Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Abbreviated reading list for 2007

As usual, I am running behind and am too late to take part in Sherry's blogger's reading lists. But I do have a short list of books I want to read this year. It's only a dozen books - one for each month of the year. That way, I have plenty of room to fit in other books that catch my eye as the year progresses: books I read about on other blogs, or have recommended to me by family and friends; books I see as I wander through bookstores; books from the library; books I find at book sales; books I see while browsing on-line.

Laura's Book List 2007

1. Martin Chuzzlewit - Charles Dickens. I love Dickens. I have read almost all of his fiction, but I've held in reserve for the past five years four of his novels that I've yet to read (Martin Chuzzlewit, The Pickwick Papers, Little Dorrit and The Mystery of Edwin Drood). This month I'm reading Martin Chuzzlewit and although I haven't met Sairey Gamp yet, I have been introduced to Mr. Pecksniff and his daughters, Charity and Mercy, Tom Pinch, Mark Tapley, the senior Martin Chuzzlewit, Mr. and Mrs. Spottletoe, Mary Graham, and Mrs. Lupin. Only five chapters into the book, and the story has me enthralled already - who wouldn't be? Just the promise implicit in those characters' names has me wanting to ditch all responsibilities and do nothing but read.

2. Odds Against - Dick Francis. My grandmother loved anything by Dick Francis and she had just about every book he wrote. When Grandmother died I asked for her collection of Dick Francis books, thinking that they must be pretty good because she read and re-read them. (Grandmother was a reader, too. Her tastes were truly eclectic: biographies, theology, classics, mysteries, science, mathematics, political science, current affairs, etc. Her house was stuffed with books - books in every room. Her family room was almost unnavigable because in addition to the books in all the bookcases, there were towering piles of books in every chair - except hers - and stacks of books covering almost every inch of floor space, save a narrow path from the kitchen to her chair and to the hall. She read a book a day for many years until the last few months of her life - she lived to be 97. Grandmother is the only person I know in real life who actually read every volume of the Great Books set, many of them more than once.) Last year I read two books by Dick Francis and enjoyed them, so this year I will at least read one, maybe more. They are decent mysteries.

3. A Woman Doctor's Civil War - Esther Hill Hawks. I cannot resisit diaries, journals, and letters, and this is the diary Mrs. Hawks kept as she lived and traveled about Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina during the war.

4. The World Is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman. I bought this book at the beginning of the school year because I needed something to read while eating lunch. Unfortunately, I quickly reverted to my usual habit of reading the paper while eating lunch, so this will become bedtime reading.

5. Never Done: A History of American Housework - Susan Strasser. Aaah, domestic life! I'd much rather read about scrubbing the linens in a zinc washtub and roasting a chicken in a wood-fired oven than actually doing it, although I do enjoy housework in my 21st century life. This non-fiction book is purely for pleasure-reading.

6. The Birth House - Ami McKay. I think I may have heard about this book through Sarah's blog. It sounded interesting, so I bought a copy. On the back of the book a blurb from the National Post reads: "Poignant, compassionate, bittersweet and nostalgic.... McKay examines the close rural communities in a time when women held families and society together through friendships, shared stories and comfort proffered over pots of tea at knitting circles.... Like Austen, McKay is interested in the personal: daily life, customs and social norms.... A sophisticated storyteller."

7. Witness - Whittaker Chambers. This book has been recommended to me enough times that I'm ready to take the plunge and read it already. It's also a nice, thick book. I'm thinking it'll be good for July, if I haven't started it before then.

8. A Faithful Heart: The Journals of Emmala Reed, 1865 and 1866 - Robert T. Oliver, ed. Emmala Reed was 25, unmarried, and living in a small town in South Carolina when she wrote this journal. I'm interested in this chronicle of her life at the end of the war and the beginning of Reconstruction. Apparently, she waited for her long-time suitor to return home after the war, but when he did come home he married someone else.

9. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier. I'm probably the only person not to have read this yet. I saw parts of the movie years ago and was so repulsed by it that I had no desire to read the book. However, last year I listened to Frazier's latest book, Thirteen Moons, on CD and liked it so much I decided I needed to give this book a try.

10. Clementine Churchill - Mary Soames. This book caught my eye as I was running through Books-A-Million a few days before Christmas. I bought it, brought it home and handed it to Steve with the whispered plea, "Will you give this to me for Christmas?" It's by the youngest of the Churchill children, Mary Soames. From the back cover of the book: "Clementine Churchill - shy, passionate, high-strung - shunned publicity but was in the limelight throughout her adult life. As a young woman, her character, intelligence, and good looks won the attention of the impetuous Winston Churchill. Their courtship was swift, but their marriage proved immensely strong, spanning many of the major events of the twentieth century. Written with affection and candor by the Churchills' daughter Mary Soames, this revised and updated biography of a lionhearted couple's life together is not only of historical interest but also deeply moving."

11. Victorious Christianity - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This is the third volume in Dr. Lloyd-Jones's series on the book of Acts. The first two were wonderful, and I'm sure this one will be wonderful also.

12. The Illustrated History of the Housewife - Una A. Robertson. Again, a look at domestic life. This one covers the housewife's role in the home from 1650 to 1950. I just read Good Wives by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and am now reading "Just a Housewife" by Glenna Matthews. This should help round out my studies on housekeeping in a pleasant way.

What's on your list?

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Blogger Sarah said...

Looks like a great list! I did read and enjoy The Birth House, and I'm another who's yet to read Cold Mountain. I really should, preferably before I see the movie (if I ever do).

I've never read Clementine Churchill, though I heard Mary Soames give a talk about her parents at a library event a few years ago, and she was a delightful speaker.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing! I love a good mystery so I'm going to grab a Dick Francis for sure. The housewife books you mention sound interesting... I wonder if they would actually inspire me to do some. LOL

3:12 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Thanks for sharing your list. I look forward to reading your reviews in the months ahead.

2:45 PM  

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