Once again I've been a bad little blogger. Furthermore, I've been a lazy little writer in general. I've been struggling with the blahs lately, the blahs being a form of depression, I think (Don't worry, Mama). Within one of the books I read this year was a tiny bit of simplistic wisdom, "When you can't write, read." I have taken that exhortation to heart the past few weeks. I devoured Mary Karr's brilliant memoir, The Liars' Club. I finished it today, actually, on this glorious day off from work. I finished it and promptly embarked upon the sequel, Cherry, which I purchased at work. I should mention that The Liars' Club was a kind gift from my cool aunt Denise. I visited her in Austin recently and we browsed my favorite bookstore, Bookpeople, (located on 6th and Lamar) for almost too long. With Denise's great navigational skills around the streets of Austin we made miraculous time to fit in vanilla frappes at Flipnotic's, damn good enchiladas and a melon margarita at an amazing Mexican food place I've forgotten the name of, and a Lucy Kaplansky show at the legendary Cactus Cafe. The fire alarm went off right smack in the midst of the music forcing all of us including Lucy outside on the patio. Denise and I think a few drunk college boys set the alarm off in celebration of UT's victory that night. Austin trips like that are only one of the many reasons I love my aunt Denise who values words both in books and in songs. Anyway, towards the end of The Liars' Club I read my new favorite quote spoken by Marry Karr's late Texan father, J.P. Karr, that I feel compelled to share with you:

"I get on them like ugly on ape."

He was referring to how he would handle any boys that messed with Mary in college. Read the book for yourself - it is proof that non-fiction is every bit as much of an art form as fiction. It is obvious Mary is a poet - her metaphors are to die for.

Reading is oh so important to me as you know. Thus, I now keep a list of all the books I read each year. I was planning to share the list with you in December but November is the beginning of my year as it is the beginning of Advent later this month. If I was a more consistent human being I would have started this list in November of 2003 but you're dealing with imperfection here.

Books I read in 2004:

1. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
2. Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See
3. Kristin Lavransdatter II: The Mistress of Husaby by Sigrid Undset
4. Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset
5. The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen
6. Surviving a Writer's Life by by Suzanne Lipsett
7. In the Presence of my Enemies by Gracia Burnham
8. Portofino by Frank Schaeffer
9. The View From a Monastery by Brother Benet Tvedten
10. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris
11. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
12. Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle by Lauren St. John
13. The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

I also read some of my favorite publications such as Image, Paste, No Depression, etc. Now I must make like the Tasmanian Devil and get ready to leave for Church in 30 minutes!

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