Posts Tagged ‘booklog’

2014 Booklog

December 27, 2014 @ 8:12 pm | Filed under: Books

Sometime in October or November, I abandoned hope of keeping my sidebar booklog up to date. By then I was deeply immersed in reading YA Fiction for the CYBIL awards. Between 10/15 and 12/26, I read a total of 78 nominees. (In yesterday’s post I said 79. Counted wrong!) Ten of those titles are listed below, but the other 68 haven’t made it into this compilation yet. Was too busy reading to fuss with links and things. Eventually I’ll get them listed here. For now, I’m pulling the January-October(ish) list into this post to serve as my master book log for 2014. Time to wipe the slate clean for 2015!

Some of the links below go to GoodReads; others are Amazon Affiliate links because I have a hundred* children to put through college. You understand.

*More or less.

This list goes backward, with most recently read titles first. If I manage anything new before the end of the year, I’ll update this post. High high high on my list is Sarah Elwell’s novel, Deep in the Far Away, which she published as a serial these past few months. I subscribed eagerly and would have loved to enjoy it in periodical-fashion but the timing coincided with the Cybils onslaught. Also enticing: the prospect of another Forster binge (I know, I know, it’s only been six months since the last one) and maybe some Patricia McKillip. Heir of Sea and Fire jumped off the shelf at me yesterday and I thought ohhhh….(I think that one’s my favorite of the Riddle Master trilogy.)

A final note! I hope to come back here and add commentary to some of the entries below, or links to posts about them. But for now I just want to move the list out of my sidebar. 🙂

Without further ado:

Books I Read (or Listened To) in 2014

117. Matilda (audio with Rilla while we draw—we’re midway through as of this post but I expect we’ll finish by New Year’s)
116. Syllabus by Lynda Barry

Kortney tweeted me about this book, which she correctly pegged as being right up my alley. She caught me at the perfect time, with birthday money from my parents burning a hole in my pocket! And ohhh was she ever right. Utterly marvelous. Inspirational. Possibly life-changing (if only because I was already itching to head in this direction, having so recently resolved to make art journaling and sketching a daily practice).

48-115 (if my math is right): 68 young adult novels to be listed later. So many good books!! (Other Cybils nominees are starred below—some read earlier in the year before they were nominated.)

 

UPDATED TO ADD: 47. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination

(I read about half of this 768-page tome in 2014 and decided that’s enough to warrant inclusion in this list, especially since it inspired numerous lecture-watching rabbit trails, including this excellent talk on George Eliot: Intellect and Consciousness by Catherine Brown of Oxford. Perhaps I’ll finish next year the tome in 2015.)

46. Story of the World Vol. 3
45. Roomies*
44. Conversion*
43. She Is Not Invisible*
42. The BFG (audio)
41. OCD Love Story
40. I’ll Give You the Sun*
39. The Boxcar Children
38. Always Emily*
37. A Mad, Wicked Folly*
36. Girls Like Us*
35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
34. Pointe*
33. Perfectly Good White Boy*
32. The First Bad Man
31. The Fourteenth Goldfish
30. The Importance of Being Earnest
29. Maurice
28. Dear Committee Members
27. The Blue Castle
26. The Life to Come and Other Stories
25. The Longest Journey
24. A Passage to India
23. We Were Liars*
22. The Rosie Project
21. The Turn of the Screw
20. The Secret Garden
19. The Wheel on the School
18. The Tuesday Club Murders
17. The Remains of the Day
16. The Giver
15. The Blue Flower
14. The Art of Writing, Lecture 1
13. Where Angels Fear to Tread
12. Queen of England: Elizabeth
11. Howards End
10. Howards End Is on the Landing
9. A Room With a View
8. Underfoot in Show Business
7. Q’s Legacy
6. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
5. 84, Charing Cross Road
4. The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook
3. Gone Girl
2. Paperless Home Organization
1. The Fault in Our Stars

Last week’s reading, and assorted other things

March 10, 2014 @ 2:50 pm | Filed under: Books, Family, Photos

lavender

Things I read last week:

finished Howards End

—the “Keeps House” chapter of Milly-Molly-Mandy (a favorite because of Billy Blunt pretending to be a Mr. Snooks)

Queen of England: The Story of Elizabeth by Helene Hanff

—essay, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” Alice Walker

—began Where Angels Fear to Tread

***

I spent the past week (month) (several months) in panic/crunch mode on a manuscript and missed commemorating a rather significant milestone here: Scott and I celebrated the 25th anniversary of our first date. Our 20th wedding anniversary is coming up in May, but in many ways this week’s date is the more significant, the more earthshaking, life-altering. We met at callbacks for a college play (Black Comedy) in February 1989. I was head over heels for him immediately. He seemed keen on me too. On March 3rd I invited him to my roommate’s birthday party. He took some coaxing—not a partygoer, is he—and somehow we wound up at a different party, either before or after my roomie’s (college, man), and we fell into a discussion of our mutual favorite books, The Lord of the Rings (remember, this was long before the films and you were part of a relatively small geeky subset if you were a Tolkien nut) and, well, we’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since. (Even my two years in grad school in North Carolina, when he was working in NYC, we talked every single night on the phone. And that brutal three-month stretch in 2006 just after Rilla was born when he came out here to San Diego to start the new job and I was back in Virginia trying to sell the house, we had an IM window open round the clock and often spent our evenings working together, each on our respective assignments. Ping, ping, ping.) I am still as ridiculously crazy about him as I was that very first day.

Anyway. I put some pictures on Facebook. Later in the week I was clicking around on the ‘related links’ below my posts, wandering back through funny kid stories I would have forgotten if I hadn’t blogged them, and I got swept with a tidal wave of gratitude for the chronicle this blog has become, this diary of our lives. His blog, too—even more so than mine, in so many ways—practically nothing is sweeter to me than glimpsing our children through his eyes, from his inimitable perspective. So, because I know I’ll be glad later that I did, I’m posting the photos here too.

Egg hunt 1989

Pretty sure this was the first picture ever taken of us. Would have been late March, 1989. Rehearsals for Black Comedy. In that show, if you haven’t seen it, there’s a blackout five minutes into the play, and the characters spend the entire rest of the show in the dark. When the show opens, the stage is pitch black, but for the characters there is light, and they are walking and talking as if all is normal. Then boom, blackout: the stage lights come up, and the actors stumble around as if plunged into utter darkness. We had to stick around campus during Spring Break and rehearse, and at one point there was a blindfolded egg hunt on the stage. You can tell our respective feelings about children’s Easter chocolate. I cannot say I have matured in that regard in the slightest.

1989

Some months later but still ’89. I can tell because of the lipstick. It wouldn’t have been long after that that I bumped into Scott on my way (late) to an 8am class and he was all, wow, you look great, and I was all, but I don’t even have any makeup on…Ohhh. I just may marry this boy.

still goofy

Recently. Still goofy. Still head over heels.

Booklog November 2013

December 1, 2013 @ 8:13 am | Filed under: Books

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (my college friend Beth Malone is starring as grown-up Alison in the Off-Broadway musical and I decided it was high time I read the book)

Everyone’s Reading Bastard by Nick Hornby (Kindle single)

More Baths, Less Talking by Nick Hornby (another collection of his Believer columns on his reading life, every one of which I’ve enjoyed immensely, as you can see in my Hornby archives)

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion (selected essays)

• and many, many picture books for the Cybils (178 so far, but some of those were read earlier in the year)

In progress:  Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (after listening to her seminar in the Coursera class I’m taking on historical fiction, as discussed here)

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July Reading List

August 1, 2011 @ 5:47 pm | Filed under: Books

It was a month for quality, if not quantity:

Letter from New York, the Helene Hanff book I sighed happily over in this post. First time rereading it since, I’m guessing, 1994. It was rather goosebumpy to revisit: so much of my first year in New York was tied to that book. The neighborhoods I explored, the way I looked at the city, the way Miss Hanff taught me to seek out the small interesting details and big colorful people that give a place character. As I savored her letters, I kept thinking how much these spoken essays she wrote for BBC radio read like blog posts—and I could see her influence in my own blog style, over fifteen years later.

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt. When I first read it last year, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to be immersed that intense, disturbing world again: but I did. I found myself thinking about the novel quite often and wanting to return to the rich, tapestried world Byatt creates, suffused with art and lore. The puppets: I am really in awe at how vividly she is able to describe the marionette plays so that you see them, really see them. And the pottery, the Dungeness seaweeds, the strands of Olive’s various stories, the huge cast of distinct, painfully real characters, the currents of culture and history. It’s a hard book, a dark one, but ultimately hopeful, I think, and worth the effort.

Besides those two, there were the usual piles of picture books, and small increments of progress on Calpurnia Tate with Beanie and Rose. July, for us, is really only three weeks long, because a full week of it gets swallowed up by SDCC.

Nonetheless I did think I’d read more, myself, than simply the Hanff and the Byatt. I began a few things, review copies I’ve received, but since the Byatt I haven’t been able to settle into anything else. Just now, looking up the link for my 2010 post about The Children’s Book, I noticed on that year’s booklog that right after it, I reread a large chunk of To Serve Them All My Days—R.F. Delderfield’s sweeping tale about a shellshocked WWI soldier who becomes a teacher in an English boys’ school. That makes me smile because that is exactly the kind of book I’m craving right now, post-Byatt: big, sweeping, warm, moving, funny, and, if sad in places, not dark. Herriott might work. Or: I’ve never read Brideshead Revisited. Would that work? Or is it grim?

Actually, there’s Blackout, I’ve just remembered. I had to set it aside for one reason or another. Connie Willis sweeps me away in just the right way, I always think. Maybe that’s the ticket.