Tuesday, January 15, 2019

November and December 2018 Reads

A roundup of books I read over the last month. You can see past lists here:

October 2018 Reads
September 2018 Reads
August 2018 Reads
July 2018 Reads
January 2018 Reads

Not only has working put a major dent in my reading, it's put a dent in my blogging about reading, too. So here you have two months' worth of reads, and two very small stacks they are.

My November list, just three books tall and all fiction:

In November I felt compelled to return to my obsessive MPM (that's Mertz/Peters/Michaels) reading binge, which had cooled off a bit over the previous couple of months, but with a few books remaining unread from my summer used-bookstore hauntings. So I read Stitches in Time, which is about a haunted quilt (yes, I know it sounds cheesy. Okay, maybe it is cheesy, but fun no less). I enjoyed that two main characters from Michaels's first book, Ammie Come Home, make a reappearance in it. 

I also read a collection of short stories by Margaret Atwood, Wilderness Tips, which I picked up at the library book sale over the summer, and which I enjoyed very much. I haven't read a lot of short stories since grad school, when I read a ton and, frankly, got sick of them, but I liked these and think I'll reintroduce the short story to my reading diet. They make sense with limited reading time.

And, finally, E, Z, and I finished the penultimate book in the Amelia Peabody series, and we're still going strong. This one had kind of a wacky plot premise (then again, a lot of them do), but it was a fun read nonetheless.

December was another month of three books, three slender books. In fact, the month was so cucoo-crazy that I'm amazed there was even one book (I didn't even do my annual read of David Sedaris's "Santaland Diaries"!!):

Nonfiction: I needed a short book to read during little snippets of time that presented themselves here and there during the month, so I pulled off my shelf a book I've owned for a long time but never got around to reading for some reason: Woman Who Speaks Tree by Maine author Linda Tatlebaum. I've read a few of her other books and I enjoy her straightforward tone. This book is a collection of essays, into each of which trees play some role—her and her husband's arrival in Maine as back-to-the-land hippies and their sometimes misguided efforts to establish a homestead among the trees; her failed attempt to save a beautiful old tree on the college campus where she teaches; the cutting of trees on the property that borders her own; the ancient apple tree that served as spiritual guide as she raised her son. All good stories, full of heart and humor.

Fiction: I picked up Snapper by Brian Kimberling at the library book sale, I will not lie, 100% because of the cover. The novel is a first-person tale of a bird researcher in Indiana and his experiences. It's an odd novel, in that it reads like a loosely connected series of vignettes, and I still wasn't sure when I got to the end what exactly the plot was, but it was still entertaining. 

During my extended holiday weekend, I found myself with a little spare time and in the mood for something Christmassy, so I delved into A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd, which is a book into which the short stories that make up much of the material that iconic movie have been collected. Though the book is billed as fiction (and the kid in the book is named Ralpie, not Jean), the stories read an awful lot like personal essays, and I wonder how much truth winds among the fiction. If you love the movie, or if you like humorous stories about life in the Midwest during the depression (I mean, who doesn't?), it's worth a read. 

Both of these books take place in Indiana—one Southern, one Northern; one rural and the other suburban, covering, I figure, the whole of the state—and it was odd to have read two books about Indiana in a single month when I don't think I've ever read a single book that took place in that state before. It makes me think I should organize my reading geographically from now on.

1 comment:

  1. My family's favorite Christmas book is "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." It is laugh-out-loud funny and we never tire of rereading it every year. Familiar with it?


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