In October I challenged myself to read the 17 books on my shelf that I purchased in the past few years, and had never read. I am giving myself to the end of 2014 to finish so I can intersperse them with other (newer, brighter, shinier) books I am dying to read! For the rest of October, I finished up the library books I had on the go, and I started my in-house list on November 2.
If you’ve been following along, you know that I started with The Book Thief. Since it was coming out as a movie in November, I wanted to read it before I accidentally stumbled across spoilers related to the movie version! Like Sarah, I have read loads of books about the Holocaust. I suppose I put off reading this one because of the theme – I need to be in a strong place before I can read about devastating events. The book appealed to me in the bookstore because it is narrated by Death (the “Grim Reaper.”) You know from page 1 that all the characters will die and it is just a matter of how and when. The more you read, the more you care about the characters and want to know how they meet their demise. I thought that Liesel and Hans (among others) were unforgettable. Did anyone else think of Anne of Green Gables and her Matthew? Getting toward the end of the book, I thought, “Now what could the author do to make the death of the main character more distinctive?” and I guessed the ending.
I read this book on my trip to Toronto – on the plane, and every day at the B&B. When I was nearing the end, Rom and Link were in the room with me. I snuffled my way to the last page. I had been telling them about the book throughout the week, and they weren’t planning to read it, so I told them about the ending. It was a fine performance – I totally “lost it” – I was crying my eyes out as I explained what happened!
Despite what you’ve just read, the book was life-affirming and I highly recommend it.
Next I read a new book from the library – Fallsy Downsies by Stephanie Domet. A local author and radio personality, I had read her first novel when it came out 5 years ago. This one was a folksy novel about a legendary Canadian folk singer and his protege, Evan, a small-town boy who follows the folk singer on what might be his last tour. I enjoyed reading it. The characters and situations were a bit precious at times – and it almost didn’t matter how it ended. It was a little slice of life and a coming-of-age story.
Finally, I read Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban. Does anyone know that name? He is the author of Bread and Jam for Frances and The Mouse and His Child, and lots more children’s books. I had no idea he’d ever written adult novels until I stumbled across this one. It was first published in 1970 and re-issued in 2000. The book alternates chapters in the voices of the two characters, William and Neaera, two loners in their own little spheres, who we now might refer to as Aspies. Each of them is very sharp-eyed in describing their own limits and their inability to connect with other people. They end up working on a common goal, which does involve…turtles. The book makes many profound statements about the human condition – I want to quote them all! It was also startlingly contemporary given that it was written 43 years ago. If you like somewhat philosophical books such as The Elegance of the Hedgehog, you’ll like this.
omg…I just looked up the book cover for Turtle Diary and found out it was made into a movie in 1985 with Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley!!
I am currently reading The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam. Again, I had read his previous book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. This one is a real page-turner and quite scary by my standards. I have a hard time reading books in which a parent is dealing with their child in peril – does anyone else? My book club is discussing it tomorrow night so I will be up late finishing it!
The book club book wasn’t on my Reading Down the House list, so I need to choose my next book. It will be Going Out by Scarlett Thomas, for a change of pace.
Interestingly, I liked the two books from my own collection better than the two library books. I am glad already that I took on this challenge.
What are you reading? Anything from your own book shelf?
Feel free to link any of your reading-related posts in the comments.