Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts on Books Read in 2013’

Inspired by this morning’s post over at Gudrun’s Tights discussing best reads of the year to date, I went ahead and picked out my own personal “Top 5”, but, sadly, could not get my reply to come through. (Apparently the comments have been acting up on the blog; I’m wondering if that’s why I can’t seem to get mine up.) So, since I already typed it all out, here is my list.

Picking a top 5 for the first half of 2013 was easy/hard. I did read some rather outstanding books. A few more than 5, actually, but here are the ones that really stood out.  I’ve only reviewed three of these; the others deserved more review time than I could spare at the time of reading, so they’ll be under more focus in future.

  •  All the Little Live Things (1967) by Wallace Stegner – Two couples at differing points in their lives become neighbours and friends in a rural California setting. The book examines love in various forms – romantic, platonic, parental – as well as the different ways individuals deal with emotional traumas and the brutal realities of too-early deaths. Sounds grim, but it is a hauntingly presented story which I found powerful, thought-provoking and ultimately comforting in its examination of ways of embracing grief and going forward. (Not reviewed yet.)
  • The Joyous Season (1964) by Patrick Dennis – another farcical period-piece (the period in question being 1960s, upper-class New York) by  Auntie Mame‘s author. Two children cope with their parents’ proposed divorce in a very “civilized” way. Mostly humorous, with a truly poignant ending.
  • The Sisters Brothers (2011) by Patrick DeWitt – I missed reading this when it was all the rage a year or two ago, but now I get what all the buzz was about. A rather twisted saga of two brothers employed as contract killers in the 1850s. Very dark, very clever, very funny. (Not reviewed yet. I might not review this one; it has been so popular that it seems a bit pointless to add my words to the many that are already out there. Can I just say that I loved this book, and leave it at that? 😉 )
  • Crewe Train (1926) by Rose Macaulay – a highly unusual, absolutely stoic English girl who has grown up in an isolated Spanish village is brought back to England by her upper-class relations after she is orphaned. The resulting cultural clashes are highly entertaining, and highlight the foibles of “accepted behaviour” in a rather cunning way.
  • Hostages to Fortune (1933) by Elizabeth Cambridge – a quiet domestic drama centered around a doctor’s wife, her marriage, and her motherhood. A keen-eyed examination of a common experience which has many parallels to family life today. The essentials never change.

To answer the other question, regarding weekend plans, oh yes – I do indeed have those! Let’s see…

Yesterday I (unexpectedly!) bought a piano in the big city several hours away; today will be devoted to getting it home. There’s also a huge family reunion going on this weekend just a few miles away; all of my husband’s relations will be convening, so I’ll be cooking for that, and attending, of course, PLUS my elderly mother who is at present incarcerated in the hospital after a bad fall last week (she’s on the mend) will need multiple visits; she’s in the small city an hour away. So driving, talking, cooking, eating – in that order – are my themes for the upcoming long weekend! (Not much reading time, I fear.)

Hope you are all having a good summer. And what have your outstanding reads been this year to date?

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