The reading pile.

We travel on Friday, so I’ve been in a mad dash to finish up the library books I have to return before we leave.  Currently on the nightstand (and in my purse, and on the coffee table…)

  • Under the Net by Iris Murdoch. I don’t have a hope of finishing this library book, so I went looking for it in Indigo last night.  It was marked as £8.99 or $23.95 CDN!  For a paperback!  So I grabbed in for my Kindle at $10US last night.  
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  I picked this up while I was waiting for Michael at a 3 hour rehearsal and had neglected to put a book in my bag.  It was displayed in the check-out line at Winners and I’ve wanted to read it for some time.  I’m just a couple of dozen pages in, but I think it will only increase my appreciation for Young Adult lit.
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. An audiobook, this is set in WWII in the US and London. It’s a download from the library and has almost expired, so it’s at the top of my list.

Recently completed:

  • Double Fault by Lionel Shriver. Just finished this last night. I love Lionel Shriver, and have read most of her books.  This one tells the story of a couple who are both on the tennis circuit and how their rankings affect their marriage. I found it very engaging and, although I don’t follow or even really like the sport, the commentary on the world of tennis, competition, and rankings was very interesting. It isn’t one of her best books, but recommendable nonetheless.
  • An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. Martin is such a polymath. Comedian, actor, musician, and author. Set in the New York art world, the novel is narrated by an art writer.  He tells the story of the rise and fall of Lacey Yeager, who morphs from a young assistant at Sotheby’s to a gallery owner. I learned a lot about the art business while enjoying this novel that is full of intrigue, affairs, and exclusive parties. Highly recommended.
  • Becoming George Sand by Rosalind Brackenbury. This novel left me cold, and I had to force myself to finish it.  A writer, who is having an extramarital affair and researching George Sand, starts to identify with her subject. The action (if you can call it that) switches between the present day and the story of Sand and Chopin. Pass it by.
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. A preteen girl suffers while living with her bipolar mother. After her mother’s death, she is adopted by a great-aunt who whips her down to Savannah into a world of Southern women, gentility, and eccentricity. This novel has been compared to The Help, but that’s an exaggeration. They’re both set in the South, but this book is much lighter in tone. It was a fun read.
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. Zouheir put me on to this wonderful novella, originally published in French. Somewhat in the same vein as Reading Lolita in Tehran, two young men being re-educated during the Cultural Revolution in China discover a suitcase with a bunch of (forbidden) french novels by Balzac and others. The audiobook was read by actor B.D. Wong and was very moving. I highly recommend this book.
  • Incredible Edibles:  43 Fun Things to Grow in the City by Sonia Day and Barrie Murdock. This is a wonderful little book with great instructions for starting a small city garden (even one just in planters.) The copy I read was from the library, but I ended up buying this book to help me start a garden this year.

This is the selection I’m packing on my travels. They will likely not all get read, but a couple of long flights and time on my own at the castle should provide me with lots of reading time.

  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.  I chose this because it’s set in England and is the first of the Jackson Brodie mysteries. It’s on my iPhone.
  • The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West.  Another novel set in England, Sackville-West was born in Kent (where we’ll be spending a few days). I haven’t read anything by her before and am very much looking forward to this (and possibly visiting Sissinghurst Castle where she lived for a while.
  • A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. Love Hornby’s books, and this has been downloaded onto my iPhone for listening.
  • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. I quite liked Morton’s The Forgotten Garden, and this is another one set in the Edwardian period. It’s on my Kindle.
  • Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville.  It keeps coming up in various things I’m reading, so it’s on my Kindle.

Next week I’ll hope to post an update on my reading from England!

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