Were it not for my fellow bloggers, I would not be the least tempted to break out of the reading rut in which I’ve been happily ensconced. I’m stuck in England, usually, reading Penelope Lively, Jane Gardam, Elizabeth Taylor, Muriel Spark, and a new (to me) discovery, Angela Thirkell. Add to the list Nancy Mitford, P. G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh and we see a pattern emerging. Literary Anglophilia.
But many of you are avid readers and have either posted about favorite books or left me comments urging that I read this or that. I decided to make 2015 the year of stepping out of my literary comfort zone, ditching my snooty attitude about certain authors (hello, Stephen King) and giving the books you’ve suggested the old college try.
My 2015 Reading List:
In response to my turtle post, Thom from the excellent music blog, Immortal Jukebox, passionately recommended this book. I know when an excellent writer such as Thom urges a book upon me, it’s best to pay attention. Besides, it’s described as “prickly, yet heartwarming.” Sounds like some of my favorite people.
In my twenties, I read a lot of Mr. King but gave up after some perfectly dreadful books. “Tommyknockers” anyone? UGH. But in response to my “Dear Mrs. Kennedy” post, Phil at The Phil Factor recommended I give this a try. I’m fascinated with the idea of time travel and the ripple effect one alteration of the past – stopping the assassination, in this case – can have, so I am stepping off my literary high horse to give this one a go.
Speaking of Phil, (the blogger must likely to cause me spontaneous outbursts of cackling) it seems he’s a published author himself. I read three books in 2014 written by fellow bloggers and each was terrific. I know nothing of the premise of this book and don’t really care. If Phil wrote it, I’ll read it. Phil, I’m really stepping away from my world of middle-aged English writers now and adding your novel to my list. You’re not a middle-aged English writer, are you? Cleverly disguised?
Bad Debts by Peter Temple (first in a series)
I asked my great Aussie friend, Margaret Rose (author of “And Then Like My Dreams“) for a book which might expand my knowledge of Australia beyond “The Thorn Birds” and “A Town Like Alice.” Peter Temple is her choice of author who best captures the Land of Oz in modern lit.
P. G. Wodehouse got us talking about the great humor authors out there which led to another dear Australian friend, Heather at Master of Something Yet, recommending any and all books by Terry Pratchett. She says he’s intelligent. And funny. And makes obscure references and has inside jokes and…..well, let’s just say Heather’s convinced me to take a giant step out of my comfort zone and read fantasy. This for a person who has yet to read Harry Potter is a leap of faith.
Kate at Rough Seas in the Med reviewed this book in her lively and opinionated (we do require our reviewers to have firm opinions, do we not?) manner, and I added immediately to my list. She didn’t wax euphoric over it, but any book combining art history, Nazis, Paris, and a painting which speaks to its restorer cries out to come home with me. Look at that face, so perfectly haughty, isn’t he?
Recommended by reader Kate in Australia, this series combines Egyptology, sleuthing, World War I, and more. Kate loves Nancy Mitford and that’s enough for me to know our reading tastes are simpatico.
House of Prayer Number 2 by Mark Richard
Not a book I ever would have chosen on my own, but sometimes an excerpt is all it takes for a book to grab me violently by the collar crying “Read ME!” That’s exactly what happened when We Have An Old House gave a hint of the exceptional writing in store for readers of this book.
If Helen at The Venomous Bead urged me to read the phone book, I probably would. Thankfully she did not and pointed me instead to the great English garden writer Christopher Lloyd. Described as “opinionated, argumentative and gloriously eccentric, he changed the face of English gardening through his passions for meadow gardening, dazzling colours and thorough husbandry.” How could I possibly resist? And, ahem, we’re back in England!!
Well, those are the books recommended to me. Now here’s three for you. I mentioned earlier in this post that I read three books by fellow bloggers in 2014. In order of reading, they were:
- Six Weeks in Summer by Helen Meikle
- And Then Like My Dreams: A Memoir by Margaret Rose Stringer
- Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen.
As the long-suffering members of my book group will attest, I’m the one most likely to hurl a book against the wall, so it’s no small thing to say I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any one of the three to you. There are some remarkably talented writers hanging around the WordPress blogosphere and these three deserve far better than such a brief mention in this post. All three books are available via Amazon, by the way.
Heading to my book pile,