Friday, January 2, 2009

The TBR Pile

To Be Read -- It's like money in the bank to have a pile of new books waiting. My family knows my predilections and for Christmas they gave me books -- paper and audio. Sometimes I make a little list -- Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Marta McDowell's The Garden Alphabetized were on my list this year and delightful they are indeed. I'll say more about each of them at a later date when I've had time to reread them -- I dashed through both at such a pace that I promised myself a second go round, at a leisurely saunter this time.

I've been curious about the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik since it came out in 2006. And I kept asking my kids if they'd read it till they gave me these three. It's fantasy/alternate reality -- set in England of the Napoleonic era -- a bit like Patrick O'Brian, a bit like Jane Austen. But here there be dragons -- flying, speaking dragons that comprise the Aerial Corps, a proud part of England's defense.

I love audio books and rarely travel anywhere farther than the mailbox without a story playing, I look forward to enjoying the always-entertaining Bill Bryson's wit, as well as savoring The Christmas Carol, in or out of season.

Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys kept me company as I deconstructed the tree and packed away the ornaments on New Year's Eve and yesterday as I made a cheeseball for the neighbors' New Year's Day party. Fat Charlie and Spider will make the ironing and the cleaning and the dish-washing a lot more fun during the next few days as I carry my boom box from room to room.

Did you all get books? If so, feel free to tempt me with yet another book I ought to read.
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Pat in east TN said...

I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' a while back and found it not only interesting but inspiring ... sometimes I just need to read a book like that to 'jump start' me again! LOL

I got 3 books for Christmas, one of which I've already read, "The Daily Coyote". I had found her blog a while back and wanted to read the book, it's a story of love, survival and trust in the wilds of Wyoming raising a coyote. Very interesting but something I would not choose to do.

I also got "The Sugar Queen", by a local NC author, whose other book "Garden Spells" I had enjoyed and also got Patricia Cornwell's "Scarpetta". I used to be a big Cornwell fan and then, IMO, feel she drifted off in a nother direction, but they say this book is back to her old ways and very good ... we'll see. Another book that is promised to come is "The Garden Primer" .. anyone who has the original says it's really informative, so I asked for the new, revised edition, and it's yet to be delivered.

Being as my TBR pile is HUGE, my family thought it odd that I would want more books, but hey, I'm not complaining ... these books will bring me much enjoyment along with all the others that are stacked and waiting! LOL

Anonymous said...

We have a copy of The Garden Primer that is falling apart from being consulted so many times! It is an excellent basic gardening book. My current TBR pile has Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan, The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose and Wikis for Dummies. I used to love Amy Tan's books, but unfortunately started the Bonesetter's Daughter while my grandmother was in the process of dying and couldn't read it as it struck far to close to home. The Reincarnationist has been recommended by another Vicki, moderator of Laurie King's virtual book club and Wiki's for Dummies is because I'm supposed to be working on the Wikipedia entries for Laurie King with some others on that book club. I feel very rich when I have a lovely large pile of unread books waiting for me!

Carol Murdock said...

Oh the TBR stack! I did not read anything in December which was unheard of for me, so I am way behind!I got several books as gifts.From my book club I got two bios, A Writers Life,Eudora Welty
and Mockingbird-A Portrait of Harper Lee.From others I got Coalblack Horse by Robert Olmstead and Literary Trails of North Carolina Mountains.
So added to the tall stack I already had, I'm set for awhile.

estaminet said...

Adding the Temeraire books to my wish list...

For Christmas, I found The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman under the tree. I'm moving through it slowly and wonderingly. Highly recommended.

Vicki Lane said...

Pat -- That's it, ANIMAL,VEGETABLE, MIRACLE is a jump start - recalling me to the wonder of it all.

Karen -- I'm going to have to look into THE GARDEN PRIMER -- sounds great. And your mention of Laurie King reminds me I want THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE -- and all the Kate Martinelli books so as to fill out my LRK collection.

Carol -- COALBLACK HORSE sounds interesting. Let me know how you like it.

Esta -- a friend gave me the Kalman book recently. Actually, I'm pretty sure I blogged about it a while back. Absolutely marvelous!!!

Unknown said...

I am so glad you have included The Garden Alphabetized on your list!

The author, Marta McDowell, is a great friend and just as nice as her books! When I went back for a visit to New Jersey last month, she had a party with a bunch of our old friends. (Oh no, could we really have known each other for 30 years!!!)

It is great to have long term friends, and quite amazing that you can just pick up with each other after a number of years.

My TBR pile got some nice additions this Christmas. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - a true crime thriller about an English Country House Crime from 1860. 1492 - about America before Columbus. Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day - a rather interesting guide book. A Dead Man in Tangier by Michael Pearce. He writes great mystery period pieces (this one is 1912) and is also known for his Mamur Zapt books.

Sue in Flat Rock (formerly of NJ!)

Marta McDowell said...

You have a treat coming in "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It inspired much canning and preserving in 2008, and a push to get a community garden started in town, hopefully for '09. For Pat in east TN, "The Garden Primer" is the book I'd want to have if stranded on a desert isle.

My TBR pile (generally hidden in my bedside cabinet -- I can't take the pressure), was much enhanced by Christmas.

Toni Morrison's "A Mercy" from my sister and "Knitting" by Anne Bartlett from my sister-in-law. Husband Kirke contributed "The Masque of the Black Tulip", an entertaining historical romp a la The Scarlet Pimpernel, written by a Harvard Law/history PhD candidate named Lauren Willig, who must have beaucoup energy and write fast. My friend Jonne brought "The Literary Garden," one of those yummy compilations of horticultural writing by famous authors. She knows I'm interested in Willa Cather, who is well-represented, after visiting Red Cloud this summer.

In the Village last week, we couldn't resist stopping by St. Mark's Bookstore. And, in the nature of a true addict, found just one more: "A Quiet Adjustment" by Benjamin Markovits, historical fiction starring Annabella Millbanke, aka Lady Byron.

And later today I need to stop by our local bookery, Sages Pages, and pick up my order of the rest of Elizabeth Goodweather's current offerings. Read Signs in the Blood, got hooked, and there it is.

Hey, Sue Mac! Think you'll savor Mr. Whicher as did I. Come back to NJ soon.

Tammy said...

I love Bill Bryson's Walk in the Woods (Think that is the correct title). I laughed and laughed. I sent it out to my sister (before I read it) during the big ice storm/power outage of 2007 and I seriously think it helped her get through those long nights. It even has some soot smudges from when she stoked her fireplace. ha... I got some Craft books for Christmas and my birthday--Colors from Nature (using natural materials to dye wool with), Uniquely Felt, and Water Color Felt Workbook. No excuses now! I also got a very generous B/N gift card, so as soon as I whittle my TBR stack down, I'm hitting the book store.
Such fun. :-)

Vicki Lane said...

Ooh, you all have some great reading ahead! And crafting, too.

Mr. Whicher sounds like my cup of tea -- actually most of your picks do.

I loved The Scarlet Pimpernel -- so should probably see about the Black Tulip . . .

Is there a Readers Anonymous?

Auntie Knickers said...

Vicki, we must be separated at birth - I loved Animal, Veg, Miracle (now it's going to be our Community Read in midcoast Maine) and also got 2 of the Temeraire books for Christmas, by request. I also received my first Lisa Scottoline book, the new Ken Follett about the middle ages, The Birds' Christmas Carol and The Santa Clauses (from my Christmas baby). Yesterday we visited Louise Erdrich's bookstore, Birchbark Books -- I bought Bennett's The Uncommon Reader and a book on 20th-c. history as seen through the lens of serious music (think Bartok, Stravinsky etc). I know a fair amount of the history and very little of the music so it should be educational. In my TBR box at home, which is so full I'm on a "library fast" till I read many of the books I've bought or been given, are Art's Blood and Old Wounds and a book of JanWillem van de Wetering's that I had missed, and much more.
Those Anonymous programs are for people who want to stop. We don't want to stop!

Vicki Lane said...

So many good books - an embarrassment of riches!

And of course you're right, Auntie Knickers -- if there were a RA and I went to the meeting, I'd be the one in the back, whispering to my seat mates to find our what they'd read last.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, I'm still rereading Posthumous Keats, which I got for my birthday in November, and it's a painful but revelatory read. It's prompted me to go back and reread the great Keats poems with fresh eyes. And Helen Vendler's book on the Odes, which my husband gave me for my birthday many, many years back. I'm going back to Rilke, too. Mostly, I'm going back---so much I didn't read deeply the first time around.
And, of course, Barry Lopez is always open for a reread.
The new Mary Oliver, Red Bird, is a huge disappointment. So, when I read her poems, it will be earlier ones. I've struggled a year with Alice Notley's work, several books of which my husband gave me for Christmas 07, but finally decided she's just not worth it. There's occasional poetry there, but mostly self-indulgence.
Adam Zagajewski's Another Beauty continues to entrance me.
And I highly recommend Snake Den Ridge: a Bestiary by Bill Griffin, of Elkin, NC. The animals speak! Do they ever! Go to my ncpoetlaureate blog to read some samples. K