Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Book List

Only six books read this first month of the New Year and five of them are pictured here:

My favorite was Paula McLain's Circling the Sun. What I wrote in the notebook I keep of all the books I've read: "Adored this beautifully written book about Beryl Markham's early life in Africa. I expected it to be more about her flying career, but it is almost entirely about her growing up wild - playing with native children, learning to ride and train horses. The descriptions of Kenya in the early 20th Century reminded me so much of Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa. If I could see Africa as it was then, I might want to go there, but not now." Rated this one 4.5.

An Irish Country Courtship is the 5th in Patrick Taylor's Irish Country series and was given to me last month by son Douglas. He and his wife Shelly have been reading and enjoying the series and thought I would like them, too. This book is set in Northern Ireland in 1964-65 in a small town near Ulster. An established, aging, physician has brought in a new young doctor to help in his general practice with the long plan being his eventual retirement if the young doc likes the area and the people of the area like him. I can see this being an endearing series and I may read more since our library does have most of them. I rated this one 3.0.

Laura Child's Tea Shop Mystery Series is one I have been reading from the beginning. Ming Tea Murder is the 16th. These are always good, quick reading little mysteries. I did think that the author had made our main character and tea shop owner, Theodosia Browning, a little more hip in this latest offering - especially in her use of language. As always there is a murder and Theo has to conduct her own investigating. Another 3.0.

I couldn't decide whether to give Twice In A Lifetime by Dorothy Garlock a 2.5 or 3.0. Maybe a new rating, 2.75? I always like her novels. I think mostly because she writes of small towns and farms usually in the Midwest and usually set during the time period I think of as 'the good ole days'. They are always sweet romances with the right amount of struggles and troubles before the couple can finally be together. This book is set in a small Missouri town in 1954.  A black Plymouth plays a major role. What could be any better than that? (Yes, I once had a black Plymouth - two if you count my brother's convertible which he often let me drive.)

Funny how time changes our perceptions about things and books are not exempt. As mentioned last month, I did re-read two books I'd first read about fifteen years ago: David Guterson's PEN/Faulkner Award winning Snow Falling On Cedars and East of the Mountains.
Before re-reading them I would have said East of the Mountains was my favorite of the two. Maybe because I had read it more recently and remembered it better. But after re-reading both, I have rated Snow Falling on Cedars 4.0 and East of the Mountains, which is about a man planning on suicide by gun, made to look like an accident, after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, a 3.5. I was remembering this novel, set in the fruit growing area of eastern Washington, as being more touchingly beautiful than I found it upon second reading. Still good, though.
And, conversely, I didn't remember Snow Falling on Cedars as nuanced regarding the love between a second generation Japanese woman and an American man as I found it upon re-reading. Still, two very enjoyable books by Guterson worth the second visit.

One of this month's reads has prompted me to re-visit two more books from the past next month. I wonder how they will fare with the way I remember them from the first time?

1 comment:

  1. "You can't step in the same river twice", and I believe you can't read the same book twice, either. Even if you flipped from the last page back to the first and re-read it immediately (and I occasionally run into a book that makes me want to do that!), YOU have changed in the meantime, and will bring different thoughts and experiences to the read. And isn't that just MAGIC? :-)