Sunday 1 January 2017

First post for 2017...

On this bright, sunny, crisp morning, the first of the new year, I am enjoying a homemade brunch-style breakfast, nibbling at cheese and oatmeal and banana bread, sipping juice and a delicious mocha cappuccino beverage, and of course, enjoying a steaming cup of steeped chai.  

I realized that, along with my usual blog post about the book I read last week, this is also the time when I recap my year in books.  First I’ll start with my thoughts about a recently published novel by Canadian author Kate Taylor, Serial Monogamy, which tells the story of Sharon Soleymani, an author of popular novels, mother of twins, and wife to English professor Al.  Early in the novel, Al tells Sharon that he has been having an affair with one of his grad students, and he decides to move out.  Then Sharon is diagnosed with breast cancer, and he returns to the family home to help take care of the girls during her treatment.  Once her treatment is completed, she is approached by a newspaper to write a serialized novel to celebrate Charles Dickens’ bicentenary.  She focuses her writing on the relationship between Dickens and actress Nelly Ternan, exploring how the much-younger Nelly may have coped with having a clandestine relationship with the popular, much-loved and very married author and father of nine.  I won’t give away the ending, but I loved this book!  Major themes include marriage and motherhood, writing, infidelity, love, loss and redemption, and Taylor employs some clever writing techniques that certainly kept this reader interested in each “installment” to find out what happens next.  The writing was solid and very accessible, and the parallel stories were detailed enough to provide sufficient depth to give a full picture of each relationship.  I would give this literary novel an 8 out of 10, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary domestic fiction.

And now my recap of 2016:  I read 56 books and listened to 20 audiobooks.  My favourites were:

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Black Apple by Joan Crate
Bad Mother by Margeurite Andersen
From a Good Home:  a St John’s Family Saga by Trudi Johnson
Serial Monogamy by Kate Taylor

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
March Violets by Philip Kerr
Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon
Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah

WOW, that’s not very many favourites… I guess it hasn’t been a stellar year of reading (or listening) for me.  I’m happy to see that most of my favourite books are by Canadian writers except the Kate Atkinson novel - Way to go, Canada!

That’s all for today.  I'm going to have a bit more breakfast, then get outside and go for a long walk in the sunshine.  Happy New Year!!

Bye for now…

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