The Non-Official Amtrak Writer’s Residency™

Diana and I are on the Amtrak train, coursing along the Hudson River, which is very beautiful and also filled with weird birds in large, thin numbers. I am here, in my unofficial Amtrak Writer's Residency capacity (for official, see here), to keep you updated on affairs literary over the holiday weekend.

1) This book?


Is, according to my niece, really really awesome. I purchased it for Chestnut, who in the proud tradition of her kind, has refused to read it because I bought it "it doesn't look interesting." But fear not! The niece read it with total, thrilled absorption, and is now going to go and find all the other books by Sara Zarr. What does this teach us? Um, probably nothing, as we prove so totally unwilling to learn.

2) This book?

This is what you can put in the room with Diana and say, "Hey, maybe you want to try reading this!" if you are her father and want to ensure that she never, ever reads it.

3) This book?

73.Eleanor Catton-The Luminaries

Is just not that interesting. I wish it were so much more interesting. But alas, it is not. To me anyway.

So there you go. This has been your holiday weekend update. Stay tuned for when I read The Lucy Variations, spurring Chestnut to snatch it from me and read it out of gleeful spite. Oh, and wait! I forgot the super-weirdest reading of all, in case all of this was making too much sense.

Chestnut has been reading aloud from this:


"The old man, covered with mushrooms…."

Happy summer!

3 thoughts on “The Non-Official Amtrak Writer’s Residency™

  1. Sometimes I am filled with love for you and yours when I read your posts. Do you really have one of those Amtrak writing residencies? I am dying to hear all about it! Also, along with the Goldfinch, The Luminaries was abandoned about 1/3 of the way through. What the hey? Reading “Life After Life,” equally as dense and long, restored my confidence in my ability to read long, dense books. Have you tried it?


  2. I have not tried it! But I must persevere through the Luminaries, as it’s for my book group, and it’s 800 pages, and I’m not into it, which means it will take a while. But it also means I can really vent about it when we meet again.
    I have not tried LIfe After Life, I look forward to trying it though, you’re not the first who has enthused.


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