Wednesday, January 12, 2022

January: Let's Start With Books



" In the winter she curls up around
a good book and dreams away the cold. "
BEN AARONOVITCH


Book lovers delight in learning what other people are reading. We create book lists to share and take pictures of the book covers we're reading. We snap photos of the stacks sitting on our night table or by our reading chair. When I was a girl, I loved getting books for Christmas. After the festivities were over, the holidays were spent playing with our new toys, starting a new craft project, and whiling away frosty winter afternoons with our noses stuck in a book, just the way Jo March had done in Little Women.

Some things never change. I still love receiving books as Christmas presents and spending quiet hours immersed in a good novel. And this year, thanks to loved ones who gave treasured gift cards, I've got a blissful stack at the ready. Here is my stash with a bit of description for each. So far, I've read Several short sentences about writing and Towers in the Mist. Can't wait to get into the rest.

🟈Everything Affects Everyone by Shawna Lemay (novel) 2021
Shawna Lemay is a local author, essayist, poet, and someone I've had the pleasure to meet in person a couple of times. I so enjoyed her other books including The Flower Can Always Be Changing (which I love) that I anticipate being heart wowed by her latest. It's about "angels, an elusive photographer, art theft, libraries, a movie star, and thoughts on belief, and the power of the question."

🟈Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg (reference) 2012
This book came recommended by several people I read online. I'd been looking for something to inspire me in 2022. It's a gem. I wrote a short review about the book HERE.

🟈The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (memoir) 2005
Until recently, I'd only encountered the occasional quote by this author. But after hearing she passed away this past December, I felt it time to search out her writing, to learn for myself why she is such a celebrated author. Her memoir is an account of the year following her husband's death. I also purchased her book Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and was pleasantly surprised to learn Verlyn Klinkenborg recommended it in his book above.

🟈These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (essays) 2021
I like Ann's writing. She wrote this book during the pandemic. She explores topics that interest me—including family, marriage, friendship, not having children, failure, success, writing. I have only browsed so far but I'm eager to read further.
🟈A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (novel) 2016
When I saw Susan Branch had read the book and recommended it, I added it to my wish list. I understand it's the 'elegant story' of Count Alexander Rostov who, in 1922 after a Bolshevik tribunal, is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel situated across the street from the Kremlin.
 
🟈Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge (historical novel) 1938
I read this book over the holidays. Its story follows a widower and his young family who live in the rectory of Christ Church Oxford (a home where I understand the author once lived with her family). Set amid the Oxford colleges during the Elizabethan era, this gentle and slow moving story is interlaced with sketches of Oxford history and historical figures of the era. Although I enjoyed the book, I felt a little impatient sometimes when the story with its interesting cast of characters, was interrupted to give descriptions of these historical aspects. During this first reading I just wanted to get on with the story. Still, I enjoyed being immersed in this place of 'dreaming spires' - the home of my heart.

🟈A Calendar of Wisdom (quotebook) 1908
If you like quote books, then you will love this one written by Leo Tolsoy. Set out with quotes for every day of the year, the quotations are by Leo Tolstoy himself along with his own favourite selections of wisdom from authors through the ages. His work has been translated from Russian and was published in 1997. In the intro Tolstoy says, "I hope the readers of this book may experience the same benevolent and elevating feeling which I . . . experienced when . . . working on its creation, and which I experience again and again, when I reread it every day."
 
🟈Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (poetry) 2021
If anyone saw and heard Amanda Gorman speak at the US Presidential Inauguration ceremony last January, they will never forget the startling impact she made that day. Her poem The Hill We Climb is included in this collection. I still hear her clear voice in my head when I read it. Her poetry is vibrant and beautiful.

🟈A Fatal Lie by Charles Todd (novel) 2021
Charles Todd, a duo mom/son writing team, writes mystery crime novels set in Britain around the First World War. Since finding the author last year, I've been reading my way through their collection which includes a series with a clever but battle-traumatized Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard and a second series with Miss Bess Crawford, a WWI nurse good at solving mysteries while healing the sick. Every novel has many twists to keep the reader turning the pages, and the author, having done considerable research of that time period, makes the novels historically rich as well. Look forward to reading this next installment. 

As I wrap up, I find myself connecting to these words from Henry David Thoreau: "In winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts."


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Wishing you good books to read and
hearts that are warm and cheery,

Brenda





28 comments:

  1. Thank you, Brenda. My copy of Several Short Sentences arrived yesterday and I’ve added a few of these to my wish list now too. They sound so good. I really enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow. I especially loved how Amor Towles created a cast of characters to love through the years the book takes place. Destined to be a classic I think. 😊

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    1. I'm glad your writing books arrived, Joy. We'll have to compare our favourite passages.

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  2. Your list of books sound interesting. Thank you for sharing them.

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  3. What a lovely collection of books, Brenda, and so interesting to read your comments too. We are reading 'The Repair Shop', a book that follows a TV programme of the same name. It is a fascinating look at the stories behind the articles brought to the repair shop, some with historical backgrounds, some just much loved items. You might not know the programme, but it is very popular here.

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    1. My husband and I loved the program but have not read the book ! Didn't know till now that there was a book . :) ~ Sharon Goemaere

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    2. It is only recently published, Sharon. Amazon have it.

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    3. Barbara, Both the TV program and the book are new to me. From your description, I'm going to be searching it out. Thanks! xo

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  4. I have found so many books and authors through other blogs, like yours. I can recommend A Gentleman in Moscow, and I've recently discovered the Charles Todd books, as well, and am enjoying getting to know both Ian and Bess. Joan Didion is someone I've not read, and will look for her books in the library.
    Enjoy these cozy days of reading!

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  5. This made me smile . :) More books to add to my ever growing list . :) ~Sharon~

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    1. Sharon, we need thick notebooks to house our ever growing book lists! :)

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  6. good reminder of the need to immerse ourselves in good books!

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    1. And there are just so many good books out there - what a blessing! Happy reading, Lin!

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  7. Christmas wasn't Christmas without at least one book. In later years, I loved a book token, and spent great care browsing the local independent book shop to make the right selection. Later, a handwritten note was sent to the sender to let them know my choice.

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    1. Like you, I recall many times taking my time to make the right book selection. And of course, letting the sender know what you selected completes the transaction beautifully. Thanks so much, Debbie, for your note.

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  8. Thanks, Bren for this great list. I ordered "A Gentleman in Moscow," but have not started it yet. I always love your list of books and have enjoyed many you have posted through the years.

    Happy Reading, my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. It will be interesting to compare notes when we're both finished the book. From what everyone who has read it says, I think we're in for a real treat!

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  9. Oh thank you, Brenda, for all the book descriptions. It's always appropriate to start a new year, or a new ANYTHING with books, right? Some of those sound intriguing. We are experiencing intermittent deep freezes here in western Massachusetts. It's definitely staying home weather on the ice-encrusted days. Hope the rest of your week is delightful.

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    1. I agree, Susan, there is nothing quite like starting some new venture or project with a book about it. We've got a reprieve on our frigid weather, but now it's icy. I prefer the cold to all the ice. :)

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  10. January and a stack of books, how delightful! Some very interesting titles you have there, I'm making notes for my own stack:)

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    1. Oh, that thrill of anticipation when jotting down yet another new title to explore. Life's little treats.

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  11. Finished The Year of Magical Thinking a few months ago. Enjoyed it. I highly recommend A Gentleman in Moscow to all of my reader friends. Superb novel!
    I think I will have to look into getting that Tolstoy quote book and also Ann Patchett’s book. Thanks for sharing your stack of books!

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    1. Hi Donna, Thanks for letting us know that you have read and enjoyed those two books. I'm so glad for books and the gift of reading.

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  12. I've read A Gentleman in Moscow and The Year of Magical Thinking. I'm always adding to my reserve list at the library. The Gentleman was my favourite book in recent times.

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    1. So many people are telling me they really liked A Gentleman in Moscow. I look forward to reading it myself. I, too, am grateful for that reserve list at the library. Thanks for stopping by. ")

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  13. I’m happy to see I’m not the only one with a huge stack of books after Christmas! And, you always find the best quotes to end your posts with. Just where do you get them? :)

    -Merry K

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    1. About the quotes... I have been a collector of quotes and favourite lines from my youth. I'll refer to my own material for suitable quotes, and when I can't find anything that's fitting, I do a google search using the topic and subject as keywords. I have found so many gems this way!

      Thanks, Merry, for stopping by! xo

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....