January is for reading

We have quite a bit of snow here. It is up to my knees and higher in the drifts. My sweet and generous neighbour has driven his tractor, cutting a deep path around his field and through his woods.  He has made me a track for exercising.   The narrow path is only as wide as the tractor’s tread. I wobble at times as I walk single file, one foot directly in front of the other. Nevertheless, I am able to get out and exercise. Aside from that daily excursion there is not much going on. January’s calendar is bare. I’m ok with that.  I’m retired now and I have declared that January is for reading. No judgement please.  This is what I want to do with the majority of my time this month.

I have two books left in my stash and then I will be making a trip to town to load up on new reading material. This posting is a cry for help. I want to know your number one book from 2012.  What must I read?  I’m totally open to your suggestions. My favourite themes and settings from the past have usually involved fiction, written in an interesting historically accurate time such as the  turn of the 20th century when all of the new inventions were coming out, or the depression / war years.  I like a bit romance in the plot, but no vampires please.

Here is my list in return.

Right now I am half way through John Banville’s “The Sea“. It takes place in an Irish seaside vacation village. It is about a man who returns to his childhood summer holiday location and sorts through his memories while trying to deal with the recent death of his wife.  So far I’m enjoying his writing style.

The only remaining novel in my queue is by Sarah Blake – “The Postmistress“.  It is written in a small American town, just before the USA joins World War II.  An interesting time period…I hope I enjoy it.

Over the last two months I have read some fabulous books which I highly recommend. They include:

Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Fearful Symmetry“.            A fearful symmetry 

I loved Niffenegger’s earlier book “The Time Traveler’s Wife”  This one is even better. It is the story of two sets of twin sisters.  It is about identify, life after death, secrets and love.  Niffenegger has done quite a lot of research into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  and the famous Highgate Cemetery in London.  She has an amazing creative imagination.  A very enjoyable read.

Erin Morgenstern’s “Night Circus“.          night circus 

Wow – this blew me away. I read it right after reading “The Fearful Symmetry” and I found many similarities. It is set again in London. It deals with red-headed twins and death, and the after life.  Both authors are from Chicago.

 You shouldn’t rush through this book being driven by plot.  Instead slow down and savour the writing and Morgenstern’s amazing descriptions.  I love her style of writing.  The story is meticulously crafted and her scenes magical. (pun intended)

John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” The fault in our stars      

This was my favourite book in 2012.  I found it to be both sweet and awkward as young love should be.  It also provides an actuate description of what life is like for a 16-year-old girl living with cancer;  the new normal. It was not sad, instead I found it to be witty and clever.  Again the book’s theme is life and death and legacy and defining yourself in spite of sickness.   Brilliant!

Rules of Civility  Amor Towles’ “Rules of Civility”    

A wonderful time piece set in New York City in 1938.  Imagine if the  Great Gadsby met Dorothy Parker.  It is the story of an intelligent, quick witted young single woman who climbs from the secretarial pool into the society of the very rich  and carefree.  Towles writes a wonderfully descriptive book.  I could imagine my mother living the story;  what she would be wearing and the jazz bands that would be playing in the nightclubs. Towles writing is clever and witty. I smiled throughout.  

My last recommendation  is a Kate Morton book. “The Secret Keeper“.        The Secret Keeper     

 I always find Morton’s work to be a light and enjoyable read.  This one is another historical setting – London during WWII.  There is a mystery and a touch of romance.  Typical Morton.  I also recommend her other books: “The Distant Hours” and “The Forgotten Garden”

So, the snow is piling up.  It’s cold and I don’t have to go outside.  My chores are done and I’m ready to start.    What do you recommend I read this month?   Your input please.



About westlakemusings

In 2013 my husband and I retired. We bought an old pre-confederation house out in the country. This blog is about our new world in the country as we explore all of life's possibilities.
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5 Responses to January is for reading

  1. I’ve read the Forgotten Garden and have the Night Circus on my list of wants, but havent heard of the others – I’ll have to look them up. Enjoy your restful month of reading.

  2. Rev. Marilyn says:

    You and I always read the same books. I bought Kate Morton’s book earlier in December (without knowing that you had already read it) but haven’t read it yet. I have nothing new to contribute at this point. Will look over my past reads and see if there is something that might interest you. If I didn’t have to go to work, I too would spend January reading, and February, March, April…

  3. lauratfrey says:

    I’m reading The Night Circus right now, and I’m not super impressed. I don’t mind that it’s not plot driven, but the writing is leaving me cold. I might be in some kind of reading funk, because EVERYone I know who’s read it has loved it.

    My go-to recommendation from 2012 reads is Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. It’s historical – England, 18th century. It’s dark, about a teenage prostitute, but man what a story. It really stuck. with me.

    My favourite read of 2012 was Vineland by Thomas Pynchon. It’s a weird book, if you’re into the 60s psychadelic thing, give it a try. I didn’t know that I was into it till I read it!

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