Friday, December 4, 2009

Winter Reading

Our days of lounging in the backyard with our books, blades of grass tickling our bare toes, are sadly over.

Which brings us to days snuggled on the couch with a cup of something warm, our reading material splayed across our drawn knees. Not that any of us find time to actually do that, but it sure sounds nice.

At any rate, here’s what’s on our nightstands/strewn across the living room/piled under junk on the kitchen counter:

Nate (age 10): Finally finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Every night he’d stall, see, during the heart-wrenching Dumbledore potion-drinking section.

Calvin (age 8): A series called Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. He’s on Book 1, The Capture. I guess it’s about a kingdom of owls. Cal likes books where animals narrate. His last series was filled with fighting cats.

Toby (age 4): Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. Unfortunately, at the time of this posting, I cannot find the darn book (which he’s been reading every night for a week) anywhere. You’d think it’s simply fallen between the wall and the bed, but you’d be wrong. His second favorite: My Lucky Day, by Keiko Kassa.

Charlie: Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly. He’s also working his way through Alan Furst.

Me: Because I’m not fit to shop for books in public, I’m sticking to e-books and my own bookshelf these days, revisiting some old favorites. Top on my list? Pulitzer Prize winning Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner.

From past experience, I know this is one of those books that you either 1. Loved, 2. Hated, or 3. Have never heard of. (Mostly #3) For me, it was one of those rarities that simply knock you flat and leave you breathless. The prose rips the landscape of the far west wide open and leaves it exposed while still managing to hone straight to the heart--or underbelly--of the characters. How Stegner did it, I cannot say. (I so wish I could.) I first encountered Repose on the required reading list of a college course, and I’ve since read it at least twice more. (For those of you who are familiar with Stegner’s density, you know that two more times actually feels like quite a lot.) Another startlingly beautiful book with a similar feel: My Antonia by Willa Cather. Oh, how I love Willa Cather.

P.S. I recently came across a great gift idea for any book lovers on your Christmas list. I’d blog about it here, but my mother will read it, and it’s my mother I bought this particular gift for. So yeah…zips lips. But if you’re dying to know what I found--and you’re not my mother--email me and I’ll fill you in.

This post was inspired by this week’s Writing Workshop at Mama’s Losin’ It.
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