January 6, 2008 archive

Sunday Salon – January 6, 2008

January 6, 2008

9:00 AM

I’ve started 2008 with a bang – completing two books and starting a third. I don’t normally read children’s literature…but the last book of 2007 was The Borrowers (read my review here) by Mary Norton, and the first book of 2008 was The Giver (read my review here) by Lois Lowry. Both are examples of excellent children’s literature that also speaks to adults. I had forgotten what a joy it can be to read a child’s book.

Yesterday I completed a whopper of a book: The Winter Rose, by Jennifer Donnelly. This was an early review book through Library Things Early Review Program and published by Hyperion Books. In college, I read almost exclusively historical fiction because I could immerse myself in the pages and didn’t have to think too hard – it was a welcome relief from college texts! But in 2007, I tackled more literary and award winning fiction, as well as the classics – a great year of reading, but one which stretched me intellectually at times. It was wonderful to drop myself into Donnelly’s novel and get lost. Filled with romance and treachery, it is quite readable – and I flew through the more than 700 page book in five days. It probably helped that we were having a huge winter storm here in Northern California. You can read my full review here.

So today is another gray and wintry day in the mountains. I have a pile of end of the year tax records and work to get to – but, my current read is calling out and saying “read me!”  The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton came to me through the Barnes and Noble First Look Program…and I am hearing only great things about it. Set in England, the novel is a look back to the roaring 20’s through the eyes of 98 year old Grace Bradley. It was published to critical acclaim in Australia and became a #1 best seller in England. I started it last night, curled beneath my blankets, and blew through the first 25 pages. I would have kept reading, but my body wouldn’t cooperate and I fell asleep with the book drooping from my fingers.

More later…

4:40 PM

Guilt prevented me from reading too much this afternoon. I pulled all my 2007 files and organized them into my tax box, along with invoices and receipts. Then I thinned my other files: my ongoing writing projects, Physical Therapy reference files, all my Triple Creek Ranch board meeting and staff meeting notes. After lugging a huge bag out to the trash, I finally allowed myself some pure enjoyment time and returned to The House at Riverton.  This novel is very good – it reminds me (in tone, voice and somewhat of plot) of The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield…a book I read in 2006 and absolutely loved.

Morton has my attention – I want to see what the secrets are and find out what happens to the characters. Following are some passages I’ve marked thus far.

About Memory:

I have surprised myself. While moths have torn holes in my recent memories, I find the distant past is sharp and clear. They come often lately, those ghosts from the past, and I am surprised to find I don’t much mind them. -page 6-

But of course, those who live in memories are never really dead. -page 25-

About Aging:

Obstinate, I own. But I m not deaf and do not like it when people assume I am – my eyesight is poor without glasses, I tire easily, have none of my own teeth left and survive on a cocktail of pills, but I can hear as well as I ever have. It’s only with age I have learned solely to listen to things I want to hear. -page 11-

I love books that suck me in and have me inserting stickie notes here and there. I think I’ll finish this one quickly…

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