Book binge

I haven't written a thing. For the last two weeks with the exception of a short grocery list and a quick thank you, I have not crafted a single sentence of meaning or merit. I have been on a book binge instead.

I've been reading nearly a book a day, along with a few magazines, restaurant menus and travel guides. It's been bliss (and much healthier than my typical binge of peanuts and Diet Coke) and without a bit of writer's guilt -- well, maybe a bit of angst the first few days.

Here's a few of my recent favorites:

A bright, lively and evocative collection of essays by women who understand that food and hunger are powerfully wrapped in fear and shame. Editor Harriet Brown gathers a great group of writers, including Caroline Leavitt, Lisa Romeo and Ann Hood.

What took me so long to find author Francine Prose? The author of 15 novels, the aptly-named Prose writes fiction that floats. In this haunting novel, 13-year-old Nico traverses the rocky aftermath of her sister's death.

While many writers get bogged in their own familiar story, author T.C. Boyle reaches wide and deep, with characters and plots that ring page-turning true. From Inner Circle (a fictional account of sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey) to Tortilla Curtain (a tragic tale of Mexican immigrants), Boyle draws me in to seemingly obscure topics. In Drop City, the subject is a 1970s-era commune replete with hippie sex, drugs and a compelling story.

I can't get enough of these electric poems by Rhett Iseman Trull. Real Warnings (winner of the 2008 Anhinga Prize for Poetry) is hot off the presses and sizzling with, as poet Sheryl St. Germain says, "the brutal paradoxes of love and of loving damaged things." Stay tuned for my interview with Rhett to be posted here soon.

I sense my book binge coming to an end. Boosted by the words of others, I will again pick up my pen and carve my way through a forest of ideas. How about you? What are you writing, reading or creating today?