When I posted my 7 Quick Picks on Friday, (yesterday I was bizarrely under the weather and spent the day in bed) one of the things I mentioned was my new book page. When I wrote and published the new book page, one of the things I promised on it was to be better about reading and reviewing the books I read. I'm really not a professional book reviewer, and I don't aspire to be one, but I would like to have a way to better track what I read, when and why. I originally said I was going to do a post a month, but I think instead, I will simply join in the weekly Sunday Salon (which you can find on facebook by searching Sunday Salon).
However, I really do want to review all the books I have read this month sooooooo...this one's gonna be a loo-loo. I will be writing less due to the sheer volume of books for the month so that neither you nor I gets too overwhelmed. MMM-kay? Here we go.
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny - I started reading this lovely series shortly after the second book was published in 2009. I have always enjoyed the characters, especially Inspector Gamache and Jean Claude Beauvior. This summer however I was absolutely spell bound by Bury Your Dead which I quickly listed as one of the best books I have ever read. I didn't expect that Trick of the Light could delight me as much by any means, but I was quite pleasantly surprised. It wasn't quite as captivating as I suspected, but it absolutely did not lower in quality or character development. Ms. Penny stepped it up a notch with Bury Your Dead, and she maintained that level in this year's Trick of the Light. If you haven't yet visited Three Pines, I suggest you do.
A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle - One of my hopes for 2012 is to spend a good deal of time reading personal memoirs. A Circle of Quiet has been on my shelves for some time as I have long been a fan of L'Engle. I enjoyed learning more about her personally, and about her quirks and foibles. It's always good to learn that you aren't the only very strange person in the world. A Circle of Quiet is the first in the Crosswick Trilogy (not its formal title, just how it's referenced) and I plan to read them all over the course of the next year.
The Winter of our Discontent by Susan Maushart - I picked this up based on the recommendation of my friend Lorri, and because it went along with the concepts I have been considering since reading The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains. I have mixed feelings about this book. I love the idea, and when Ms. Maushart is writing as a journalist, her information is interesting and well presented. However, this isn't just a report, it's a personal memoir, and personally, she and I simply do not, and would not click. She's pretty insulting to men in general (which is a personal pet peeve of mine), and we have some pretty disparate parenting opinions. However, it was a quick, informative read, and I am glad I took the time to read it. Had it not been a subject area that has my interest right now, I may not have stuck with it to the end, I do not imagine I'll be looking up anything else by her.
Simplify and Inside Out Simplicity - both by Joshua Becker - These two books were both recently promoted for kindle at .99 apiece. Since I really enjoy Mr. Becker's posts at The Minimalists blog, and since my 31 days of Change were based on the concept of minimalism, I grabbed them. They are both very fast, simple reads, but for me, neither one contained a ton of new information. However, I have spent a great deal of time these last few months reading about, learning, and "meeting" people who practice this lifestyle, so I didn't come to them as an unlearned reader. If minimalism is something you are interested in learning more about, I highly recommend you give Mr. Becker a try. His e-books are reasonably priced and pack a great deal of useful information in an easily digested number of pages.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe - If memory serves, this is the last book I bought before we left Florida a few years ago. It has been often thought of, but it somehow ended up in one of the boxes that never got unpacked when we moved the first time. When we moved again a few months ago and purged a great deal, the book resurfaced, and at long last I sat down to really enjoy it. Boasting one of my favorite literary tricks, the alternating narrative voice and/ or timeline, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane has a lovely blend of academia and mysticism, and is tied together by the persons and events in Salem, Massachusetts during the infamous Salem witch trials. I'm certain that only if this had been the most poorly written collection of thoughts in the world would I not have enjoyed it, but it isn't and I really did, even if I had figured out several of the plot twists before they were revealed.
So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson - This book is a reread for me, and it was just as fun, amusing and filled with book lovers quirks and secrets the second time around. I've been planning to reread this ever since I decided to make a book page on my blog and begin being a bit more of a mindful reader. So Many Books, So Little Time chronicles the reading choices of Ms. Nelson when she pledged to read a book a week for a full year and write about it in her magazine column. We don't have similar reading tastes, but that hardly matters since real book lovers don't have to love the same books (though she does explore the emotional ramifications if someone you love doesn't love the books you love) to understand each other through and through. Ms. Nelson is a true book lover, and I loved the glimpses into her heart and how books relate to those inner depths. This one's so good that it's still on the keeper shelf after the second read.
TigerHeart by Peter David - This books is not one that I would have been likely to pick up on my own. However, the Hunky got it off the bargain table using a gift card recently, and after he finished it urged me to read it. It's basically a retelling of the Peter Pan story with which we are all familiar, but it's the clever changes, the narrator as a character (he speaks directly to the reader, so if that isn't a style you like, this book isn't for you), and the almost heart breaking turns of phrase about childhood and growing up that make this story worthwhile. I absolutely loved it because it was a wonderful to escape reality and simply enjoy the story, which is what a good fairy tale should do.
Shew! That ends this really really long edition of Sunday Salon. Since I tackled this giant task, I see no reason what I can't get back here every week and simply cover the one or two books I generally complete in the weeks to come.