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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    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 12:46

    I love revisiting my younger days with books. I keep a number of old favorites on hand for when I just want something comforting and familiar.
    Hope you weather the storm and enjoy your weekend of reading!

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 13:11

    I ran out of room on my bookshelves and all the children’s books I’ve kept throughout the years are in the closet, relegated to a corner. These being really young children’s books, pictures and all. Sometimes when cleaning out the closet, I take time to look through some of them, remembering why I hang onto them.
    It’s such a great feeling when a doorstop of a book entrances you so much that you read it in no time at all. I felt that way when I read Pillars of the Earth a few years ago.
    Enjoy your reading today! As soon as I finish up catching up on blogs this morning, I’ll be curling up with one of my books again. Maybe break out the hot chocolate and marshmallows.
    Have a great week, Wendy!

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 13:59

    Erin: It is very comforting to read books from our childhood, isn’t it?

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 14:01

    WendyCat: I’d love to spend a weekend at your house browsing through your stacks 🙂 You’re right about the doorstoppers. I’m planning to re-read Pillars this month…and I remember feeling the same way. What an amazing book. Hot chocolate and marshmallows sounds perfect! Hope you have a wonderful finish to your weekend as well 🙂

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 14:14

    Yes, I too loved the Borrowers when young. I can remember it so well – I used to sometimes catching myself believing they existed even though I was far too old for that sort of thing. The sequels are good too…

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 16:44

    I’ve finished two books too and am into third and fourths. How lucky for you that your Librarything ER books was a great read! My first one didn’t turn out so well. Still, I got a second one from the December batch and I’m looking forward to it since I’d never heard of the author before but the book is on a lot of “books to watch for in 2008” lists (in newspapers, anyway).

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 17:48

    I’ve been meaning to read some more historical fiction, usually those types of books are great for fun, quick reads! I just started participating in the Sunday Salon, I have been meaning to join in!

    • Anonymous on January 6, 2008 at 19:57

    Clare: I hope to re-read the sequels to The Borrowers some time in 2008.
    Imani: I’ve had good luck with LT’s ER books – not a bad one so far! Which one did you get for December?
    Alisia: So glad you’ll be joining us with Sunday Salon – it is a lot of fun. I look forward to reading your posts!

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