November and December have brought quite a few lovely books my way, both through self indulgence and thoughtful gifts. What have you treated yourself to lately? What are you currently reading?
These are the books that make up my November and December book haul…
Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann. I first heard about this book on the ABC RN Books and Arts radio show. The author sounded very interesting; someone you’d like to have a meal with! So I was intrigued by his book and ordered it soon after. I think this will be my next book to start. The blurb says that “the book is told from a multitude of perspectives and is a ground-breaking novella of true resonance. It is accompanied by three equally powerful stories and is a tribute to humanity’s search for meaning and grace.” The layout of the book particularly interested me, because I am currently contemplating the type of writing I want do, and just the week I heard this interview, I had been considering the notion of a book containing a novella and short stories, so I am interested to see how McCann has used this technique.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover. This may be a little different from my recent phase of dark and twisted books, but that could be a good thing! I have heard a lot of good reviews about this one, so I thought I would give it a go. The blurb says, “Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel.”
The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison. “From personal loss to phantom diseases, The Empathy Exams is a bold and brilliant collection. Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other?” I searched for a copy of this in a few book stores without luck, and ended up downloading it on audiobook. It is interesting so far!
George Orwell: Essays by George Orwell. “1984” is a great book, so I was attracted to Orwell’s collection of his major essays and selection of shorter pieces. “With great originality and wit, Orwell unfolds his views on subjects ranging from the moral enormity of Jonathan Swift’s strange genius and a revaluation of Charles Dickens, the nature of Socialism and more.”
One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book by Chronicle Books. This is a book that has a small section to write something about each day of the year, for five years. I love journals and memory keeping, but I am also quite good at starting these types of things and then letting them slip! But I thought that the start of the year would be a good time to start this, so I am giving it a go from January 1st, 2016!
712 More Things to Write About by San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. This book provides prompts and writing inspiration to get ideas flowing and to start the writing process. I want to give this a go and see where it takes me.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. This book was kindly given to me for Christmas from a friend who counts this as her favourite book of 2015. I love that kind of gift! I talked about it here, as I downloaded the audiobook in August. I do like the ability of swapping between reading and listening, so this is great to have both!
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. I have been loving Mitchell’s work this year, as you can see in my reviews here. My friend who gave me the above book also gave me this one, as she knew I had been enjoying his books. So thoughtful! “January 1982. Thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor – covert stammerer and reluctant poet – anticipates a stultifying year in his backwater English village. But he hasn’t reckoned with bullies, simmering family discord, the Falklands War, a threatened gypsy invasion and those mysterious entities known as girls. Charting thirteen months in the black hole between childhood and adolescence, this is a captivating novel, wry, painful and vibrant with the stuff of life.” Sounds great!
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I was given this by another friend for Christmas, as it was her favourite for 2015. It has been on my list to read for a while, and am happy to have a copy on my shelf! “For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hilter Youth. In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.”
What books have you bought, borrowed, or received this month? Have you any recommendations that I should add to my to-read list? Happy reading!