The Sunday Salon: A week without reading

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The Sunday

An odd title for a post on a blog that’s mostly about books. This week, I did finish a book about fiddling, which I reviewed on Tuesday. I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but as the temperature rises, and the world gets greener, I find myself reading a little less, and blogging even less frequently.

I’m mostly okay with both of these developments. Before Blogger went down and the week kicked into high gear, I did read some of the posts over at The Reading Ape, and bibliophiliac’s brief discussion of the posts. These posts about the nature of book reviews and book blogging got me thinking about the purpose of blogging and blogging about books. Sometimes I think my posts are pretty closely immersed in the book itself. But sometimes, as I’ve admitted before, the review is really all about me and my life. I think a lot depends on who your audience is, or who you want your audience to be. Are you telling them whether or not they should read the book, or are you trying to share something about your particular experience of reading that book? I lean towards the latter, and then figure deciding whether or not they should read it flows from that.

Anyway, this week I did almost finish weeding and mulching all my flower beds and planted the first wave of our vegetable garden. Very satisfying tasks. I’m about 3/4 of the way through my current knitting project, an amigurumi anglerfish for my stepdaughter. And I’ve been writing, non-bloggish things, which I have to say, feels very good. My husband and I have decided that writers are, in the end, people who write. Just as gardeners are people who garden, musicians are people who play music, and teachers are those who teach. In the end, if you want to be it, you have to do it. And so we’ve been writing.

I have been doing some reading, but somewhat scattered what with everything else going on. I started Willa Cather’s Song of the Lark. Every now and then, I pick up Anne Lammott’s Bird by Bird for some writerly inspiration. And I’m reading a book about bears. Yes, bears. The book is Walking with Bears by Terry D. DeBruyn and it’s connected to the non-bloggish writing I’m doing, but who knew how interesting bears could be?

The books I’ve been getting from the library lately have mostly been songbooks. Alan Lomax’s huge Folk Songs of North America and the smaller American Ballads and Folk Songs. The Fiddle Book by Marion Thede. And this week, we watched Songcatcher again, just for good measure. I love reading about the history of folk songs and they way they’re related to each other. Songcatcher is loosely based on the life of Olive Dame Campbell, and features beautiful singing by Iris DeMent, Hazel Dickens, some banjo picking by Taj Mahal, and fiddling by Josh Goforth.

Today, I’ll be going to a memorial service for a former student who died while hiking in India. He was too, too young, and far too beautiful a person to be lost so easily, and there’s not much more to say about it than that. I will miss him, and so will the world.


  1. Oh, Robyn. So many reactions to your post. A week without reading? Sad. Yay, you've been gardening. Yay, you're a writer. Yes, I loved Songcatcher and I purchased the soundtrack to have with me in the car. And sad again, for your student.

  2. Sorry to hear about your student – it's very sad when someone dies young. I hope the memorial service goes OK.

    I look forward to seeing a picture of the knitted fish when you finish it; I hope you'll post one.

  3. We lost a student this year as well and it just rips out one's heart to lose someone so young.

    You sound so at peace in this post, it's wonderful. Gardening, writing, etc all sound wonderful. Have a great rest of your weekend and a good week.

  4. Sorry to hear about your former student. So many people have had so much sadness and pain this year I hope it get better.

  5. Oh, so sad about your student. When a life is shortened, so many thoughts come up. The randomness of everything, for one.

    I like your take on reviewing…I do enjoy putting in a tidbit or two about how I experienced a book I've read.

    I like reading reviews like that, too.

    Now I'm going to check out some of your links.


  6. I loved Songcatcher! Iris DeMent is great–she grew up in Buena Park which is about ten miles from me. I love the album she did with John Prine, “In Spite of Ourselves.” My husband and I joke about being the Old Chevrolet Set.

    Thanks for the bear book recommendation. That sounds good.

    I'm so sorry about your student.

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