Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: It's a Wrap.

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It's the end of 2010, everyone.  Looking back, I'm reminded of Charles Dickens' opening paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way . . .

Dickens wrote these lines around 1859, but the sentiment still feels applicable to our world today. While we know that each year brings some bad with the good, let's nonetheless look ahead optimistically to 2011, to a new year in which the proportions are weighted more heavily to the good.

To 2011:  May this New Year bring you more wisdom, light, hope, good times and, of course, great books.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"The Cookbook Collector" by Allegra Goodman.

Not the worst book I've read in the past six months, but definitely in the bottom tier.  Why:  The lead characters' story became diluted by too much attention to peripheral actors.  Not enough density or richness in the narrative to hold my attention as the characters cope with love and loss.  Love and loss:  So, what's new?  A nice book, but no magic here.      

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

I was outside from about 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. watching the lunar eclipse. These photos don't do justice to the event, but perhaps they give you a bit of an idea of what could be seen.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Title Available in the Flavia de Luce Mystery Series.

Author Alan Bradley has a new book out in his series featuring Flavia de Luce.  The book is called A Red Herring Without Mustard.  Amazon's site states that the book will be available in February.  Meanwhile, if you haven't yet read the two previous books featuring Flavia, a funny and precocious 11-year old sleuth, check 'em out now.

Read these now:

Read this in February:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Picks its Best Fiction of 2010.

Check out Kirkus Reviews' selection of the top 25 fiction books of this year.  Where do we completely agree?  With the inclusion of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.  Where do we completely disagree?  Kirkus skipped The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which I thought was terrific, but included A Visit from the Goon Squad, which didn't hold my attention.

We all love it:

They love it.  I say 'meh':

I love it.  They ignored it:


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron has a new book available which reminds me to say, because I haven't yet done so, how much I enjoyed reading I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.  While reading the essays in Neck, I laughed out loud (how often does that happen?), marked numerous pages, and cried at the end.  Perfect!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

"One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd" by Jim Fergus.

I added One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd to my reading list after recently meeting the author, Jim Fergus.  The book has been out for a while; my edition says copyright 1998.  Have you read it?  If so, let me know your thoughts on this novel.