Tuesday, February 23, 2010

kickoff post: reading 52 books in 52 weeks

I love to read; I would venture to say I love books the way some women collect and love shoes. I have been a reader all my life. I read both fiction and non, tend to seek out Canadian authors, and go through reading phases, or Rabbit Holes. Sometimes I bounce between the two, inserting some light-hearted reading with some of the heavier topics I am often drawn to. So, a little goal I set at the beginning of 2010 (not to be confused with the formal pressure cooker known as the *resolution*) is to read one book a week and document it. Well, guess where *that* place is going to be?! Yup, right here.

In addition to continuing to read new finds, I am going to be re-reading some of those books on my shelf that, if you were to visit, I would point to and say *This one is SO good YOU have to read it TOO*, when in actuality I would be challenged to articulate any detail or reason as to why, if asked. I would like to change that. So let the postings begin!

First book up:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Neffenegger

I blatantly copied this from the Amazon site. Why mess with the pros, I say? Here is a great summary by Brad Thomas Parsons. (in that link to the Amazon site you can look inside the book, read the first pages and see video of the author. A perfect *before you buy* option, I say!)

Following her breakout bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger returns with Her Fearful Symmetry, a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. The novel opens with the death of Elspeth Noblin, who bequeaths her London flat and its contents to the twin daughters of her estranged twin sister back in Chicago. These 20-year-old dilettantes, Julie and Valentina, move to London, eager to try on a new experience like one of their obsessively matched outfits. Historic Highgate Cemetery, which borders Elspeth's home, serves as an inspired setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors: Elspeth's former lover, Robert; Martin, an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle creator; and the ethereal Elspeth herself, struggling to adjust to the afterlife. Niffenegger brings these quirky, troubled characters to marvelous life, but readers may need their own supernatural suspension of disbelief as the story winds to its twisty conclusion.

I loved The Time Traveller's Wife; I will never see the movie. I went into it blind when it was still relatively unheard of, and found myself completely sucked in within pages. I loved it. I re-read it. I recommended it. So I was excited to see what Audrey Neffenegger would write this time. What did I think? Well, I really liked this book. Now, that means nothing to you, I realize, but I really got into the mystery of the story, the setting in the cemetery, the twins element, and the supernatural elements were written in an amazingly convincing way that reminded me of what I enjoyed about reading the The Time Traveller's Wife. If the above editorial paragraph/review appeals to you, I would definitely recommend this book even though it hasn't gotten spectacular reviews.

As I go I plan on offering some of my favorite quotes or lines or personal reflections. For now, I am in catch-up mode and will post 2 books a week until I am caught up to the usual once a week book update that will follow. I am on book 7, and 1/2 way through it now. Its one I read in 2003 that I fell in love with, but was drawn back to for some reason. I will be sure to take some notes and share the details of why you might really like each book in the future.

So, for now, any recommendations? I would also love to hear your thoughts if you have read this one!

This is gonna be fun!


Red Shoe Artist said...

Wow, what a commitment! Go Keeley!

leel said...

thanks susan! i read enough that it *is* doable. (fingers crossed!)

Heather Plett said...

Oh yeah - I'm with you - books before shoes! I can barely see my alarm clock on my bedside table because it's lost behind a wall of books.

Have you read The Glass Castle? I just finished and I quite enjoyed it.

Evangeline said...

Keeley, you have been blogging up a storm over here. Can't wait to get caught up!

I am at 6 books so far this year...so a leetle behind if I was gonna shoot for 50. But your post is inspiring me! GOTTA R.E.A.D.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Well, here's a reason to keep up your 52 books idea: I'll read what you read, ok? I ALWAYS forget to reserve books for myself and I saw your post and said "Dammit! I need to read the ones I'm always hearing about but never get a chance to read!" So I went right over to my library site and reserved the Time Traveler's Wife and Perfect Symmetry. While I may not be able to commit to 52 in 52, I am sick and tired of reading the same dang books in my private library simply because I forgot to check out something from the grown-up section!


leel said...

omg! you GUYS! I am so frickin excited!

@Heather - how did I know you would be a books before shoes girl too?! I had a funny feeling! And this is SO weird: I have All the Pretty Horses on my chapters *wishlist*, but havent even read The Glass Castle yet! I have no idea how it got there, as I add to it whenever i read a good review of something and want to remember it for the future. And then you pop on here and ask me if I have read it yet. WEIRD! Awesome! I am going to get it next - thanks! Watch for the little post to come!

leel said...

@E - hi sista! I have been awfully wordy as of late. ACTION in 2010 is the theme so yay, here we go! I am super excited to see and hear about what you are reading as my list is quickly becoming exhausted. I am so glad you have the time to stop by with that amazing birthday party over! Lets read together! Go E!

leel said...

@tracey: hey girl! I am very excited to see you are inspired go beyond your own bookshelves, and will be reading some of what i read &/or recommend. That is, like, awesome! (for lack of a better sentence...)So, do tell, what are your faves that you keep re-reading? I love to hear all about them! This is going to be FUN! Thank you!

bblissful said...

Forget "Sisters before misters" and "Prose before hoes", I want a t-shirt that says,"Books before shoes"! Haha! Love it.

Currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed" and am deeply hooked. Have to say though -- true confessions-- the title and cover artwork is lacking a certain ooomph! for me (and particularly in contrast to "Eat, Pray, Love").

I read, largely, on recommendation. But parachute me into a bookstore, and if I'm scanning the rows, I'm definitely attracted to the visual: title and cover. So, yea ... I often DO judge a book by its cover. There. I've said it. And then I'll crack it open and give it its rightful chance to woo me.

Rah! Rah! Leel! I'm all for relishing your recommendations.

leel said...

@Jacqueline: Hey! Books before shoes is pretty hilarious. I can see that becoming a t-shirt some day soon... (project light bulb just went on! ding! thanks!)

and thanks for joining in on the fun! I have been eying Elizabeth Gilbert for a while, but having resisted the whole Eat, Pray, Love frenzy when it was happening, I havent gotten to reading it yet. I will put it on my list for 2010! Now hearing such great things about her next book, I think it is a sign - time to read it! Perfect!

Its a book party. I am not a joiner, per say, but I could handle a geeky online book party!

Book number 2 is coming up!
Feel free to talk about Her Fearful Symmetry in these comments if/when you decide to read it.

♥ leel


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