October was a fab reading month! I enjoyed diving into contemporary literary fiction, fantasy fiction for young readers, a memoir, a nonfiction book, a classic, and some YA.
Quite an eclectic month!
Books I read:
The following is one of my longest tallies this year. Actually, it might be my longest. Then again, quite a few of the books I read were rather short. Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon also gave me a boost.
On the downside, my quest to read my own books crashed and burned in a fiery conflagration: Only one of 13 reads was culled from my pre-2016 library. That’s far short of the 50-50 split I’d intended. Oh well. There’s always November and December. (Hmmm, I seem to be running out of months…) Continue reading “The unabridged list of books read in October”
WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. Follow the link to read more about it, and be prepared to expand your to-be-read list! A special shout-out to Coffee and Cats for introducing me to WWW Wednesday.
What are you currently reading?
I’m getting over a terrible cold that knocked me flat on my back for the better part of a week. It also side-tracked me from The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. She is a brilliant social observer/critic and prose stylist. But her novels are not exactly comfort reading while guzzling hot soup and DayQuil. As I’m on the mend, I picked it up again yesterday and … wow. It’s suspenseful and tense and thought provoking.
What did you recently finish reading?
Since my last WWW Wednesday, I’ve done more reading than I did the entire month of September! What’s missing here is even one asterisk indicating #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks title. This is because I have yet to read one of my own books in October! Good thing we’re only halfway through, eh?
During a stroll through Barnes and Nobel, this title stopped me in my tracks: Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson. I have a personal connection to pancakes (which is a story for another time). As for the book, it’s a warm-hearted, immensely readable memoir about opening a diner in Paris. It’s also Carlson’s story of overcoming a difficult childhood and finding family and love in the City of Light. Uplifting and engaging, it’s the perfect pick-me-up for a dreary day.
I also listened to Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, which I borrowed from my library. When I started it, I didn’t know anything about the story. I’m grateful for that. It’s not a traditional narrative. It tells the story of Eva Thorvald as seen through the eyes of seven different people whose lives intersect with hers. Words I think of in relation to this novel: fresh, inventive, kind. I loved it! Continue reading “WWW Wednesday: October 12”
Yesterday, I mentioned to my love the title of a book I wanted to read. His response: “If it’s a book, assume we already own it.” Ha. Ha. “What if it’s a new release?” I replied. He came back with, “You probably pre-ordered it. We probably already have two copies.” Ah, he knows me so well.
My thanks to Taking on a World of Words for the weekly inspiration of WWW Wednesday and to Coffee and Cats for introducing me to it!
What are you currently reading? Continue reading “Wednesday reading roundup: September 21”
How do we define Great American Novels?
As we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the United States of America, it’s a question I’ve been pondering. Since I like to think on my own but not alone, I turned to The American Idea: The Best of the Atlantic Monthly—150 Years of Writers and Thinkers Who Shaped Our History.
Published in 2007 to mark the Atlantic Monthly’s 150th anniversary, the book isn’t about American novels but rather about the larger idea of America, as a state of mind and of being. The doorstop-sized collection includes great American writing that has appeared in the magazine’s pages over the last century and a half: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Ian Frazier’s “Stalin’s Chuckle.” Continue reading “The American Idea in 10 Great American Novels”
Saturday, May 21 is the second annual National Readathon Day, a nation-wide marathon reading session to promote and raise funds for literacy initiatives. You can click here find out more about it and how to participate.
In the meantime, for readers planning to participate, I thought I’d start a list of excellent reads suitable for reading in a single day. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments as well! Continue reading “15 short books for National Readathon Day”
If you’ve spent time reading Edith Wharton, amiright?
Full disclosure: I haven’t read Wharton’s most well known novels, The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth. I think I was assigned the former, at some point, and the latter, well, I’m guessing there’s little actual mirth involved.
My experience of Wharton is limited to Ethan Frome, Tales of Men and Ghosts, and the short story “Roman Fever.” Each is so shudder inducing in its own way that I’m a bit wary of tackling one of her longer works. Though her writing is so beautiful. I don’t know. I’m torn. Continue reading “3 ways reading Edith Wharton is like a dementor attack”
I subtitled this post as if my reading selections aren’t always eclectic. This month’s reads included books for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers, with a mix of literary fiction, classics, and memoir. Overall, it was a satisfying month of reading adventures. Yay, reading!
And here we go: Continue reading “Books I read in January: An eclectic list”
Years ago, I took a Victorian poetry class with a professor who looked like Satan dressed up as Colonel Sanders. He was elfishly tiny and wore an ecru linen suit, complete with black string tie. His neatly trimmed beard created a perfect “V” from his laugh lines to his chin. Among these distinctive features were two more: his southern drawl and his assertion that “There is no such thing as American literature.”
As it happens, I was, at that same time and university, enrolled in a course in post-Civil War American literature. While I didn’t exactly agree with Colonel Satan, I could see why one might wish to renounce American literature, at least of that period. My goodness, it’s an endless parade of horrors with no relief (as Dickens uses humor, for example): Maggie, a Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane, The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic, the dreadful McTeague by Frank Norris. Reading these resolutely hopeless novels made me wonder how American earned her reputation for optimism. I can’t see it having been through her literature. Continue reading ““I Felt Like I’d Never Be Cheerful Again,” Or: Reading “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton”
One thing I don’t want to read about just in books is the four seasons. Experiencing them, one and all, is one of my favorite things about living in New England. Autumn is arguably the gaudiest, with our fabulous foliage. Still, I love winter too, even the snowstorms. It gives us a common experience to rally around, even if this does involve some grumbling from time to time. Plus, it makes me appreciate spring and summer that much more. Continue reading “7 Snowy Scenes in Books”