thanks to my friend suzanne, my december reading now includes a novel. this one:
you can read more about it HERE. i fell into it easily, but will issue a final verdict when finished. Suzanne likes to assign me books to read.
When you've finished reading all the McCann books, get a copy of The Hare With Amber Eyes. Then read the trilogy by Jane Gardam, starting with Old Filth. An English writer, she's FANTASTIC! I've recommended these books before & I'm still pushing them because they are intelligent books for an intelligent reader – they are worth the hard sell! I've got more titles to sell you on after you read these!
as you can see, she appealed to my shallow need to be thought intelligent. works every time! although sometimes i have to put my foot down when her recommendations exceed 1000 pages.
i'm still slogging my way through van gogh, the life. determined to finish. if not in this lifetime than surely in the next. it's not that i'm not enjoying it. i am! but 976 pages is a lot of book to get through.
somewhere along the book reading route i pulled over at the southern california history rest stop. oh boy. it's got everything! velvet chaise lounges in an oak woodland park. condors circling blue streams. tables next to the chaises with tiny crustless sandwiches and bisquits with clotted cream. and tea! orange groves filled with blooming trees. the air is fragrant and rich. there are bobcat kittens mewing to be pet, parrots in the trees. you don't want to leave. it's that good. you just read read read read. swallowing every word. every once in a while you stop to lay back and stare at the sky. sip some lemonade.
i started with southern californa – an island on the land written in 1946. and now am on the kevin star series. i'm writing in the margins, forcing my poor sister to listen to zillions of passages i read aloud. and when there's no one to read to i just read to myself. aloud! astonishing beautiful descriptions of a dreamscape. if you are a lover of california (especially if you are a resident) you will DIG these books. our history is so remarkable! i'm walking around in a freaking trance half the time.
here's a description of kevin starr from the LA times:
as his intellect gathers, information rushes out in a deluge. He's talking, but it's as if an invisible scholar inside his head is yanking books off shelves, throwing them open, checking the index, then racing off to find the next volume. On the outside, Starr is an avuncular 72-year-old, but his brain is sprinting like an Olympian.
okay that's my december book report. feel free to relay yours in the comments. i'm dying to know what literary rest stops you've been visiting!
Sue Hatfield says
I just finished “Hild” by Nicola Griffith. It kept me interested all the way through and I’m waiting on the next one. It’s a fictional biography of Hildegard of Bingen, although you wouldn’t know it from this book. It’s a story with a strong, intelligent heroine.
donna joy says
ha-1000 page books. I once had a friend suggest-then loan me a book “Ahab’s Wife” i believe. she said, if you can get past the first 100 pages it’s good.
100! I normally won’t read if it doesn’t get me in the first 5. Her book-took me until page 125 but i read the thing 🙂
For fun, quick, light reading (never to be considered intellectual) read the stephanie plum books by Janet Evanovich.
LOVED the Jane Gardham trilogy. Recommend reading them in order, and close together. They were published in the US several years apart, so I had to reread #1 before I read #2, and then reread #1 and #2 before I read #3. They held up very well in the rereading.
Kate Burroughs says
I used to love to read Kevin Starr’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper on California history. There are so many good stories! Including my grandfather, A.J. McFadden, who was a lifelong orange grower, on the board of the Irvine Ranch and planted the first avocado tree in California. Thanks for all the other book suggestions.
I just re read The Catcher In the Rye because I watched the first 10 minutes of a documentary about Salinger and I listened to all of these people talking about how revolutionary it was. It was good. Really good. And it takes place at Xmas time. Next up? To Kill A Mockingbird.
Shar Ulm says
I want to read California books. There’s something about that place… and I really love the book cover collage. Eye and brain candy all in one fell swoop (whatever that means)!
Jan McCann says
The hare with the amber eyes is a must read, a delight that will inspire you to find out more.
Pauline Clark says
Oh…and just because I’m Canadian…I’m hearing The Orenda is very good…and it’s on my to-read list. Check it out! By Joseph Boyden.
Pauline Clark says
I love these book posts. Always interesting to find what people are reading…especially if you share other things in common with them…odds are you’ll like the reading. I’ve been reading war stories….just because I’m sort of writing one. I read Between Shades of Gray about a Lithuanian girl in a labour camp and wanted to read Charlotte Gray but the copy I had had way too small of print! Heehee. Anyway…I’m off the check out some of these titles. Happy reading, everyone!
Yes, please read Hare With the Amber Eyes! I did not want it to be done!
Michele Unger says
Oh, thanks for this. Very timely. Getting ready for some very, VERY long plane flights and needed to restock my Kindle. I’ve taken your recommendations and ordered a couple to keep me sane while I make my way from Seattle to Chicago to London to Chennai (Madras) early next month. I can go through a lot of reading material on long flights. Nice to have some ideas for entertainment presented to me.
lianne depino says
reading “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. Very good!
Susie LaFond says
I’m reading a cascading mountain of books right now; going between Quiet by Susan Cain (at night before calling it a day) Then there is Arcadia by Lauren Groff, my mealtime respite and then there is Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith.
I discovered this little gem advertised on the last page of a book of poems I found for 3.00 at a used book shop. As I read the description I knew I had to find it and did so for a whopping penny on Amazon and I will for the sake of being accurate share the plot with you as copied from Amazon
” Isabel is a single, twenty-something thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska.”
Glaciers unfolds internally, the action shaped by Isabel’s sense of history, memory, and place, recalling the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Virginia Woolf. For Isabel, the fleeting moments of one day can reveal an entire life. While she contemplates loss and the intricate fissures it creates in our lives, she accumulates the stories—the remnants—of those around her and she begins to tell her own story.”
The cover alone got my attention and the first chapter is entitled Amsterdam and I read it almost as soon as I pulled it from the envelope when it arrived on Friday. It’s a tiny breath of a small book and I am sure I will read it in one sitting but as I read the first chapter all I could think of was you, her words painted a picture I could see of you on a walk in that faraway place. I love when I find a book by chance that resonates with me on another level. You might like it too.
I wait for the day when I can stay home (retire) and read. I keep saying I’m going to sleep for 3 months first… just to catch up after working for 38 1/2 years.
I think you would love the Inspector Chen books by Qiu Xiaolong
I have read the first six and found them fascinating ( the other two aren’t available on kindle yet)
Chen Cao is an Inspector with the Shanghai Police Bureau.
All books feature Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a poetry-quoting cop with integrity.
But the main concern in the books is modern China itself. I love the poetry quoted by Chen!
Death of a Red Heroine (Inspector Chen Cao #1)
A Loyal Character Dancer (Inspector Chen Cao #2)
When Red Is Black (Inspector Chen Cao #3)
A Case of Two Cities (Inspector Chen Cao #4)
Red Mandarin Dress (Inspector Chen Cao #5)
The Mao Case (Inspector Chen Cao #6)
Don’t Cry, Tai Lake (Inspector Chen Cao #7)
Enigma of China (Inspector Chen Cao #8)
I am reading another Jane Gardam book: Crusoe’s daughter. Also started Almost English by Charlotte Mendelsohn. Have Hare with Amber Eyes but not started. Can’t tell you more because then I’ll ruin my Christmas Book Review. Love your California books!
Judy H. says
I just finished reading ‘The Light Between Oceans’ by M. L. Stedman. Two thumbs up.
Connie Rose says
Now reading Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder and really enjoying it.
Have you taken her suggestion to read The Hare with Amber Eyes? Fabulous!