Let's Talk About Books Baby!



So, there is a man named Nick Hornby who came out with a book over the holidays entitled, Ten Years in the Tub, I came across it at Barnes & Noble after seeing it on the McSweeney's website.  I love the idea of this book, this man has been writing a column for Believer magazine for 10 years in which he talks about two things every month: books bought and books read.  Love it!  So, it's the end of the first month of a new year and I can think of no better time to implement this into my blogging routine than now.  I know there is technically still one more day left of January, but I think I can safely say that between now and the end of tomorrow I will neither buy another book nor finish one.  (Although, I prematurely named my favorite albums of 2013 before the end of the year and wouldn't you know it... Beyonce went and dropped her surprise album which has quickly become one of my favorite, if not the best album released last year.  So we can be wrong and we can be surprised.)  But I'll take my chances.  Here we go...

Books Bought
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
NW by Zadie Smith
The End of Love by Marcos Giralt Torrente
Hey Folly by Mary Margaret Alvarado
The Wrong Side of Paris by Honore de Balzac
*Find it in Everything by Drew Barrymore

Books Read
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Tout Sweet: Hanging up my high heels for a new life in France by Karen Wheeler
My Invented Country by Isabel Allende
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
The End of Love by Marcos Giralt Torrente
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
*Find it in Everything by Drew Barrymore

Ok... first let me explain something, I am known for buying books and then not reading them for years, so it is a miracle that I've read 3/6 books I bought within the month that I bought them (although Miss Barrymore's is a photography book so it doesn't "really"count).  Let me also say that I don't usually read 6 books in one month, but I had made this goal at the beginning of the year to watch way less television, and so there you have it.

A few things I want to note about the books that I read this month... According to goodreads Philippa Gregory is the author I have read the most of.  I don't know how I feel about that other than to acknowledge that I am addicted to Tudor/War of the Roses historical fiction, so there you have it.

I adored Tout Sweet and already wrote a blog post about that, if you missed it, here it is.

I chose to read the Allende memoir because she is coming to visit Denver and I've been trying to decide if I should go hear her speak (it is not free) but I have never actually read one of her books.  *gasp* And now I have.  I also learned loads about Chilean culture/history, so I feel like a better person for reading this book.

I'm going to come back to Zadie Smith in a moment.  But let's talk about The End of Love for a moment.  This is Torrente's first book to appear in English, and I am waiting with bated breath for more!  This was a book about love and the ways in which it disappoints us or haunts us.  It was 4 short, beautifully written stories.  It reminds me of the movie Babel, here are these glimpses of characters that you can feel extremely connected to without even knowing their names but simply by observing them and relating to the plight of the human condition.  Beautiful.

Now with Kundera, I have had The Unbearable Lightness of Being on my shelf since I lived in England, I know this because I remember the moment I first heard of this book.  I was on a train ride to London and a girl and boy sat across the aisle from me.  She was reading this book, and he asked her how it was.  They began discussing it and as she did she kept flashing the cover back and forth.  I read the title and I couldn't believe that the title of a book could be so awesome.  I wanted to know what it was about, so the next time that I took a drive up to Milton Keynes for coffee and some book browsing, I purchased that book.  And there it sat on all of my many different shelves in the many places that I have lived since that year.  I don't know why I suddenly had the mad desire to read it right this moment (probably because I saw the list of my most read authors on goodreads and thought, "how embarrassing" haha).  I learned a lot about the Czech Republic and the Soviet occupation in this book.  The first half of the book is immaculately written, dang near flawless... loads of sex and infidelity.  I'll admit I got a bit lost on the second half, but not enough to realize why this is heralded in book circles as a relevant contemporary classic.

Now... for On Beauty, I devoured this book over a weekend.  It was a book that you just want to live in.  I remember when I finished I went to Chipotle to grab some dinner and as I was walking out, still deep in my own thoughts reflecting about this awesome book I just read, and it all clicked!  I needed to hurry and get back to my car, because I kid you not... tears were welling in my eyes.  I know why she called it On Beauty and the more I thought about the characters and the content... I was just extremely moved.  Definitely one of my favorite books ever... which means it's going to be really hard to read her other books because I'm scared they will never be as good as my first one that I read by her.  Yet, I love this author and her style so much that I know inevitably I'm going to read everything she's ever written.

As for the two books that I bought that I haven't read... well, I leant NW to a fellow reader who worships at the alter of Zadie Smith, and as for Hey Folly I picked it up last weekend at the author's poetry reading so I'm looking forward to delving in more closely.  

What are some of you reading?  Any suggestions for February?