I reviewed three books between September and now, but I certainly read more than that! Most of my reading during this time was relatively light fiction, which was expected given how busy I was and that I was traveling a bit.
At the end of September I chose The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman and The Silver Rose, by Susan Carroll, for a three-day work trip. The Subtle Knife is the sequel to The Golden Compass and was a really great choice for the plane – I think I read over 100 pages in the airport and on the plane! The world Pullman has created in these fantasy novels is very creative and his writing is captivating. The Silver Rose is the third in a historical fantasy/romance series and was also a great choice for the trip.
In October I read and reviewed Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (thoughts), The Other, by Ryszard Kapuscinski (thoughts), and Caspian Rain, by Gina B. Nahai (thoughts). After Caspian Rain, I definitely needed something light, so I turned to the young adult fantasy novel The Princess and the Hound, by Mette Ivie Harrison. At first I was a bit bored by it, but as I got into it I quite enjoyed the creative and well-written story. I don’t feel a strong desire to read more by the author, however. After that, I returned to some more serious fiction with Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I really enjoy Ishiguro’s writing, but I’m not sure I liked Never Let Me Go. The sense that has stuck with me a month and a half later is that of a disturbing science fiction story with a dream-like atmosphere in which things are not quite what they seem.
Over Thanksgiving I was traveling and chose Circle of Quilters, by Jennifer Chiaverini, and Spindle’s End, by Robin McKinley for my travel reading. Circle of Quilters is the third Elm Creek Quilts book I have read, and I love Chiaverini’s heart-warming and creative stories about people, life, and quilting. Each time I read one I think that I would like to learn how to quilt someday (in fact, I even picked up a book on machine quilting at a yard sale last summer). Spindle’s End is my first McKinley book and I absolutely loved her beautiful, sumptuous writing and her creative take on the story of Sleeping Beauty. I certainly look forward to reading more by her.
In November and December I read about half of Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, by Benazir Bhutto, but I wasn’t able to finish it. I was excited about it and was hoping to read it for the Politics category of the World Citizen Challenge, but I found it very tedious. Perhaps I didn’t have the proper attention for it at the time, but in any case I eventually gave up on it and don’t expect to go back to it any time soon. I do feel that I learned some things from the part I read, so it was not wasted time (I don’t believe any reading is wasted time). Since I didn’t finish it, though, I’m not sure I can count it for the challenge.
In December I read one more light fiction, The Bookman’s Wake, by John Dunning, before turning to some non-fiction. The Bookman’s Wake is the second Cliff Janeway mystery I’ve read and I thought it was even better than the first. The mystery was very creative and well-constructed, with plenty of twists and turns. The book collecting aspect added an extra bit of enjoyment. My only disappointment was that the majority of the novel took place in Seattle rather than Denver, even though the main character lives in Denver!
I then reached a lull where I had no more unread library books and no time to go to the library. I turned to my book shelf and from a small selection of unread books chose The Parnas, by Silvano Arieti. It had been sitting on my shelf ever since I rescued it from my parent’s give-away pile a few years ago, but I had not gotten around to reading it. I have enough to say about it (and read it recently enough) that I will review it in a separate post. My final book of the year was From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives, by Robert Fulghum. Although it is non-fiction, it was engaging enough that I took it as plane reading when I traveled over the holidays. I will write a separate post about this book as well.
It is interesting to look back at several months of reading and analyze why I read what I did. What was your fall reading like?