Sunday, January 1, 2012

New books, new beginnings

I love beginnings. New years, new books, new blogs.

I am Belle, a woman of a certain age living in the South. I am happiest when I am with books...reading or thinking about reading or getting ready to read. This blog will be my reflections on books.

Hence, the candle.

I read 44 books in 2011. I keep a list at my desk. That doesn't count the many books that I started and couldn't stomach. I used to feel compelled to finish a book once begun, but no more.

I go to the library at least once a week. Of the five or 10 books I bring home, maybe two or three make the cut. And I can't tell you how many books I have waited for for months, based on a recommendation from a blog or a friend, that were returned started but not finished.

I enjoy books that take place in England and especially those between the wars. I have garnered many titles from bloggers in the British Isles and am thankful for their recommendations.

I read mysteries. Not the bloody ones, but the golden age ones where a body is discovered in the library and the focus is on solving the crime not violent and bloody descriptions.

Other than mysteries, I read mostly non-fiction. The first book I finished in 2011 was a book of essays published by The National Trust titled "Simple Pleasures." The next was a collection of essays by Pat Conroy on "My Reading Life." The only book by Conroy that I have read.

I finished out the year with "Stillmeadow Calendar" by Gladys Taber. It is a month-by-month journey through the year of life in her New England house built in 1690 and the 40 acreas that surround the house.

Taber wrote in the '50s and '60s. She touches on topics as diverse as child-rearing, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, cocker spaniels and Irish setters, the migration of wild geese, and throws in a couple of recipes to boot. A lovely meditation on nature and the seasons. I want to hug her words to me.

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