I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
Happy New Year. This blog is almost exactly a year old. I've never blogged before because I didn't want to just write about random things -- although I do love to write. When I discovered Booklikes as a platform, it clicked. Books and my reading life are the topics that I care most about and what give me focus.
This isn't a "Best Book of the Year" post, because I don't generally read books close to their release dates. I read what I want to read, when it suits me to read it. So, looking back on my Reading Challenge list for the past year, I want to just note a few highlights.
Unlike 2013, where I read at least one book that I absolutely fell in love with, from top to bottom -- Chad Harbach's "The Art of Fielding" -- this was a year that didn't have an absolute standout for me.
There were some good surprises, books I enjoyed much more than I thought I would, like Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" (who knew math could be so interesting?), "Ox Cart Angel," a YA book by a regional writer who spoke one Sunday afternoon at our local Historical Society, and "The Piano Man's Daughter," by Timothy Findley, which I'd never even heard of, but a friend insisted I read.
I really enjoyed my first reading of Charlotte Bronte's "Villette." I discovered a poet, Camille Dungy, when I had the opportunity to hear her read one summer night in Bemidji. I found a new "book boyfriend" in the character of Zelikman in Michael Chabon's "Gentlemen of the Road." And there were a few disappointments -- don't let Hemingway's name on "To Have and Have Not" fool you, it's not very good (look for a post on this soon). Two plays stuck with me for their humor and pathos: "Sonya, Vanya, Masha and Spike" and "Good People."
If I had to pick a highlight, or favorite book of the year, I'd go with two, for the same reasoning, under slightly different guises: Both of them made me say at the end, "What the heck was that?
First, Ian McEwan's "Sweet Tooth." It had a twist ending that totally turned the narrative on its head and made me as a reader question the nature of storytelling and perspective, as well as point-of-view reality and authority. It wasn't quite at the level of "Atonement," in this regard, but a "lite" version of that.
Second, Mark Helprin's "Winter's Tale." I read it in anticipation of the film, which ended up being terrible and not a worthy adaptation, but was such a fantastical, complicated, weird, improbable narrative that I certainly still have not decided "what the heck was that?" But I was totally into it.
Of course, I already have books in progress and more planned for 2015, so stay tuned, tell your friends, and let's have a conversation. Happy Reading.