Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What I read in 2018

Before the first month of 2019 is over I thought I want to write at least one post for my blog. I can't believe that I haven't written anything since we said goodbye to 2018 - this month just flew by in all its busy-ness. But finally I'm here, and what better topic to write about than books?

My book shelves are still in a state of complete disorganization, but thanks to my Kindle Paperwhite I didn't add many new books to the chaos. I did, however, add a lot to the Kindle.

I read 61 books in 2018 and put them all in my "read" folder - I like this way of organizing books.

I also list them chronologically in a big notebook - title, author and when I finished it. If I particularly enjoyed a book it gets a little star at the title - when I look back at the list I realize that I enjoyed quite a good amount of books last year. This is the way it should be, right?

Some of the novels that I loved are "War Brides" by Helen Bryan, "Cara's House" by Annie Katz, "The House between Tides" by Sarah Maine, "The Forgotten Girl" by Kerry Barrett (wow, what a story!), "Whisper Me This" by Kerry Anne King, "Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark Sullivan and "The Secret" by Kathryn Hughes. For some reason I fell in love with "Red Mountain" by Boo Walker which is not even an outstanding book, but it's a sweet story and I like almost all of the characters. That doesn't happen very often.

My favorite book, however, was "The Keeper of Secrets" by Julie Thomas. The title suggests chick lit, but it's anything but. It's the story of a special Guarnieri violin from the 1930's in Nazi Germany through the time of the Soviet Union to present day America. It's gripping, often sad, and beautiful. I learned a lot about violins and music in general. When I was done I had to listen to Bach's violin concerto that is mentioned in the book and re-discovered my love for classical music.

As some of you know I also enjoy reading mysteries. I hard started the "Huntress" series by Alexandra Sokoloff in 2017 and read the remaining four "moons" in 2018 ("Blood Moon", "Cold Moon", "Bitter Moon" and "Hunger Moon") and think there are more "moons" to come. It's actually not a mystery but downright thrillers. The interesting thing is that the reader roots both for the detective and the murderess (who also develop some feelings for each other). It's not so much a "who done it" but "why" and the entire background story. I was going through a whole range of feelings while reading these books and they have never quite left me. Another author of mysteries is Viveca Sten, a Swedish writer whose books I discovered this year. The Sandhamn Murders series takes place on a small island (Sandhamn) near Stockholm and not only deal with the crimes but with the daily life and its challenges of the main characters. The first in the series is "Still Waters" and I would start out with that (the Sandhamn Murders as well as The Huntress series should be read in the right order to fully understand what's going on).

Of course I also read German literature. I re-visited one of my favorite writers of short stories, Wolfgang Borchert, who died in 1947 at the age of only 26. One of his most endearing stories is "Nachts schlafen die Ratten doch" (The rats do sleep at night), that in all its sadness and desperation is uplifting in the end. I have decided to use my German language students as guinea pigs and read this story in class.

One of the books I used the most is this one - my trusted Sibley.

In my opinion it is one of the best guides to birds, and so far I have found in here every unknown bird to me I ever saw. I only wish it came with a disk or a link to the sounds of the birds as well.

Other books I consulted over the year or looked into over and over again are these ones:

Shortly before Christmas my private student gifted me a beautiful book in a sturdy box and with a giclée print of one of the paintings of the artist. It is about the art of painter and naturalist Thomas Quinn who grew up and lived in Marin County (the county between here and San Francisco). It shows many if not most of his watercolors as well as quotes and poems, some written by Quinn himself. The book is exquisitely done (my student was the printer of that book) and a true treasure.

Now let's go back to reading, shall we?


krishna said...

OMG! 61 books!!!

Elephant's Child said...

I am endlessly grateful to my parents for the gift of a love of reading. Education, comfort and escape. I cannot imagine a life without books.
And will have to track down and explore some of the ones you have mentioned.

Linda d said...

I’m planning on grabbing a few of those.

Seraphinas Phantasie said...

Wow, you read a lot of books and a lot sound very interesting. Thank you for this great list of good books.
Have a great day, Carola.
Warm regards, Synnöve

Miss Val's Creations said...

Well done! I wish I read faster but I am always reading something on my Kindle. We need to find some great nature books like yours since we moved 1000 south in 2018. There are birds, flowers, trees, etc. that we have not seen before. Luckily the internet has been a huge help but great coffee table books are always better!

Barb said...

I so enjoyed your post, Carola, and put a couple books I haven't read as samples on my Kindle. What would I do without the Kindle? I read one book after another and am glad Amazon reminds me when I've already purchased a book. I recently finished a book by Justin Cronin, The Summer Guest, which I'm recommending to friends. I'm wondering if you liked the Ruth Ozeki book, A Tale for the Time Being? I found it difficult to read and to fully understand. However, even after a couple years, I remember passages, so I guess it had an impact on me! Good Reading in 2019!

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I will definitely have to pin this post as I am always looking for good books to read. I have read several you mentioned but some sound very, very good. Thank you for posting this.

Red Rose Alley said...

You have quite a collection of books. The California Wildlife sounds interesting. I like the fact that you have a system when organizing your books. Nel is such a book lover and has shelves and shelves of books in her home. Now for me, I must get back to reading. It's been too long. Your Paris cup is delightful, Carola.

Wishing you wonderful February days ahead.


Jeanie said...

That's an impressive list of books, Carola, and some are incredibly beautiful. I always enjoy seeing what others read so I'm filing this in my "books" folder for future reference!

Karen Lakis said...

Wow! I need to make a note of some of these books. The moon series definitely sounds intriguing. You do quite a lot of reading!!!

Michelle B said...

Wow! I can't believe you read 61 books. :) My book shelves need some straightening. I do love to read on my Kindle now, because I always have several going at once and have them all with me and, like you said,they don't collect on a shelf. Although, some nonfiction books are so much better in my hand to page through, like your bird book. Enjoy your reading!

Magic Love Crow said...

61!! Good for you! Well done! I love the book your student gave you! Beautiful!

Sarah Huizenga said...

So many good books here. I think I read about 55 books in 2018. Actually I listened quite a few of them. I love having a book going while I drive.

Terra said...

You are reminding me to count the books I read in 2018. I write down each title and author, and often post reviews on Amazon of favorites and sometimes on my blog. I think I live not too far from you, since you mention Marin.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Life without books would be no life at all.

Magdalena said...

Liebe Carola, ich freue mich sehr über diese Liste, weil ich da Anregungen für englische Bücher finde. Komischerweise habe ich in letzter Zeit auch an Wolfgang Borchert gedacht, auch an einige andere, die vielleicht ein wenig in Vergessenheit geraten sind.