Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reading, Reading, Reading

Back on August 18 I began keeping a Reading Journal for a couple of reasons.  I wanted to keep track of what kind of books I was reading, what I liked or didn't like about them, and how many books I was actually reading.  Now I've always been a "heavy" reader.  I keep books in the family room, in the bedroom and in the bathroom.  I knew I read a lot, but even I was surprised to find that since August 18 I have read 35 books.
A lot of crime books: In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place --all by Tana French
The Complete Works of Agatha Christie Volume 1, the Early ¥ears
Found Wanting   Robert Goddard
The Crossing Place and The Janus Stone   by  Elly Griffths
A Duty to the Dead,  An Impartial Witness and Test of Wills   Charles Todd (a mother/son writing team)
The Closers,  The Narrows   by  Michael Connelly, I have 3 more of his waiting to be read.
I also read some classics:  Pride and Prejudice (for about the 100th time), David Copperfield and The Age of Innocence
I read a bunch of Rumer Goddens that I had read years ago or read for the first time:  Black Narcisscus,  Peacock Summer, China Court and I'm currently reading Greengage Summer by her.
There were several books I just couldn't finish.  I've tried for months, literally, to get through Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon.  It was highly recommended, I like science fantasy on a large scale, but I slowed plowed through nearly 400 pages of it, still had to keep looking characters up in the index at the front of the book to keep people, and things, straight, and finally realized I just didn't care enough to finish it.
I also couldn't finish How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu, too, too pretentious.
I also didn't like Book Lust by Nancy Pearl.  She's a well regarded librarian who has written a number of books on book recommendations, but I found her recommendations too politically correct to be worth while.  What do I mean?  Well, you have to read this African/American author, this woman, that immigrant, that homosexual, that single mother etc.  I don't pick my books that way.  I would recommend 1001 Books for Every Mood by Hallie Sphron PH.D. instead, I reading it now and finding lots of good recommendations.

But the books I've enjoyed the most were a family trilogy by Marcia Willet:  Looking Forward,  Holding On and Winning Through.
It's the story of 3 orphaned children, Fliss, Mole and Susannah whose parents and older brother had been killed in Kenya by the Mau-Maus, and they go to live with their Grandmother Freddy (Frederica) at the Keep in Devon.  I'm an absolute sucker for family sagas and this was a good one.  It reminded me very much of the Elliot Family Trilogy by Elizabeth Goudge (Bird in the Tree, Pilgrim's Inn and Heart of the Family), and in fact one of the characters in this book references those books.
The books follow the children from their arrival when they are 8, 5 and 2 till Fliss, the oldest, is in her 50's.  I was sad to see the last book end, but then I discovered that after a couple of years the author wrote one more about the family, The Prodigal Wife.  I've ordered it but I've held off reading it because I can't stand for the story to end.

So what have you been reading?


  1. What a fun post! I love to hear what other people are reading. I tried keeping a reading list in my blog sidebar but since I sometimes blow through 3-4 books a week I found I couldn't keep the list current. Other weeks I don't get as much reading done. I find that blogging cuts into reading time but that's not such a bad thing for me.

    Ha! Guess what the word verification is? "Prose". Can you believe it?

    Reading now? "Some Tame Gazelle" by Barbara Pym. "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (40th anniversary edition, so it's only one volume) by Julia Child. (I read cookbooks the way some people read novels. Cover to cover.) "The Grand Sophy" by Georgette Heyer. Just finished a biography of Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir. And I'm slo-o-owly making my way through "Life in a Victorian Household" which is buried on my bedside table and rarely gets its turn.

  2. I've only read a few Barbara Pyms, but I like here, have read all the Georgette Heyers, some many times, I read cook books too, read the Allison Weir but not the Victorian.

  3. I've read some of the books you've mentioned like those by Tana French, Elly Griffiths and Robert Goddard. I seem to remember reading Elizabeth Gouge many years ago - I must look them up again and see if I still feel the same - I think sometimes your reading tastes change as you get older. I try to keep a list on the side bar of my blog. I've just finished reading the latest Alexander McCall Smith's Elizabeth Dakhousie novel and my next book will be the new Susan Hill Simon Serrailer novel - I love both of those writers:)

  4. I really like Susan Hill, both the Simon Serraller mysteries and her other books. Have never read Alezander McCall Smith.


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