December was a month filled with family, friends, festivities, and fruitcake! We had a wonderful 'adults only' Christmas party at our house where we enjoyed food, laughter, and (some very creative) cocktails. We also hosted Christmas at our house again this year, where we had family come in from near and afar. Our kids had a joyous Christmas. And, of course, we ate way too much! With regards to work, in December I found myself in Alabama and South Carolina.
It was also a wonderful month of reading, where I read 6 books from Shikibu, Moore, Drnaso, Peterkin, and 2 from Updike.
Before we get to the books, here is the photo we used for our Christmas card this year.
Now on to the books...
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
Tuttle Paperback Edition
How do you critique and review the first novel ever written, over 1,000 years ago? It's a struggle...yet so was reading this book. Mostly boring and just did not hold my attention. Absolutely have to give credit to Shikibu for writing something so unique for it's time and a piece that has been emulated in countless other works. The novel itself is about a young prince named Genji who has many affairs and perhaps actually falls in love. Glad I read it, but meh.
Noir by Christopher Moore
Signed First Printing
I had the privilege of meeting Christopher Moore at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon this past April, where I picked up his latest novel and got him to sign it for me. If you ever have a chance to attend one of Moore's events, please do!
I thoroughly enjoyed Noir. It is a tad different from his other fantastical quirky novels. Taking place in the heart of noir classics, 1947 San Francisco, we follow Sammy 'Two Toes' on a rollicking adventure which includes dames, Men in Black, comical bar patrons, crimes, secret clubs, and a deadly snake. So fun!
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
Well, I truly was shocked by this novel. I have only read about a handful of graphic novels, therefore I was not going into this one with the highest of expectations; although it was the first graphic novel to be long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The subtle artistry and theme, the simplistic drawings and dialogue make this novel so impactful and rich.
The title character has gone missing, which causes her boyfriend, Teddy (who is barely holding it together) to move in with our protagonist, Calvin, a U.S. Airman who is dealing with his own domestic issues. Events only escalate, escalate into a world of conspiracies and fake-news craziness. A wild ride you don't want to end. Highly recommend, especially if you are living in America today!
A Plantation Christmas by Julia Peterkin
Signed First Printing
Julia Peterkin won the Pulitzer for Scarlet Sister Mary. I have not read it yet, but I am glad I read her Christmas novella. A short read of about 26 pages. A throwback to how Christmas was once celebrated in the South with gayety and fun for all. Beautiful descriptions of food and wonderful festivities and fellowship gatherings. If you are losing your Christmas spirit, give yourself a pick-up with this lil' gem.
Midpoint by John Updike
I typically end the year with poetry. Nearly half-way through Updike's poetry collection, this was one of my favorites. Written when he was around 35 years old ('midpoint' in his life). You will find a great collection of poems, mostly seductive and sometimes downright raunchy. It is Updike, after all.
My favorite was "Midpoint" which is a a 5 part poem, each part very different.
A must for your poetry collection!
Tossing And Turning by John Updike
Last book of the year, more poetry by Updike. I just love Updike's creativeness and whimsical prose. This collection varies in style and material. You can almost witness a coming-of-age with regards to each poem within this collection.
"Apologies To Harvard", "Business Acquaintances", and "Marching Through A Novel".
What are you currently reading?
Anything you recommend?
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