It’s been a cold month and I have been doing a lot of reading.
I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little Brown and Company, 2013). It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Never mind that it is overly long in some sections, the story is totally engaging. I had to pace myself, because I didn’t want my interest in the plot to overcome the enjoyment of the fine writing. Young Theodore Decker and his mother are at the Metropolitan Museum viewing an exhibit on Dutch masterworks, when a bomb explodes, killing his mother. Amid the confusion and shock, Theo talks to an old man who is dying; he gives Theo a signet ring. The boy, stunned and panicky, takes the famous painting by Carl Fabritius, and flees. But wait—I’ve seen that painting! The image is so real. And I remember that Fabritius himself was killed in an explosion. So from the very first, the layering of events begins. And that ring, where will it lead?
Now, I have only told you about the opening moments in the book. You have over 700 pages to read to find out what happens!
Other books you might enjoy:
The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth Van Arnim (Watchmaker Publishing, reprint 2012). I borrowed this book from the library as a follow-up to Enchanted April that I noted in last month’s blog. Would it be as witty? Yes! A young married woman keeps a journal describing her determination to spend summer days alone in her beautiful garden.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012). An out-of-work graphic designer takes a night job in an old bookstore on a side street in San Francisco. He notices that there are few customers, and the tall shelves hold mysterious tomes. He delves deeper into the bookstore’s secrets, stumbling onto an international literary cult. This is a story about old and new age books.
And Furthermore by Judi Dench (Macmillan, 2010). This is a delightful memoir by the renowned actress. She describes her early career, her loving marriage, and makes note of the many parts she has played in theaters and in cinema. She is a prankster, telling tales of practical jokes that she and friends dreamt up, on and off the stage. Right now I am in a Judi Dench mode, watching her movies and BBC series on Netflix.
Additional titles I read that may be of interest to you: The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver (Harper, 2013), Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama (St. Martin’s Press, 2012), and Country Girl: a Memoir by Edna O’Brien (Little Brown and Company, 2013).
*I’ve also been working on my watercolor skills, and, in an effort to think about sunshine and warmth, I include here a scene from my garden in May.