It’s the first Sunday after the first Tuesday of the month, which can only mean it’s time for another edition of the Book Nook! We’ve made it to June and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy dropping into your feeds each month to share a new list of books.
I was very fortunate last month to have a nice, long spell of cool weather, which meant lots of back porch reading! This month I have something strange to report. Most of the books I started, I actually finished. Like, all but one of the books I started I finished. I can’t tell you the last time that has ever happened to me. Probably sometime before I got an Amazon account.
I present you with…
The June Books:
The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith
I read this book in one day. It’s on the short side, but still. I skipped work for a day to read this. I underlined so many things, then I went back and took notes over what this book had to say about memoir writing. Smith’s approach has radically changed the way I think about memoir writing in particular, but also about writing in general. I feel like this will be one I regularly return to for a refresher.
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
Wow, two memoir craft books in a row, you might say. Yes. But. These books are really quite different. While Smith presents an overarching framework for how to approach memoir writing, Karr does an amazing job of talking about some of the more nuanced stylistic decisions that you will make in your subsequent drafts, after you get the skeleton put together. Karr cites loads of examples of how she approached these choices in her own memoirs and also how other masters of the genre accomplished these things. She also includes a lengthy list of recommended reading.
The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
I couldn’t read Karr’s book about memoir writing without picking up her first memoir. Holy crap! This memoir is so well executed in how she’s able to blend writing about her childhood while retaining that childlike voice but also infusing it with her adult perspective. I wasn’t even halfway through before I bought the other two memoirs she’s written. She is such a great storyteller. Highly, highly recommend to anyone who wants to read some powerful writing.
Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit
I mentioned this one last month and I finally finished it! I think Angela finished way before I did, but that’s OK. It wasn’t a race. (I’d probably say that even if I hadn’t lost, but I’d probably be more smug about it) The bulk of this book details Solnit’s formation as a young woman living alone in a city. It was really interesting to read about her feminist awakening. For me, though, the fascinating part was where she talked about writing and art.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
I can’t really say what made me decide to buy and read this one. It just seemed interesting. I’m glad I read it. I learned some interesting things about Dazed and Confused, which is one of my favorite movies. And McConaughey also provides some really poetic and inspirational musings on making art and being a creative.
Night Shift by Stephen King
There was just something about spring fading into summer that made me want to pick up some spooky Stephen King and what I’ve read did not disappoint. I’m not great with short story collections. If I read them too quickly, all of the stories run together, so I read them in fits and starts. This collection starts with the source story for ‘Salem’s Lot and it was really good! It also features the short story that was King’s jumping off point for The Stand, which is one of my favorite King novels. I plan to keep plugging away at it throughout the summer.
Total Books Read in 2021: 15
Well, that’s all I have for you for June. Still not a lot of fiction. I can’t explain it. I’ve been just way more interested in memoir, but I also feel a need to take a bit of a break from reality, so we’ll see what I have to report next month.
Tell me in the comments below: What have you been reading?
Lori Walker is the Operations Maven at DIY MFA. Though she’s fallen off the wagon as a writer, she’s hoping to return to writing essays (perhaps even a novel!) through her involvement with DIY MFA. She is also Launch Manager, Web Editor, and Podcast Producer for DIY MFA and a Book Coach. She resides in Smalltown, Oklahoma, with her husband and their cat, Joan Didion. You can follow her on Instagram at @LoriTheWriter.