I finally made it back online yesterday after being stuck offline for 3 weeks. Since I am unemployed (or really lousy at being self-employed), my mom has kindly supplied me with Internet since I moved home, but it is not a priority for her, since she is still computer-phobic. So, when money was getting somewhat tight she decided garden gnomes and donuts were more important than paying the Internet bill. We all know what eventually happens when one doesn’t pay the Internet bill. So, starting December 26th, I was without Internet, and with no phone either I spent the entire time from Boxing Day through January 14th reading books and crocheting blankets with just my trusty cat for company. It was a maddening way to spend the first few weeks of the year, but at least I got a lot of reading done.
In fact, I am almost done reading the first shelf of my local library branch, with just 3 books to go (based on what was on that shelf today- they shift a bit as books circulate). So, for my Read Your Library project I have started checking out books onthe 3rd shelf as well as the first 2, and since there are 4 shelves to a column at our library, I can start guestimating how long it will be till I reach the next column of library books. I may in fact be on to the next letter of the alphabet, adult fiction by authors whose names start with B, by March or April. Granted, if I only read library books, they’ll go that much quicker, but since when was life that simple for any serious reader?
Anyway, as of yesterday I had finished 22 books for 2015, and for 2014 I finished a grand total of 218 books. The last book I finished in 2014 was Anya von Bremzen’s lovely memoir, The Art of Soviet Cooking . It is written by a successful cookbook writer who left the USSR with her mother as a child. She and her mother set out to recreate the foods of pre-revolutionary Russia and the various eras of the Soviet Union. This memoir talks about food and cultural history, the intersection between food and world events that makes foods capable of evoking such powerful memories. At the end of the book there are also recipes, some of which look very tasty.
So far in 2015 my favorite books have been
– Words of Radiance , by Brandon Sanderson, a grand 1080 page second novel in Sanderson’s ongoing fantasy series, The Stormlight Archive.
– The Sorrow of Angels , by Jon Kalman Stefansson, a poetic, gloomy, but beautiful story of a relatively newly orphaned boy and an intrepid but conflicted postman who set out together to deliver the mail along a particularly difficult stretch of the Icelandic coastline during the tail end of winter. I was reminded of the stereotype about Scandinavian filmmaking that Anthony Bourdain drew on for some of his travel show episodes, but the way Stefansson writes makes this stark, glum aesthetic work. It seems that the English translation (from the original Icelandic) has been available for a short while, I’m guessing in Europe, but it has an American edition coming out this spring, and I read an ARC of this new edition.
– The Vineyard , by Michael Hurley, which reminds me a bit of Stranger in a Strange Land , by Heinlein. In The Vineyard , a woman is saved from her carefully planned suicide, her friend is perhaps saved from a bout with breast cancer, and the man who saved them both is painted as a miracle worker, perhaps a sort of saint or even the Messiah, but he is also painted as a criminal vagrant and dangerous sexual predator.
I am now reading several books by Rudolfo Anaya, and next on my stack are a few Stephen King books (Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, and a few others), a couple books by Susan Wittig Albert (lovely light mysteries), and a bunch of Clive Cussler novels. What are you reading?