Since I've finished a few books, I have started (or will be starting soon) several new books. Sometimes I agonize over the choice, but I had very specific books in mind this time around. I've just started reading Mary Lee Settle's Choices. This is a book I have long had on my bookshelves and is very deserving to be read finally, but it was Susan who prompted me to pick it up now rather than let it continue to languish and look stylish peeking out from the shelf.
As you might have noticed I tend to be very influenced in reading choices by what other readers recommend or happen to be reading. This is good and bad--good as it's always nice to pick up a book based on the opinion of someone whose tastes are similar to mine, but bad as then it seems like it is the same book(s) that make the rounds in the book blogosphere. Susan was right when she wondered why an author like Settle who is an award winning author is not talked about at all with a career that has spanned decades. So, now I will mention her, too. I think I need to read more of these authors who sit quietly on my shelves that no one else seems to notice rather than always the same books that get talked up by so many other readers. Choices has always appealed to me and I am not sure why I have waited so long to read it--"it is the saga of one woman's journey through the maelstrom of the twentieth century." It begins in 1931 and follows the protagonist across continents and decades--a woman who might well simply have been content to be a debutante but chose instead to lead a life concerned with social justice and equality. I think this won't necessarily be a fast read (for me anyway), but I think it is going to be an enjoyable and worthy one.
Since I don't read a lot of nonfiction, I tend to spend a lot of time deciding what to read when I am ready to pick up a new book. I can blame Stefanie for making my choice so much easier this time around. She had been reading Jane Austen's Mansfield Park tempting me to read something by her as well. As I already have a classic started I didn't want to pick up another one (I have two unread Austen novels to look forward to still by the way), so why not read about Austen instead. I've had Claire Harman's Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World sitting next to my bed for most of the summer. I think it is not exactly a conventional straightforward biography, but also looks at her "lasting cultural impact". I've not read anything about Austen, so this seems like a good place to start and should quench my thirst for something Austen-esque to read.
The other new book I've added to my pile is Natasha Solomons's Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English. So, yes, this is one that has made the rounds already, but it sounds like a charming sort of read and I'm always up for that sort of story. It's about a German immigrant to England after WWII who wants desperately to assimilate into the culture--his crowning glory being to belong to a golf club. I suspect it's his name and former nationality that keeps him out of the established clubs, so he decides to build one himself!
I actually have a little system of reading where I will spend most of my reading time with just a few books and then rotate into the queue what I have on my nightstand as books are finished and new ones are introduced. So the books I've been taking with me to work (where I do most of my reading--not actually at work, mind you--but on breaks, lunch, my bus rides and the gym!) or reading at bedtime are Wilkie Collins's No Name (of course!), Cathi Unsworth's Bad Penny Blues (back to 1960s London), Andrew Taylor's An Air that Kills (my current mystery), and for the gym--James McGee's The Ratcatcher, which should prove to be a quick, easy and very entertaining read. Since there is a decidedly brisk feel in the air in the mornings these days, it seems only right that I have a mixture of mysteries, crime novels, thrillers and a little sensationalism going at the moment.
What are you reading these days? And do you also get tempted by what others are reading or stick with your own reading plans?