Emily's Journal

Occasional Thoughts On Various Things

Category: Uncategorized

An Imaginary Warmth

“I stepped over to the bookcase and pulled down one of my favorite books: Birds of the World.  Each page showed a bird in its natural habitat–a puffin with its fat, gaudy beak, peering out of a burrow, a lyre-bird spreading its tail beneath a leafy tree–accompanied by a description.  Usually I read curled in […]

Double down

Tessa Hadley’s sneaky-good new novel, The London Train, pulls a double bait-and-switch.  Perhaps a nicer way of phrasing would be to say one’s readerly expectations are built up and then dismantled, and that this happens twice–once with startling suddenness, and once with slow, subtle ingenuity. I went out to buy this novel because the week […]

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

Hello again, imaginary internet friends.  Long time no see.  I took a somewhat unplanned break from this blog, in an effort to power through a full draft of my second novel.  Now I’m back, and happy to rejoin the conversation about books and reading.  I’m even more happy to focus on Meg Wolitzer’s new novel, […]

Mona Simpson’s Hollywood

I’m getting slightly embarrassed about all the raves I post here.  I truly didn’t understand how deeply I fall in love with so many books until I started keeping this intermittent reading journal.  And I swear I’m not juicing up these pieces just to make for a better read.  Honestly, I’ve loved like crazy every […]


This is from the novel Blame, by Michelle Huneven: “At Bertin, Patsy had been in with petty, unmalicious felons–drug users, wallet-filching prostitutes, check kiters–but in Malibu she lived with killers, assaulters, armed robbers, anyone who’d done good time and had fewer than two years left to serve.  Every other woman, it seemed, had stabbed or […]

Wonderfully Bad Marie

I’ve been reading so much recently I hardly know where to start.  I have a stack of books to write about–several wonderful novels, but I just have to go in reverse order and begin with Bad Marie, a short and stellar new novel by Marcy Dermansky (who is lovely in person, I’m happy to report!) […]

So virtuous

I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction recently, which is unusual for me.  And I have noticed that a clear sign I am truly engaged and enjoying one of these books is that I want to read more about whatever its subject is, after I finish.  (This is opposed to my common reaction, which is […]


It’s so good to be surprised by a moment in a novel. For the first third of the way through Anne Lamott’s new novel, Imperfect Birds, I was disengaged.  I feel guilty writing this, because I can imagine it might strike at the heart of someone who struggles to create fiction, but I enjoy Lamott’s […]

Solo / Solar

Sorry, folks!  It’s been a while since I wrote.  What happens is that some reading is just for me, not for the blog, you know?  (No, not *that* kind of reading.)  I’m still cogitating on how to approach this reading journal.  For so long, and essentially, still, reading is to me a private activity.  That […]

Well, I wanted to

like Don DeLillo’s new novel, Point Omega.  I really did.  But I had a sneaking suspicion I wouldn’t, based on two things: the cheesy, cheesy, CHEESY title and the fact that it’s only 117 pages long.  To be that short, it’s gotta be good, really good.  But too often I find that the whole short […]