Acts of Reader Gratitude

Gratitude is one of those words that has become tainted and overused over the last few years. Gratitude journals ballooned into full-blown humble-bragging on social media, ad nauseum recitations of beautiful children or perfect autumn days or that special cup of coffee. I feel immense gratitude for the things and circumstances and people in my life, but also feel grateful that I can, for the most part, keep it to myself. The joy for me is not in the telling, rather in the being. But there is one form of gratitude that… Read More

The Bibliophile Safari

My teenager rolled her eyes at me. You have a problem. I was leaving the bookstore with seven new books. Piles teeter haphazardly in my study. I read a lot and I read weirdly. I visit the library once a week and I can’t leave a bookstore without new books, even more so when it’s an independent bookseller. It might be a problem, but I don’t care. Today, apparently, is designated Book Lovers’ Day. Uh, isn’t that every single minute of every single day? This morning my husband asked me why I… Read More

The Pitfalls and Promises of Self-Help

I’m a self-help scavenger. Over the course of a lifetime, I’ve read hundreds of self-help books. Like many people, I started life off on uneven footing and always had the sense that I had to make up for something that I was lacking – something that was preventing me from being the confident, self-actualized, happy person I thought I should be. It’s taken decades to understand how to make self-help advice useful and how to discard that which is not. There is a wide variety of books out there, one for every… Read More

Reading is in the Job Description

It’s a rainy day and the last day of school. My hours of solitude will soon be a distant memory, until the crispness of autumn air returns. Soon, I will be sharing endless space and time with a teenage changeling. I’m anxious about that, about how rattled and on edge I can get when someone is always there. And thus the argument begins, should I read or get some things taken care of today? Whereas I’ve begun to write regularly and have elevated the task to the top of the to-do list,… Read More

The TGS Writers’ Book Club: Become Better Writers, One Book at a Time

After unsuccessfully searching for an offline book club in my area that was comprised of writers, I decided to create the space online. This is entirely experimental, but I’ve tried to think things through and hopefully, this will be a useful tool for writers who are readers. The main point of difference between a book club of readers and a book club of writers, is that reading is not only a hobby, but an intentional learning tool. How we read, what we read, and with what intent we read, influences how we… Read More

A Writer Walks into a Book Club…

I fumed well into the night after attending an open book club at my local library. At first, I was hopeful. There were discussion worksheets with great analytical questions about the book laid out on the tables. Except they didn’t use the worksheet. Many people hadn’t even finished reading the book. After an hour of people sharing personal anecdotes about trips to Italy and saying inane things like the book should have been shorter with no supporting reasons, I quietly closed my notebook. A notebook with ten pages of earnest notes about the… Read More

Book Reviews: Acts of Generosity or Ego?

I recently rejoined Goodreads after a long absence and am pondering whether or not to write book reviews. I haven’t done so in the past, as a rule, for a number of reasons. The first reason is that I have a lot of writer friends, many of whom have written books. Some of those books get an ‘A’ for effort, but not for execution. Sometimes they ask for reviews. I want to keep my integrity. And my friends. Another reason for not writing reviews is that I feel squeamish as a writer… Read More

Rays of Light on a Dismal January Day

It’s a gray day here at The Green Study and on such a day, in the middle of a Minnesota winter, one has to scrabble a bit to lift spirits. I’m going to share with you a few things that are lifting mine. Fellow Bloggers Sometimes you are really, really funny. Thank you. Here’s a few posts that have given the gift of a good laugh: “31 brand new animal species discovered by amateur naturalists” by Guy Bergstrom at the Red Pen of Doom “If my nose is running, my thoughts are… Read More

Reading Like a Human

Every few months or so, some list comes out of books that are must-reads for men or women or other sentient life forms. It makes me angry, but then that is part of my normal state of being. I grew up spoon-fed from a porridge bowl of “classics” written by men with a dollop of writing by women (usually containing more than a dash of Austen). The porridge was very white. I’ve become a voracious, indiscriminate reader. I don’t read genres or genders or even bodies of work by single authors. I… Read More

The Ugly Duckling: The Ambiguity of Fairy Tales

It was “show and trade” day in 1st grade. Everyone got to bring a toy from home that they could trade with another student. There wasn’t much I could bring. My mother finally gave in on a doll. It was a large plastic doll, a hand-me-down from another family. It was the kind of doll you put diapers on, except she didn’t have any clothes and one of her arms kept falling off. Each student would go to the front of the classroom to show and talk about the toy that they… Read More