Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Looking Forward

I just returned from a family visit with plenty of new recommendations and a few lenders from my bookish sisters-in-law. On my wretched journey home (during which my flights were canceled and rescheduled multiple times over the course of several days in multiple airports), I finished reading the fourth Otori book, The Harsh Cry of the Heron. It was a rather depressing conclusion to an ingenious series, but still very much worth the read. A prequel is rumored to be published soon.

With holiday activity winding down and some bookstore gift cards in wallet, I’ve got the makings of a list for my greedy reader’s eyes. Here are some things I’m looking forward to reading this year:

  1. Harry Potter Book 7. It goes without saying that I’ll have to set aside two days in July to do nothing but read. Hopefully I won’t cry as pathetically as I did for Book 6.
  2. Lady Friday, the latest in the Keys to the Kingdom series by G. Nix. It’s nearly as good as his Abhorsen series (intended for older readers) and abounds in Catholic imagery.
  3. Dante’s Purgatorio and Paradiso. After Ickie had a graduate course on The Divine Comedy and came home sharing bits with the envious me, I read Inferno. It’s a fascinating look into the medieval mind, and I have been intending to read the other two. I’m not a fan of epic poetry, but a good translation makes it very accessible.
  4. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, The Grand Tour, and The Mislaid Magician by P. Wrede and C. Stevermer. Okay, if you don’t want to read a book featuring an enchanted chocolate pot, you are dead to me. I’m currently reading the first, formatted as correspondence between “two young ladies of quality.” It’s Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. I’ve lifted a new favorite phrase from it: “It was the outside of enough!”
  5. Never Let Me Go by K. Ishiguro. By the author of The Remains of the Day, this features a dystopian boarding school in England. I’m afraid it’ll be a bit sad, which is the only reason I haven’t read it yet.
  6. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by M. Pessl. The reviews are great and the chapters are formatted like the syllabus for a literature class.
  7. The Audrey Maturin series by P. O’Brian. Blakbuzzrd is giving me a guilt trip for praising Hornblower, not yet having read these.
  8. More by Wodehouse—oh, always more by Wodehouse. When life is not going right, there’s nothing like Wodehouse to make it all seem funny and unimportant.

Now if only Jasper Fforde was releasing a new Thursday Next novel this year….


Kevin said...

If I might make a recommendation for a Dante translation, John Ciardi's is quite good--and also contains very helpful notes, as well as good introductions to the three sections. This is the version that I used in my course this past term.

LWB said...

Hi Beth, it's Laurie - Shel's little sis. I am enjoying your blog for all its reading recs! In fact, 2 of the books I got for Christmas came from ones you mentioned in recent blog posts (Daisy May and the Father Christmas Letters). I will continue to read your blog so I can always have a good book on hand to read!! (I'm not as "in the know" or as widely read as you and Shel, so I'm dependent upon people like you to help keep me informed!!)

Watoosa said...

Kevin, thanks for the Dante rec. You are the resident Divine Comedy expert!
Fashion Kitty, I love that you are visiting my blog! I think you'll really really enjoy Daisy May and The F.C. Letters. I love the bit in Daisy May when it describes how her mom's eyebrows were singed off by a gas stove, and she always draws them on in big arches so that people LOVE talking to her because she always looks SO INTERESTED in everything they are saying! And the final F.C. letter always makes me cry a little bit--in a good way.

Ickenham said...

The Ciardi version is the one we have. One great thing about it is that he preserves the metrical structure and a rhyme scheme (although not the original one). I think I've heard good things about D. Sayers' version, too.

Kevin said...

There's also a great Dante resource that you may enjoy as you read found here with some helpful notes and interesting multimedia.