Recommendations 1/24/2021: A "Lazy" Sunday

...or is it

I was about to say that I’m looking at a “lazy” Sunday of reading with a little writing, and then I remembered that this week’s column is on Laziness Does Not Exist by Dr. Devon Price. I won’t recap everything I say about the book (that’s what the link is for), but Dr. Price would be critical of my instinct to call a day of reading an act of laziness. There’s a lot of cultural and psychological stuff going on around our notions of laziness, and Laziness Does Not Exist will open some eyes, it did mine anyway.

Part of busting the myth of laziness is in not trying to recast reading as “productive,” but to instead cast off our notions of productivity entirely. It’s an ongoing battle for me, as I imagine it is for just about everyone. Even doing these newsletters can feel like an indulgence since it is not, technically, paying work.

But I enjoy it, which is reason enough. Now, if I can just convince my subconscious of that.

If you’d like to submit a list of your recent reads for a book recommendation for yourself, the instructions for consideration are here.

Links to the recommended books take you to The Biblioracle Recommends bookshop at Bookshop.org. Affiliate income for purchases through the bookshop goes to Open Books in Chicago.

If you know anybody who might like to get once or twice weekly book recommendations, you know how to tell them where to find me.

1. When Time Stopped: A Memoir of my Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann
2. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
3. The Bookwoman or Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
4. All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny
5. The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson

Lorey F. - Western Springs, IL

Lorey expressed a particular fondness for Braiding Sweetgrass in this list, so I’m recommending a book that, like that one, uses a specific subject to help illuminate the wider world around us. H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

1. Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava
2. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
3. The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde
4. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
5. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami 

Peer S. - Berlin, Germany

This is a list that makes me think Peer is a good match for the narrative trick that Steven Millhauser pulls in one of my absolute favorite novels of all time, Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of An American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright. (I have a collection of maybe 12 first edition signed copies of my favorite books and Edwin Mullhouse is one of them.)

1. Pure by Andrew Miller
2. The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
3. Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine by Barry Strauss
4. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
5. The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry

David M. - Chicago, IL

I’m hoping that David has not yet read Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels because I think we’re looking at a perfect fit. The first of five volumes is Never Mind, but anyone who is intrigued should just buy the whole collection.

1. Still Life by Louise Penny 
2. The Order by Daniel Silva
3. Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World by Chris Wallace
4. The Summer Game by Roger Angell 
5. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spy by Len Deighton

Jim H. - Wheaton, IL

In the column awhile back, I paired this book with the Chris Wallace book because it’s a kind of sequel in terms of the narrative, while also being one of the most extraordinary works of narrative non-fiction in history. Hiroshima by John Hersey

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone, whatever it may contain.