Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This Time 10 years ago ...

Simon at Stuck-in-a-Book posted earlier this year on books he had read “On this day …” where he listed books he had read on a particular day in the year going back several years – in his case on 28 September. I haven’t kept such accurate records as Simon, but as I found a notebook listing books I read in 1997 I thought I’d look back to see what books I was reading in December in 1997, 2002, 2006 and this December. I didn’t record the precise dates and have just picked one book out of the books I read in December during those years.

December 1997 – Homeland and other stories by Barbara Kingsolver. I made just a brief note at the time “v. readable”. This is a book of short stories and I have to admit that at a distance of ten years I can’t remember much about them. So, I’ll just quote from the back cover:

“Extraordinarily fine. Barbara Kingsolver has a Chekovian tenderness towards her characters … The title story is pure poetry.” New York Times Book Review.

December 2002 – Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein. I first read the books when I was at Library School – everyone on my course was reading them. I’ve read them several times since then and this time I read them again, prompted by the films. The films compared quite favourably with the books, although I think the Ents didn’t live up to my expectations. Ian McKellen as Gandalf was just perfect.

December 2006 – Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I have read several Atwood books and I think this one is one of her best. It’s based on the true story of the murder of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper in Canada in 1843. Grace and fellow servant James are found guilty of the murders. James was hanged and Grace imprisoned for life. The question, never answered to my satisfaction, all through the book is, was Grace guilty?

December 2007 – All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West. I haven’t read any other books by Sackville-West and was pleased to find it most enjoyable with an awful lot packed into what seems on the face of it to be a novel where not much happens. It’s a novel of opposites. For example old age and youth are contrasted in looking back over the life of Lady Slane, widowed at the age of 88. I’ll be writing about this in more detail, after 15 December, as it’s the chosen book for Cornflower’s book group.

3 comments:

Sam said...

Wow - I couldn't even say what books I bought ten years ago, let alone what I read!! All I know is that I own and have read tooooo many books!

Danielle said...

I wonder how far back my little notebook goes--I only keep track of books I finish and the date. I do wish now I would have kept a better record of what I thought of the books as well. What I hate is looking at a title and not remembering what it was even about!!

Tara said...

I really enjoyed Alias Grace as well. I've read it twice and think I could happily read it again. Sadly, My records only go back to 2001 or 2002. Hmmm, in 1997 I was dating my husband and working full time so while I'm sure I was reading it certainly wasn't as much as now.