Thursday, January 31, 2013

What I've been reading: January 2013

Holy shnikes, it's already the end of January??  How the heck did that happen?  Luckily, I had some great books to keep me company along the way this last, very busy, month.

Astray, by Emma Donoghue.  Most readers discovered Donoghue with 2010's publication of Room, which was a total sleeper hit and well deserving of the hype.  However, I've been a fan since I read her debut novel, Slammerkin, back in 2001.  And yet, her latest, Astray, is a collection of short stories, which is not always my favorite format, so I was a little hesitant.  I should have known that Donoghue's style and nuance would be perfect in short stories.  Distinctive locations and characters drawn from historical documents make this collection strong and compulsively readable.  I highly recommend it.  275 pages

Lady Chatterly's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence.  Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, of Lawrence's work, this was something I'd never gotten around to reading until now.  In 1928, this tale of a woman trapped in a marriage to a wealthy aristocrat whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and, finding herself unfulfilled, begins a passionate affair with the estate's gamekeeper, was absolutely scandalous.  In today's age of Fifty Shades and Sylvia Day, we are not so easily shocked, and yet read within the context (imagine such a novel in the current season of Downton Abbey, for instance) it becomes somehow both sweeter and more tawdry.  An interesting counterpoint to modern erotica, for sure.  345 pages

The Last Runaway, by Tracy Chevalier.  You can read my full review here.  305 pages.

When in Doubt, Add Butter, by Beth Harbison.  This is a bit off of my normal reading list, but I'd been reading some rather heavy stuff, and this seemed appealingly light and fluffy.  I was not disappointed on that score.  Gemma Craig (no relation to the diet guru) is a private chef with a full professional life that suddenly begins to move from testy towards disaster.  At the same time, she meets a mysterious man she can't stop thinking about, and now her world has been turned upside down on all fronts.  Sweet, light, and a little predictable, but a great diversion.  338 pages

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton.  This is my book club's pick for February's meeting, and it's one I cannot wait to discuss with the rest of the group.  Spanning five generations, two continents and a family full of secrets, this story starts with a tiny girl abandoned in 1913 on a passage from England to Australia, and works its way both forward and back from there.  I don't want to give away any good parts, but will say that if you're a fan of family sagas chock-full of secrets and mystery, this is absolutely recommended.  549 pages

The Twelve, by Justin Cronin.  Second in the Passage trilogy after 2010's first installment, The Passage, The Twelve fills in a number of gaps for readers.  In alternating segments, survivors in the weeks and months after the government-induced viral apocalypse attempt to navigate their radically altered landscape and protect their loved ones, and a hundred years later, soldiers met in The Passage track the original twelve virals in hopes of eradicating the source of the disease.  I cannot wait for the third installment, due out in late 2013/early 2014.  568 pages

January totals:
6 titles
2,380 pages

Year-to-date totals:
6/75 titles = 8%
2,380/35,000 pages = 15%

Well on my way!  Anyone joining me in the reading challenge for 2013?  It's not too late!

No comments: