I have quite a reading year ahead of me. I joined the 999 Challenge, which means attempting to read 9 books in 9 characters in 2009. I started already, reasoning that as long as I FINISH the book in 09 it counts. Besides, I've barely cracked 60 this year, so I need all the help I can get. By the way, that doesn't mean I read less. Between Middlemarch, Bleak House and a number of other mammoth-sized books, I've held my own. Joining the challenge, though, is more fun than work for me. It's a great way to keep organized, and to finally tackle all the TBRs piling up at home. I'm rubbing my hands with excitement! I can totally face a cold, bleak NY for the next few months - and it's a relatively cheap undertaking, since I don't have to further pay for these books. I'm stocked.
Without going nuts, here's a summary of a few books that have kept good company with me through this rather tumultuous part of 2008:
Devil's Brood, by Sharon Kay Penman
I waited years for this one. It's been some time since its predecessor Time and Chance came out - was I even blogging yet? I don't know. Anyway, it's the long saga of Henry II of England, his wife the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine, and all their sons. If Henry VIII had issues due to lack of sons, Henry II had his troubles resulting from a surfeit of strapping young men, all eager to take on their inheritance while resenting the control of their capable but clueless father. It's hard to side with anyone. Penman manages to make nearly everyone sympathetic, in a less sappy way than Jean Plaidy did in her many historical novels (though I still love her). DB went on forever, but I still felt reluctant to leave the early Plantagenets at that point. What happens next? Well, I know what happens, but I want to hear it, or read it, from Penman's mouth, or, well...pen.
John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman
Another massive, massive chunky book. Backache Backache! Also, another subject I'm well versed in but don't mind reading about once again. Thankfully it was well researched and neither gushy nor nasty. There's only two things I wasn't crazy about: the author seemed to enjoy stomping on George Harrison's legacy, claiming all his inspiration was derived from Lennon. Now I wasn't there, but even if it was, it's just not nice. Also, delving into John's Aunt Mimi's love life was a little uncalled for. TMI!!! I did NOT need to know that. I'm sure some people love that kind of in-depth analysis, so they can have it. I'd leave it.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I'd heard that if you liked 84 Charing Cross Road then I had to read this one. Yeah, sort of. This book, of course, is fictional and isn't just about books. Basically a writer develops a correspondence with a group of people on the Channel Islands, who experienced Nazi occupation during World War II. She becomes really intrigued by their story, and the nature of their forming a literary group, and the story goes from there. It was the book I read while in Florida, so I guess this counts as my beach read of the year.
I could go on, but I kinda feel like diving into the 2009 books.