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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2006 Reading Recap

Okay, considering my previous post on book addiction, it probably goes without saying that I read quite a bit. So I'm not gonna rehash everything I read, the Medieval and Renaissance texts or studies, the chick lit I read while on vacation, or the ones I've already forgotten I ever read. I'm also not gonna include the books that don't deserve their 15 seconds of fame. But here's a few folks might like to know about, as they're thinking about what books to grab while they're browsing the stores for holiday reading:

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
by Umberto Eco
In the book, an Italian bookseller wakes up in the hospital after a stroke, and he cannot remember anyone or anything from his past — but he can remember intimately everything he has ever read. He goes to the old family house, reading through everything he can find there, while slowly piecing together the mystery that surrounds certain parts of his past, which nobody else can tell him about. It's written as only Eco can, and illustrated with book covers, magazine covers, newspaper articles, etc. Geoffrey Brock's translation is absolutely brilliant, leaving just a few hints of French, German, Italian, Spanish, when appropriate. This is a literate, scrumptious read. I wish I hadn't read it yet, so I could read it for the first time.

Roaring Boys: Shakespeare's Rat Pack
by Judith Cook
This one, as the title implies, covers the heyday of Elizabethan theatre: Cook provides a wonderfully interwoven narrative of the lives of all the main players, the world of late 16th century London, how the people influenced each other, etc. She covers virtually all of the current knowledge about these guys, and provides the context. And yet, it feels like reading a novel almost — none of that dry, pretentious, important-sounding stuff. For those intimately familiar with the subject matter, it's a fun read; for those who aren't familiar, it's a fantastic introduction and explanation. I was thoroughly pleased with the book.

The Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse
This book consumed me — I could barely eat or sleep, I had to get to the end. There are two storylines intertwined in this book; that of Alice, on an archaeological dig in Southern France in 2005, and of Alaïs in the nearby medieval town of Carcassonne, in 1209. The women are connected somehow through a drawing of a labyrinth, which leads Alice on a quest to find out the secrets surrounding the Albigensian Crusades of 1209-1229; the first time the Catholic church sent crusaders to eradicate other Christians, on European soil. Chilling and thrilling, immaculately researched, yet at the same time a passionate and adventure-filled novel, I can't think of a better way to pass the time than this book. I can't wait to return to Carcassonne (near Toulouse, France), to see the places with different eyes.

Now, my loves, my eyes are closing, so you'll get more another day :)
Night, night!

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Blogger SzélsőFa said...

I will look for these books in stores. This Christmas I surprise myself with the book I loved as a teenager, but left at home in 1988 with my parents when entering university and felt the hiatus eversince...It's the One hundred years of solitude by G.G. Marquez...

December 21, 2006 4:57 AM  
Blogger Katja said...

J.K. Rowling has announced the title of the last HP-book:

December 21, 2006 5:07 PM  
Blogger Istanbultaye said...

the last harry potter book turned me off, but, i suppose i'll read the new one when it comes out, since i've read them all.

December 22, 2006 5:04 PM  

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