Saturday, December 04, 2010

Books of the Month Club December 2010

It's been a long few months of very little reading, not enough writing, and too much work.

And with a move pending, things won't change for a while. But the to-read pile beside my bed (the only place I read these days) is slowly diminishing, and here are a few of what I've been dipping into lately.

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
I admit to being baffled by this one. I loved The Hours, but this story of a couple adapting to the arrival of a trouble younger brother left me cold, albeit quite fascinated by the glimpse into the New York art world.

Plain Kate by Eric Bow
I was entranced by this adroit mixture of folklore, fantasy, history... and the cat Taggles who leapt off the page as nimbly as any cat I've every run across in fiction. Definitely a keeper.

Father of the Rain by Lily King
A novel about a a girl's (and later woman's) troubled relationship with her alcoholic father. Beautifully written. Heartbreaking and amusing in turns.

The Music Room by William Fiennes
A very moving account of the author's brother's lifelong struggle with epilspsy and the subsequent brain damage that affect his personality and behaviour, but not the attachment between the troubled boy and man and his loving family. Moving and understated. And transluscent language.

Stephen Fair by Tim Wynne Jones
I've loved all other TWJ's books I've read. Despite three efforts I could not get into this one, so set it aside. I'd hate anyone to think they ever had to get to the end of one of my books, and I suspect TWJ feels the same. But I will continue to watch for more from this fine writer.

The Other Family by Joanna Trollope
When I grow up I want to write 'family' novels that are a cross between those by Trollope and Anna Quinlen. This is Joanna Trollope's latest, and I'm ready to reread her earlier ones.

The Seas by Samantha Hunt
In the mood for mermaids as the release date of virtual writing buddy Helene Boudreau's new tween novel REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS approached, I picked this book up at random, purely from the blurb on the cover. Stunning is all I can say. Mesmerising writing. I've ordered a copy for myself. (I rarely buy books until I know I will want to read them again), but Helene's book will soon join it on my bookshelf.

Death Benefits by Sarah N. Harvey
I love Sarah's work, and not just because she was the editor on my first three books from Orca Book Publishers. In this YA novel, Royce ends up as part-time caregiver to his cantankerous grandfather, a retired cellist, and in the process learns a lot about aging, himself, and the connections between generations. Pitch perfect.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Atkinson's writing is layered and fluid, her plots intriguing and her characters compelling. Especially MC retired detective Jackson Brodie.

STILL TO READ on my bedside pile
The Choir and A Village Affair, both by Joanna Trolloppe
Room by Emma Donahugh
Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
Soloman's Oak by Jo-Anne Mapson
Planet of Slums by Mike Davis (Research for my WIP The Paper House)
When Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson