Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday Salon: Old Year, New Year

I woke up on January 1 with no voice, a ghastly cough, and a throat that felt like I had swallowed a cheese grater. I mean, it hurt to swallow my own spit. I would have preferred a hangover, let me tell you! Obviously the busy craziness of the past few weeks caught up with me with a vengeance. Luckily I feel somewhat better today. Just the fact that I am awake proves it as I slept about 40 of the previous 48 hours. So now it's time to play catch-up on the things that the holidays made fall by the wayside and then being sick relegated to completely unimportant. I have to take down the Christmas decorations. I need to write a couple of reviews. In short, I have to go back to tackling my ever present to-do lists. Same stuff, different year.  :-)

Loads of book-loving people I know say that no one ever gets them bookish Christmas presents. Thankfully my family doesn't know that no books is even an option (because it basically isn't) and I was spoiled again this year. In addition to gift cards, I got this interesting stack of books from my wish list. It's always curious to me to see what others find to give me from my appallingly extensive list. I know in the past my sister has said she reads all the descriptions and chooses ones that sound good to her. I have no idea how my husband chooses other than this year he was tickled by the fact that one of my wished for books fit his present theme perfectly. I aim to please, you know. ;-) As always, my gift pile as a whole is a strange and wondrous stack of mismatched eccentricity. Which is to say that it suits me and my reading habits to a T.

Now that we are into 2016, I can look back at my last year's reading and make the all important distinctions like best book of the year and so on. I never want to do it before the year is officially rung out because what if the last book of the year (in my case The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford) is the most enjoyable thing I read all year and I've already made a list? It wasn't, although it was a wonderful read, so the point is moot but I wouldn't like to tempt fate one of these years, just in case. The book that was my favorite read this past year, hands down was: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.

My other favorites, in no particular order, would be:

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
George's Grand Tour by Caroline Vermalle
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
The Bees by Laline Paul
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie Mallowan

It's kind of cheater-y of me to make a list like this because not only is the list itself 11 books rather than the traditional top ten (Tuck Everlasting was a re-read so I could take it off my books for this year if pushed), but I mentiioned two, one of which is actually two novels published under one cover and therefore one book in my accounting, before I made the list. That makes it a baker's dozen list. And baker's dozens are always good, especially if it means a free donut, I mean, an extra book. Interestingly, the list includes 6 fiction titles, 2 sci-fi/fantasy, 2 YA, 1 novel in translation, and 2 non-fiction. That's about as statistically minded as I get. The rest of the books I read in 2015 can be found in the sidebar and many of them were truly entertaining as well. Have fun exploring them, if you are so inclined.

Since I woke up so sick on the first of the year, I did not (yet) end up reading the book I assumed would be my first read of the new year. Instead, in the few hours I was awake and not weeping from the pain of swallowing my own saliva, I reached for a pure comfort read: My American Duchess by Eloisa James. When I feel like dirt, a well-written romance, especially a historical romance, hits the spot for sure. So that was my first read of 2016. What was (or is, if it's still ongoing) your first read of this new year?


  1. I am quite astonished to find that your favorite book of last year is a book I've also loved. Interesting.

  2. That's a nice stack of books! Glad you're feeling better. I also save good historical romances for down days -- such a comfort.

  3. You're lucky that you get books for presents. My husband refuses to buy me books. He has flat out said that. He did end up getting me a cookbook for Christmas--"9x13: The Pan that Can" ONLY because he thought he was ordering a 9x13 pan, not a cookbook. Ha!

  4. Well, first of all, sorry about your illness. I was sick for the whole week and Christmas (and we were hosting) and last week too. That being said, my husband stepped up and was amazing. I'm better and hope that you are as well. Being sick during the holidays is pretty much the worst.

    But you did those great books. Hope you enjoy them. I haven't read any of your 'best of' except Tuck Everlasting (years ago). Several are on my list though. Happy New Year! Look forward to lots more book stuff from you. :-)

  5. A rough start to the new year means it will end on a very good note. ;-) I am sorry you've been so sick, and I hope you are feeling much better. I never feel like reading when I'm sick. About the most I can muster is watching television--which isn't saying much at all.

    What a great stack of books! My mother-in-law recently figured out how to access my Amazon wish list and actually got me a DVD set off it I'd had on there for awhile. I will be curious to see if I ever get any of the books . . . My husband is really the only one who ever is willing to risk getting me a book. But he's also more privy to my bookish desires than anyone else.

    I hope you have a Happy New Year!

  6. I think I saw The Bette Davis CLub book on Book Outlet, I debated on getting it, so I want to see what you think of it. I truly hope you feel better,nothing worse than feeling miserable over the holidays,as you can't enjoy it!! Have a great week and feel better!!

  7. Hope you are feeling better. You had a good year of reading. I hope 2016 is just as good.

  8. The Martian was on my list too! So good! I really need to get to The Boys in the Boat. I've been wanting to read it for ages.

  9. Wow I didn't realize Kent Haruf's was so good -- if it's your fav for the year -- I'll have to seek it out. I just made my favorite of the year list over at

  10. So you're saying I need to add this book, Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf? *Sigh* okay. ;)

    Out of your other favorites, I have read The Martian and heard of a few of the others. Any others there I should add to my TBR?

    My first read was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It was good...and bonus, short.


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