Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Creating my dream job

Sometimes it's easy to get discouraged as an author trying to make it in the world--especially as one of the vast majority of authors who have to shout to get heard by the media, to build their own platforms, and to work to earn credibility. I've been working for several years on all this and I haven't reached my big "breakthrough" yet. (Like all authors except Jonathan Franzen, I am ready for Oprah to call!) But, in the meantime, I realize that in many ways I have created my dream job. I love books. I adore books. Mostly nonfiction, much to my surprise. The truth seems so vast and un-knowable that it takes a special work of fiction to peel me away from the real world.

In writing Mojo Mom I referenced about 100 books and read even more. And now that I am between writing projects, I still read tons of books. My reviews, which I wrote for my own enjoyment and to share with my readers, have started to get attention. I am getting advance galleys sent to me for review! This feels like a wonderful break all by itself. I can't review every book I read, but I am getting into the groove. I feel like I am back in college, but this time I am creating my own curriculum and truly following my interests for their own reward.

I can feel a little ADD sometimes, reading several books at once, but after all, we took four classes at once in college, so what's the problem? Here's what's on my "active" bookshelf right now:

Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child by Alissa Quart

I blogged about Alissa Quart's Atlantic article about educational toys, and now I am following up by reading her book about rushed kids. Quart was on The Diane Rehm Show today and I have her interview loaded on my iPod.

The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by Angeles Arrien

Arrien has an uncanny ability to connect with true wisdom. The book says, "When you find the courage to change at mid-life, a miracle happens. Your character is opened, deepened, strenghtened, softened. You return to your soul's highest values. You are now prepared to create your legacy: an imprint of your dream for our world." Arrien makes me want to jump in and look forward to getting older and wiser.

The Mother Knot by Jane Lazarre

Lazarre exploded the myth of the Good Mother in her 1976 memoir. It seems that each generation needs to learn this anew for ourselves, but Lazarre's feelings ring uncannily true in the era of Perfect Madness. Lazarre's honesty is scorching, startling. She struggled with some truly dark feelings. Her book is not for everyone, and is not particularly suited to my taste, but I have to admire her.

The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Coping with Mothering Stress, Depression, and Burnout by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph. D.

This is a fanastic resource that covers many topics well. It is one of the few books that addresses life as an adult survivor of abuse in the context of motherhood.

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud

I couldn't resist checking out this novel, about Brown graduates in their thirties making their way in New York. I went to Brown, and I didn't relate to the hipster New York kids then, and I'll see if I relate to them 15 years later.

And still ricocheting in my brain two weeks after wolfing it down is Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I am not even in a book club right now and I so want to discuss this one! My plan is to write another blog posting about it, with my spoilers included in the comments section. Maybe we can get an online discussion going.


Blogger PunditMom said...

Wow, MojoMom, you've got more books on your nightstand than I do. I'm terrible about having several books going at one time and trying to finish them all before starting new ones. Now I have your list to consider, along with my ever growing 'books I must read' list!

8:27 AM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

Oh, the "platform" problem! I know it well, but I know you'll succeed!

10:12 PM  

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