I have a feeling you are going to understand only too well when I say that even as I am reading some very good books at the moment, other books are not far from my mind. Old books, new books and even books that haven't been published yet. I always have a mental list of potential reads that is constantly being shuffled about.
These are on the top of my TBR pile at the moment just waiting to get incorporated into my current reads pile. I am still in a 'finish one first before starting something new' mode and am doing fairly (well, more or less fairly) well at sticking to it.
I cam across Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World a few weekends ago when I was doing some weeding in my book room. I pulled everything out of the closet (how can So Much stuff fit into one small closet?) and was able to finally pull out a couple of plastic bins containing mass market paperbacks. I retrieved this one--"a whimsical and ingenious mystery novel that also happens to be a history of philosophy". Sounds like fun, though it is another chunky book.
I already mentioned that I am ready to read another of Anthony Quinn's novels and Curtain Call sounds right up my alley. "From the glittering murk of Soho's underworld, to the grease paint and ghost-lights of theatreland, Curtain Call is a poignant and gripping story about love and death in a society dancing towards the abyss."
I have not talked much about my postal book club this round--mostly as I have done an awful job of reading the books that I get in the mail as part of my 'book club by mail' but as this is the last book of the round, I am going to try and read John McPhee's The Headmaster. I have always meant to read something by McPhee. "John McPhee portrays a remarkable man 'at the near end of a skein of magnanimous despots who . . . created enduring schools through their own absolute rule, and left them forever imprinted with their own personalities."
After I finish reading Henry James (am quickly nearing those last 100 pages!) and I have been leaning towards trying something by Ivan Turgenev. Of course anything goes between now and then, but Turgenev has been on my radar for several months now. "Turgenev was the most liberal-minded and humane of all the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists, and in Virgin Soil, his biggest and most ambitious work, he sought to balance his deep affection for his country and its people with his growing apprehensions about what their future held in store."
And local author Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park is our 'Omaha Reads' choice. "Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try."
It's been ages since I've shared any of my new acquisitions, but that doesn't mean there haven't been any. Here are a few of the most recent temptations.
I told you that Elizabeth Jane Howard's novels were being reissued with new cover designs, and they are indeed very pretty. I bought several but I might start with After Julius. "During a disastrous--and revelatory--weekend in Sussex, the influence of the deceased Julius slowly emerges . . ."
My newest NYRB subscription book (I actually read last month's book--hooray--and will be writing about it next week) is Leonard Gardner's Fat City (which I believe has just been made into a movie) is a book I had not ever heard of before ripping open my book package. "Fat City is a vivid novel of defiance and struggle, of the potent promise of the good life and the desperation and drink that waylay those whom it eludes." I am not sure it is a novel I would have picked up otherwise, but I am always happy to try a NYRB book--rarely do they disappoint.
Yay--William Boyd's newest, Sweet Caress, just arrived. "In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most refining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. Can't wait to start reading!
Pure impulse buy was Michael Knox Beran's Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Crimes Behind Our Romance with the Macabre. It might even make a good RIP book if I can squeeze it in. "The ghastly ambiance of a vanished epoch comes to life to reveal the horror beneath the seeming civility of the Romantic era."
Did I tell you I am taking a yoga class on Tuesday evenings? My instructor has talked a lot about neuroplasticity, which I find fascinating. I asked for a good reading suggestion and he told me to try Norman Doidge's The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. I have already been dipping into it and it is quite engrossing reading!
And how to choose just five books that are forthcoming? A few random titles:
The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein by Antoinette May. I have long had a fascination on both Mary Shelley and her famous novel and have read a bit about both in the past. How to pass up a fictionalized account? "The Determined Heart reveals the life of Mary Shelley in a story of love and obsession, betrayal and redemption."
Whistling Women by Kelly Romo. I seem to be always drawn to this era. "Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the lasting consequences of a single impulsive act."
The Past by Tessa Hadley. I AM going to read something by Tessa Hadley this year (or next . . . ) as I have loved all the stories I have read by her. Here is her newest which sounds quite inviting. "In her most accessible, commercial novel yet, the “supremely perceptive writer of formidable skill and intelligence (New York Times Book Review) turns her astute eye to a dramatic family reunion, where simmering tensions and secrets come to a head over three long, hot summer weeks."
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. I definitely need to read more nature literature. "Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book might have been a revelatory treatise on plant life. Lab Girl is that, but it is also so much more. Because in it, Jahren also shares with us her inspiring life story, in prose that takes your breath away."
The Yearbook by Carol Masciola. I don't read a lot of YA literature, but once again it is the setting that is the big draw for me for this one. ""A troubled girl in foster care...finds a high school yearbook and becomes fascinated with it, suddenly finding herself back in the 1920s at a school dance.... Masciola keeps pages turning by focusing on Lola's emotional rebellion while providing entertaining details about life in 1923. An entertaining, undemanding time-travel romance." --Kirkus Reviews"
As always there is a plethora of good books that are calling to me. Maybe the weather is finally turning and it is almost time to spend hours inside under a warm blanket with a book (or two) in hand to while the afternoon away.