Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reading the Signs . . .

A window of a small independent publisher's bookstore/office, somewhere in Paris' St. Germain area, if I remember correctly. I have a wealth of bookstore window photos -- can't seem to resist them. And those chairs are so wonderfully inviting . . . 

This continues to be a tough week, my cyber-mailbox filling constantly with e-mail from my siblings as they ease my mother into palliative care in her condo. I am not yet well enough to be helpful there on the weekend and not wanting to risk sharing the virus. But we've put our names down for the following weekend on the Shared Google Calendar by brother-in-law set up for Granny Care, and I try to phone Mom through the week -- she manages to sound surprisingly upbeat and very, very appreciative.

Meanwhile, although I stayed home Monday for one more day of healing sleep, I've been back at work since, and that's taking all my energy. Writing posts is rather beyond me at the moment, so I'm going to cheat today, if you'll excuse me. Instead of writing a proper post here, may I direct you to my 2012 Reading List which I posted on my reading blog yesterday (and yes, that explains the bookstore photos!). I should also mention that if you're interested in what people are reading, you should check out the marvelous conversation Duchesse got going the other day.

We could try to get one going here as well, couldn't we? Would you care to throw in a few titles you've enjoyed lately? Or comment on reading, books, and/or bookstores in general. . . . Tell me your favourite place to read. . . .

Anyway, there's my sneaky non-post for the day. Hope your day is a good one. . .

30 comments:

  1. I just finished The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon. It was gripping and I read it quickly. It's a translation that I bought at Village Books in Fairhaven.
    Does it seem to you that there are many, many more bookstores in France than in Canada? I looked at your reading list and will refer to it throughout
    the year.

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    1. From what I've read, there is more government support of bookstores in Paris, at least, and the culture seems more book-ish as well. Any Metro ride will reveal a solid number of readers, with a surprising variety of titles. Is that the same impression you have?

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  2. I hope you start having more energy soon! Take good care of yourself!

    I'm not impressed by the book I'm currently reading but I'm going to try to finish it since I'm 40% in at this point. Earlier in the month I read Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child which I found poignant and bittersweet even if it fell short of the blurb on the jacket promising me that it would be the literary equivalent of a love child between Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Willa Cather.

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    1. That's hilarious -- did the blurb actually promise that or are you paraphrasing . . . or extrapolating?!

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  3. What a great title for this post. I'm so sorry you continue to be sick - though it's not surprising given all of the stress you've been under. I like to tell people I don't read anymore. Except for 175 blogs a day and technical manuals on sewing and knitting. But you know what I mean. As an English Lit major, that's a horrifying statement. Mind you, there are only so many hours in the day. Having said this, there's a book (not fiction, in the design category) by Claire McCardell that was just reissued and which I bought yesterday. It's called "What Shall I Wear". I'm looking forward to this as I've been trying to find a copy of the book for ages and it's been out of print for years (till November 2012).

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    1. Interesting that you've moved away from fiction -- I do wonder if you'll wander back at some point, but in the meantime there's no question that you read many words in a day, and you write like someone who reads widely.
      You must have been excited to see McCardell's book back in print -- enjoy!

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  4. The title comes with actual punctuation I neglected to show in the comment above: "What Shall I Wear?"...

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  5. Do take care...
    stress can really wreak havoc on ones health.
    Rest as much as possible.

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    1. Yes, I suspect that my readiness to fall ill (again! I'm barely better from the December bout!) is stress-related. Sounds as if you're on the mend, out pruning the roses already. . .

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  6. I received enough suggestions from my post to keep me reading for several years, and wish I'd thought to ask sooner! Feel better!

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    1. Believe me, I'm going to be referring back to that post regularly through the year -- some great suggestions there.

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  7. Take good care - nothing should come ahead of your health.
    I had a look at your book list and found some that I've read and some that I might yet read - so thanks for the suggestions.
    When I travel I always look for bookstores and second hand stores.
    Of course second hand book stores are the best.

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    1. Curious to know which we've both read and I'll be happy to chat over impressions of those you end up possibly reading in future.
      I do like second-hand bookstores (my colleague and I discovered a fabulous one in Fredericton last year), but I love good independents that sell new as well -- a good bookseller can curate such a wonderful concatenation of titles and create a real reading buzz. . . .even just picturing Munro's right now makes me happy!

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  8. I hope your mom is comfortable and that you feel better soon.

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  9. Best book
    I've read in ages, Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall. First of a trilogy, the second Bring Up the Bodies, also excellent. Duchesse really good post about reading good/hard/demanding very apropos. Am planning to start going to the local library after spending too much money on books bought after glowing reviews that turned out to be not so wonderful.

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    1. I really enjoyed both those Mantel titles. While you're waiting for the third in the trilogy, you might enjoy her A Place of Greater Safety -- on the French Revolution. Really good!

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  10. Mater, I think of you and am sending you more warm hugs. I am glad your Mom is receiving the very best palliative care at home.

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  11. I enjoyed looking through your reading list. The recommendation of another reader carries more weight with me than a jacket blurb or review.
    I'd also like to send kindly thoughts for peace and strength to you and your family for the days yet to come...

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    1. Thanks, Ilona. It's a challenging time and those kindly thoughts make a difference.

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  12. While I'm not happy that you're still under the weather and under stress, it is a relief to hear that there's so much family support for your mom. One of the advantages of a large family, I suppose. My reading time is so limited these days. I've begun "Natasha's Dance," which is a cultural history of Russia. It's an area of the world I know almost nothing about, and so far is a fascinating read (but I do enjoy cultural history). I'll probably be plodding through that for weeks. I tend to read too quickly and impatiently, am trying to retrain myself to slow down with books that force me to do so.

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    1. It really is a relief, being part of a large family and knowing we can give my mom the support she needs.

      I enjoy cultural histories as well, and Natasha's Dance looks very promising. If you feel like following up after that with a very well-written, well-researched historical novel about the early court life of Catherine the Great, The Winter Palace.

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  13. With a baby and a seven year old always rampaging across my person, I only have time at present for extremely limpid prose. Words which can hold my underlying attention like a water drop balanced on a leaf blade whilst i negotiate the never-ending interruptions, and then return to the line I was reading. With this criteria in mind, i can heartily recommend 'The Examined life' by Stephen Grosz, and 'The Book of Chameleons' by Agalusa, trans. Hahn.

    The first especially might make quite a meditative read right now in view of your mother's fragile transitional dance. Grosz distills insights from his psychoanalytic casebook which he then arranges as an examination of the arc of life. Each individual is unique in what binds and shapes them, and the sheer variety of responses by which people adapt to Life is truly fascinating, yet their idiosyncratic challenges and choices resonate at their fundamental core with all of us (themes of love, loss, grief, hope).
    Hester

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    1. I remember those days when a book really had its work cut out, trying to keep my attention against all the interruptions of a busy household.
      I'm jotting both these titles down. It's a very long list I'm adding them to, but I can easily imagine the Grosz being insistent . . . Thank you!

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  14. I'm sorry to hear you are still under the weather - but I'm late to reading this post, so hopefully, you are feeling spunky once again. I looked over your reading list and will be referring to it again.

    Just now I'm on vacation in San Diego and am starting my third novel. I read The Postmistress (Sarah Blake, I think), and Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Susan Elia Macneal). Now I'm on to The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. These are all easy, escapist reads. When I get home I want to get Bringing Up the Bodies because I enjoyed Wolf Hall so much in the summer.

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    1. Have a great vacation -- I've never been to San Diego, but it sounds like a great place to visit.
      It's good to balance the more serious reading with some more escapist fare. Bringing UP the Bodies falls somewhere in between, and I'm sure you'll find it really engaging.

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  15. Before going to Spain you might enjoy reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It begins just after WW11 and is set in Barcelona which is almost an extra character in the book. The tragedy of the Spanish Civil War is an important element in the story which mixes history, fantasy, mystery and love story.

    A very different book which I've just finished is The House of Fiction by Susan Swingler. It's a biography of sorts. When she was four, Susans father left her and her mother for Elizabeth Jolley, who later became a well known Australian novelist. The sense of abandonment Susan felt was profound. Secrecy by both her father and Elizabeth and later actions by both compounded the sense of hurt and betrayal.
    I'm now ready for something lighter and have started a mystery book, Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear.
    Best wishes to you and your family at this difficult time.
    Lilibet

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Lilbet, and for the good wishes. I did read Shadow of the Wind a few years ago, but somehow it didn't grab me the way it did so many readers. . . Perhaps I should see if I still have a copy and check out the depiction of Barcelona again. . .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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