Thursday, November 20, 2008

And Another "Year" Book!

Strangely enough, I finally got a book I've had wish-listed on for about a year (which is great for all those books you'd like to have, not borrow from the library, but are too cheap to buy right now on or - it's like getting a surprise present when one of these books gets listed.

Anyway, the book is Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn, by Hannah Holmes. And it fits right in with all the "year in the non-fiction life" memoirs I posted about last week.

Suburban Safari is an excellent book, by the way, full of the best kind of nature writing, by someone who understands that you don't have to travel to some pristine wilderness (as if ever there was such a thing, except maybe in the New World more than twenty-thousand years ago) to observe nature.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Year of Reading "Year of Something" Memoirs

So I'm reading A.J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically right now. An entertaining book, full of weird bits of knowledge about mixing linen and wool, praying, coveting, and other things I don't think about very much.

And it occurred to me that I've read a number of "I did something for a year" memoirs. And most of them were pretty enjoyable. In the last few years (ok, I fudged the post title a bit), I've read Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, by Ammon Shea; Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, by Julie Powell; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver; Gary Paul Nabhan's Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods (note that Nabhan beat Kingsolver to the punch by a few years, and also refrained from the using the word year in his subtitle); and The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, by Steve Rinella (what, no subtitle at all?).

And also: A Country Year: Living the Questions, by Sue Hubbell,
and The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod, by Henry Beston (the oldest of this type of book I read, published in 1928). Whew, that's a lot of "year of something or other" books.

Rinella's book is the only one I've read that comes up in an entertaining article from the NYT Book magazine with the title "The Year I Stopped Shopping, Had Lots of Sex, Cooked Street Pigeon...", which I found by Googling "year of doing something memoirs".

Clearly, I need to do something....something different for a year and then write about it. But what?