Sunday, November 2, 2014
The cold weather is finally rearing its' ugly head in Connecticut! Up until a week ago or so, I could not believe the beautiful temperatures! It was in the 70's or there a bouts and I thought I had already moved to the South. Even Halloween was mild, with no jacket required when giving out the candy. BUT, today is a different story… the wind is howling and the leaves that are on the ground are swirling about like a tornado. The temperature is 39 degrees this sunny but cold Sunday morning. Fall is here and winter is not that far behind.
So, what does that mean for our reading? Can we really read about white sand beaches and wear our flip flops while we do it?! Some would say, beach reads are an escape in the winter, but for me, colder weather means a different type of reading. Maybe something a little more thought provoking or serious… maybe a classic or two… Just opening some big fat book while I'm curled up on the sofa with a quilt and a hot chocolate on a cold winter night, makes me content. How about you? Do you change your reading habits? Do you have a reading list? Sometimes that great book I was so excited about and bought, I just wasn't quite in the mood for with margarita's on the veranda, so I put them aside. Some of those become my cold weather reads. I don't have a list per say, but I do have a few reserved reads on the nightstand.
Now that we've determined that there is a chill in the air, here are 3 books on my cold weather reading list…
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine… From the publishers: an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old “unnecessary” woman. Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family’s “unnecessary appendage.” Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read—by anyone. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya’s digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya’s own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.
When I sampled the writing in this book, I was immediately drawn in. I immediately liked Aaliya, and could almost imagine myself as her, surrounded by my books and living a sedentary life when I become an old woman. All of us readers Chicks, I think, should appreciate her story, and Rabih Amameddine's writing seems perfect to translate Aaliya's story.
After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives. Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.
I just can't resist reading about women who secretly made a difference in a man's world. When I read a little sample of this, I was happy to find it wasn't a dry factual account of the lives of these women, but written more like a historical fiction. Definitely on my TBR list and look forward to reading this!
In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril—navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes’s Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.
This is historical fiction and again, the sample of the story just drew me in. Interesting take from the slave's perspective. On my TBR list.
Weekly Update… The past week was filled with me getting out some of those long overdue reviews for my graphic novel reading challenge this year, sharing a new Memoir Monday book, and reviewing some of the great children's books that I enjoy here and there. Click on the links to find out more about the past week...
Memoir Monday was about a girl and her birds. Michele Raffin's journey to preserving and helping exotic and endangered birds. If you're an animal lover, this book is for you!
Tuesday was the Children's Corner, with a children's picture book about handling worrying. Is Worry Worrying You? is humorous with great illustrations appropriate for children AND adults!
Wednesday was a review of a two book manga series called Rabbit Doubt. If you love a good mystery, you'll enjoy these manga. A stand out storyline, although a bit violent, this is a great series!
Halloween was filled with things that go bump in the night and I shared a great cartoon from the old disney days called Silly Symphonies, The Skeleton Dance. It's from 1929 and has all the charm from Halloween's gone by..
Saturday was about DC comics. They have published a compendium of a sort that describes all the comics they have produced, with checklists that you can use to check off what you have and what you need. If you aren't a comic book enthusiast, this is a great resource for gifts or finding something that may internets you. Lot's of superhero's in the DC line.
That was my week, how was yours?! What interesting books did you crack the spine on? And tell me, do you change your reading habits during the seasons?
Happy reading… Suzanne