You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.
So, I got into a really deep conversation with my friend Silvery Dude before Christmas about how I might mark my turning 50. This has turned into two distinct projects: Films to Watch Before I’m 51 over on Bride of the Screen God, and now the The Big Re-Read, which is about re-visiting books that have been important to me for whatever reason over the years.
It won’t come as any great surprise that it took a great deal of consideration before I settled on my final what was supposed to be 12 books (one a month until 31 January 2013) and which is now what I’m calling a Baker’s Dozen plus Two. And I’m also starting a month later than intended which also tells you how much pondering I have done, adding books right up until yesterday. Some quite important titles haven’t made the cut for various reasons which I will explain when I get there.
I will write about these books once I’ve re-read them but they won’t be reviews as such, more an explanation of why they are important to me and a little bit of metadata (when I first read it, how many times since and so on). This is meant to be a fun thing, looking back over a reading life, which sounds a bit serious but really, really isn’t intended to be so.
Finally the list (in abasolutely no order whatsoever):
- Nemesis by Agatha Christie
- Katherine by Anya Seton
- The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
- Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
- Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
- Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
- The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
- Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
- Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec
- Gilles et Jeanne by Michel Tournier
- The Telling of Lies by Timothy Findley
- Goodbye Without Leaving by Laurie Colwin
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
- Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly
The honourable non-inclusions are:
- Lord of the Rings – well , I’ve read this so many times and it had a huge impact on me but it is so magnificent that it really needs to stand on its own; and a re-read will happen at sometime I’m sure
- The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – her masterpiece but already dealt with here
- Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin – covered here
- Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley – a marvelous thriller/crime novel which I talked about here
- Espedair Street by Iain Banks – Scottish rock novel extraordinaire
A momentous week! I have finished not one but two books and am feeling very pleased with myself indeed. The Hunger Games is done, as is On Monsters, which the Book God bought me for Christmas and which I have been reading steadily since then. Reviews on both to follow shortly (I hope).
No new books made it into the Bride’s home this week, but I still haven’t spent my birthday book token so that situation will change I’m sure.
I have a lot of books (almost too embarrassed to say how many there are in our joint library) which means that I sometimes forget exactly what I have. This leads to an occasional duplicate purchase, but can also result in a very nice surprise. That happened today when I was discussing this article with the Book God and half way through our chat realised that I had one of the books mentioned (At Day’s Close) – now started as my non-fiction read.
But this weekend is all about the Oscars. I have the day off work tomorrow so I can stay up all night and watch the ceremony. I have seen hardly any of the nominated films this year but nevertheless will be cheering on some of my favourite actors (Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Gary Oldman) and enjoying the clothes!
I have about half a dozen books on the go at the moment and really do want to have a go at finishing a couple before the end of February to break my duck for 2012.
In addition to my birthday presents, which I talked about here, other books have made their way into the Bride’s abode:
- A Card from Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp – a miniature study of the sadly missed author, who left us before her time
- The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish – “is not for younger readers” – I considered myself warned
- Pure by Andrew Miller – winner of the 2011 Costa Novel Award
- Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – just in case I ever finish The Hunger Games
- Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding – and Arcturus Crime Classic – an imprint showcasing “unjustly neglected works by great writers” from the 1930s to the 1970s
- The Twenty-Third Man by Gladys Mitchell – I love Mrs Bradley with a passion
- Mr Briggs’ Hat by Kate Colquhoun – “a sensational account of Britain’s first railway murder”
- The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore – “in the dark she slid back the curtain again and there he was” – ooh, more ghosts
- Pathfinders by Jim Al-Khalili – the golden age of Arabic science
Just need to finish something!
I have been very quiet on the blogging front, mostly because January was spent planning and preparing for my 50th birthday party which was held on 4 February and was really lovely and fabulous. I was a very lucky woman, being given some gorgeous presents, though not many were books – I can understand why, though; given the size of my library it would be a brave person who would buy me a book on spec.
But the Book God was given a list and very generously bought me the following:
- Schulz and Peanuts: a biography by David Michaelis
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
- A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley
- Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
And lovely friends gave me:
- The Laughing Policeman by Sjowall & Wahloo
- Cocktails with Bompas and Parr
- Taschen’s 100 All-Time Favourite Movies
- Unpacking my Library: writers and their books
And as if that wasn’t enough, I also got a book token all of my very own to spend. Very exciting and I am so, so grateful to everyone.