karenchristenze-blog

The only thing I like about driving

I drive very little, as little as I can, but I have discovered one great thing about time behind a wheel: listening to audio books. I have always said I preferred to read on the page, and audio books seemed slow. The recent discovery is that classic books I've read before are fresh and different when read aloud. Pride & Prejudice was one, and I'm now listening to The Mill on the Floss and realizing just how funny George Eliot is. I did not grasp her humor before, while now I find myself [...]

January 27th, 2024|Categories: karenchristenze-blog|

Book clubs & third places

I've been asked if book clubs can be third places. Not exactly, but there is a connection worth exploring. I was delighted to hear that a book club in Indiana (the state where I was born, making me a Hoosier, I guess) will be discussing The Great Good Place next month. Their order of 20 copies encouraged me to think about discussion questions, and we'll soon have materials for book clubs. I hope to get some feedback, too, for the new edition.

January 27th, 2024|Categories: karenchristenze-blog, Third Places|

A place to call home

Looking at this photo taken outside the Jane Hotel in New York reminds me of a time when I was at home in a city I haven't been to since the week before the US lockdown in March 2020. I lived around the corner with my then partner, and we had seen the effects of extreme weather the autumn before, when Hurricane Sandy flooded lower Manhattan. We were unable to return to our building for nearly a month. Here's what I wrote at the time: 12 November 2012 The need [...]

Homesick for London

Every morning in Massachusetts, I make a pot of tea. Black and white china decorated with the names of English foods (“Fresh Milk & Jersey Cream” says my milk jug), tea cosy covered in a flowery print, tray I bought at John Lewis. And strong Assam to drink. Some days, I make myself a slice of crisp toast spread with Marmite. I left London over 25 years ago, with two preschool children, to find a better life in a small town, in the country where I was born. But on [...]

Interview with Beyond the Book podcast about #Thanksfortyping

­­I just received a copy of The Author magazine, published by the UK Society of Authors, with my article “Hidden Wives, Hidden Lives,” and checked the proofs for a longer article on the same topic coming out in Logos, Brill's “Journal of the World Publishing Community.” But more immediate – and more fun, perhaps – is a podcast interview with a host I’ve always enjoyed working with, Chris Keneally. Beyond the Book is produced by the Copyright Clearance Center, and it’s really well done. Chris was in the game early [...]

Religion for the rest of us?

(First published at berkshirepublishing.com.) “Let us pray.” On Wednesday I heard a prayer – “grace” – said before dinner for the first time in years. “Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful evening and for our fellowship.” “Help us to serve those in need.” I’d been invited to talk about the Train Campaign at the Episcopal church’s men’s dinner group. No one I asked knew about this; everyone said I should go. I had to know, not only out of curiosity but because I would need to report on it to Ray [...]