January 2, 2011
A brand new year…and one I hope will bring good health, much laughter and more time to connect with friends and family. Oh, and good books – lots and lots of good books! I think New Year’s Day has to be one of my favorite days of the year. I like taking stock and looking ahead. I like the feeling of a fresh start. Yesterday Kip and I celebrated the start of the year by having some friends over. We ate a lot and talked and had a good time. Today we’re putting away the Christmas decorations and taking down the tree. I hope to spend some time writing a wrap up post on the challenges I finished (or didn’t finish) in the waning months of the year; and of course putting together my Best Books of 2010 list. I also need to sit down and figure out my tentative reading schedule for January and into February. There is a lot going on, and I’ve made a few commitments…so I want to be sure I fit it all in!
I skipped the Sunday Salon last weekend – it was just a bit crazy here with Christmas and I was working far too much right up through Christmas Eve day. So let me update you on my reading over the last two weeks…
I finished Gulliver’s Travels (read my review) and included some information about the movie which released just before Christmas. I don’t think I’ll end up seeing the movie until it comes out in DVD, but I hear it is getting some mixed reviews. Have you gone to see it yet? Are you planning to? As far as the book goes, I enjoyed it for the most part. It is one of those classics that I think is worth reading, but be prepared for the long, twisty sentences and the style of 18th century writing.
My next read was a good one – but it was also a creepy story. The Truth-Teller’s Lie by Sophie Hannah is a psychological thriller which keeps the reader guessing until the end (read my review). I had not read anything from this author before…and I actually enjoyed this book although it is not a novel for the faint of heart. Hannah is known for her edge of your seat type thrillers, and I think I will have to seek out more books by her in the future.
The next book I picked up I had high hopes for, but they didn’t pan out. I did not finish The Polski Affair by Leon Gildin (read my thoughts). I have had some people comment that they liked the book, and perhaps I did not give it a fair shake. So although I don’t recommend this historical novel, I would encourage you to check out other reviews of it before you decide for yourself. I wonder if I just was lacking the patience to read it, or was not in the mood for the style of the book. The deciding factor, ultimately, was the typos and grammatical errors. I have a low tolerance for that kind of thing!!
My final book for 2010 turned out to be Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal which was fantastic (read my review). I am loving Peirene Press. Their slim novellas have not disappointed me once. Literary fiction readers like myself will be looking forward to what Peirene offers in 2011. This particular book is a quiet story about a girl in the Spanish countryside growing up into adulthood and old age. I loved the writing, and I was carried away by the life of the character. If you haven’t yet picked up Stone in a Landslide, I hope you will soon!
I had hoped to finish one more book before we slipped into 2011, but I didn’t manage to do that. My current read is a good historical fiction. The Doctor and The Diva by Adrienne McDonnell is impeccably researched. It is initially set in Boston in the early part of the twentieth century and explores the life of an opera singer who is struggling with the inability to conceive a child. The novel is part romance and part historical fiction – I love the descriptions of the time and place (the novel spans several years and takes the reader to South America and Europe as well). I hope to have this one finished by this afternoon…so watch for a review soon!
I decided to try to participate in the Out With A Bang Read-A-Thon…but I didn’t get as much reading done as I had hoped because I ended up working all three days. Despite that, I did read 427 pages which is probably more than I would have if I was not pushing myself because of the Read-A-Thon. Many thanks to Heather at Book-Savvy and Casey at The Bookish Type who helped motivate me to get some books finished up.
I should mention that my goal for 2010 was to read 96 books (an average of eight books a month) and I did that exactly! I was really happy to have reached that goal. I am thinking I will probably have the same goal in 2011. How about you? Do you want to read a certain number of books in the course of the year?
I hope you are all enjoying this New Year’s weekend…and that whatever you have planned, it also involves spending a little time with a great book.
Happy New Year to all my bookish friends – you continue to enrich my life with your thoughtful reviews, excellent book recommendations and friendship.
I am looking forward to reading with you in 2011!