I do not know what happened. Normally I have no trouble reading. At all. One book per month should be a piece of cake for me but for some strange reason, the reading, and the posting of the reading, did not really come to fruition.
I partially blame Frances Mayes’ Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life. It took me forever to read it. Almost four months! Why? Not because it was a huge book – only 306 pages! Not because I was too busy. It was just soooo tedious. I cannot tell you how much it pains me to even write that. I absolutely adored her first two: Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. They were scrumptious. Like the other two, this book also had lovely recipes (yay!) and there were moments of pure enjoyment – especially when she wrote about life in general at Bramasole, living in Tuscany and visiting the various regions of Italy. What bored me to tears were the endless descriptions of churches visited and everything Luca Signorelli. Mayes is obsessed with Signorelli. I don’t know. Maybe it was just me and my personal mood. But I don’t think so. I was about to make my review in Goodreads and saw that I was not the only one who felt this way.
I love to encourage my fellow bloggers, real writers, so whenever they post a book they’ve written, I up and buy it. This was the case with C.E. Ayr’s, Medville Matters, Sound Bite Fiction. C.E. is a fellow Friday Fictioneer and an expert at short stories (100-200 words long) with a whiplash-inducing twist you never see coming. I chose to read two or three stories per night, trying to stretch it out. Besides, only so many “stings in the tail”, as the excerpt on Goodreads states, one can take in one sitting!
Another fellow blogger, Carol Ann Preibis has written the book Living a Good Life, Live a Meaningful, Happy, and Fulfilling Life. I am still reading this one as it is more of an eGuide, textbook-like book, to me, than a novel. It is to be read in sections, pondered over, reflected on. There are many links to articles and videos so you get much more than you think. It is not what I would call light reading but it has many fascinating sections with a lot of advice on how to live your good life. Not the type of book I normally pick up but when Carol asked me to read it, I agreed. I’ve not regretted it.
I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things. So NOT Eat, Pray Love! This was a novel about botany, love, adventure and success. It starts off with Henry Whittaker, a British-born poor but very smart man who understands plants like no one else. He becomes the self-made richest man in Philadelphia through the quinine trade. He eventually has a brilliant daughter, named Alma, who not only inherited his looks (poor dear) but also his brains. She becomes a brilliant botanist herself, specialising in mosses and theorising on evolution. Her story brings her all the way from Philadelphia to Tahiti and to the Netherlands. Only at the age of 82, when pointed out by another scientist does she realise just how extraordinary her life has been. Gilbert must have done tons and tons of research for this book and what could have been pedantic and dry, ended up being a wonderful read.
I felt the need to keep 2015 into one place and will be back soon with my first Year in Books post for 2016!