A reading to-do list

Lately my life is even more about reading and writing than usual–and let’s be honest, that’s a dream come true. Sometimes people ask why I do so much (full-time magazine editor, freelance writing and editing, teaching, yoga, etc.). But all of these activities tie back in to my greatest loves: reading and writing. Although yoga may not be an obvious connection, it helps me disconnect from the over-active to-do list part of my brain–which in turn leaves me feeling more creative and open to new ideas. It’s a beautiful cycle.

Thanks in part to a schedule made even busier by a number of upcoming book events, I’ve recently started a to-read list (in addition to all of my other lists–did I mention I’m type A?). I’ve got a number of reading and writing assignments due in the coming weeks, and this list has helped me keep my priorities in line. It may seem a bit silly and intense, but it’s working for me.

I wanted to read “The Mockingbird Next Door” by Marja Mills as soon as possible after its release, in large part because of the national conversation regarding whether or not it was written with Harper Lee’s knowledge. (For what it’s worth, I don’t think Mills could have written the book without consent from the Lee sisters.) But I had to finish “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown before yoga teacher training (barely made it), and reread “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” before my Harry Potter book club met (success).

It’s a different approach to the way I read, but it’s working. And I’m simultaneously being pointed toward other books that I own but have yet to read; for example, in Mills’ book, the Lee sisters talk to her about Paul Hemphill’s “The Ballad of Little River,” among other books that relay Alabama’s history. I love Hemphill’s “Leaving Birmingham,” and own but have yet to read several of his other works.

Between writing my second book (due far too soon!) and powering through my ever-growing reading list, I’ve decided I need to take a two-week vacation: one week to piddle and read whatever I feel like reading, and a second to write, write, write. I’ve got the vacation days, but I’ve got to clear my calendar of events in order to make this dream come to life.

Recently acquired:

  1. The Art of Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind
  2. Nick Saban vs. College Football by Christopher Walsh
  3. Season of Saturdays by Michael Weinreb
  4. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  5. Songbook by Nick Hornby (one of my all-time favorite books in a snazzy new edition)
  6. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio by yours truly
  7. The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
  8. The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver
  9. The Oxford Companion to Beer edited by Garrett Oliver
  10. The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills
  11. Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
  12. Deadline Artists edited by John P. Avlon, Errol Louis and Jesse Angelo 

Recently read:

  1. The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  3. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  4. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  6. The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson
  7. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

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