Tag Archives: reading

Hannah Hart Beat- Maine

August, Lately

Hannah Hart Beat - Maine

Hiya, Hart Beat. How are you? It’s been almost a month since I got back to Maine and I’m sitting here in the garden shed at my Grandmother’s packing up my books. Tomorrow I head back to the Berkshires and I’m sad but ready to be leaving Maine. It’s time. I need to get back to the Berkshires and knuckle down on my writing. It’s been going well, Hart Beat, although it’s been taking everything out of me every day. I get into bed at nine and am passed out with the light on and a book open on my chest every night. It’s okay because a couple of weeks ago I got a dog and he wakes me up to remind me the light is on. The pup is a one and a half-year-old Shih Tzu from Wells, Maine. He was owned by a couple before but they were stationed overseas for the military and lucky me, I got the pup. I’m calling him Mateo aka Teo aka Lil Monster because his nose (like mine) is tiny and he snorts most of the day (not like mine). He’s the perfect writing companion and as I type he is laying on the floor at my feet. I’m in love Hart Beat and have officially decided to replace men and dating with Mateo and books.

Speaking of books and writing I’ve made my way through my writing mentor’s recommendations and I would love yours if you have them. In the last post, I listed what I had read if you need to see what I’m liking (tl;dr mostly memoirs and books on writing). The ones right now that I have on my nightstand are The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir, by Ariel Levy, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, by Carolyn Murnick, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, What We Lose: A Novel, by Zinzi Clemons, Hard Travel to Sacred Places, by Rudolph Wurlitzer, and Committed: A Love Story, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In return, here is a section from Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, and an interview with Dani Shapiro, my muse lately. The book and this interview have been what I read and watch every morning before sitting down to work.

“As I write these words, I am, of course, alone. It’s the middle oft he day and I have barely stepped outside except to pick up a couple of envelopes full of books and manuscripts that FedEx left on the pourch. I have spoken to no one since seven o’clock this morning. I am wearing the ratty T-shirt I slept in last night. The house is silent. A crow calls outside my office window.

“These solitary days are my lifeline. They are the lifeline of every writer I know. We hold on to our solitude, fiercly protect these empty days. But at the same time, we long for community…

“Though we write our books alone, ultimately everything we do involves some collaboration. Every good book you’ll ever read has the thumbprints of other writers all over it. As we finish a manuscript we may find ourselves thinking of who to turn to, who can help us…

“I reach out a hand when I can. I remind myself every day that it’s about the work. I am here in Connecticut. You might be in Missoula, Montana, or Taos, New Mexico, or Portland, Oregon. You’re in a café, or at a writers conference, or at your kitchen table. The words have come easily to you today, or you feel like your head is about to explode. You’re a household name, or laboring in obscurity. I am here, and you are there, and we are in this thing together.”

Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Talk soon, Hart Beat.

Hannah Hart Beat

My Kindle & Me: A love affair by any other name

Hannah Hart Beat

Hi, Hart Beat! This is a post I never thought I would be writing but, alas, here we are and the year truly is 2017. As my friends know, I’ve always been an avid reader. I’ve worked in libraries over the years and one of my favorite things to check out when visiting anywhere is the local bookstore. All things being said, for YEARS I hated on any kind of e-reader. Kindles, Nooks, iPads, you name it, it was on my hate (exit boat) list. That is until I turned 27 and my eyes started blurring and my back started aching. While I will not admit I’m getting older my body begs to differ.

So, before I went on a trip with my mom last month, I broke down and bought myself a birthday present in the form of a Kindle. I didn’t do much research because, you know, #denial but the little reading I did do directed me to the Kindle Paperwhite E-reader for its size, price, and highly ranked reviews. I bought it quickly and ever since it arrived on my desk at work, I have a new love affair.

Anyone I come in contact with I can’t help but spew my love for my Kindle. I’m a changed woman! It’s light! It doesn’t have any glare! It fits in my pocket! I can carry inch thick hardcover tombs with me at all times! I can carry five books at once! I can carry five hundred books at once! Honestly, I could go on and on. My love intensified when I found out that I can borrow books from my local library through my Kindle. In turn, I can support my public library and not spend any money. Amazon, I forgive you. Kindle, I love you.

I’m not 100% sure exactly which combinations of effects are working for me in the reading department but since purchasing my Kindle I’ve read almost than double the number of books I read in a year in a month. Truth be told, some of them have been YA books now that I don’t have the (stupid) shame of people’s judgmental eyes on the train but YA is good, man! #hungergamesmadeitso

  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  • Bad Feminist: Essays, by Roxanne Gaye
  • All five the Sisterhood of the Traveling pants books, by Ann Brashers (crying through all of them of course)
  • The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (because I missed the crazy years ago and needed a thriller through Italy)
  • The Circle, by Dave Eggers (which I am now more than halfway through and TERRIFIED for my digital footprint…)

And now the best part. What are you reading, Hart Beat? I’m quickly running through the list of books I’ve had and would love any suggestions from you. Love in the time of Kindle, Hannah

Summer reading

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Hiii Hart Beat. It’s Monday again! This summer is flying by and now that I’ve laid out the law for the 2015 Song of the Summer let’s talk about summer reading. On my new favorite podcast, A Few Things with Claire and Erica, the duo talk about what books they’re reading this summer and to be honest, Hart Beat, I was a little sad hearing it.

Why is that you ask? Maybe it’s specifically because of said podcast above. Since the podcast boom of last fall (looking at you Serial) there have been so many great new podcasts to add to my already long list. I’ve been a listener of “This American Life,” “Radiolab,” and “Fresh Air” for years (since they were always on the radio) but now that podcasts are a thing there are so many new ones that I barely have time to keep up with them all. These past few months alone I’ve added “Reply Now,” “Mystery Show,” “Burnt Toast,” and “The Longest Shortest Time.” What has ended up happening is that on my 45 minute commute to and from work I don’t read anymore, I listen.

There isn’t inherently anything wrong with listening to podcasts instead of reading as I am a firm believe in the idea that as long as you’re interacting in some way with storytelling (whatever that form may be) then you’re good. My personal problem is that I used to be a voracious reader because I love reading physical books. I have lists and lists of book recommendations but I just can’t figure out where to start.
So I turn to you, Hart Beat. Please, please, for the love of all things holy, I would love to hear your summer reads thus far. Send them to me by carrier pigeon, tweet at me, email me, comment here, whatever way is easiest. I will love you forever if you do.

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Top photo courtesy of @handsy_lit. Bottom photo from @localcreativebk.

Essays to read on the train

Hey Hart Beat. My close friends and I have tried to start a book club a few times over the past year but it’s so hard to get everyone to agree on a book, find a time to get together and everything else. So instead we just email each other great books and suggestions. Both Wild and The Goldfinch were passed around (Wild A++++++ and The Goldfinch a solid B).

Anyway, I came across this great site the other day that shares a ton of essays with summaries and exactly where to find them. The article is called “Essays to Make a Better Person” and I have had such a great time reading the articles on my phone while commuting this week. My favorite so far are “The Love of My Life” by Cheryl Strayed (duh) and “Blindness” by Luis Borges (spanish major over here.) Enjoy the essays, Hart Beat! And let me know it the comments which ones are your favorites! Final note, my friend recently told me about some help he got with his essay. Apparently one of his favourite essay writers was offering essay support services through a similar service to edupeet. It was so interested to hear his process, so he tells me.

Getting literarily amorous

That was a little joke, voila. I found this hilarious and very romantic article/list whatever you call it the other day. One of my favorite things to do with a man friend is just relax and read and so I laughted out loud when I saw this list is called “30 Literary Quotes That Just Might Get You Laid.” Hilarious, right? I loved reading it and for some reason I thought you might too, Hart Beat. I put some of my favorites here but if you want the full list head over for a good laugh.

Number 24. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
When you are the last man at a bar, talking to the last sympathetic woman:
“We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”
Number 10. Just Kids by Patti Smith
It’s a risk, but it worked when Patti used it on Robert:
“Will you pretend you’re my boyfriend?”
Number 29. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
When honesty is the best policy:
“Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?” “Of course I am.” “Why?” “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”
And number 24. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
When you are the last man at a bar, talking to the last sympathetic woman:
“We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”

Getting literarily amorous

That was a little joke, voila. I found this hilarious and very romantic article/list whatever you call it the other day. One of my favorite things to do with a man friend is just relax and read and so I laughted out loud when I saw this list is called “30 Literary Quotes That Just Might Get You Laid.” Hilarious, right? I loved reading it and for some reason I thought you might too, Hart Beat. I put some of my favorites here but if you want the full list head over for a good laugh.

Number 24. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
When you are the last man at a bar, talking to the last sympathetic woman:
“We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”
Number 10. Just Kids by Patti Smith
It’s a risk, but it worked when Patti used it on Robert:
“Will you pretend you’re my boyfriend?”
Number 29. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
When honesty is the best policy:
“Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?” “Of course I am.” “Why?” “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”
And number 24. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
When you are the last man at a bar, talking to the last sympathetic woman:
“We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”

Books: Tulsa and Telegraph Avenue

Hi Hart Beat! I wrote this earlier and am now posting it via iphone…. I hope this works. I started reading a new book yesterday, A Map of Tulsa by Benjamin Lytal (have you heard of it?). It got a great review in the New Yorker two weeks ago and my copy finally came in from inter-library loan this week. What are you reading? I also have the well recommended Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon to get to next. Too many books, too little time. Am I right, Hart Beat?

What are you reading?

Hi Hart Beat. I had today off and I spend a good chunk of the afternoon reading in my favorite Greenpoint park. The grass park overlooks the best Manhattan view across the East River and I love watching the barges and tugboats tinker past.

While in the park I finished We Need To Talk About Kevin, an amazing recommendation from a friend of mine. I couldn’t put it down and finished it so fast. Thankfully though, I have the new David Sedaris Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls to start. How about you, Hart Beat? What are you reading this May? Any suggestions?

Book love affairs

Grace Kelly, reading.


Hi Hart Beat. What are you reading these days? While on vacation I got on a nice little reading kick and now I’ve been flying through books on the subway. Right now I’m finally getting to Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Have you read it?

I knew that our time together was almost over, I asked her if she liked sports, 
she asked me if I liked chess, I asked her if she liked fallen trees, 
she went home with her father, the center of me followed her, 
but I was left with the shell of me, I needed to see her again, 
I couldn’t explain my need to myself, and that’s why it was such a beautiful need, 
there’s nothing wrong with not understanding yourself.
– Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

I loved A History of Love and it’s so funny to me to think that Nicole Krauss is married to Jonathan Safran Foer. The books are so similar I guess it makes sense. If you like Jonathan Franzen or other contemporary fiction you should give this one a shot.