Joy! A good mail day as you can see. The only thing that is missing from my photo is the mailer that has a book in it, which I forgot to grab for my photo. They all sit unread and unopened at the moment (have only just cut the tops of the envelopes to pull out the contents), as I like to get all my chores out of the way first and then sit leisurely to read my postcards, letters and open my parcels at the end of the night. I sort of like the anticipation and having something to look forward to before bedtime (mail and then a few pages of a good book). I rarely get so many good things at once (has the mailman been holding back on me?)--five postcards (two are Postcrossing cards) and three letters. A few of you might recognize these missives and I thank you in advance and will be replying soon.
So, the perfect segue into my next topic of business before I get into my regular bookish mode. Just a few random items today, the first of which is once again mail-related. Have you seen these very cool commemorative stamps for the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? I don't really collect stamps per se, but I do greatly appreciate a letter that comes with colorful and unusual stamps. I am hoping one of my British friends will include one or two on a letter or card sometime in the future.
It seems the season of book prizes is upon us once again. Thanks to Marg for the heads up on The Stella Prize. This is a new prize for Australian women's writing, and they have just unveiled their inaugural longlist. Whatever you think about book prizes, I see them as a way to discover new authors and some potentially good books I might not have heard about otherwise. I definitely need to read more Australian Literature, so I am looking forward to exploring the list.
The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award (that's quite a mouthful) has announced their shortlist. I had thought I would read all the stories on the longlist, but I've not had a chance to track down the original publications where the stories were published. The stories are available digitally for Kindle users but not outside the UK sadly. It's akin to waving some little treat in front of my eyes and then saying sorry none for you. Not that I am at a loss for good stories to read.
The L.A. Times has announced the finalists for their 2012 Book Award. I've only read one of the books from their mystery/thriller list and have a few more on my reading pile.
I'm curious about the longlist for the former Orange Prize, now the Women's Prize for Fiction (the name's just not the same, is it?--sort of bland). I thought the list comes out in March, but I don't see a date for it yet.
A little closer to home I have my own list of reads that I hope to tackle in March. I'm very much looking forward to reading Elizabeth Bowen's The Heat of the Day for Caroline's Literature and War Readalong next month. Perhaps I'll also manage a few of Bowen's short stories, too, for Mel u's Irish Short Story Month. I have a thick collection of her work on my shelves which I think I'll go grab now.
While I am still working my way through Iain Pears' An Instance of the Fingerpost for Cornflower's most recent book club choice (which she notes is well worth persevering to the end, so I shall keep reading), but I have ordered her March selection as I'm in the market for a good nature book (is it too early for Spring fever?), Richard Mabey's Nature Cure (hmm, maybe that's what's in my mailer waiting to be opened).
The Slaves of Golconda are going to read Diana Athill's Stet: An Editor's Life in March. Of course anyone is welcome to join in. It's "a beautifully written, hardheaded, and generally insightful look back at the heyday of postwar London publishing by a woman who was at its center for nearly half a century". Sounds good, don't you think? I have a book of short stories by Athill I'd like to read sometime this year.
And I've got the last book for this round's Postal Reading Group, Lisa St. Aubin's The Palace. It sounds like a retelling of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, which is one of my all-time favorite books, so I'll be very curious to read it.
Of course there will be the usual Art of the Novella installments, and a new NYRB Classic (to add to the pile--I am quickly falling behind there). I made the mistake of looking through my most recent New York Review of Books and discovered that March's book will be Pitch Dark by Renata Adler. I sort of like the element of surprise, but now I know since I had to read the ad so will just look forward to getting the book.
As you can see I have my work cut out for me next month. Maybe I need to plan a few afternoons off from work for a little quiet reading time. Good thing March is a long month. Now I'm off to read my mail!