The new year is just 4 days old, but already there are two great reading events in full swing.
First, there’s Orange January, where we read books that have won, or been nominated for, the Orange Prize for Fiction. It’s a lot of fun, and the best part is, it takes place again in July. There’s a lot of book chat happening in the LibraryThing and Facebook groups, and some fabulous giveaways from Jill at The Magic Lasso. Back in July, I introduced my Orange mascot, Pumpkin, who returns this month, as feisty as ever. I’m not sure how much he’ll have to say, but he likes to climb on the furniture to pose with stacks of books. I mentioned my reading plans back in December, but Pumpkin insists we do it again. From bottom to top, the books pictured are:
- Beyond Black (2006), by the author of Wolf Hall, which I loved.
- Oryx and Crake (2004), because I have this one on my shelves.
- Fault Lines (2008), and
- Lullabies for Little Criminals (2008), which will complete my reading of the 2008 shortlist.
I’ve already completed my first book, Beyond Black. Notice I said “completed,” not “finished,” because I couldn’t finish it. The plot sounded intriguing, but the story was just too rambling, the conflict took forever to develop, and I was afraid it would take another forever to resolve. So: first book of 2012, first “DNF” (read my review). Sigh. On to Lullabies for Little Criminals, and I’ll have more to say about that next week.
The second reading event is the year-long Elizabeth Taylor Centenary, where the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group will be reading one of her novels each month. I wrote about this in December, too, but it never hurts to plug it again! Taylor’s debut novel, At Mrs. Lippincote’s, is our January book. I’ve read it, and am enjoying reconnecting with this book through other readers. And since I don’t have a Taylor novel to read, I’m reading a biography by Nicola Beauman, The Other Elizabeth Taylor. It’s fascinating to gain such insight into an author who was quite a private individual and didn’t leave much of a paper trail when she passed away. I’ve learned that one of the characters in At Mrs. Lippincote’s was based on a boy Taylor taught, and that Taylor’s involvement in the local communist party served as inspiration for community meetings in the novel. And there are other elements of the family’s life drawn from Taylor’s marriage.
We will read her second and third novels in February and March, respectively. Won’t you join us?