library by shannon mcgrathI have been wanting to write a post about some of my goals for 2013 (I’m not one to make resolutions) and I really want to hear what yours are if you are so inclined to share, but I will need to save that for another day (soon) as I am short on time (per usual).  One silly thing I always do when I create said goals is to make a couple of them ridiculously easy to attain, it makes me feel like I have a) accomplished something and b) have some momentum. In essence I like to trick myself. One of the goals I have set for myself is to read a book a month for the year; this is an easy goal for me as I often read a few books a month (I have terrible insomnia). I am currently off to a stellar start as I have just finished Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson and a little ‘book-ette’ by Mr. Ronson called Phoenix Jones about real life super heroes. I plan on reading all of Jon Ronson’s books this year I love his style and I am a big non-fiction fan so I think it will not be difficult at all to breeze through his work in one fell swoop.  I am pondering what to read next though, I had a few in mind previously (Moonwalking with Einstein & Pigeons) but have decided to put those off for now.  I want a book that I can’t wait to read and am reluctant to put down, is that too much to ask for?  I have considered reading about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, which is a story that is endlessly heartbreaking but also very intriguing. There’s a new book out called Cemetery John which was written by Robert Zorn, his father supposedly knew the accomplices so new evidence has been unearthed. I am curious. I don’t know if I am curious enough to spend $17 though, you?  I have some how-to books on my list as well and will share those with you when I go over my 2013 goals (I am sure you are on the edge of your seat, I jest), but somehow I don’ think the how-to books are going to be riveting in the way that I want to be riveted, you understand, right?  I have 11 books to go to meet my quota so I am open for suggestions. Here is the short list of books I am currently pondering-

The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart, it’s about earthworms, this subject could be incredibly interesting in a deft wordsmith’s hands, no really.

City of Scoundrels by Gary Kismet, I am usually always up for any story that takes place in the early 1900’s , extra draw for me is the use of the word ‘scoundrel in the title.

Fraud by David Rakoff, the name may already sound familiar to fans of This America Life, he was a frequent contributor.  I read the excerpt and it was laugh out loud funny (especially the bit about hiking boots + hiking ). “Just think, the shoes I wouldn’t be caught dead in might actually turn out to be the shoes I am caught dead in.”

Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone, I may have mentioned this as a book I wanted to read, it has magicians, mentalists and math geeks that seems like a recipe for good times, no?

Have you read any of these or heard anything about them? I would love to know what you are reading right now if anything!

photo by Shanon McGrath


  1. I am also a book devourer! I feel incomplete if I am not in the process of reading something. I mainly read fiction but I am trying to branch out in to the non-fiction world, I am going to give some of the ones you listed a go. So far I have had really good results! Here are a few I have read and really liked: Wild by Cheryl Strayed; Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton; The Boy Who Went to War also by Giles Milton (he is so wonderful to read!); Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams (watch out, you’ll get the travel bug); The Lost City of Z by David Grann: Letters From Berlin by Margarete Dos.
    Have fun!

  2. hello! i read Fooling Houdini and loved it! i’m not particularly into magic though i enjoy a good magic show, and i really enjoyed the book and the way he goes into how magicians do tricks (i don’t think it destroys magic at all – just makes you more intrigued). completely fascinating and i think you’ll like it! i checked mine out from the library.

  3. I started Cemetery John, but didn’t finish. I thought the author had the most intriguing reason to write…..It was just too sad for me. Our little library had it so I picked it up there…..try the library first before spending $17. I love my library–librarians are the most helpful & interesting. I do love Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman and appreciate her book so much! It’s charming too!
    {I’m taking the ISLC class…it is online so helpful///wish I was taking Maybelle’s class! I did see vintage nibs were better than the new ones….didn’t know they were sought after! I have old nib holders as well, however don’t know if that is ok to use?!
    Hope all is well and wishing all of us a “getting things done” January–such a nice time of the year….

    1. Kara, there’s NO libraries around these parts, it’s so disappointing as I was a regular fixture at my previous library. Was Cemetery John any good, it must of if it compelled you to put it down, since it must of moved you you, no? I wish I could take Maybelle’s class as well, one day:) Melissa’s class is a lot of fun and I know you will learn a lot (I did). Yes, you can absolutely use your nibs and holders together if they are the right size (some nibs are very delicate and need a certain type of holder so they don’t fall out). Steel nibs are good to look out for as they are nice and strong. I’ve read that bank nibs are a great find (nibs that were offered at a bank before ball point pens) as they were manufactured to be nice and sturdy for customers and able to withstand a lot of use/abuse. When you are starting out there’s a lot of abuse going on with the nibs since we aren’t used to the feel of them and the delicate nibs that are very flexible feel near impossible to master. Isn’t that romantic to think of using a dip pen at the bank?!

  4. I did see you replied to my “wittle” comment……ok… libraries? Are you sure? Did you move to Wyoming? Did I not get the note? ok,……I’m just shocked as it seems in every wee town in Ohio has a library. It’s worth the money to get Cemetery John…….I was just trying to solve your problem by recommending a library first…..however, I guess Amazon might work ;) If we get another big snow I just might pick it up again!

    Yes, it would be quite romantic to use a dip pen at the bank. YOU would die at the remodel our bank did in the 1970s…ruined an amazing bank. sigh.
    {Sorry about the flu….}

  5. For some reason–even though I was an English major in college–I find myself reading more non-fiction than fiction. One really good book–actually hard to put down, I would say–is called House Thinking: A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live by Winifred Gallagher. I love cultural commentaries and histories, and this one is so fascinating and so relevant. I would definitely recommend adding it to your list. :)

    I am so happy to be back at your blog. Somehow I lost you over the holidays. I thought I had subscribed and know I used to be on your email list, but things have been silent for some reason–weird! It was a treat for me to come over and visit and see lots of new-to-me content. Love the site design! Happy [belated] 2013! (And you are now in my Reader for good.)

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