Tag Archives: memoir

Patti Smith Tells Me What to Read

When I was a kid, before the usage of the internet was popular, I bought my books exclusively by browsing through the bookstore and picking up what looked interesting. I didn’t always buy and read books belonging to series in the right order, allowing my imagination to fill in the bits that didn’t quite make sense. But the overleaf or the last page of the book would contain the names of the other books in those series and I would keep an eye out for them. When I finally found and read the prequels of the books that I had read first, it was a cathartic experience. I’ll never regret reading my books in this strange way. But it did mean that I ended up getting stuck reading a certain author or publisher a lot.

The only reason my reading didn’t stagnate is because I tended to gravitate towards books about people that read a lot and write a lot and want to be writers or are writers, as a kid. (Whom am I kidding? I still gravitate towards such books)
In these books, there would be those treasured times when these fictional people that I felt I could relate to so much, read real books by real authors. And then I would get extremely excited and go hunt down those books. I found one of my all-time favourite children’s books, A Little Princess, this way. New books! New worlds! So magical.

To date, I adore reading books about obsessive readers and writers; about people who didn’t drop their reading habits, blaming adulthood for their default. And I adore books about writing and the writing process even more. My all-time favourite book (Spoiler alert: It may be toppled soon by a new book) Bird by Bird is about writing. And nothing– NOTHING– can beat the joy of getting book recommendations from such books even in the age of Goodreads and Booktube.

One such book that I had been reading for a while now is M Train by Patti Smith. It’s her second memoir, and it released in 2015. I took some time to get my hands on it because of Amazon’s idiocy, and it took me some more time to make myself read it because of the enormous number of unread books I have. I decided to start it over after reading about a third of it because I wanted to annotate it. After all of these obstacles keeping us apart, I finally finished reading it last morning. She reads like me, but more so; getting obsessed with authors, with stories, with the lives of the fictional people in those stories, etc. And she has made me fall in love with her and with all of the things she loves. She thinks of writing as prayer, the way I do. I feel like she just gets me.  I got so many book recommendations, so many author recommendations from her, that I felt cross-eyed. I wonder how many books I’ll own and have read by the time I’m her age.

In one part of the book, she speaks about how much she loves Mikhail Bulgakov, and I’ve had one of his books on my shelf for absolute ages and I bought another one recently. So… I’ve decided that it’s time to give this Russian writer a chance, even though I have a rubbish record of finishing Russian books. I haven’t finished anything by Tolstoy, I didn’t finish Doctor Zhivago, or anything by Gogol till date. I just think that the Russians have a style of writing that involves a hell of a lot of backstory and digression, and I’m unused to that style. Maybe once I’m accustomed to it, I’ll actually be able to read the other authors too: Especially Pasternak, because  Doctor Zhivago has such an interesting premise, which is right up my alley and I really, really want to be able to finish it.

So get tuned for two Bulgakov books in a row, and stay tuned because it’ll take me forever at the speed I’m reading these days.

What do you guys think of Patti Smith’s books? Her music? Do you like Bulgakov? Do you read any Russian literature? Tell me in the comments!

Here are my customary social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Keeping reading, guys!

Cheers.

Hoot,

Sin

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Currently Reading (Taking Weird Decisions)

Hello everyone! What are you all reading right now?
I am currently in the middle of M Train by Patti Smith. It’s a memoir, which is my favourite genre of non-fiction. It’s her second memoir after Just Kids.
I found so many quotable and lovable quotes in it that I panicked about
forgetting them. Therefore, I have decided to recommence my reading of the book and write and underline and whatever else in it since I’m never going to give this book away anyway. Yes, I know. It’s ridiculous when I already hardly get time to read but I must. I feel like I’ll really miss out on something if I don’t.
Plus, I’m seriously considering buying a hard copy of Just Kids and rereading that because I feel like the Kindle edition may not have done justice to it.
In other words, I may have lost my mind. I have reconciled myself to it though. M Train, here I come! (Again)
Has any book given you this feeling before? Do you write in books or do you abhor the practice? Have you read either Just Kids or M Train? What did you think? What do you think of Patti Smith’s music? Is her latest album any good? Let me know in the comments!

M Train

Patti Smith wrote another memoir!
I read her first memoir, Just Kids, last month and I really liked it.
What really came through in Just Kids is that even though she’s best known as a musician, and she is a talented singer-songwriter, she is first and foremost a reader and writer which I really appreciate.
Her experiences in New York, just meeting talented artists seemed so inspiring. I am very jealous and admiring. I don’t think I can just stop having a day job and pursue my passions ever.
I can’t help but wonder if that means I’m inevitably destined for failure. It definitely means that I’m scared and don’t have enough trust in myself right? Ah we’ll see. 🙂
Her new book is about all of the times she felt she was at a crossroads, or times that some thing in her life changed throughout her life.
It apparently opens with her sitting in a café with an open notebook, which is a stereotypical but legendary image for every aspiring writer.
It sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? I’m dying to read it. But I can’t read it now, because I’m on a book-buying ban. -cries-
Maybe one of you lucky, sensible shoppers can afford to buy it and tell me how is? Just keeping you guys updated about excited new reads that I can’t access. -cries some more-
Well, that’s all for now!
Hoot
–Sin
Here are my social media links if you guys are interested to see:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Memoirs

I really like memoirs. Did you know that about me?
I especially like memoirs that talk of the childhood and youth of artists. By artists, I mean painters, sketchers, writers, poets, musicians, fashion designers, and anyone else who works from the imagination.
By this definition, I too am an artist even though I can’t even draw a circle with a compass.
I like to know that I’m not the only one who agonised and self-doubted (is that a word?). I like to know what gave successful people the strength to succeed.
It’s the same reason I like reading writers’ journals as well. Journals are a format I’ve been smitten with since Anne Frank’s diary. I like real journals and fictional ones. And I also like memoirs.
Memoirs are kind of like journals but made better with the gift of hindsight. Don’t you think?
I don’t usually like autobiographies so I was quite surprised that I like memoirs, as I discovered when I read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
This wasn’t my first memoir. My first memoir was Jacky Daydream by Jacqueline Wilson. I read everything she wrote with feverish dedication, as a kid. It’s a memoir of her childhood and I adored it. She seemed to get me, in a lot of ways.
But anyway, back to A Moveable Feast. I wanted to read it because I have the same romantic fascination with being impoverished I’m Paris that I’m certain every writer has had. And to read about the 1920’s in Paris! It was a dream, all right. I have always been enamoured by the 1920’s in London and Paris. So I read it. And what a delight it was!
I’ve never looked back since.
I could talk about memoirs that I love all day. I can also talk about the 1920’s all day.
What I really want to talk about is Just Kids by Patti Smith.
I’m reading this book right now because it is the all-time favourite book of Ashley Riordan, my favourite youtuber. I must confess I know very little about Patti Smith and I’ve never listened to her music. (I’m going to remedy that now, for sure, though.)
I am already obsessed with this book though as I always am with every book she recommends. Our tastes match exactly.
I don’t know if I’ll end up reviewing this book. I struggle to review books that mean the most to me because I just end up gushing and sounding repetitive. The most recent example of this is The Color Purple. This is the most uplifting and childlike book I’ve read ever. I adore it. And I can’t say why without sounding trite. Not yet anyway. I was just so glad that none of the not-so-nice things I’ve heard about Alice Walker came through in the book. At all.
Anyway, I wanted Just Kids to get a mention in my blog because it’s talked about so little and it’s impacting me so much already. I love her style of writing simple but evocative of so much imagery. Detached, but not so much as to become unemotional. Essentially everything that I want my own books to be but that I fear they will never be.
What do you guys think of memoirs? What’s your favourite one? I love book recommendations!
If I made a post of my five favourite memoirs, would you be interested to read that?
Let me know in the comments.
Also, don’t forget to hunt me down and follow me on the interwebz. I would love that!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer
Thanks,
Hoot.
Sin