Friday, December 28, 2018

The Book Post-Part 1

Hi everyone.  I'm in happy vacation mode. I did a bit of picking up today and got ambitious and cleaned out 2 of my kitchen cabinets. It's time to make some space and get rid of some mismatched pieces I haven't used in years. That took about an hour and then I had the whole afternoon to make art. Big smile.
But no photos of the new art yet so today I am going to do a reading review. I will admit I do this more as an assignment to organize a years worth of reading, but if you like to read about books (like I do), then here's a post for you.

 A Year in Review
Part 1

I did LOTS of reading and listening this past year. 100+ stories, art books, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, cookbooks, fantasy, mysteries, science...whatever caught my fancy and kept my attention.  So here we go, not all 100+, that would be a novel in itself, but here's my top fictional picks that I read of listened to in 2018.
It's good to reread a book sometimes. Or listen to a book that you read years ago. Good books of course. Being older than the last read, more mature, the books are so much better, most times. Or at least they are different.
Charles Dickens: Wow- this was a rediscovery. I took a Dickens course in college, but this time, listening to these on my commute back and forth to work, I think I just got into his writing. I couldn't stop listening to the version of Great Expectations, which was my favorite book by Dickens back in the day.  Have you read about Pip and Miss Havisham? 
And I also listened to A Tale of Two Cities which I hadn't listened to since high school. It's way better now than it was when I was a 17 year old. 
 This Barbara Kingsolver book was in my top 5 and is still there. The characters are from the American south and the narrator, since I listened to it this time around, had the perfect accent which made the African experience feel even more real.
 Add a  Jane Austen's Persuasion to the mix as well as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.
 And when I came home from Newfoundland I had to read the book that made me think about going there in first place.

 And I needed a little magic this fall so I reread this whole trilogy.  It was as exciting a time travel romp as the first round. Witches, vampires and demons are always fun to read. There's a new book out with characters from this series that I haven't yet read, but hopefully in 2019.

And I've got a few more rereads on my 2019 reading list. Top of my list is the Harry Potter series.

Some of my favorite type of reading.
I read 3 Tony Hillerman mysteries of these during 2018. I really enjoy these books. 
Tony Hillerman has since passed away but his daughter has picked up the series, and she is as good a writer. This was the book she published this past year.

And Auntie Poldi made me happy. A 60 year old retiree acting as a detective and an actual police detective in Sicily is lots of fun.
And I read a few of these cozies set in Oxford, England in a tea shop. I want to read a few more also. They are light reading with some potential romance too.
And one more to go in this Peter May mystery. I loved how this one went back and forth between the present and the past, and being set on a windswept Island off the coast of Scotland only added its allure.
And this final mystery book is one in a trilogy that goes back and forth between the ancient Anasazi people of the American Southwest and some modern archeologists in the same area. They were fascinating reads and it's too bad there aren't any more in this series.
And what happened to the son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI when they were killed in the French Revolution? This book started off slow but then it really picked up and was hard to put down.
And finally, a mystery with a bit of a science (or even sci-fi) twist set in the Museum of Natural History in New York.

I started this book in 2017 and then put it aside because it was too thick to carry on a trip with me. I finally got back to it in 2018. I know lots of folks say it was their favorite book, and although maybe not my favorite, I did really enjoy it, and must also say the story still sticks with me, even though I finished it back in February.
 And then a little light fantasy reading about dragons. I like the strong woman protagonist in this one.
 For some October spookiness, I will say I really liked this book. Vampires, a youthful Bram Stoker (who wrote Dracula) and the enchantment of Ireland made this book a great autumn read.
 I read a book about Wyatt Earp and the old west that Mary Doria Russell wrote a few years back, and this book sounded interesting.  This book is set at the turn of the 20th century, with a strong woman who goes to Egypt and meets famous people like Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill as well as becomes part of the political scene of the day.
 OK, Eleanor is my favorite book of the year. I read it in one sitting. This book just makes you feel good and remind you life is all about what you make it.
 And Red Winter is a teen book that I listened to when I got home from Japan but I really enjoyed. It was a good introduction to some of the Japanese gods and goddesses that this girl deals with in her journey to be a goddess, as well as an enjoyable story.  There's 2 more in this trilogy I hope to get to this year.
 And Lincoln in the Bardo had many interesting reviews. Some people didn't like it, and some did, but I really enjoyed it. The main characters are the ghosts in a graveyard,  set in the 1860's at the height of the American Civil War and right after President Abraham Lincoln's youngest son died. I also liked the style the author used, which was more like dialogue in a script than  the typical paragraph set up in a usual novel.

I think that's more than enough book talk for one day. I'll finish  up my book list in another post.
Thanks for visiting. And if you have any good recommendations for the new year, I'd love to know them.


Valerie-Jael said...

You've read lots of great books this year, and also re-read a lot of wonderful classics. I get through 5-6 books a week on average, it's good to be retired! But there are 7 Harry Potter books ( and 8 films) so it's more than a mere trilogy. Well done on cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Hmm, but if I threw away all the mismatched pieces, I wouldn't have much left! Continue enjoying your holiday time, have fun. Hugs, Valerie

kathyinozarks said...

good morning, I enjoyed your post fun to see what others enjoy reading. I read allot too-I started reading more when I got my voyage kindle about four years ago-I just wanted a quality reader with no computer stuff on it-I have really enjoyed it. Enjoy your time off Hugs Kathy

Divers and Sundry said...

I only record my reads on my blog, so I'm hoping nothing happens to blogger because I'll lose my records! Your recording method looks safer :) I agree that re-reading is important. I've never heard of the Harkness All Souls trilogy, but if it's worth it for you to re-read then it's worth it for me to look for it. Thx for the recommendation :) I love the Tony Hillerman series! I've re-read those, too, and they don't get old. The characters are friends by now :) I've never heard of Mario Giordano or this detective series, but it sounds right down my alley and I'll be looking for one to try. I'm glad I read some of Peter May's work. I'm sure I'll read more from him in the future. I enjoyed seeing this review of your year in books (part 1) and look forward to part 2 :) My list of books to look for gets longer lol

Kitchen re-doing is worth it, isn't it! I don't realize how many things I don't use until I actually go through everything. This is a good time of year for it, too, as we prepare for a new year. Happy Vacation!

CJ Kennedy said...

That is a lot of reading! I pretty much just read blogs this year :-D

Jeanie said...

Wow -- great books. I've been working on mine. After being in Oxford, I think I'd like to read the Oxford cozies. They sound light but fun!

kathyinozarks said...

Hi to answer your comment-that water bottle label-I was able to peel off the plastic bottle this piece is a plastic and laid smooth-was easy to embroidery it on to my wool page

Meggymay said...

I loved reading your book review Erika, it was a mixed selection you shared.
I also read many books and I am sure you will enjoy the Harry Potter series.
A couple of authors I have enjoyed reading this year have been... Giles Kristian {Historical a series about the Vikings]..... and Simon Scarrow [again an Historical series these were about the Roman Legions, soldiers etc.]
I never write down a list of books I have read, note to self to try to remember to do this.
Enjoy the rest of your break.
Yvonne xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I really enjoyed your book review. Some of these books I had never heard of, and others are on my to be read list. You manage to read a great deal and I think you must read a LOT faster than I, since I tend to read every word.

I'm like Valerie. If I got rid of all my mismatched pieces, I might be eating off paper plates.

SO glad you are enjoying your holiday. I know it will go fast, but I hope you get all your batteries recharged before having to return to school.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I enjoyed your reading list, Erika, and plan to see if any of these are available from our local library in Kindle format. I read a couoke of Agatha Christie mysteries and enjoyed them.

Birgit said...

I like your book of lists. Sorry for not being here...not only Christmas but a week before I got sick and today I am still fighting a fever. I have been sick the whole way through. Things I wanted to do, never got done..oh read a lot of great books and put me to shame although I watched a lot of movies. Since I watched A Christmas Carol...the famous Alastair Sim film and a 1935 version, I really want to read the book finally. I think I will do that this coming year.

craftytrog said...

You read some interesting books over the year Erika!
Happy 2019 reading!
Alison xox

pearshapedcrafting said...

I have bookmarked this page as I think I would like to read some of these! I was going to pass my Harry Potter books on but realised I just can't let them go without re-reading them - some of them I read out loud to my class at the time (lots of reward time for good behaviour) Looking forward to seeing what you will read next! Hugs, Chrisx

Cath Wilson said...

Some good books there... I love how eclectic your taste is. Can't beat a good mystery or historical novel but I do enjoy a good fantasy book now and again :-) I almost got one of those and may well do so now I've read your review... thanks for sharing.

Cath x