Just a few random things today--starting with a few new books that are end of the year purchases. Peter May's The Lewis Man has arrived in time for my upcoming break. I loved The Blackhouse and wasted no time in ordering the second book in his projected trilogy of stories set on the Isle of Lewis. I can't wait to crack this one open and from the blurbs inside the book this one sounds every bit as good as his first book.
I really need to get back to Charles Todd's Bess Crawford series of mysteries. I read the first, A Duty to the Dead a few years ago, and already the fourth book was just published this year! My how time flies and how far behind I have gotten in some of my favorite mystery series (maybe next year will be a catch up year? Though I follow a number of different mystery authors . . . ). The Walnut Tree is actually only peripherally related to the Bess Crawford series. It is a novella, subtitled "A Holiday Tale". It focuses on a different character and Bess only makes an appearance from what I understand. I wonder if I can squeeze it into my break? I've now got several novellas sitting on top of my reading pile.
In anticipation of next year's Literature and War Readalong I've already bought the first two books on the list. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers was just published this past year and is about the war in Iraq. I don't always like reading books war books with a contemporary setting as it's all a little too fresh in mind. Books dealing with difficult or tragic subjects are easier to take when the action is long past, but I've heard good things about this and am eager to give it a try. Geling Yan's The Flowers of War is about the invasion of Nanking, China by the Japanese in 1937. Another difficult subject but a book I am looking forward to reading as well.
When I read Rose Macaulay's Crewe Train last month I was reminded how much I like her work and that I really need to read more of it. Non-Combatants and Others was an impulse buy. It was so nicely discounted that I couldn't pass it up. It is a "pacifist novel of the First World War". I think I will pretty much read anything by her, so I'm happy to add this to my bookshelves to read a bit later.
And M.J. McGrath's White Heat is the first in the Edie Kiglatuk mysteries. It's set on Canada's Ellesmere Island in the Arctic and Edie is half Inuit (and "half outsider"). Reading Gabrielle Roy's Windflower is what actually put me in mind to read more about this part of the world.
I've decided that I am going to follow in Simon at Stuck in a Book's footsteps and try my hand at a Century of books next year. It's not really a project I am going to work hard at doing, at least initially. I'll just fill in the blanks as I read--trying to read books published in each year between 1900 and 1999. I won't be able to accomplish this in a year, but it is something I can chip away at. Just idly looking at this year's list of books I've read I could fill in at least 36 slots without even giving it a thought. So look for a new tab at the top of the page very soon.
And now a question. I'm such a mood reader and sometimes it's a particular time and place I want to read about. At the moment (well, along with my current reads that is) I am looking for a book set in New York City in the 1920s. Mystery, novel? I'm open to just about anything. I might be tempted by nonfiction (and I do have a couple of books on hand that might work), but fiction is what I think I really want at the moment. I'm scanning my own shelves but nothing quite works. Any suggestions would be appreciated.