If you are a true Bibliophile than you know that oftentimes you buy books before you’ve finished the ones you already have. It’s really a sickness. Next to my bed I have a stool where I pile all my “to read” books. It gets higher and higher and yet I keep going to the library, and the bookstore to get more. This doesn’t even include the number of library books and Amazon.com books on my Kindle. I do tend to read multiple books at the same time, which some people cannot do. I tend to read different geners at the same time and this helps me from getting confused. Anyway, I knew I wanted to write something today, but I also really wanted to keep reading my book so I decided to make this one short and give you a brief overview of the books that are on my “to read” stool.
Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance by Jean Zimmerman: In my last entry I recommended the podcast The History Chicks. Listening to their episode about Mrs. Astor, and the Gilded Age got me interested in that time period, and books about it. If you don’t know, The Gilded Age refers to the time post The Civil War up to the beginning of the twentieth century. It was a time of extreme wealth especially in New York City which became the center of the social universe in the United States. Grand parties, extravagant dresses, and enormous houses were the rage of the day. Many American women who had lots of money, but not titles, made their way over to England to marry nobleman who had titles, but no wealth to back up their vast estates. It’s a fascinating time in history. If you watch the show Downton Abbey, the mother of the family, Cora, would have grown up in the Gilded Age. This book focuses on one couple in particular during The Gilded Age; Edith Minturn (called Edie) and Isaac Newton Phelps. What makes them fascinating is the deep love they had for each other (not something that many other couples during this time had unfortunately) as well as their using their vast wealth to help New York City’s poor and helpless. I’m only a few chapters in but really enjoying it so far. I really love Edie as a strong woman in history. She knew what she wanted and went after it! Also the link I included is only for the e-book. It doesn’t appear to be in paperback yet. I got this from my library.
The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber: This a true crime non fiction book so if that isn’t your cup of tea, skip on to the next book. This book is about a male nurse named Charles Cullen who was arrested in 2003 and is believed to have murdered as many as 300 patients while working for decades as a nurse in various hospitals around Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Lest you think he was some sort of “Angel of Death” only killing those who were suffering and close to death themselves, he was not. He is clearly a sociopath who feels nothing for the people he killed. What is the scariest part of this book is not Charles Cullen. Rather it is the various medical institutions who say many clear and obvious warning signs and yet did nothing to stop this man’s career. The subject matter is difficult, but the style of writing makes for very easy reading. I wouldn’t say I’m enjoying this book (I’m not a weirdo), but I am finding it very interesting. This is another book only available for purchase in hardcover and e-book form, though my library had it in both.
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson: I’ve read many other books by Billy Bryson so I’m looking forward to reading this one. The jacket of this book says that Bryson set out to write “a history of the world without leaving home”. Each chapter is labeled a different room in the typical house and goes through what is found in each room and how that relates to world history. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m sure I will love it!
America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins: I’m always interested in books about women. Women in America history holds a special fascination. This book is huge so I’m sure I’ll take awhile to work my way through it. (And read several other books at the same time to break up the intensity of this one.) Gail Collins wrote another book about the struggle for women’s rights in America that I really enjoyed, so I expect to enjoy this one as well
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer: My love of Jane Austen led me to Georgette Heyer. She was an extremely prolific writer who penned books primarily set in the Regency Period of England. She is credited with starting a genre, the Regency Romance. Her books are full of exact detail about the time period. She can be hard to read at first but once you get used to her writing it’s easier and easier. I say that she’s like Jane Austen if Austen wrote from her male characters’ point of view. If you haven’t read any Heyer yet I would recommend the book Black Sheep as it’s light and an easy introduction to her style of writing. I bought this book awhile ago but still haven’t gotten around to starting it even though I know I’ll love it. Curse of the bibliophile.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: I saw the anime movie of the same name done by Hayao Miyazaki and loved it. I’ve heard the book is very different but also very good. This would probably be considered a young adult or children’s book, but I hate putting books in genre boxes if that means it’s going to stop people from reading them. This is on my Kindle so I’m sure I’ll get around to reading this one day when I’m on a plane to visit my sister.
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure: I’ve read a few chapters of this memoir and loved what I read so far. After the death of her mother the author sets out on a literal and emotional journey to figure out why the Little House books meant so much to her as a child. As I said the bit I’ve read so far is lovely. Can’t wait to read the rest!
So those are just some of the books on my “to read” shelf. What are some books you’ve read lately that you would recommend? I’m always looking for more books to make the stack next to my bed bigger and bigger!