" In the winter she curls up around
a good book and dreams away the cold. "
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) 2021Shawna 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) 2012This 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) 2005Until 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) 2021I 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) 2016When 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) 1938I 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) 1908If 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) 2021If 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) 2021Charles 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,