I thought I might try to pick this up again. Hopefully one or two people are still dropping by, but no matter. I missed writing here, so I might as well give it a go. I can’t believe it’s been six months. The main thing that kept me away: I got a job! Very good for the bank account, not as good for the reading. Oh well. I’m hoping I can get back up to speed by writing reviews and so on…
I pretty much dropped the ball on all my challenges. Perhaps I am too whimsical to follow a plan. Even though I’ve managed some of the books on my lists, mostly I’ve just drifted hither and yon, reading what I want when I want.
But I have been reading. Looky here:
Nick Hornby – The Polysyllabic Spree (completed)
Laura Lippman – Life Sentences (completed)
Ali Smith – The Accidental (completed)*
Mark Bittman – Food Matters (completed)
Charles Baxter – The Soul Thief (completed)
Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteredge (completed)**
Zoe Heller – The Believers (completed)
Richard Yates – The Easter Parade (completed)
Sarah Waters – Fingersmith (completed)**
Elizabeth Strout – Amy and Isabelle (completed)
Andrea Barrett – Servants of the Map (completed)
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (completed)
Marcus Zusak – The Book Thief (completed)
Andrew Taylor – Bleeding Heart Square (completed)
Julie Powell – Julie and Julia (1/2 completed)
Laurie R. King – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (completed)**
Lewis Wallant – The Tenants of Moonbloom (1/2 completed)
Tana French – The Likeness (completed)*
Sarah Waters – The Little Stranger (completed)
Colum McCann – Let the Great World Spin (completed)
Don Kurtz – South of the Big Four (re-read; completed)
Lorrie Moore – The Gate at the Stairs (completed)
Robert Goolrick – A Reliable Wife (completed)*
Eric Weiner – The Geography of Bliss (completed)
I hope to review at least a few of these for you, but I’ll give you the quick rundown.
Hands down, Fingersmith was my favorite of all the books I’ve read since May. Pretty much everybody has reviewed this book so I won’t bother–I’ll just say I loved it and leave it at that. Although I very much enjoyed The Little Stranger, it just didn’t have the spark that Fingersmith had. I have The Night Watch on my TBR pile. I think Sarah Waters is an author everyone should read.
Other favorites? Tana French’s The Likeness was another great read, and as some reviews have noted very much in the vein of one of my favorite books, The Secret History. I like the questions of identity, group as identity, and what, really, makes a family. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s wholly entertaining and absorbing. I also loved The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, more than I expected to, even. I expected more of a mystery, but it was truly a coming-of-age story, I think. I look forward to reading another book in that series. Olive Kitteredge was amazing, as was The Accidental. I also very much enjoyed Let the Great World Spin, which I got from Library Thing. And finally, A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick, was another great read. I’ll try to post reviews for some of these, just to share more thoughts.
In a nutshell, the biggest disappointments for me were The Soul Thief, by Charles Baxter, and The Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore. That last one pains me especially, because Lorrie Moore is one of my favorite writers. I hope to post a review to explain more in depth why I was disappointed, and I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on that one.
Right now I’m reading The Poisonwood Bible, and after that I’ll move on to Three Cups of Tea and The Hunger Games. And who knows, maybe I’ll still make it through one of those challenges. The year isn’t over yet!