The TBR pile
I like receiving books as gifts, and the holiday season was a bounty of books which I am excited to share as good reads to start the year.
New to me doesn’t necessarily mean newly published and my first pick off the stack was CROSSINGS by Alex Landragin. Published in 2020, I had a vague memory of hearing good things, but then ‘lost the plot’ as my British friends say, meaning that I lost the thread of that thought. (There were many threads of thought lost in 2020 so I’m not apologizing.)
I am a quarter of the way in to Landragin’s novel and it is remarkable. I’ll quote Kirkus Reviews since they’ve summed it up as well as can be: Romance, mystery, history, and magical invention dance across centuries . . . ” CROSSINGS starts with murder, and jumps from there into historical fantasy, all beautifully written. Perfect for a cold winter night. Actually perfect for all weather and any time of day.
Among the others in my TBR pile are long anticipated favorites. I have eagerly awaited GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, the ninth book in Diana Gabaldon‘s historical fantasy series. Another long time favorite is Ken Follett, this time with NEVER, a modern-day political thriller. (If you’ve never read THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, call in sick and read it. It is one of my all time favorite books. A masterpiece of story and character which is now part of a trilogy – more reading!)
Counterpoints to old favorites is new favorite Richard Osmon, and THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE, the follow up to THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB. Set in a retirement community I’ll call it a modern cozy. Or maybe cozy plus. Hopefully it will bear the hallmark of his first book, charm balanced by a firm acceptance of the realities of the end of life.
John LeCarre‘s book SILVERVIEW was published posthumously and I want to read it right away and at the same time will wait since it will be the last of his books. During the pandemic I reread his Smiley books, pleased to find they hadn’t lost any of their wit, nor any of his exquisite use of language and immaculate plotting.
Two of my choices are historical fiction. THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE by Stephanie Dray promises drama in three periods – 1774, 1914 and 1940 – all tied together by an historical chateau in the heart of France. The second historical is by one of my favorite authors, Deanna Raybourn. Her heroine Veronica Speedwell is smart and ahead of her time, in an historical accurate way. I can’t wait to read AN UNEXPECTED PERIL.
A good thrill
FINALY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT by Elle Cosimano has been in my sights since I first saw the cover many months ago. It was called one of the most anticipated books of winter 2021 by Parade, Crimereads, and Goodreads. Another in the mystery genre is Paula Hawkins‘s A SLOW FIRE BURNING. Since she shot to fame with THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN I’ve been a fan of her brand of thrill.
On the non fiction side, I have ENDPAPERS by Alexander Wolff. It is the story of his grandfather, a renowned publisher forced to flee Germany during the Second World War. I’ve rounded off this part of the list with THE LIBRARY by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen. It is the history of . . . the library. Let’s just say that they had me at library.
I’ll wrap up my list with Anthony Doerr‘s CLOUD CUCKOO LAND, the follow up to his Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. I’m tempted to leave this one until last and reread the earlier book first as a dive back into his world.
My husband thinks this stack of books will take me a few days to swim through. He’s mostly joking, but I intend to stick to my list and ignore the other unread volumes calling my name from the bookshelves (and floor and table tops).