~ Reading Bliss ~

Cover of "Thinking About Memoir (AARP)"

Cover of Thinking About Memoir (AARP)

Some days this bliss journey gets a little long and twisted and I am baffled as to whether I can keep it up. As anyone who reads this blog on a somewhat regular basis knows, my 2013 resolution is to find my bliss. Some days I want to pack it in; some days finding my bliss is pretty….blissful.

Cover of "Old Friend from Far Away: How t...

Cover via Amazon

Before I run out of things to say about bliss, I really must address the thing that has given me bliss since I was about six years old. The thing that has stood me in good stead all of these years, through thick and thin, through good times and bad, through…..okay you get the clichéd gist.

Quite simply, I love to read. I can depend on reading to provide bliss. Even before I could read, I was read to—so the magic of the written word has been with me all my life.

Today I am going to share with you a few of my favourite books and authors—just off the top of my head, because I am feeling lazy (so lazy I put the Sunday roast in the crock pot with potatoes cause I am too lazy to pay attention to it).

Cover of "On Writing:  A Memoir of the Cr...

Cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

My favourite authors are Margaret Atwood, Alistair McLeod, Elizabeth Berg, Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, Annie Lamont, Ray Bradbury, Abigail Thomas, Stephen King, Ina Garten, Chef Michael Smith, and a whole lot of other people. I do not like everything these people have ever written, but I like a great deal of what they have written. I am  a voracious reader of non-fiction but the only name that comes to mind right now is Rabbi Harold Kushner.

My favourite book from childhood is Little Women—I loved Jo, and grew up to be a writer precisely because of her. My favourite character from my preteen years is Trixie Belden—she was smart and independent, and I read every one of her books several times.

My favourite books on memoir are by Natalie Goldberg and Abigail Thomas. I suggest that if you like this genre you should rush out and buy, or put on hold at your library, Goldberg’s “Old Friend from Far Away” and Thomas’ “Thinking About Memoir”.

If you could only read three books on writing—these are my picks: Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”; Annie Lamont’s “Bird by Bird”; and Stephen King’s “On Writing”. My fourth pick is one I am re-reading right now, Jack Hart’s “Storycraft” which is “The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction.” He has reinvigorated my newspaper writing.

Cover of "Writing down the Bones"

Cover of Writing down the Bones

So for the record, just in case this bliss thing comes to an end—I need it stated that reading is my bliss.

Off the top of your head—what are your favourite books or authors. Don’t think too hard (it is Sunday after all)—you will miss some as I most certainly have.

Top Ten TV Shows

Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I call this my frivolous Monday submission

I am a pushover for top ten lists of just about anything. Top ten books about avocados. Top ten artistic renderings of telephone poles. Even top ten music lists (though anything past the year 1982, which coincides with the year I was married is unfamiliar to me). So, just in case you too are a fan of top ten lists, I thought I would provide you with a summer list of my top ten favourite TV shows. (It is a summer list, because in the summer we are allowed to be frivolous and admit that we watch and enjoy television in the comfort of air conditioning).

1. Community: I love this show. My youngest son is home from college to toil away in a produce warehouse for the summer. He introduced me to this program about seven friends who form a study group—or actually the study group forms the basis of their friendship at Greendale “Community” College (hence the name of the sitcom). I hesitate to call it a sitcom, as that does not really do it justice—it is quirky, funny, and endearing.

2. Downton Abbey: I have already  written about this – but the Christmas show at the end of the second season ties up some loose ends while leaving a few tantalizing tidbits dangling for the third season.

3. Chopped: Who would not love a show where four chefs are given mystery baskets with weird food items (such as guppies, cornmeal, red liquorice, and lime Jell-O powder) and are asked not only make an appetizer, but one that is edible and presented artistically. This show is the ultimate in grace under pressure.

4. Big Bang Theory:  Cannot get enough of these super smart guys who find life mystifying.

5. The Barefoot Contessa: Any show that stars my favourite cook, Ina Garten, is a show I am going to watch. Her favourite saying is: “How easy is that?” I have written down recipes from her show, and actually made them! Who says there are no miracles?

6. Power and Politics with Evan Solomon:  This is serious entertainment. Political operatives, pundits, and the powers-that-be all vie to be on this show. Unfortunately some of them did not learn the second golden rule: listen quietly and wait your turn.

Okay, I could only come up with six, but who has heard of a top six list?