Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Books: January - July

I haven't posted an update on what I'm reading lately. I was just going to include the last two month's, but then I thought I may as well post what I've recorded and finished to date, since it's not that many. I get so excited about books, and I love seeing and hearing what others are reading too.

There were a lot of books that I started and didn't finish, that I hope to come back to at some point. I've only listed the books that I actually completed and remembered to record.

Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen - Mary Sharratt
-I rang in the New Year reading this book. I was captivated by this story based on the life of the mystic and saint, Hildegard Von Bingen. I had no idea going into this book how much it would take a hold on me and how invested I would become with the characters.

7/29/14 - I listen to the classical radio station everyday at work and when I hear a piece that really speaks to me, I write it down. I heard an angelic song coming through my speakers, and when I clicked to see who the composer was, it was Hildegard Von Bingen. It was the first time I've heard her music. Listening to her gave me goosebumps.

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
-There are numerous classics on my list. I can't believe it took me so long to read this one. I loved every minute of it. 

Read this! Hand picked favorites from America's indie bookstores - Hans Weyandt, Editor
-How could I resist this one!

Voltaire's Calligrapher - Pablo De Santis
-This was an interestingly strange sort of mystery.

Thousand Cranes - Yasunari Kawabata
-This was a beautifully told story centering around a tea ceremony and the subtleties of human nature. Beautiful and sad. It made my heart ache.

Kokoro - Natsume Soseki
-I can imagine how this story about a young man who befriends an older man that he calls Sensei may not be for everyone. The story made me contemplate how it must have felt being Sensei and all that he had to keep secret from his wife and how he couldn't live a full and true life. When I came to the last page, the last words, I felt a deep sadness.

The City of your Final Destination - Peter Cameron
-I think I came across this book from one of the books on books. I was pleasantly surprised. It's a book about love, through and through.

Yes, Chef: A Memoir - Marcus Samuelsson
-I like watching Chef Samuelsson on the food show, Chopped. This book was featured on my book a day calendar–I couldn't resist. It gave me a peek into his life and what it's like trying to make it as a chef. This was a treat to read and gave me a more rounded perspective of just who Chef Samuelsson is and where he came from.

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
-What a wonderful piece of literature. I actually started this in the spring of 2013 and finished it this year. I sped through the first half and for some reason set it aside until March of this year. This is a book that I will reread in the future.

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
-I missed Dahl in my childhood, so I have some catching up to do. Delightful, of course!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty
-I was whisked into the story of Louise Brooks and her chaperone, Cora. The story and characters came alive for me, and there was a surprise that caught me off guard; it  made the story that much more interesting. 

Philosophy Made Simple: a Novel - Robert Hellenga
-I mostly enjoyed this novel, but had mixed feelings. I had favorite parts.

The Cats Table - Michael Ondaatje
-A story about a group of boys that form a friendship on a ship bound for England. I felt as though I was along during this adventurous ride across the ocean. Beautiful writing. 

Supermarket - Satoshi Azuchi
-I remember being in the library searching through the A's to see if any titles caught my attention. This was one of them. Who knew that I would be so enthralled by a work of fiction about the workings of a Japanese supermarket, but I was. The characters drew me in, as well as the internal struggles, and the relationships.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan
-What a fun adventure this was!

Terms and Conditions - Robert Glancy
-This is a witty novel with plenty of black humor. It fit my mood when I found it. I finished it in one sitting and found myself laughing a lot and thinking how clever this book was. I loved it!

The Apartment - Greg Baxter
-There isn't much that goes on: A nameless man and a woman he met search for an apartment. I was drawn into the language and the bits of insight throughout. As I neared the end, I felt the story sneaking up on me. I appreciated the subtlety of this short novel.

Dying Words - K. Patrick Conner
-I don't remember where I first learned of this book, but it's been in my Kindle as a sample for a while now. Graydon Hubbell, somewhat of a curmudgeon, is an obituary writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. He finds out that he has cancer, but wants to work for as long as he can. A touching novel with a good amount of humor to balance it out.   

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Muralami
-I wasn't sure if I was going to like Kafka on the Shore, so it was a great surprise and absolute treat when the story hooked me. I thoroughly enjoyed the parallel stories and how they came together. This was a magical book that had a little bit of everything.

The Writer's Afterlife: A Novel - Richard Vetere
-An entertaining story that writers will especially appreciate.

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