But I really don't want to! When it comes to reading, I'm low-tech all the way, from the printed page to the last, good feeling when I write down the name of the book and number of pages.
My goal for reading this year was 60 books. And I made it. Just -- finishing at 4:15 on Christmas Eve. And it came to a rollicking 18,325 pages!
I will admit some of the titles were "gimmes" -- you can't really compare Nancy Drew and an Ann Patchett novel! And it is pretty clear that my favorite genre is mystery, although I read more fiction than I expected.
|I revisited my Nancy Drew days.|
You'll also note that there are many books that have a WWI-WWII flavor to them, regardless of category, as well as a definite appreciation for books about or set in France or Britain!
So, time for a new year!
|I need to find a better place for my stack -- taking the packing tape out of the middle would help. And the Scrabble dictionary doesn't count as a read.|
|This is coming up after "Stephen Sondheim" because I'm going to need a little art and England by then!|
A complete list follows at the bottom for those of you really into titles. But here is a summary of favorites!
Picks of the Litter
My fave fiction books included work by Mitch Albom ("The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto," a great way to start the year!), Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto," Kristin Hannah's "The Nightingale" and possibly my favorite book of the year and one that I think is the most profoundly eloquent book about grief and hope, "Little Paris Book Shop" by Nina George.
Two books stood out for me in the Memoir/Biography category -- Susan Branch's "Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams" (and no, not just because we had just been there) and Alice Steinbach's "Educating Alice."
|"Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams" and "Gardens of Awe and Folly" were two of the books I'd never give away -- but would buy for others (and have!)|
Three specific mysteries drew me in (with one, the page-turner "I Let You Go" taking up right up to my deadline! I'm so glad it was a good book!) The others were Jacqueline Winspear's current Maisie Dobbs book, "Journey to Munich" and the surprisingly intriguing "The Couple Next Door" by Shari La Pena. I have to add that the only reason I didn't include any Louise Penny books (I just discovered her this year) or those by Christopher Fowler was that they are "all" the best. Each book in both these series remain captivating, telling new stories and more fully developing their characters. Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid series also continues to provide good stories and character development. Three cheers to Penny, Crombie and Fowler!
|I'm a mystery girl -- I admit it. And I was so glad to have discovered Louise Penny this year!|
In the special interest section -- a bit of a this-and-that -- Vivian Swift's "Gardens of Awe and Folly" tops my list. Of course it does -- it's beautiful! In a completely different vein I enjoyed the wonderful creative motivation book "Create Now" by Margo Johnson and Jessica Fellowes "Downton Abbey: A Celebration." The latter, certainly, won points for hundreds of photos, character bios and complete synopses.
In the non-fiction category, I recommend "The Great Silence" by Juliet Nicholson, which looks at England in the years immediately following WWI as soldiers returned, battered, and women were finding new roles in a post-war society.
The Litter BoxMy most disappointing books of the year were Elena Ferrante's "My Brilliant Friend" (I really hated those girls), "Suzanne of Love and Art" (a bio of Suzanne Valdon -- I would have loved this for information, setting, personal interest but the dialogue sounded like it had been written by a slutty seventh grader; had she stuck to a non-fiction book, I would have liked it better). "Me Before You" left me cold and I tend to like books about situations like that but it was too romantic or something.
The List -- Favorites are in Bold
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto (Mitch Albom)
Moonlight Over Paris (Jennifer Robson)
Queen Lucia (E.F. Benson)
God Help the Child (Toni Morrison)
Me Before You (Jojo Moyes)
Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)
Storms of War (Kate Williams)
Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George)
The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)
The Woman in the Photo (Mary Hogan)
Miss Carter's War (Sheila Hancock)
My Brilliant Friend (Elana Ferrante
Twelve Days of Christmas (Debbie Macomber)
Let's Just Say it Wasn't Pretty (Diane Keaton)
Cary Grant (Marc Eliot)
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey (Fiona Carnarveron)
Toujours Provence (Peter Mayle)
The Kingdom by the Sea (Paul Theroux)
Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams (Susan Branch)
Educating Alice (Alice Steinbach)
The Vineyard We Knew (Kevin Parham)
The Duchess of Windsor (Diana Mosley)
Will and Kate (Alice Hudson)
Suzanne of Love and Art (Elaine Todd Koren)
It's the Little Things (Craig Wilson)
Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Susan Elia Macneal)
Bryant and May on the Loose (Christopher Fowler)
Shoulder the Sky (Anne Perry)
Bullet for a Star (Stuart Kaminsky)
Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (Stuart Kaminsky)
Leave the Grave Green (Deborah Crombie)
Journey to Munich (Jacqueline Winspear)
Bryant and May Off the Rails (Christopher Fowler
How to Paint a Cat (Rebecca M. hale)
High Midnight (Stuart Kaminsky)
The Kind Worth Killing (Peter Swanson)
The Memory of Blood (Christopher Fowler)
Still LIfe (Louise Penny)
London Rain (Nicola Upson)
Mourn Not the Dead (Deborah Crombie)
The Couple Next Door (Shari LaPena)
A Fatal Grace (Louise Penny)
The Cruellest Month (Louise Penny)
The Murder Stone (Louise Penny
Bryant and May and the Invisible Code (Christopher Fowler)
In a Dark, Dark Wood (Ruth Ware)
The Brutal Telling (Louise Penny)
Bury Your Dead (Louise Penny)
I Let You Go (Clare Mackintosh)
Buried Caesars (Stuart Kaminsky)
The Howard Hughes Affair (Stuart Kaminsky)
Gardens of Awe and Folly (Vivian Swift)
Downton Abbey: A Celebration (Jessica Fellowes)
Create NOW! (Margo Johnson)
Fashion House (Megan Hess)
Monet's Table (Claire Jones)
Paris at the End of the World (The City of Light During the Great War of 1914-1918 (John Baxter)
The Great Silence (Juliet Nicholson)
Secret of the Old Clock (Carolyn Keene)