Monday, November 18, 2013
Potpourri - reading a bit of this, a bit of that
Posted by JaneGS
I recently reached my GoodReads goal of reading 55 books in 2013. I'm now at 56 books, and feel like I have a few good reading weeks ahead of me before getting swallowed by the holidays.
I haven't been doing quite as well blogging about everything I've been reading. Sometimes there's not a lot to say, and sometimes there's so much that I almost feel overwhelmed by it. So let's take the catalog approach.
The Red Queen and The King Maker's Daughter, by Philippa Gregory - I enjoyed The White Queen so much more than either. I found Margaret Beaufort, the Red Queen, to be one of the most maddeningly hypocritical heroines ever. My biggest regret with regards to the War of the Roses is that Margaret was not ultimately defeated. The fact that her precious son, Henry, founded the Tudors still rankles. I got two-thirds done with The KingMakers Daughter, about Anne Neville, and found I just didn't have the heart to finish it. I much prefer the Anne of Sunne in Splendour--Gregory's Anne was whiny and dull and unsympathetic.
The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, by Mark Obmascik - somehow over the past several months, my husband and I have transitioned from being mildly interested in birds to being birders. It started with the owls that took up residence across the street from our house in the open space, and soon we were trying to identify birds on our hikes. We watched The Big Year, starring Steve Martin, et al, and enjoyed it thoroughly. So got the book and read it. It was fun, interesting, and inspired us to buy binoculars, field guides, and start going on 7:30 am birding tours on Saturday morning courtesy of our local wild bird center. I now have a bird feeder outside my office window and have been spying on the feeding habits of Mountain Chickadees, American Goldfiches, House Sparrows, House Finches, Blue Jays, Northern Flickers, to name a few. My rarest bird to date is the Barred Owl we spotted two Sundays ago at Point Defiance on Puget Sound when we were visiting our daughter who goes to school up there. Can you spell N-E-R-D?
Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear - what a wonderful treat this book was to read! I thoroughly enjoyed it--from the setting pre and post-WWI in London, to the charmingly interesting character, Maisie herself. I actually found myself more interested in her backstory, which comprised the whole middle section of the book, rather than the mystery itself. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
Winter in Thrush Green, by Miss Read - as a card-carrying Janeite, it's a bit surprising that this is my first Miss Read tale of life in a quiet country village in England, circa 1950. A stranger moves to the village, lots of gossip ensues, winter drags on, gallons of tea are consumed, and life goes on. I listened to this book, and enjoyed it. It was a nice break from reality and a perfect escape book...
...which leads me to the book I am currently reading:
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote - to say this book is unsettling is an understatement. I have wanted to read it for years, but only just got up the nerve. My husband says that the scariest movie he ever watched was Schindler's List, because it was based on a true story. I haven't read a lot of scary books, but this is the one that has kept me up at night the most, not from reading it but from thinking about it. The story itself is truly horrible, but Capote's clinical style coupled with the structure has made it definitely unsettling. I'm almost done--I hope to finish it tonight. It is good, an American classic, but very tough to read.
So how's that for potpourri--a bit of this and a bit of that?