Sunday, January 10, 2016

Kicking off the New Year...

Welcome to 2016!  Now that the holidays are officially over, it's time to enjoy winter.  I know that sounds crazy, but I like winter sports.  My son and older daughter and I went skating last week at our town's outdoor rink and had a blast.  My son left this morning for New York, heading back to college, and my two daughters leave for California this Thursday, driving the older one back to resume life and work in San Francisco.  They're all (fingers crossed) planning on spending the summer in Colorado, but meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy the snow and freezing temps and start an indoor herb garden.

Now on to books...

I love mysteries but haven't read many lately, so one of my mini, informal challenges of the year is to read from my TBR mystery shelf (bottom of the bookcase, mostly filled with next in series by many different authors).

I finished the year by reading the second in Louise Penny's series about Three Pines, Quebec, a small village near Montreal, Fatal Grace.  It was absolutely wonderful and fit in nicely with the Christmas reading I did in December.  There really are very few books with curling at the center, and having grown up in Colorado Springs, spending most of my time at the Broadmoor World Arena, I'm actually familiar with the sport!  Now, I'm already itching to get a copy of her third in the series.

I then went straight to Jacqueline Winspear's Birds of a Feather, which is the second in her Maisie Dobbs mystery series, set between WWI and WWII.  Also fabulous and so interesting.  Really loving Maisie as a private detective--her backstory is poignant and her approach to solving crimes and to finding her way in this crazy world is admirable.  I now find myself putting my right hand on my solar plexus and my left hand on my heart to calm myself when stressed.  I love her combo of intuition and common sense and her ongoing relationship with her mentor.

Late last week I had some outpatient medical stuff to deal with and needed a very distracting book to take my mind off of things, so I chose Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, which is a journal of the first year of her son's life.  I expected to give this 5 stars as I loved the other two Lamott books I've read (Bird by Bird, and Traveling Mercies), but ended up giving it only 4.  I like Lamott's irreverence and insights and her descriptions of her baby's journey was so nostalgic for me, but I felt she got pretty repetitive in her whining and her hyperbole got a bit old.  But the book did what I wanted it to do.  I easily lost myself in her writing and it helped me not think about feeling crummy.  Ah, the power of books.

BTW, Operating Instructions is on my TBR Pile Challenge, so that's one down!

Now, I'm determined to finish up a few books I started all the way back in November--namely Ghostly, Paris, Book by Book, and All the Light We Cannot See.  Stay tuned and happy reading.


  1. I also love Winter and used to revel in Winter activities growing up in Michigan. I'm moving back up there in about five years. Hopefully, I'll have my weight down by then and can do some serious sledding, and maybe even ice skating...something I used to love to do. :)

  2. I'd like to work on my TBR pile as well this year. I actually think Louise Penny's first two are in my pile, so I hope to get to those. Winter sports are fun. I like cross-country skiing especially. We have good snow here right now.

  3. I've been meaning to read some Penny and one that focuses around curling sounds like something I'd like a lot! Enjoy your winter reading!

  4. We have had a very warm winter so far here on Long Island. I am hoping that it will continue.

    As I have had time off lately I have also gotten the year off to good reading start.

    Happy reading in 2016!

  5. Happy new year and I hope you're feeling better :) Your skating day sounds lovely, very seasonal! 3 from your TBR already (even if one was last year) is a good start indeed. It's been a bit surreal here, not very cold, but still wintery enough to snuggle up with a book.

  6. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the Louise Penny book, I think that series just gets better and better.