Fall Reading Recs: A rock memoir, dark woods and a stark Icelandic story

I feel like I’ve entered a new and glorious stage of life recently. Why?

For one, I’ve started reading more. Not only that, but I’ve made it a priority for how I spend my free time. Because reading makes me happy and encourages me to think outside my normal “creativity” box. I feel more inspired to write when I’ve read a great book, especially if it’s a book that focuses on the art of writing itself.

Does that happen to you?

The library is my newest love

I’ve also started borrowing physical books from my local library (I KNOW… so late to the party).

For a while, I’d only check out the ebook version of books because it’s super-fast and I don’t have to schlep anywhere (read: leave the house). Sometimes though, those copies wouldn’t be available so I’d have to wait. Now I look for both formats (digital and physical) to see what’s available and I’m usually in luck.

Plus, the library is a couple blocks from my apartment so it’s actually a good excuse to get outside during lunch to go pick up a book I’ve placed on hold.

Fresh air. Exercise. Score.

Borrowing library books also forces me to prioritize my reading because I know I have to return the book. And if it’s a popular book, others are waiting for it and I can’t just renew. So it forces me to either read it or return it – and it’s just the kick in the bum I need to continue reading 😉

Plus library books are earth-friendly. By borrowing instead of buying new, I keep from cluttering my apartment and breaking the bank. This is not a new or novel or mind-blowing idea by any means, but I just thought I’d throw it out there 🙂

Now, have I given you enough reason to head to your local library? I sure hope so.

Fall reading roundup

Have you read any of the below? Let me know in the comments!

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein

Link to book on Goodreads.com.

Carrie Brownstein knows how to write, and I was hooked within the first few pages. For example, in just a few succinct sentences she summed up exactly why I feel the way I do when I listen to particular music from my youth (high school & college years in particular). And more importantly, why not everyone gets goosebumps from the same songs:

That’s why all those records from high school sound so good. It’s not that the songs were better—it’s that we were listening to them with our friends, drunk for the first time on liqueurs, touching sweaty palms, staring for hours at a poster on the wall, not grossed out by carpet or dirt or crumpled, oily bedsheets. These songs and albums were the best ones because of how huge adolescence felt then, and how nostalgia recasts it now.

After that, she takes you on a journey from basement studios in the suburbs of Seattle to international touring events with Sleater Kinney. I don’t usually listen to music when I read, but I felt compelled to play some of the music she mentions in her memoir.

Also loved her thoughts on being in all-female bands and being a “woman in music.” She must have dealt with many interviewers asking the same question:

To this day, because I know no other way of being or feeling, I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in a band—I have nothing else to compare it to. But I will say that I doubt in the history of rock journalism and writing any man has been asked, “Why are you in an all-male band?”

I’d recommend this book if you’re into the Seattle music scene or crazy cat ladies (or both). Only thing I’d note is that her vocabulary is immense. I had to look up words from time to time, and that’s fine, but some of the terms felt forced and the sentences didn’t flow as well as they could have.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Link to book on Goodreads.com.

I really enjoyed this book. It was satisfyingly creepy and thrilling and it takes place on a swank cruise ship with some seriously dubious characters. It reminded me of The Girl on the Train because it makes you question what is real and what’s not from the narrator’s perspective.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Link to book on Goodreads.com.

On a Ruth Ware kick and I’m not sorry about it. I loved this book as well, and highly recommend it if you’re getting ready to go to a bachelorette party. Even more so if your party is at a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Link to book on Goodreads.com.

Make sure you read this book while wrapped in cozy layers and ideally in front of a roaring fireplace. Because it’s cold, and lonely, and dreary and most of all harsh. But that’s exactly the atmosphere Hannah Kent wanted to create for this tale, which was based on a true story of a woman sentenced to public execution in Iceland in 1829.

M Train by Patti Smith

Link to book on Goodreads.com.

I just finished reading this book and am officially in love with Patti Smith’s writing. Will need to read her other books (“Just Kids” is on my list). Her words float in between past, present, reality and dream in a pattern not unlike ocean waves, in and out, coming closer and drifting further away, repeatedly. Really relaxing dreamy read with a touch of sorrow and loss, but also optimistic and satisfying through her documentation by still-life photography.

Also, it made me want to sit in my favorite cafe, drink coffee and write all day long.

Spoiler Alert >>>

My favorite part of this book was her love story with a house. The majority of the book talks about her travels to distant places and memories from abroad. It takes a turn about mid-way through, though, when she falls in love with a run-down bungalow on a beach in Long Island. These are some of my favorite passages from that part:

“This area had thoroughly bewitched me, casting a spell that originated much further back than I could remember. I thought of the mysterious wind-up bird. Have you led me here? I wondered. Close to the sea, though I cannot swim. Close to the train, as I cannot drive. The boardwalk echoed a youth spent in South Jersey with its boardwalks – Wildwood, Atlantic City, Ocean City – more active perhaps but not as beautiful. It seemed the perfect place, with no billboards and few signs of encroaching commerce. And the hidden bungalow! How quickly it had charmed me. I imagined it transformed. A place to think, make spaghetti, brew coffee, a place to write.”

“On the train I tried to read but couldn’t concentrate, I was so taken by Rockaway Beach and the ramshackle bungalow behind the derelict wooden fence that I could think of nothing else.”

Now I’m off to find a place to think, make spaghetti, brew coffee and write.

Fall Reading Recs: A rock memoir, dark woods and a stark Icelandic story