The Basic Notebook

There is nothing like these Moleskin Cahier kraft paper lined notebooks for notes, sketches, and general brainstorming with pen and paper. I keep a few of them around, both in the office and at home, for to do lists and the promise of blank space whenever I need it. I like how they show time and thought as you fill them up, messing up their covers and bending their pages.

As a fan of book binding, I also appreciate that they lie flat, that they bend to your will, and that they feel like you can understand their construction of paper and linen thread the minute you use them. There is nothing more enticing to the forever doodler in me than a blank cover, too. The brown kraft paper reminds me of the grocery lined textbooks of childhood, a blank space I had to fill up.

Plus, you can find some lovely versions designed by others if you don’t have that pen and ink doodle itch:

New York Times Op-Docs

Today was not an actual snow day for me, but the evening spent inside felt like one . And during the snow I discovered The New York Times Op-Doc’s YouTube channel. The Op-Doc”s are  ”The New York Times editorial department’s forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with wide creative latitude and a range of artistic styles, covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects.”

A chilling one that’s stuck with me is ‘In the Land of Hell’ – Life as a Female Trucker in North Dakota

The Best Things I Read in 2013

 

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My Goodreads year end list visualized.

 Every book I read this year: 

  1.  My Life in France, Julia Child
  2. TransAtlantic Colum, McCann
  3. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #1), Douglas Adams
  5. Tenth of December, George Saunders
  6. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  7. Just Kids, Patti Smith
  8. The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
  9. The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
  10. After Dark, Haruki Murakami
  11. Election, Tom Perrotta
  12. Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
  13. A Friend of the Family, Lauren Grodstein
  14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  15. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  16. Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
  17. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  18. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
  19. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgeral
  20. Black Hole, Charles Burns
  21. Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity, Emily Matchar
  22. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, Cheryl Strayed
  23. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright
  24. Messenger (The Giver, #3), Lois Lowry
  25. Gathering Blue (The Giver, #2), Lois Lowry
  26. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
  27. The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City, Lebovitz, David
  28. TransAtlantic Colum McCann

I’m a lover of reading challenges.Every year I try to out do the total of the year before. Moving to New York City in the fall actually increased my totals because my commute extended.

So what were my favorites from 2013 you say?

My favorite new fiction book of the year was The Lowland by Jumpha Lahiri which I read voraciously though it was not the same kind of novel Lahiri had written in the past. The Lowland is the anti-great-american-novel, a complicated take on the trope of the American dream, a story so often portrayed in literature as only the provenance of middle of century suburbia. Lahiri makes this narrative global and unsettling.

My favorite non-fiction is a tie between Going Clear by Lawrence Wright and Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar, both of which are highly readable investigative looks at movements in contemporary America.. What can I say, I love a good history or sociological portrait.

An old-but-new-to-me favorite in 2013 was The Secret History by Donna Tartt which I read after reading all those reviews of her new book, realizing I’d owned but never opened this much lauded first novel. I read the Secret History in one day, sick on the couch, totally devouring Tartt’s master prose.

In 2014, I’m hoping to read at least 30 books if I can. My goal is too read all the series I’ve never read before. Get ready for it: Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings. Yep, I am one of the few it feels like never to read Harry Potter. Oh, and graphic novels. My new book crush is graphic novels so hopefully that will bump my reading prowess in 2014 up to the next level.

My Favorite Articles:

While impossible for me to track everything I read online this year  I do have a few favorite long articles. In 2013 I loved Bitch Magazine All Hail the Queen? about Beyonce, New York Magazine oral histories meets journalism My abortion, and the New York Times epic multi party story Invisible Child. Basically, feminism is my favorite thing to read and discuss.

Happy New Year!