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?


Happy in Houston said...

Just don't bother with "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion. BOR-ING!

Stephanie said...

I love these Year of Doing Something Extraordinary books. I too have thought, Gee, I really need to do something awesome for a year, and then write about it. But like you, I still sit around going, What should I do? Darn my lack of creativity! ;)

Sherry said...

Hey, I like these books, too. And I've thought of taking on some impossibly crazy project myself. When you figure out what yours will be, let me know. Actually, if either one of us comes up with a great idea, maybe we should patent it so that no one will copy us.