descriptions matching up with the food in a completely unrelated African novel to drive home his thesis about the African origins of American Southern food.

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