Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year of Books

Yippee!  It's a new year, which means new "Best Of ..." book lists.
And I love "best of" lists.  To me, this is the best of the best.

I read as many lists as I can, and have a little notebook where I transcribe those books I want to add to my own list.  The list just keeps growing through the year, and even though I know I'll probably never read every book on to "To Be Read" list, I don't get discouraged, because who can be discouraged by a chockablock book list?  

I pick new books by intriguing story lines, favorite time periods, beloved authors, and every once in a while, the cover.  I'm not ashamed -- someone goes to a lot of work to determine the perfect cover for the story inside, and I'm just honoring that work.   Right?

I only have two rules about books:
1)  If you love it, read it.
2)  If you don't really, really love it, put it down and move on to something you do.

There are far too many beautiful books in the world to read crap  something that doesn't capture you and make you wear a flashlight on your head so you can read into the wee hours and not disturb your bedmate.  (Thanks for that headlamp, Clay.)

The only codicil I would attach to this is that if you are in a book club, and the book chosen is something you would pitch aside immediately, try to read at least half of it, even if the main character is a talking cat or if there is a gruesome murder in the first pages (shiver).   Then read the last chapter, just so you'll know what is going on and can participate in the discussion.

This is just good manners. And don't be afraid to tell your group that you didn't like it.  It's OK -- how boring would a book group be if every single member loved every single book chosen?

(I guess I have one more codicil -- if you are reading a book for school or work, read the whole thing.  Do not watch the movie, read the Cliffs Notes or Google it.  Read it -- there is no substitute.  Don't ask me how I know this is heartbreakingly and grade-crushingly true, but you can thank me later.)

What did I read and absolutely love in the last third of 2014?

 Landline by Rainbow Rowell.  This is almost a time-travel book, and I don't really care for time travel.  Except this is amazing.  It didn't hurt that the main character's name is Georgie, and she is a cool Tina Fey-like sitcom writer.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This was on almost every "Best of 2014" list I saw, and there is a reason why -- it's beautiful.  Read it.

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.  I watched The Red Tent the other day on television -- I remember loving that book several years ago, and the show was OK, but it made me want to read more by Anita Diamant, so I downloaded this book and Day and Night onto my nook.  They are both great stories of strong women.

Currently, I'm reading Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (Pulitzer Prize winner, 1985) -- it is my friend, Polly's pick for January book group, and I am loving it.

What books are on my list?  Lots.  But here are the ones I'm starting 2015 with:


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