Midweek @ Musings: Up next on my TBR pile …

For the past week I’ve been reading the “third movement” of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, and have enjoyed every minute and every page.  I’m now approaching the conclusion and while I’ll be sad to leave Nick Jenkins and the varied cast of characters in this series, I need a break before reading the fourth (and last) movement.  Each time a new month rolls around, I like to create a little stack of books I’m hoping to read.  I keep them on my desk and derive a strange sense of satisfaction as the stack gets shorter.  Last night I created my “February stack”:

The current plan is to start at the top and work my way down, which led me to an interesting coincidence:  the first three books are all inspired by my good friend Tui!  So let’s take a closer look, shall we?

  • Dissolution, by C.J. Sansom:  set in Tudor England, this is the first in the “Matthew Shardlake” mystery series. I don’t read many mysteries, and am very selective about taking on new series.  But Tui zipped through this series in record time, and raved about it on LibraryThing.  I just had to check it out (oh, and I’m confident enough to have acquired the second book already!)
  • Emma, by Jane Austen:  Tui mentioned likes to re-read at least one Austen every year, which is such a great idea.  I began the 6-year re-read cycle last year with Pride and Prejudice, and decided to continue in the order I first read Austen’s books.  This led me to Emma for 2012.  The red book pictured above is actually my Kindle (hooray for free classics on Kindle!)
  • The Stone Angel, by Margaret Laurence:  I picked this up recently in a one-day sale at Betterworld Books.  It was a complete impulse buy; I knew nothing about it except that it was a Virago I didn’t have in my collection yet.  Imagine my surprise when I learned Laurence is one of Tui’s favorite authors, and she even has a personal connection to her from her university days!  Well that was all I needed to put it at the top of my Virago reading queue.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan: this isn’t the oldest book on my stacks, but it’s close.  I picked it up in a used book sale three years ago, not long after I became vegetarian.  It’s also on my reading list for the Nonfiction Challenge.  Why haven’t I read this yet?
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See: I acquired this one in the same used book sale.  At the time I’d read a fair amount of buzz about it.  Again I have to ask myself, why haven’t I read it yet?

Since February is a short month, this stack may be a little optimistic but we’ll see how it goes.  Anything I don’t finish will end up on the March stack!

Oh, and did anyone notice the yarn next to the book stack?  That’s my latest hobby (not yet an obsession, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility …).  My daughter and I recently learned to knit at Stillwater Fibers, a local yarn shop.  Four 2-hour sessions later and I’m working on my first project: a scarf for my dear hubby (the very least I could do after all the fine furniture he’s built for our home).  I love the feel of the yarn and the variegated colors.  I’ve found I enjoy knitting while watching television — for some reason I have a hard time just sitting still, and like to be occupied!

I’d love to hear about your February reading … and knitting, if that’s your thing.  Please leave a comment!

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19 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: Up next on my TBR pile …

  1. As Pooh would say, “I’ve come over all funny” at being mentioned in your blog, Laura. It’s like having the teacher say “and the very best essay assignment was by Tui” in grade 4. One’s face gets quite pink! I do hope you like them–well, I know you’ll love Emma! But especially Margaret Laurence. Of anyone I know, I think you are up for Hagar Shipley!

  2. Good grief, I have no Margaret Laurence in my catalog. Must remedy that soon! I, too, have a monthly pile of proposed reading. I rarely get through a month without veering wildly from it, though.

    • Linda, I find it easy to stick with a monthly stack but any time period longer than that, and I feel boxed in and have to mix it up. I hope you find a Margaret Laurence soon!

    • raidergirl, I like asparagus better than broccoli, too 🙂 And believe it or not, when I read your review just now I remembered reading the original. I can’t say why I didn’t read the book sooner though!

  3. Congratulations to you and your daughter on learning how to knit! And after seeing how talented your husband is with woodworking tools I would definitely say that scarf is well deserved.

  4. I actually make an imaginary stack like you do, I rather like the idea of taking the books out and looking at them throughout the month (though I must admit I always end up reading at least one random pick-of-the-moment book a month). I may copy you! I especially look forward to your thoughts on The Omnivore Dilemma. I still haven’t read it myself.

    • Iris, I used to have an imaginary stack but then I kept forgetting what was on it! Now I rather like glancing at my stack each time I wander by the desk …

  5. I loved all of these books, except I haven’t read The Stone Angel. I’ve read others in the Shardlake series. Very entertaining. The Omnivore’s Dilemma changed the way I eat. I’ve already read all Jane Austen’s other books, and I keep wishing I had time for the rest of Lisa See’s. I would definitley recommend finishing them, even if you have to go into March!

  6. The Stone Angel is one of my ATF (all-time-faves) and ML is one of my MRE authors. I waited a long time to watch the film, because I was sure they couldn’t “do it justice” but, as Tui says above, it’s really well done. Oh, Hagar… *sigh* Now I want to re-read.

    Good luck with your February stack…do you usually wait until the month has started, to keep a barometer on your reading mood?

    • BIP, I had no idea — at least not in my conscious memory — that ML was an MRE author for you! Maybe that fact was lodged somewhere in my subconscious and is what prompted me to buy the book during my recent very naughty Awesomebooks/Betterworld binge. Glad to see another ringing endorsement!

      And as for my monthly stack … once upon a time when I did a lot of reading challenges, my reading was actually planned several months in advance. It took a lot of effort to stop reading ahead of myself (a phrase I believe I stole from you, see what a positive influence you are?). Nowadays I create my reading list the last week of the month, and the stack follows shortly thereafter.

      • I’m almost certain that you will really enjoy ML’s books, especially this one. Although I do think it’s even better on a second read, because there’s an understanding that you don’t really have until the end that makes you feel a little differently about things. Character-soaked stories: what’s not to love.

        Reading ahead of myself perfectly describes my current state. It’s not my fault this time, but it’s definitely my dilemma. No matter, the pages will turn! I should take a leaf from your book though…

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