The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth
This book provides a deep-dive into why certain phrases are so memorable, and why others tend to be forgotten. Not exactly a textbook, but it could be considered a manual for linguistically-interested readers. The author's voice is so hilarious that, even if language-related non-fiction doesn't initially appeal to you, you should give the book a try!
The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth
Each chapter in this book represents a component of a person's day - waking up, grooming, transportation, working, happy hour, evening activities, etc. Within each chapter, the author present's a huge array of words and phrases that were once commonplace in the English language, but have since fallen mostly into disuse. For example, is there someone in your workplace who -in every meeting- sits there and nods her/his head over and over and over? That person would be called "nod crafty".
Am I Alone Here by Peter Orner
The Liszts by Kyo Maclear and Julia Sarda
In this beautifully-illustrated children's book, readers are introduced to the Liszt family, who love to make lists of all sorts. One day, a stranger comes in through the front door and introduces chaos into their highly-ordered lives. He encourages spontaneity, adventure, and the unknown. Ever so gradually, he helps the Liszts to relax their list-driven lives.
Talking Back Talking Black by John McWhorter
Linguist and academic John McWhorter presents a compelling argument - that the spoken language of many black Americans is not an error-filled or broken English - but is a completely separate dialect. If you're interested in modern language studies and topics of race in America, this is a fascinating read.
A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston
I listened to this as an audiobook, which I HIGHLY recommend! The author narrates the book himself, so it feels like you're having a long chat with a famous friend. I contend that memoirs are at their best as an audiobook with the author as narrator. Here, Bryan Cranston lays many parts of his life bare to the audience. Some are tragic and highly emotional, while some are hilarious, and others are quite mundane. The author is able to mine it all, and does a tidy job of rolling them all up into a single scene at the end of the book. For fans of the author's professional work, or those who are just curious about who he is, this is a great read.
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
A post-9/11 office worker, prone to temper tantrums and emotional breakdowns, decides to take on a project to enrich her life. Throughout the course of a year, she decides to cook her way through the classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Berthold, and Simone Beck. She blogs about her experiences with an honesty and real-ness that endears her to readers and the general public.
How Not to Give a F*ck at Christmas by Sarah Knight
A short and sassy book (essay?) about how to have a happier holiday season without going broke, crazy, or exhausted.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
I find it challenging to read a play and get a full picture of what is going on. Reading it like I would read a novel isn't particularly helpful. I have found that if I want to read a play (especially Shakespeare), it's more meaningful if I can listen to an audio recording of the play while reading along with the text. That's what I've done here, and I really enjoyed the experience. This is a play about a man, Prospero, who is overthrown as the Duke of Milan and banished. He and his infant daughter Miranda end up on a mysterious island, and live out 12 years of their lives with the other inhabitants of the island. During that time, Prospero plots his grand revenge against the man who usurped him, and has an opportunity to take his revenge.
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
2AM at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
This is a sweet story about a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking little girl named Madelyn whose only dream is to sing at the local jazz club called The Cat's Pajamas. Other characters include the club's owner, one of Madelyn's teachers, a police officer, a market shop owner, and a neighborhood dog. It's set in the city of Philadelphia, which I know well, and features many characters and locations that felt very familiar to me. There is humor, love, excitement, sadness, and joy throughout the work. It's set on Christmas Eve eve, although it has really nothing to do with the holiday at all.
I'm looking forward to what reading will take place in January, and continuing my Winter of Women project in the New Year!