Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Always on the Lookout for New Books to Read

As someone who loves to read (check out my 2009 selected book list at the bottom of this page), I am always on the lookout for books to read.  I snoop on other people's books if I see someone carrying or reading one (as I did on Sunday at Starbucks...but really, she was reading the new PD James novel and I wanted to find out if it was any good!); my self-titled "Fab 4" group of friends exchange book likes and dislikes on a constant basis; I beg for books for Christmas and birthdays; and I am a regular contributor to the and McNally coffers.  I currently have two thigh-high stacks piled up beside my night table, housing books that have yet to reach the coveted 'next book' status on my night table.  I get excited just writing this post!

Anyway...deep breath Ruth...move along...

I just finished a couple of book series this month that I have really enjoyed and wanted to share them with you, in case you're looking for a good read.  The first three-part series was written by Montreal author Yves Beauchemin; these books are titled Charles The Bold; Years of Fire; and A Very Bold Leap.  When I first heard about these books I tuned them out because I assumed that they were about the historical figure of Charles the Bold; and, embarrassingly, I'm not really a history buff (sorry to those of you who are).  But, instead, the books detail the travails of a young boy growing up in Montreal; each book covers a period of his life, culminating in his mid twenties.  I won't tell you any more; however, I found them to be a very good read.  Apparently there is a fourth book out, but it has yet to be translated from French into English. I can hardly wait to read it.

The second three-book series that I finished this month, written by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, is called the Millenium Trilogy:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl Who Played with Fire; and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  Talk about an interesting set of books - they're as fascinating and as entertaining as the titles set them up to be!  I'm not entirely sure how even to describe them, but they feature a very unique and oddly captivating heroine who is immersed in a suspenseful, action-packed storyline.  Note however:  If you decide to pick these books up, know that there are some scenes that might be a bit difficult to read (they're a bit violent in parts)...but it's a terrific read nonetheless, for those who enjoy this kind of novel.  Interestingly, the author apparently handed all three of his manuscripts to his publisher at the same time, and then died shortly thereafter!  It's too bad - I would have liked to have read more of his work.

If any of you have read any interesting books of late, please pass along their titles and authors. I get a bit testy when my waiting stacks decline at all in number, so I love to hear about other folks' engaging reads.

Sitting on my night table and ready to be enjoyed next are...

...My Life in France, by Julia Child (I'm almost finished this one actually, and it's a marvelous read for anyone who is familiar with her - she's quite the character!)

...The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, by Kate Summerscale

...Strawberry Fields, by Maria Lewycka (author of a book I really enjoyed last year, called A Short History of the Tractor in Ukrainian - I know it sounds bad, but it was great and written with a lovely, dry sense of humour...about two sisters, their increasingly senile Ukrainian father, and his new-and-very-buxome Ukraine-imported wife)

And with that, I'm off for the day.  Happy Reading everyone!


  1. Ohhh, I even love reading about the love of books. You know, I spent last Saturday afternoon and into the evening completely lost in book re-organization throughout the house (new bookshelf to work with). It was a lovely way to spend the time (during which I would otherwise have been decorating Christmas trees, were it not for the late-year renovations my husband was working on). I need to start a recommended books list on my blog...

  2. Hi Ruth,

    I also love to read (although I don't think I get through as many books in a year as you do). I could spend hours in a book store. I love to buy books because I love to have copies of all the books I loved. I am going to purchase Charles the Bold (used on Amazon) but I'm going to get it in french and challenge my brain a little more. I haven't read a novel in French in a very long time. The set would be the perfect Christmas gift to buy for myself. : )

    I just finished reading Sara's Key which I really enjoyed (as sad as it was) and now I'm reading Night by Elie Wiesel (same theme as Sara's Key). The holocaust is not everyone's favorite subject because it is so tragic and awful but if you don't mind reading about it, these are two very good books.