By Leslie Lindsay
Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book
~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~
Summer going too fast for you? I just spent an evening with some very good friends. While eating peanut butter cup ice cream and chatting about the busyness of the season (BBQs, weddings, travel, bike riding, etc.), the concept of ‘banking up the summer’ came up.
Sometimes we yearn for things to slow down, but when they do…we want the vibrancy of summer to return.
Most of you know I read like mad. But I also like to experience the world. We travel a good deal. That means I have to work harder to find time for my towering TBR. Here are some of my tried-and-true tricks for reading on the go:
I carry a book with me everywhere.
Whatever format you choose, make sure to stuff a book or two (or ten!) in your bag before leaving the house. You never know when you can carve out a little chunk of reading time, and you can’t read a book if you don’t have one on hand, right? (This is SO hard to do with the convenience and allure of cell phone scrolling, but put that thing away and read a book instead!).
I read before bed.
This has been a ‘thing’ for me since college, when I allowed myself a ‘fun book’ before falling asleep. It sure beat falling asleep with a clunky microbiology book. My husband is the opposite; he’s snoring before he can make it through five pages. Still, reading is reading, and reading in bed is the perfect way to wind down. I can’t fall asleep without a few minutes (or hours) in a good book.
I don’t read just for myself.
I read to see what else is out there. Which books are doing well, where the market is going, how other authors hook their readers in new and exciting ways. So yes, I read with an eye to writing, but I also read to help my fellow authors. To give them a nice review on GR or Amazon, for example, or to shout out about the stories I’ve read and loved— and sometimes I am on self-imposed deadlines: read it before the movie, read it before interviewing the author, read it before the library wants it back.
Reading is a priority.
I don’t always read a lot every day. Sometimes I can only squeeze in a few chapters here and there–maybe not even that. But really, for me, it’s about commitment to reading. Some months I get through more books, but I am always, always immersed in a book—with plenty more that have ‘caught my eye.’
There’s a bit of a controversy or contradiction here. Do you consider audiobooks as listening or reading? Some people (my husband!) swear by them and claim they help reach their reading goals. You can listen in the car, the plane, in the yard, around the house, at the gym…I get you are absorbing ‘story,’ but is it reading? Some say yes, some say no. What do you think?
What about you? What season do you tend to get most of your reading in? Do you read consistently throughout the year or do you really surge during certain times? Do you have other tips/tricks for tackling your TBR?
~Leslie : )
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You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, author of award-winning Speaking of Apraxia (Woodbine House, 2020 and PRH audio 2021) and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews.
WHAT I AM DISTRACTED/OBSESSED BY:
- I’m considering re-reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, especially after seeing the movie adaptation. I always feel the book is better, but this one is a tough call. At times I felt the book moved a little slow (but was beautifully written)…the movie was very close to to the book in terms of plot/twists/character. I started obsessing over logistics in the movie, where it was set versus filmed, and other details.
- How to make my writing more interesting…ha! ; ) What I am getting at here is how to make it more formally or structurally interesting. For me, it’s not enough to ‘just’ write. I think this is something I’ve wrestled with for a long time, I’m just now able to identify and articulate that. I like creating in multiple media: visual art, inventive storytelling/writing techniques, and so looking at the hermit crab essay (see also:) flash fiction, poetry, epistolary work.
- Prepping for the school year. Nope, I’m not a teacher and I am not in school, but being the mother of a HS senior (?!) and sophomore who are both very active in sports and clubs and friends…college applications, pestering/nagging kids, attending all the games, senior portraits, Homecoming…it’s a crazy season, wish me luck!
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NEW! Four Questions: A mini-interview series
STAY AWAKE: A NOVEL
- Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say STAY AWAKE is about?
Megan Goldin: It’s a neo-noir thriller about a magazine writer called Liv who wakes up and discovers her life has changed almost beyond recognition for reasons that she doesn’t understand. The only thing she knows is that something terrible has happened and that there is a sense of ever present danger.
2. Where did you write STAY AWAKE ? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?
I wrote STAY AWAKE during the Covid lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia which were among the longest lockdowns in the world.
There is nothing about Covid in the book! However, Liv’s sense of dislocation and disconnection with her old life, and the chaos around her, I think mirrors what we all felt during that awful first two years of the pandemic.
As for my rituals : Well, due to the lockdowns, my house was full of kids being home schooled so large parts of STAY AWAKE were written in my car in my driveway with construction worker headphones over my ears because my neighbors would conduct their work calls from their adjacent garden. It was tough to get the space and quiet to write. Most people who were working from home during that time can probably relate to the challenges!
3. If you weren’t writing, you would be…
Working in journalism. I used to be a reporter with various news outlets and I loved covering breaking news as well as writing features in which I interviewed people with fascinating stories. One of my favorite feature topics was on archaeology.
4. What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?
I just finished John le Carré’s final novel Silverview. It was published after he died. When I finished Silverview I felt incredibly humbled by his brilliance as a writer and storyteller. I also felt sad that this will be the last of his books now that he has sadly passed away.
Recently-published Stuff You Might Have Missed:
- A piece in the nostalgia dossier of Levitate Magazine, about my childhood interest in a (vintage) kid’s rooms and spaces book.
- A Conversation with Marie Myung-Ok Lee in The Millions, about her new novel, The Evening Hero, featuring aspects of immigration, Minnesota, color, and medicine.
- “Breaking Ground,” by Leslie Lindsay, flash fiction in The Tiny Journal
- “Making Space: Cicadas & My Mother,” by Leslie Lindsay, CNF in ANMLY
- The Midwessay: Fragmented Thoughts on Being a Missouri Girl in ‘the north,’ Essay Daily, May 9, 2022.
- In Conversation with Maud Newton, author of ANCESTOR TROUBLE: A Reckoning and Reconciliation (Random House, March 29, 2022), Hippocampus Magazine, May 2022.
- In Conversation with Kim Adrian, author of The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, The Florida Review, spring 2022.
- Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, 2nd edition (Woodbine House, 2021) through some online retailers, your local library, used bookstores (it’s now officially out-of-print), and the audio edition is downloadable (with additional PDFs, resources) through Penguin Random House.
A piece about being a book ambassador, reading about family, inheritance, postmemory, and landscape in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.
A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.
A conversation with Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder about her forthcoming book, Existential Physics (Viking, August 9, 2022) in Hippocampus Magazine.
A conversation with Carla Zaccagnini about her book, Cuentos de Cuentas (Amant/Verlag, spring 2000) in The Millions.
I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, on Wednesdays, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications. On Fridays, I’ll share any recent published fiction in this space as well.
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What I’m reading:
I just finished an ARC of Kristine Langley Mahler’s hybrid memoir, CURING SEASON: Artifacts (WVP, October 1), which I highly recommend pre-ordering now. It’s about place, displacement, family, mean girls, grief, the idea of carrying and ‘being haunted’ by a place, and so much more. Up next: SINKHOLES: A Legacy of Suicide by Juliet Patterson (Milkweed Editions, September 22). Kind of fun how these covers sort of mimic one another, right?
What I’m listening to:
These pretty great old-school tunes from the 1980s on Sonos Music/Yacht Rock.
You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews. I’m also on twitter and instagram. I try to answer comments as best I can. Feel free to find my book suggestions on bookshop.org, and also check out the authors I’ve hosted in in-depth interviews HERE.
In the meantime, catch me on:
Reviewing books and talking about them with others on-line and in-person is one small way to engage with & support the literary community.
Thank you for letting me guide you on your bookish journey.
Let’s walk this bookish path together.
Some of you have been reading my reviews, interviews, and meanderings for more than a decade now. That’s huge and I am so humbled. Thanks for being here.
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