Sunday, January 11, 2015

Books I Am Looking Forward to Reading - January Edition

Hello Book Junkies!

It is really cold and really wet outside...a perfect day to sink into a book with a nice glass of Moscato
cup of PG Tips tea by my side  It doesn't hurt that I've also got a crock pot full of chili and a pile of relaxing sewing to do.  I have really been thinking about this post.  It is impossible for me to know what I will be looking forward to reading ALL year long.  So, what I am going to do is make this a monthly part of the blog.  (See, this is organic...).  I have a list of books that I want to really dig into this year.  First, I want to fulfill the Reading Challenge I talked about in my last post.  Second, I have shelves of galleys and books that I meant to read once I finished grad school.  Well, no time like the present.

Not all of these books are new or forthcoming.  You can get those lists anywhere.  I assume you are reading this blog because you want an opinion.  Well, here's mine:

1.  The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion - Meghan Daum

This book seems interesting because it is touted as one where the author, an essayist and memoirist, takes on those subjects that we are often too polite to speak about out loud.  I'm one essay in (the fabulous and searingly honest "Matricide") and so far, it's pretty good.

2.  The Ultimate Betrayal - Kimberla Lawson Roby

This is the latest entry in the Reverend Curtis Black series.  I have been reading this series from the first one (Casting the First Stone) and I can get lost in these books any time.  I am a huge Roby fan and can't wait for this one to come out in May.  This novel focuses on Rev. Black's daughter Alicia, who has shown in previous novels that she takes after her daddy in some unfortunate ways.

3.  If Beale Street Could Talk - James Baldwin

One of my reading goals is to read the lesser known novels of the African-American canon, beginning with the Harlem Renaissance.  Baldwin is one of my eternal favorites, and I picked up a copy of this novel for 50 cents at a book sale.  I am eager to see how this novel compares to his more well-known tomes.

4.  Beach Town - Mary Kay Andrews

Nobody loves a beach read more than I.  Even if I don't get to read it on a beach.  Mary Kay Andrews begins my summer reading every year.  Her writing style is easy on the brain and eyes and her characters are well-drawn.  She uses the same beach locales for her stories and they are always engaging.  Plus, she sometimes puts a great recipe at the end.  If you want to get lost in stunning descriptions of interior design, floral goodies and all things girly, this is a great and easy read for you.  This comes out in May.

5.  The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress - Ariel Lawhon

I'm a little ashamed at the lengths to which I went to get a copy of this book at the American Library Association Conference last January.  This book has been on my nightstand for months, reminding me of my shame (okay, there was light shoving involved, but no injuries).  It's a real mystery, about a judge who disappeared in the 1930's.  Widely touted on to-read lists for 2014, it is one of those historical fiction pieces that can kill a whole Sunday afternoon.

6.  Some Luck - Jane Smiley

Another galley I couldn't resist on the library discard table.  I am a fan of Jane Smiley and this is the first book in a trilogy about an American family from the 1920's to modern day.  This volume covers 1920 through the Cold War era.  If you are a fan of sweeping family sagas, this seems like a good one in which to invest some time.

7. God Help The Child - Toni Morrison

Can one ever really describe a Toni Morrison novel?  I've never been able to do it successfully, because they are always layered and have so many themes.  All I know is that the main character is named Bride.  Okay, I'm in.  Comes out in April.

8. Firebird - Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers

So, I may or may not have placed this on my school library book order with the full intention of reading it standing up amidst the delivery detritus.  I am curious to see this book, which has gotten great advance reviews.  I am also a Christopher Myers fan, so I'm excited about this story which involves Misty talking to a young girl about reaching her dreams.

9.  Factory Man - Beth Macy

I'm not gonna lie - sometimes those "important" books about "capitalism" and "globalization" frankly make my eyes cross, even if I really want to know the content.  This book (and I'm cheating, because I'm 1/4 of the way through), reads like a novel.  Everyone, especially in the South, has or has had some piece of Bassett furniture and their stores are everywhere.  This is part sweeping family saga, historical non-fiction and underdog story.  There is also a civil rights aspect that is pretty fascinating.

10.  Clementine Hunter:  Her Life and Art - Art Shriver and Tom Whitehead

I've had this on my list for a while.  It's about a beloved person from my state who made great art.  It is published by my beloved LSU Press.  I have heard nothing but great things about it.  However, something tells me that I'm going to be mad by the end of the book.  We will see.

11.  The Last Stop on Market Street- Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

In the children's book game, the illustrator is the person that makes a book sing.  Christian Robinson is one of my favorite illustrators and I look forward to all of his books.  This one sounds great, too.  A boy keeps wondering aloud why he doesn't have an iPod like everyone else and why his circumstances are different from some of his classmates.   Could be a great story time tool.  And by story time, I mean story time for ME!

12.  The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters

I guess because of my obsession with Downton Abbey, I am newly interested in the WWI era.  This novel is supposed to be a "tour de force" with a "stunning" story.  I'm invested enough that I've downloaded it rather than checked it out from the library.  It involves a mother and daughter trying to make ends meet by renting out their house.  What ensues is supposed to be more than titillating.

That's it.  Let me know if you have any "must-reads" on your list.

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