Showing posts from January, 2016

Looking Forward, Looking Back

The middle of winter is actually not a great time for starting a new year. It's too cold and dark for me to feel like I have energy to do anything new. On the other hand, we've just passed the solstice and the days are starting to get a bit longer. Plus we just had Christmas and all its decadence, so perhaps the time is right for change after all. We're two weeks into January and I'm not sure yet if I want to make any resolutions. I'm a bit behind, as evidenced by my recent attempts to catch up on book reviews.  Christmas was quite lovely this year. My parents came to town and we had a nice dinner on Christmas Eve with my brother and his family. I woke up the next morning to fluffy white snow everywhere, and a quiet house filled with sleeping children. Unfortunately I also woke up with a sore throat and headache that only got worse as the day went on. The kids had a great morning and loved their new presents. I was actually grateful that Mr. Fob came to pick them

Reading Roundup: 2015

(Previous years: 2014 , 2013 , 2012 , 2011 , 2010 , 2009 , 2008 , 2007 )  I read at total of 84 books this year; this is ten more than last year, but right around my average for the last few years.  I didn't read Whitney finalists this year for a number of reasons, but I'm considering it this year. I also set a small goal to read more older, 'classic' books, so I consciously chose about one a month to read or re-read. I think I will do that again this coming year. I tend to gravitate toward fluffier books lately, and while they are fun, I really do enjoy better-written stuff and need to remind myself of this fact when I'm tempted to escape with something mediocre. I read 67 fiction books and 17 nonfiction books, which seems to be about average for most years for me. I like nonfiction, and think that next year I will try to read even more. I also think I might spend the next few months focusing on nonfiction about the history of England to prepare for my upco

Reading Roundup: December 2015

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley I enjoyed the last book I read by Kearsley and thought I'd try another one. This one didn't work as well for me. Once again, I felt like the historical parts of the book were the most interesting and the most well-written. The contemporary romance included a male love interest who was pretty much perfect and spent half the book convincing the whiny woman to trust herself. And of course they fell in love, which was obvious from the beginning of the book. I think this may be a sequel to another book, or at least include some of the same characters, so I might track down that one just to see if I could get a different perspective on the female protagonist because I thought she was really one-dimensional. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison This book has been listed on a number of "best nonfiction" lists, and after reading it I can understand why. Some of them are better than others, but I found myself re-reading and writing down qu

Reading Roundup: November 2015

The Lake House by Kate Morton I had been anticipating the new Kate Morton book's publication for several months, and thankfully I was not disappointed by my high expectations. The plot for this book is similar to all of Morton's books--there are family secrets to be uncovered through a narrative that moves back and forth between contemporary characters and those in the past. Although there are a number of twists along the way, eventually everything is figured out in a satisfactory way. Morton has a tendency to sometimes be a little melodramatic and to stretch the suspension of disbelief too much--and some of her books are much better than others--but I thought this was one of her better efforts. The ending requires a particularly large leap of trust, but by the time we got there I had enjoyed the book so much that I was willing to play along and just enjoy it.  Uprooted by Naomi Novik I had mixed feelings about this book, which I'm sure were due in part to my having