One of my great joys when alone– and even sometimes, in the company of others — is reading. Feet up on the ottoman (or coffee table), or propped up on my elbows, hot drink at hand, and maybe, for good measure, a throw blanket or a hot water bottle or puppy at my feet. For me, a book, or I suppose the right book, is a mood elevator, my way of settling quietly into my brain, my own personal form of meditation.
The frenetic pace of this summer and fall have prevented me from keeping up with my booklist, but as one of my resolutions this year was to read more books, I’m now trying to make up for lost time and am in the middle of four at once. And I have several in the queue for the Christmas holidays. Some highlights from my reading this past fall:
State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett. This novel is about a doctor who ventures into the Amazon to find a lost colleague. I downloaded it on my kindle before my trip to London, and devoured it immediately. This was my first reading of Ann Patchett, and now I’m keen to pick up her first acclaimed novel, Bel Canto.
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. How have I not yet read anything of Joan Didion’s before? She writes about the sudden death of her husband and her way of coping with and mourning his loss. I admire writers like her who are able to write so beautifully and succinctly and candidly at the same time. After reading this book, I excavated the internet for interviews of her in magazines and news stories of her in online publications. What a fascinating life she’s had.
The Perfectly Imperfect Home, by Deborah Needleman. Does this how-to book count? Deborah Needleman was the editor of my favorite magazine of all time, Domino (RIP). This lovely book, illustrated with watercolor paintings of happy domestic interiors, provides a how-to for cultivating a sense of coziness in your home, as well as sensible and unstuffy decorating tips.
Also, have you seen this nifty little website? You type in the name of a book that you have just read and liked, and the site generates a list of further titles you might enjoy. A great tool when your stuck hankering after your next novel!