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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year of Reading Pleasures

One of the gifts I've given myself this year is permission to read great novels and not get waylaid by trying to catch up on the books I should have read and didn't quite get to. Yes, some of those shoulda, coulda, woulda books are still on my "waiting to be read" shelf, but some are not. Here's why:

On New Year's Eve, I persuaded my sweet hubby to help me clean up the house for company that we'd invited for the evening. He suggested that perhaps we should do something about those books. Meaning, of course, the obstacle course in front of the beautiful bookcases he built on one entire wall of our den. It hasn't always been a hazard to walk past, but in the past year or so, my "to-be-read" shelves had begun to  bulge, and because I really did mean to read EVERY SINGLE ONE of those books, I started stacking them on the floor in front of the shelves. This has led to profound guilt, denial that I have a book hoarding obsession, and may, in fact, be the beginning of some deep-seated inability to grasp reality.

I could not read all those books in the coming year and probably not in the next five years even if I did nothing else, so an intervention was in order. I'm happy to report that two sacks and two boxes of books will find wonderful new homes. We still have three shelves of "to-be-read" books, but they are not stacked two and three deep. We also have a "his" and "hers" shelf so Max doesn't have to sift through many of mine in which he has no interest. And vice versa.

So, on to the topic of this post: My Year of Reading Pleasures for 2011 will include:

South of Broad by Pat Conroy (halfway through this one already)
Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls of The Glass Castle Fame 
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer
The Book Thief by Markus Zusack (yes, I'm very late to the game w/ this one)
Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin
The Summer Kitchen by Lisa Wingate
Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin (not released yet)

I'm also looking forward to Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer, an up and coming debut novelist as well as new titles from Gina Holmes and Marybeth Whalen whose debut novels I enjoyed this year.

It's going to be a great year! A little humor, a little history, and a whole lot of great writing.

What's on your list for reading this year? It's not too late for me to sneak one or two more titles on my "to-be-read" shelf.


Anne Mateer said...

As a book-hording, reality-shunning reader with a bulging "to read" shelf myself, I am honored to be on your list for 2011! And in such distinguished company! I hope it lives up to your expectations.

Here's to happy reading in 2011!

carla stewart said...

Anne, I'm so excited about your book! It will be here before you know it. Happy reading (and writing) to you, too!

Myra Johnson said...

What is it about a new year (or the prospect of moving) that prompts one to go through the bookshelves??? We just sorted through scads of books and toted them off to the used bookstore for credit.

The problem is, in order to use up all the credit we now have, we'd have to load up on a whole bunch more books!

carla stewart said...

Hi Myra! We no longer do the used bookstore thing because of what you said - the dilemma of more books! I actually have a bag here w/ your name on it, so save a spot on your shelf.

Sarah Sundin said...

I'm so excited that my book is on your list! Yours is on mine too :)

I just finished Paradise Valley and loved it.

Patti Lacy said...

I'll have to get South of Broad. LOVED The Book Thief.

Happy reading!