Jesus, take the wheel! I confess: it’s been eight months since my last podcast. I also confess it has been difficult if not impossible since the turn of the new year to commit time and energy toward The Book I Read, eight episodes in before it was essentially frozen in its tracks. I offer this explanation: having decided in this new year to retire from 33 years in public education, I had a shit-ton of stuff on my plate. There were lots of ducks to line up. So many ducks. Deciding to retire is kind of a big deal and it requires lots of time and energy in preparation and lots of lining up of ducks. Who knew? Then there was this crazy last school year, in weirdness second only to the school year before it–and yet, satisfying in many ways, despite its laboriousness, its intensity, the sense that it gave one of having to reinvent the profession again after having reinvented it the year before. So nobody in the Michael Jarmer Writer Guy house had time to read for pleasure, let alone write and speak and record oneself speaking about reading for pleasure.
But the fact is, I truly missed the endeavor! I want to get back to it and pronto. Officially retired and having had a number of weeks (two months!) to check items off of an ever-expanding honey-do list and some time to lazy about, I feel an itch now toward creative work again and toward the uplift achieved by reading great books and sharing that experience. So, look for Season 2 of The Book I Read to kick into gear very shortly. What am I reading first? I’m keeping that under wraps for the moment while I get psyched up to create a little podcast trailer for the upcoming project. The only thing I know for sure is that my orientation or philosophy for the content of the thing will remain the same: read only books I wanna read, focus as often as I can on books written by friends or people I know, and avoid slagging or trashing at all costs. Stay tuned!
Okay fine, I’ve changed my mind about sharing the first readings. There’s a reveal in the homepage link to the podcast. It is a photo composite of me holding up two books, the first being Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and the second being a book about a book, called Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway by Robin Black. I have read the Woolf novel before, but it has been decades. More recently I have used it to provide my students a teaser of Virginia Woolf’s fiction by sharing with them the first page of this famous novel after a study of A Room of One’s Own in IB Literature. Most of us are are acquainted with books about books as a thing called literary criticism. I suspect that Robin Black’s book about Woolf’s novel will be something more than that. Belonging to a series put out by IG Publishing under the banner “Bookmarked,” I predict that what we have here is a kind of fusion between literary criticism and memoir. I’m very excited about that as I have become keenly interested in genre cross-pollination.
I thought the Woolf project would be the very first thing I turned to, but as a warm-up I found two other titles to tackle first–which might also make appearances in the new episode. So look for some commentary as well on Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman, and Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner.
This is my plan, and if all goes well, it should take shape within a manner of days–a single week at most. Again, stay tuned for the new episode–right around the corner; I am excited to return to the work.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen yet, here’s a link to the eight episodes from Season One!