New Nonfiction (with commentary): 23 November 2015
New Nonfiction (with commentary): 30 November 2015

The best nonfiction I read all year...

...was the 1978 desk calendar diary written by my grandmother-in-law.

I'm very sorry to tell you this, because this diary is not a nonfiction book you can buy. (And I'm never giving it up.) Earlier this year my mother-in-law gave it to me, saying it was one of the few diaries that her mother wrote or kept, and she thought I would enjoy it because there were some stories in it about when Mr. CR was little. And I did enjoy those bits. But what I enjoyed more was getting to know my grandmother-in-law a little better (she died shortly before after Mr. CR and I were married), learning about her relationship with my mother-in-law, and learning about day-to-day life in 1978 (grocery prices, etc.).

But I'm not lying about it being great nonfiction. What was especially interesting was seeing how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Various family members I know have certain identifying hallmarks of behavior and personalities, and to a large extent, those personalities were already obviously set way back in 1978.* And all the seasonal details of the work people did, the never-ending laundry and canning and work, as well as many causes for celebration, well, it was quite the year.

So what I'm really getting at today is that you might want to think about writing a diary. Even if you just put a few notes in a day book or calendar. Really. Forty years from now, you never know who might get a real kick out of it. And feel closer to you and yours as a result of it. So today I'm thankful for getting to know family better, and thankful that my mother-in-law was generous with her mother's diary.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that I am thankful for you, fellow readers. Solidarity! I hope all of you had much to be thankful for this year, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week.

*Which is appalling and comforting in equal measures. I've always been of the opinion that people don't really change, myself included, but I don't mean that in a damning sort of way. I also believe that our strengths are also our weaknesses, and vice versa, so you don't really have to change a whole lot if you just try and be aware of what you're working with.