Memorable Reads in 2011

It has been a memorable 2011 both in reading and sharing, one of my aspirations this year having been to learn how to create a blog.

What joy it has brought, the creation, the writing, the reading, the sharing and the community of readers and wonderful like-minded souls who comment and share and have opened their worlds to me. I didn’t expect or foresee all the joy and wonderful interaction that would come from creating a virtual entry into my world of books and reading and that this would lead me to so many others.

So thank you to all those who follow this blog, my wish for 2012 is that the inspiration and motivation we provide each other will long continue.

To rank anything would be torturous, and even to list favourites is near impossible, so I will mention some memorable reads in no particular order and no doubt regret those I have left out later.

muze 62

1. Muze No.62    ҉   not a big consumer of magazines, in February I discovered this volume at Le Mans TGV station. The words CULTURE, ECRITURE, LECTURE jumped out at me, then Louise Bourgeois – Eugénie Grandet, Proust à l’écran, Flannery O’Connor, Argentine and Le Sacré excited me and the cover just melted my heart. It did not disappoint, I now have another favourite magazine (and a most enjoyable way to improve my French).

2. Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb    ҉   Recommended by mon amie B, this was my first foray into popular French fiction. A hilarious account, said to be based on the author’s experience of a year working in Japan, you end up thinking she’s either a saint or a masochist as she fails to integrate into the work environment.

3. The Children’s Book by A.S.Byatt   ҉   having not read her work for a long time, I was pulled into this Edwardian world of potters, ceramics, the Victoria & Albert museum and the varying sensitivities of children. A mesmerising and colourful journey.

4. Seven Days to Tell You by Ruby Soames   ҉   will remain with me always as a turning point, the first book I read prior to publication, fear and delight combining to produce this review.

5. The Diving Pool, The Housekeeper + The Professor by Yoko Ogawa   ҉   I will remember 2011 for discovering Yoko Ogawa’s short story collection in Oxfam, introducing me to her gripping and evocative style, followed by the poignant and memorable novella ‘The Housekeeper and Professor’.

6. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh   ҉   this classic collection of ‘coming of middle age’ essays published in 1955, stays with me because it arrived the day my daughter was admitted to hospital and was one of my choices of books to accompany me during those challenging two weeks.

7. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver   ҉   the ten year wait club, I recall awaiting Louis de Berniere’s ‘Bird without Wings’, one of my all-time favourite books and this year there was Jeffery Eugenide’s long awaited ‘The Marriage Plot’ and Kingsolver’s ‘The Lacuna’ which I loved and review here.

8. A Kind Man by Susan Hill   ҉   shortly after reading an author’s interview in Mslexia and a subsequent visit to Daunt Books in Marylebone, I couldn’t help but be tempted (and indulged, thank you G) by Susan Hill’s ‘A Kind Man’. I respected her attitude and perspective in the interview and instinctively savoured each page of this fable-like novella. I then read ‘The Beacon’ confirming Hill as a writer I know I will continue to read, happy there is a lengthy backlist.

9. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland    ҉    my first blog review and wonderful memories of two trilogies shared with my best book reading buddies C and M.

And finally, no memorable list could be complete without mentioning the companionship of:

10. Mslexia   ҉   the quarterly magazine for women who write and more often women who juggle at least one or more jobs, a family and numerous responsibilities but who find 2, 5, 10, or just any hours to dedicate to writing, they are all an inspiration to me and I love to read all those who succeed in becoming published through its pages. An inspiration, a writing prompt and always a great read.

Happy New Year Everyone!