An English teacher, I read less now that I did before I taught. Still, Good Reads has helped me become diligent with keeping track of books I want to read and recording the books I have. (BTW, if you are on Good Reads, friend me and we can exchange reads!) With great delight, I realized I've read 22 books this past year (excluding school books I teach, papers I read for school, and books I reread a lot, like Agatha Christie and Laura Ingalls Wilder).
The last book I read was terrific: The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich. I had gotten it at my book club Christmas party last year, where we exchange books and select the texts we'll read the next year. This book had a structure that took me a while to follow, but once I got to the end, I realized how fully wonderful the book was.
The last time I felt that way was reading Green Grass Running Water by Thomas King. In that book there were some odd details, but at the end, when it came together, I laughed out loud. Amazing.
The ending of Erdrich's book was brilliant--satisfying without being cute. Few authors, IMO, end books well. Steinbeck was great, and I love the endings of Ernest Gaines' books, and I thought this Erdrich book was up there as well in perfect endings. Added to her lovely writing, and it all just sang. I may go back and reread the middle section--I think I missed some foreshadowing.
Some of her sentences just jumped out at me--here's one that made it into my commonplace book, for obvious reasons, I think:
"Perhaps, I think as I settle the pot in the deep sink and run the water...my purpose in life is to pay attention and to remember."
So what were the other books I read? Here were some of my favorites (pardon the lack of links--you can copy and paste to find out more about them):
- The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
- Tragic Magic by Laura Childs (OK, a little intellectual slumming, but fun)
- My Life in France by Julia Child
- The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
- In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (OK, I love his books. They're fun.)
- The Trouble With Poetry by Billy Collins
- Fever Dream by Douglas Preston (more fun slumming)
- Impact by Douglas Preston (set in my home state of Maine!)
- The Bullhead Queen by Sue Leaf
- Sweet Land by Will Weaver (You MUST read this book.)
- Moloka'i by Alan Brennert