What's On Your 2020 Bookshelf?

TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
Here it is ... your shiny new reading thread! This is for general discussion of any books the Shipmates are reading this year. Share reviews, recommendations, thoughts and questions about books in this thread. This is distinct from the Book Club thread where we discuss a specific book we read together each month ... here it's a free-for-all where you can talk about anything on your bookshelves!
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  • Hinted that I would like a book by Paula Gooder, I received 3 thankfully all different.
    "Journey to the Manger," " The Risen Existence," and "Body." I just started, "Journey to the Manger," and I am enjoying it so far.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers was so well written it gave me a nightmare after I'd finished it - a small black statue trying to burrow into me and take me over!
    Now I'm about to try Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, which I picked up at FantasyCon on the off-chance. Robin Hobb says it will delight me!
    The non-fiction title I'm about to try is Dakota by Kathleen Norris - I love her spiritual writings.
  • I’m almost done devouring all of Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries. I last read these in high school and didn’t really like them but read them all anyway because (a) mysteries and (b) older sister liked them.

    Now that I’m (checks calendar) 58, I feel like I have infinitely more life experience to understand them with, and I like them very much.

    I’ve just started a book club with said sister to read Proust’s Remembrance Of Things Past, in French. That should keep us busy until 2030!
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I am finishing Dan Jones' The War of the Roses. As I compare the surnames mentioned to my family tree, I am very surprised we survived.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Currently finishing Peter Brown’s biography of St Augustine, quite excellent. I’ve been on a WH Auden kick for awhile. I read For the Time Being over Christmas and have been reading around in his Collected Poems.

    Up next is the new edition of Robert Lowell’s The Dolphin.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I’m almost done devouring all of Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries. I last read these in high school and didn’t really like them but read them all anyway because (a) mysteries and (b) older sister liked them.

    Those are probably my all-time favourite books and I give them a full re-read every few years. Glad you enjoyed them better this time around.

    As for what I'm reading, I have been meaning for years to read something by Terry Pratchett, knowing that many people whose taste in books I share (including some Shipmates) love his books so much. I did finally read Good Omens after the TV series came out, and that was pretty good, but of course that's only partly by Pratchett. So when a student of mine did Hogfather for her independent novel project, I asked if I could take her copy of the book home over the holidays, figuring it would be a good Christmas read.

    I'm sad to find I'm ... not loving it. All the whimsical ideas, twists and turns, wordplay ... it's the kind of stuff I should like -- the kind of stuff I did/do like in, say, Douglas Adams ... but it's just not compellingly interesting for me. I feel like a person who hears a joke and says, "Oh, that's really funny" but doesn't laugh. Like I see why it's funny, and it's just the sort of thing I normally would find funny, but ... for some reason I don't, at least not enough to keep the pages turning.

    I'm a bit disappointed in myself honestly. The copy of Madeline Miller's Circe that I had on hold from the library dropped onto my e-reader yesterday and I quickly got into that instead.

  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    Bookshelves? How 20th century.

    In my Kindle reader, I have the complete Bram Stoker and complete Sherlock Holmes to finish. (How 19th century.)
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    The complete works of Agatha Christie and I am 30% of the way through.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    @Trudy that is 100% my reaction to Pratchett, as you say, sadly.
  • caroline444caroline444 Shipmate
    edited January 4
    Oh I can't look too far into the future! I'm currently reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, and have Daily Life in Medieval Times by Frances Gies, waiting in the wings.

    Re Terry Pratchett - I'm in the I-adore-him camp..... In my eyes he can do no wrong ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    I used to be the same, c444, until I attempted to read Carpet People. 3 attempts, none got half way.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    I whizzed through The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch last night - it's a novella in his Rivers of London series, but this time it's set in Germany and the narrator is Tobias Winter, who is the German equivalent of Peter Grant. I really liked his local liaison officer, Vanessa Sommer.
    The German version of wizardry has had quite a different evolution to the English version, which adds to the interest. The mystery revolves round a vineyard near Trier, and includes the local river goddesses.
  • CactusCactus Shipmate Posts: 6
    I am also reading "The Salt Path" by Raynor Winn. Beautiful evocative writing of Nature & walking the Cornish coast path.Made me feel grateful for the simple things in life that I take for granted
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am finishing Dan Jones' The War of the Roses. As I compare the surnames mentioned to my family tree, I am very surprised we survived.

    Yet another naive punter who signed up for an online genealogy service who thinks he's related to Warwick the Kingmaker or the Houses of Lancaster and York?

    Or is there anything more substantial this time? I have been wrong in the past ...
  • I'm ploughing my way through 'Owen Glendower' by John Cowper Powys which is immensely turgid and tedious in the extreme. I keep waiting for it to improve but it doesn't.

    I'm looking forward to reading some acclaimed books from 2019 - the one with the woodcuts about Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1798, 'The Making of Poetry', and also the novels 'To Calais in Ordinary Time' and 'The Second Sleep.'

    I've also got stacks of 2nd hand books I've not got round to reading.

    Kindle, Schmindle. I do have one but I've reverted to paper.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    I had ‘Matilda’ by Catherine Hanley for Christmas and I’m looking forward to reading it! It’s about the Matilda of the Anarchy, when she was at war with Stephen over England’s throne. I do know she feels Matilda has been maligned as being proud and bossy, whereas she was just acting as a medieval king would have, but, of course, she wasn’t a man 😉. Catherine is an expert in medieval weaponry (she gave a talk at a local history conference I attended) and I enjoy her medieval fiction novels very much, so high hopes of this well researched nonfiction book.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    I've been having trouble finding something on my TBR shelf to settle into, and have finally come to Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin. It's delightful nature writing, and he knows all sorts of interesting people, like Ronald Blythe, who he visits for a picnic overlooking a bluebell wood. He also talks about renovating his Suffolk timber framed farmhouse, which is fascinating.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    'The Woman who went to Bed for a Year' by Sue Townsend is my post-Christmas silly book.
    Although the plot line is quite improbable, anyone who has been a wife and mother and slogged their way through to middle age will identify with the sentiment!
  • Just starting Death in Kashmir by MM Kaye - a holidy gift to me from husband. I found Far Pavilions quite boring and overwritten (husband loved it). I think my appreciation of it was marred by my love of the Raj Quartet. Only a few pages into this one but I am finding it better written and more engaging.

    Also starting a more serious book on the Book of Kells, the who, how, when of it filled with marvelous reproductions of pages. Finding that fascinating, and taking notes!
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Eigon wrote: »
    I've been having trouble finding something on my TBR shelf to settle into, and have finally come to Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin. It's delightful nature writing, and he knows all sorts of interesting people, like Ronald Blythe, who he visits for a picnic overlooking a bluebell wood. He also talks about renovating his Suffolk timber framed farmhouse, which is fascinating.

    Oh, I loved that book too, @Eigon!
  • BelisariusBelisarius Admin Emeritus
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    Also starting a more serious book on the Book of Kells, the who, how, when of it filled with marvelous reproductions of pages. Finding that fascinating, and taking notes!

    If it's by Bernard Meehan, I'm reading it too (though it's a little big for a night-table book).

  • Belisarius wrote: »
    If it's by Bernard Meehan, I'm reading it too (though it's a little big for a night-table book).

    It is indeed! It is part of my 'Winter will turn into Spring' disciplines: Monday morning I set up a table, large enough for the book, in our "snug", with a large pad for taking notes. A practice I started several years ago when the Christmas gift was Carl Jung's Red Book.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I've just finished and enjoyed "The Lives of Stella Bain" by Anita Shreve. It's for my real life book group, recommended by our local library, but I now gather it's the middle book of a trilogy and it might have been good, dear library, to start us at Book One. >rolleyes<

    I'm dipping in and out of "The Bullet Journal Method" by Ryder Carroll, having been given a bullet journal starter kit for my birthday in December. I also found and bought this week Richard Rohr's latest, very short, book "What Do We Do With the Bible?" which I have skim-read and intend to revisit. Also by him is my bedside book "Eager to Love" which I am partway through, had neglected for other things, and picked up last night to be reminded of how good it is.
  • PhilipVPhilipV Shipmate
    Tom Wright "History and eschatology" reminds of the risks of unduly contemporary and worldly focus. Compare the First Generation/ 1st Century worldview. What is a Jewish Christian to think? This book can rock you out of 21st C complacency.
  • David Sedaris’s Calypso. Properly giggle out loud stuff, but also tremendously moving in places. I don’t know anyone else who writes like him.

    Having heard him on the radio, I read the book with his voice narrating it in my head.

    @Nenya I’ve been doing a bullet journal for about 3 years now, I’ve adapted it to suit me, and find it really helpful. Hope you enjoy it!
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    @Nenya I’ve been doing a bullet journal for about 3 years now, I’ve adapted it to suit me, and find it really helpful. Hope you enjoy it!

    Have you? How interesting! I feel very much a beginner but am really enjoying it so far.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I just purchased a new copy of T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which I have read before, but not recently. I'm looking forward to reading it again.
  • Nenya wrote: »
    @Nenya I’ve been doing a bullet journal for about 3 years now, I’ve adapted it to suit me, and find it really helpful. Hope you enjoy it!

    Have you? How interesting! I feel very much a beginner but am really enjoying it so far.

    I BuJo too. (New thread, perhaps?)

    At the moment I am reading Isabella Tree's Wilding, about how she and her husband returned their Sussex farmland to nature. I am also in Jasper Fforde's Early Riser: I liked the first five Thursday Next books a lot, although sometimes his imagination is a bit over-fertile. The basic premise of Early Riser is a promising one, but he does seem to introduce a new character or concept in almost every paragraph...
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I love Jasper Fforde but I could not get into Early Riser.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    @Eigon I also really enjoyed Roger Deakin's Wildwood and his subsequent Notes from Walnut Tree Farm. In fact I planned a couple of holidays in France around small villages he mentions in those books, and I was not disappointed. I think I've read all the Ronald Blythe titles that my library has or can get, and am sorry that his Word from Wormingford is now (understandably) discontinued.

    I realized my mind can no loner cope with abstractions - if indeed it ever could - when (at the recommendation of my sister who had heard him speak on the radio) I tried Jonathan Rée's Witcraft. Realized very quickly that I was skipping the meat and pulling out just a few of the biographical plums.

    And when the library has nothing for me, I resort to the Elizabeth Goudge titles on my own shelves - some of which I now realize I never finished. Even for the ones that were favourites, I can no longer remember what happens next. Rediscovering is another of the joys of old age.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    Oh, I loved Word from Wormingford! I could feel myself relaxing as I read the column.
  • I've just finished Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller. It's beautifully written and was a pleasure to read. Reading it was an immersive experience; the details of the early C19th made it easy to visualise the settings. The characters were believable, even when their situation was extraordinary.

    I hadn't heard of Andrew Miller before, and, having read this I wonder why not, as this is his eighth book.
  • Trudy wrote: »
    I love Jasper Fforde but I could not get into Early Riser.

    Have you read Shades of Grey? I'm thinking of trying that one
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I loved the Thursday Next books but could not get into Shades of Grey.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I did like Shades of Grey and kept hoping for a sequel.
  • Susan Hill, 'Black Sheep', is the perfect book for a Blue January week. Set in a pit village many years ago, it is told with a passive matter-of-factness: this is what life is and you can't expect anything else. Anyone who lives near, or whose family comes from, a mining area will find much that resonates. But don't expect fairy tale endings.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    David Sedaris’s Calypso. Properly giggle out loud stuff, but also tremendously moving in places. I don’t know anyone else who writes like him....

    I got it from my library on Libby and am reading it now. I keep thinking to myself, "Why am I reading this? What is this? Who was it who told me to read this again?" :)

  • In a good way, I hope.... :smile:
  • I am currently reading The Mystery of the Magi by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. In this book, Fr. Longenecker presents research and arguments to prove that the Magi were real and that they were from the Nabatean Kingdom, just east of Judea. The book is an easy read and a real page-turner.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    If they were just east of Judea, does he provide and explanation for why they took so long to get to Jesus?
  • Trudy wrote: »
    If they were just east of Judea, does he provide and explanation for why they took so long to get to Jesus?

    I'm only halfway through the book. If he provides such an explanation, I'll try to remember to post it here.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    I enjoyed Wildwood so much that I've followed it up with Robert MacFarlane's The Wild Places - in which he goes on journeys through the UK looking for wilderness, and some of these journeys are with Roger Deakin. It's interesting to see Walnut Tree Farm through another person's eyes, after seeing it described by Roger Deakin himself.
    One part of Wildwood that interested me was the section about Australia where he describes how Aboriginal peoples traditionally used fire to alter the landscape.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    David Sedaris’s Calypso. Properly giggle out loud stuff, but also tremendously moving in places. I don’t know anyone else who writes like him....

    Lily Pad: I got it from my library on Libby and am reading it now. I keep thinking to myself, "Why am I reading this? What is this? Who was it who told me to read this again?" :)

    Jemima the 9th: In a good way, I hope.... :smile:

    Sort of.........in the sense that I tried! :) I have no idea who the author is so I suspect that that would make quite a difference. It was a little bit too dark for me at times. Probably a good book to read to encourage me to be in the moment and take it for what it offers.
  • I'm reading Yours Reverently by The Revd Oliver Willmott. The first of three books compiled from the Parish Notes, sermons and jottings of an incumbent in rural Dorset. So far there's a smile or laugh every couple of pages.
  • Hilary Mantel's 'A Change of Climate' is described by the Telegraph as 'A complex and highly intelligent portrayal of injustice, bereavement and the loss of faith' - set in Africa and England, in the 1970s/80s.

    I'm finding it an interesting reminder of how families used to believe they had a right to decide the future of their offspring.
  • New to the Church of Scotland, i am currently reading “ Kirk by Divine Right, church & state: peaceful co existence “ by Andrew Herron.

    In order to balance matters a bit the next book is Josephine Cox’s novel, “Looking Back”.......
  • Yes, you will need something to take the taste away! No one would call Herron light reading. (And rapidly outdated, so a historic treatise, not a current descriptor. But we need to know where we come from, especially when change is on all lips.)
  • I’m reading ‘Travellers in the Third Reich: the rise of fascism through the eyes of everyday people’ by Julia Boyd. An interesting book, it is basically a narrative of people’s diaries and writings from the period, visitors to Germany such as diplomats, musicians, travellers and students, and how they viewed what was happening. Just the sort of book I like as I enjoy social history and studied this period as part of my degree.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    Currently reading- John Peel autobiog "Margrave of the Marshes". Which is really funny. I thought it would be interesting, but the humour is brilliant - dry, as you would expect.

    Incidentally, I aquired this through BookCrossing, so if anyone wants it after me, and can organise how to get it from me, they are welcome.
  • I reread Samuel R. Delany's Nova recently, an excellent science fiction novel, with the form of space opera, but a content that far exceeds it.
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