Today's post is not so much a book review as a list of some of my favorite books, as well as some recommendations.
When I was younger, I loved to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House in the Big Woods", but I also love to read it now that I'm all grow'd up, as well. An account of homesteading in the mid 19th century, it wraps you in a fog of childhood memories of tree clearing/maple sugaring/horse drawn carriages and log cabins surrounded by miles of open forest. A lovely book to lose yourself in for a chilly fall afternoon, particularly if you include a pot of tea and some sugar cookies.
I picked up Book 1 "The Field Guide" of the "Spiderwick Chronicles" by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black a few years ago to use as research for a faerie story I was working on, but ended up checking out the whole series from the library to read the story because it was so intriguing. I'm glad I did, because it made the movie version that much more interesting when we saw it later that same year. I was just a teensy bit disappointed, because going by the cover illustration of the book I thought it involved elves or faeries more prominently than the book actually was.
I read Jane Austen's "Emma" for my English Literature class, but now I want to read it again for fun. It is a dense read, with more dialogue than action or description from what I remember, but I had the benefit of a weekly class discussion to figure out the tough bits, so I'm looking forward to seeing if my first impression stands up to a reread. Basically it's your quintessential down-at-heels-rich-girl-snob learns she is a snob, falls apart and vows to not be a snob story. With all the requisite summer berry-picking picnics; english manors as summer houses; shopping for gloves and ribbons as the all-encompassing important focus of a rich girls lif- as a historical romance reader's heart could desire, it's on my rereading shelf for this winter.
Speaking of historical books, Susan Wittig Albert's "The Cottage Tales" series is a great little jaunt into the time of Beatrix Potter, with sidetrips to talking animals, farm renovating, sheep raising, hog tending and just a jot of period-inspired cooking recipes. I know! So much fun to get lost in this series. I went through a pretty serious period of period costuming for this one!
Oh! I almost forgot that I reread Anne McCaffrey's "Crystal Singer" this summer. Wonderful book with themes of mining on distant planets, sailing, tropical islands, and a romance or two, with just enough political intrigue to make the story a compelling read. I just love this author- she is more famous in some circles for her "Dragons of Pern" books (Dragons! Fire Lizard's! Harpers!), but "Crystal Singer" is a fun, quick three book series. This is the second book of the series, but has enough back story to hold up to a first time read for anyone interested.
As a quick note, Van lent us three books; "Consider Phlebas" by Ian Banks; "A Mighty Fortress" by David Weber; and Steven Boyett's "Ariel". While I requested all three books, I'm sorry to say that I couldn't get through any of them. But, I'm glad I looked at them as it gave me a chance to see what else is out there to read (it's easy to get in a rut and just pick up the same genre time after time, isn't it?) If anyone is interested in them, feel free to claim them, otherwise they are going home to Van pretty soon.
So, I think that about wraps it up for this week. I have a bunch of knitting books I'm working through for this weekend, as well as the usual cookbooks, sewing manuals and the assorted role playing guide to wade through...what are you reading this month?