A mere four work days stands between me and twelve (hopefully) blissful vacation days. I love this time of year. Despite the bustle of the holiday season and the stress that can come along with it (all those lists that are made and tasks that are checked off as each is accomplished . . . I'm getting to the end of those tasks by the way), I look forward to it every year. I love that I'm fortunate enough to work somewhere that closes down between Christmas and New Years. It's nice having guilt-free time off--guilt free because no one at the university library will be working. We'll all be facing the same monumental pile of work when we return January 2, so no need to think about it until then.
My sister will be in town and my family will celebrate at least part of the holiday together. That will hopefully include a dinner or two out, some leisurely time spent in a coffee house or listening to holiday music and visiting museums but mostly just hanging out and in my case getting in as much uninterrupted reading time (and stitching time, too) as I can. So I've been making book lists, too.
Actually I'm going to try and keep my vacation time as stress free as I can and try not to worry about finishing everything (whatever gets done gets done, and if not, that's okay, too). I've been chipping away at my 'clean-up' reading pile and have finished four books, am nearly finished with a fifth and will easily finish a sixth by week's end. I've got four books I still want to write about, though at this point they may be half-hearted posts as I am getting lazier as the month drains away. I'm making plans I want to share for next year, but those will come a little later and of course I want to share my favorites, though I will save those for after Christmas when I have a bit more time to think about them.
At the moment, though, I've been spending lots of time with a few books and am making good progress towards getting caught up with my reading pile. I've started re-reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I am rationing out the chapters since it is a very short novel, a novella really. I'll be writing about it on the 21st and will follow up with the movie adaptation starring Patrick Stewart (has anyone watched it?), which I've not seen.
For something completely different I've been reading Peter Straub's Ghost Story. Yes, I'm still working on it (a holdover from October's RIP reading). It is a slightly longish book, but I must admit it is a little disturbing. I want to keep reading, but I also want to be finished with it, because it is disturbing. Disturbing might not be quite the right word. Creepy. It's a decidedly creepy book and the 'ghosts' in it freak me out a little. I want to know what's going to happen, but I think the resolution is going to be unnerving and probably unhappy. I'm going to try and finish this one before my break and Christmas.
And for a little relief from that I turn to Cashelmara by Susan Howatch, which I must say I am thoroughly enjoying. Easy and light reading. It's the sort of family drama that you get lost in and find when you look up from your lunch (it is my daily lunch break book) the time has flown by in an instant. I usually also have Agatha Christie's The Moving Finger with me, too, which somehow seems an unlikely Christie novel. It's really sort of playful, if that's the right way to describe a murder mystery. It has a first person narrator who lives with his rather bohemian sister, and typical of a Miss Marple mystery she has yet to make an entrance. I've been thinking I need to read a biography of Agatha Christie next year.
I've also been dipping into some of the other books on the list and will keep working my way through them, though I am saving Guard Your Daughters and a couple of others for my break. And speaking of reading during the my break (and beyond), I usually pick up a new book or two to read and carry over into the new year. I couldn't wait, so I've started reading C.S. Forester's Hornblower and the "Hotspur". You may or may not know I love Horatio Hornblower. At least as much as you can love a fictional character! I started reading the series of Hornblower books a few years ago, but I've not picked one up in a while. I had a yearning for a 'seafaring' sort of book, so the Forester was an easy choice. Maybe 2013 will be my year to work through the rest of the books (am only on #3), who knows. I don't intend to try and cram it into this year's reading, so am taking it at a leisurely pace. New Years/January seems, too, to be an espionage time of year for me, so I'm contemplating which spy novel to reach for. Maybe an Alan Furst or another Ian Fleming. Or maybe someone entirely different. Maybe a female spy!
So, four days of work to go. And four books to write about. It's going to be a busy week. First up tomorrow is Gert Ledig's The Stalin Front.