Friday, September 30, 2022

Friday Feature: What's on My Bookshelf...or my Audible App

 My Friday Features have been few and far between lately, despite the fact (or maybe because) I'm reading/listening to more books than I was when I started this feature. I've been trying to come up with a way to get back on track and, last week, I finally got an idea.

Right before school started, I shared a Way Back Wednesday post about my tendency to consume multiple books simultaneously. In my update, I shared my goal to finish two books a month. Sometimes, it's two traditional books or e-books but, often, it's a book and an audiobook. Sometimes I start one (or both) of the books at the start of the month; other times, I pick up a book I previously set aside and give it its due.

Or not. Not every book I start makes the cut. I learned a long time ago that there are way too many books out there for me to spend precious reading time on anything that doesn't keep me wanting to turn the page.

It finally occurred to me that this pursuit might provide an interesting format for this feature. So, without further ado, here's my September sampler, also a baseline of sorts. 

Number of books currently in progress on Audible: More than a dozen
Number of those I'm serious about finishing: 4
What's captured my interest this month: 
  • A Promised Land (Barack Obama, read by the author), which I've been chipping away at for months, maybe longer. It's interesting, but very long and dense.
  • Remember (Lisa Genova, read by the author)
Number of books sitting on my bookshelf in various stages of completion: Too numerous to mention
3 reads that captured my interest this month: 
  • A whole bunch of magazines (two weekends of travel + one weekend of clearing clutter led to polishing off a nice stack of everything from People to The Atlantic).
  • The Roughest Draft (Emily Wibberley)
  • Bittersweet (Susan Cain)
What I've finished: 
  • Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (Emmanuel Acho)
  • From Strength to Strength (Arthur C. Brooks)
Featured fiction: The Roughest Draft (Emily Wibberley)
This was actually recommended to me by an author at a book signing (no, it wasn't Emily Wibberley). When I shared how much I'd liked Book Lovers (Emily Henry) because the characters were in the literary world, she recommended The Roughest Draft. It didn't grab me the way Book Lovers did, but I'm interested enough in the characters to keep reading. The premise is that circumstances conspire to reunite two co-authors who parted on terrible terms so they can write one last novel together. Told in alternating point-of-view (his/hers), their present story and their past unfold as they share a house in Florida long enough to collaborate on another work of fiction. Stay tuned. (I'm about halfway through).

Featured non-fiction: Remember (Lisa Genova)
I almost went with From Strength to Strength (Arthur C. Brooks), an interesting exploration on staying relevant and fulfilled in the second half of life. Then, I stumbled across Lisa Genova's TED Talk when I was cleaning out my inbox, and I immediately bought Remember on Audible. Shortly thereafter, I bought the book, too.

Where was this book when I was taking cognitive psychology as an undergrad? Oh, yeah. The author was likely in elementary school, if she was even born yet. In the first part of the book, she describes how we create memories. In the second half, she explores why we forget and, in the third section, she explores what we can do about it. At least I think so. I've only started part 2. Her explanations are clear, and her examples and metaphors bring the concepts to life better than any resource I've read. Perhaps more famous for her novel Still Alice (which was made into a movie starring Julianne Moore), Genova puts her neuroscience background to good use in this fantastic book. I'm a big fan of non-fiction read by the author, and love that Genova is the voice that's sharing what she put on the page in such clear, understandable terms. She's making me a lot less nervous about the frequency with which I forget what I was doing while I'm still doing it.

Feels good to be back writing about reading. What are you reading?

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