Silver Linings

Posted by on Jan 22, 2011 in All

Hello again! Two weeks ago I got knocked down sick, and am just now getting caught up with life. It is amazing how not being well impacts things. When healthy I have no real consciousness of the thousands of little things I do each day – check e-mails, water plants, cook dinner, file papers, return phone calls, read the mail, etc. Now I am slowly picking up the pieces.  At first it seemed impossible, but slowly but surely the pieces of my little life are fitting back together – like knitting or any other big thing made up of lots of little things, it pays to not look too closely as you go.

While recuperating, I wasn’t able to do much except read, a lot. And so I now have a good winter reading list to share. Silver linings and lemonade, right?

Reading while sick isn’t that different from winter reading. We want to be comforted, to be entertained, to know that while there is a big, bad world out there, we are cozy and warm in our little hidey-holes. I tend to read long, epic novels in the winter, and this year has been no exception:

  1. Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis – A single tale broken into two books, this is a fast-paced, emotional story of time travelers caught in the Blitz of WWII. Fans of Connie Willis have been waiting a VERY long time for this! While at times the details of the story seem redundant, there is a big payoff in the end.
  2. The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch – A fantastic whodunit set in 15th century Germany, in which the hangman is the hero. Written by the descendant of one of Germany’s most well-known executioner families. A bit gory, but with real compassion for all the characters.
  3. Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer – I began reading this book because I’m really missing my yoga class while I recuperate. Dederer balances a memoir and critique on modern parenting and marriage with a deep exploration of yoga practice. This is the most accurate description of how it FEELS to practice yoga I have ever read.
  4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Ah, yes. Ladies in layers of linen, silk, and muslin sitting (im)patiently waiting for a visit or a letter, or sitting through an evening at the Middletons, while an intrigue develops out in the world beyond. This is one of Austen’s more complicated tales, and always a pleasure to re-read.
  5. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – I haven’t read this yet, but a steampunk-zombie-alternate America-adventure with a strong female character can’t be bad, can it?
  6. Air: Or, Have Not Have by Geoff Ryman – Another soon-to-read, I’m intrigued by this story of a woman who gets caught in a new internet of the mind, and becomes the protector of her community.
  7. Shop Class As Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford – A refreshing philosophy valuing working with your hands. I read this a bit at a time, but as a once sculptor/fiber artist, now web worker, Crawford’s ideas resonate for me.

I’d love to hear what you are reading! What keeps the dark at bay and warms you this winter?

P.S.: Thanks to my book-buddy Heather McP for the photo shoot !


  1. Tweets that mention Silver Linings --
    January 22, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gin Ferrara, Gin Ferrara. Gin Ferrara said: Finally! A new post: where I've been and what I'm reading: […]

  2. Nicole Fall
    January 22, 2011

    Thanks for writing this list.

    I just finished Just Kids by rocker Patti Smith. She was lover and pal of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It really says a lot about the creative process. It also evokes the 60s, Bohemian, NYC scene wonderfully.

    I really want to read Shop Class as I’m a sculptor who misses getting her hands dirty.

    I had pneumonia once and knew I was seriously ill when I was too sick to read !

  3. Sara
    January 23, 2011

    Hi Gin, and welcome back to 2011! So glad you’re on the mend. The site’s looking great too. Right now I’m reading ‘The Sorrows of an American’ by Siri Hustvedt, I love her work and this one is throwing up interesting thoughts about memory and the search for story.

  4. Debbie
    January 23, 2011

    I know exactly what you mean about not being conscious of all the little everyday tasks until you are ill. I have CFS and am just coming out (hopefully!) of a relapse. The smallest things can be a real effort.

    I am just about to start reading Room by Emma Donoghue. It’s written in the voice of a five year old boy who lives his life imprisoned in one room with his mother. I have heard mixed reviews of it, so thought I would find out for myself.

    Glad you are feeling better now!

  5. Gin
    January 23, 2011

    Thanks for all these great book suggestions!

    Nicole – I think you will really enjoy “Shop Class..”

    Sara – Thanks, it’s good to be back!

    and Debbie – I’ve been looking at “Room” too, thanks for the reminder, and glad to hear that you are feeling better!