January 2018 Book Report


It’s been a fairly productive month of reading around here—much to my surprise. Ok, so one of of them is actually from the tail-end of last year but I had already written my book write-up for the year. Eh, no big deal, right?

Completed
+Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon: I subscribe to Kleon’s weekly newsletter and occasionally read his blog, and have heard about his work for quite awhile now but never actually read a book. Annnnnnd….can’t say it was worth the experience. It feels like a repackaged set of blog posts to sell as a kitsch book item. This doesn’t mean Kleon’s blog or other writings aren’t good, they usually are, but this was over rated. After reading some reviews I found I was not alone. Skip this and read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art if you are looking for similar inspiration.

+Wild Edible Plants of Texas: A Pocket Guide to the Identification, Collection, Preparation, and Use of 60 Wild Plants of the Lone Star State by Charles W. Kane: This one feels a bit like cheating to add this one to the list because it is a small field guide type book but I know I will find myself using it for reference over and over the years.

+The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James: I picked this up at a flea market near Caddo Lake in November of 2016 and just now got around to reading it. In the mood for fiction, I thought a fluffy Jane Austen re-visioning sounded easy enough to read. It was fluffy but also not so fluffy that you just breezed through it and rolled your eyes at another Austen remake. As you can tell from the title there’s a missing Jane Austen manuscript and there’s a story that ensues with a woman finding a previously unknown letter from Jane to her sister Cassandra that hints about a manuscript that Jane wrote that went missing. Considering there’s a manuscript involved you can also expect a story within the story!

+The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn: I didn’t mean to read two Austen adjacent novels back to back but this one came up in Overdrive after I had been on the wait list for months so I pretty much devoured it in a couple of days when I was sick a few weeks ago. This one isn’t like any Austen remake novel I’ve read. It involves time travel with two characters, a man and woman, sent back in time from a semi-dystopian future in order to steal the letters Jane and Cassandra wrote each other (Cassandra destroyed most of their correspondence when Jane died) in addition to trying to locate the full draft of Austen’s The Watson’s, a legit book that was never finished by Austen. Of course the main characters interact with Jane and her family and well, you have to read it! I really enjoyed it and was captivated throughout the entire story.

+The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham: I technically started this book last October but put it down about halfway through, continuing to pick it up and down over the last few months. I finally finished it on the drive back home from camping last weekend and I wondered to myself why I took so long to finish it. I Loved This Book! It’s equal parts nature, family/genealogy, and culture, with a dash of hunting. It reminded me a bit of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray, which come to find out later, the author thanked Ray in the credits. You can see some of Lanham’s Audubon articles here and some videos over here.

What have you been reading?

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