Reading Round-Up

It’s been rather quiet here of late, but that’s only because I’ve been reading quite ravenously.  Here’s what’s been on the menu:

The Family Album, by Penelope Lively:  This was one of three novels I grabbed off the new releases shelf at the library last weekend.  Interestingly enough, they were all somewhat similar in that they were all very “reader-istic.”  (That word is a bastardization of “pianistic,” a term pianists use to describe music which seems perfectly suited to the instrument.  Perhaps all instrumentalists use similar terminology…violinistic, trumpetistic – sorry, I digress.)  But The Family Album, like all the novels of Lively’s which I’ve read, has a spare simplicity of tone and design that fits this reader to a “t.”  This novel about a large family living in the English countryside was indeed like looking through the pages of an album, each image rendered in loving detail and revealing a multitude of information about the characters.

Next up was Losing Charlotte, the debut novel by Heather Clay.  Another family saga (you all know how I love those) about a young woman who dies in childbirth and the way her family picks up the pieces.  The reader meets Charlotte in retrospect, and mostly through  memories of her husband, parents, and younger sister.  And while those circumstances would tend to guarantee our sympathy for her, in truth I really didn’t like her all that much.  Interesting twist on what could be a hackneyed story, and very well written.

I’m nearing the end of the third of my library finds,  Season of Water and Ice, by Donald Lystra, a fellow Michigander.  The book is set in northern Michigan, in 1957, and is a poignant coming of age tale of a young man living in the country with his father following the sudden departure of his mother.   The writing is simple yet elegant, the pacing perfectly measured like a walk through the woods on a crisp fall day.  Very nicely done.

Coming up ~ The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, Belong to Me, and a couple of review books which arrived in my mailbox yesterday, both of which I’m quite excited about.  The first is The Hungry Mirror, by Lisa de Nikolits.  This novel, from Inanna Poetry and Fiction Series out of York University in Toronto, is a “gripping tale of fractured self-esteem…a ride on the psychological and emotional roller coaster that is anorexia and bulimia.”  Also, The Great Lover, by Jill Dawson, a fictionalized account of the romance between Nell Golightly, a 16 year old housemaid, and the poet Rupert Brooke.  

So there’s what’s on my Bookstack these days. 

What’s on yours?


10 thoughts on “Reading Round-Up

  1. I’ve had Belong to Me on my shelves for two years now. I’ll be interested to hear what you think about it.

  2. I’ve got a stack of books and library books, and a list and the only thing I can name off the top of my hand is Runaway by Alice Munro, which I bought as a library discard, amazed that anything by Alice Munro could be discarded.

  3. After 38 pages, I set aside Half a Heart by Rosellen Brown to read Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout. I hope to finish that book this afternoon–it’s the perfect day for sitting outside and reading. I plan on going back to Half a Heart and also starting The Quiet American by Graham Green. I recently read two novels set in Vietnam (The Man from Saigon and The Lotus Eaters). The Quiet American is mentioned in one of those novels so I thought I’d check it out.

  4. I am perhaps reading “wrongly,” but I am trying to finish some books that have been around and even though I would like some escapism, I am making myself finish THE RED LEATHER DIARY and also QUEEN VICTORIA, DEMON HUNTER. Yup, not the run of the mill selection, that latter one, but the writing is surprisingly well written with a twist on, you know, history and demons. And I’m trying to get caught up on a backlog of magazines. Is there any point in that? Or, just toss ’em? I dunno. But for a treat, once the above are finished, I will embark on Stockett’s THE HELP. I know, I’m likely one of the last to jump on this hit, but I happen to have it in hardcover and look forward to that aesthetic.

    And I agree with all of you about the Munro book. Glad it was saved from the library sale and now honored appropriately.

    Happy reading!

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