I am four weeks out from my Total Knee Replacement, and I am starting to regain my strength and my energy. Even though I love to read, the first couple of weeks I was too easily distracted and had trouble remembering plotlines and characters, but now that I am off all pain medication, I have dived right back into this pastime that has afforded me the opportunity to satisfy my hunger for knowledge while exploring and travelling to worlds unknown. The challenge for me has always been finding enough good literature. Here is a link to my last updated Booklist of Favorites (http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5825185899033315719#editor/target=post;postID=3916534244983086065), and below are some new acquaintances I am happy to recommend.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Magical, evocative and intriguing. I thought about the novel long after I closed the last pages of the book. Set in the 1920's, this poignant tale counterbalances the mystery of a Russian fairy tale against the backdrop of the harsh and unforgiving landscape of Alaska, yet is filled with touches of clarity and beauty that are startling. I fell in love with the landscape of winter as seen through this author's eyes. As a debut novel, this gem ranks high on my list, and rest assured, I will be waiting with anticipation for the next superb work from Eowyn Ivey.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. As Nashvillians, we have a particular affinity for Patchett. She lives among us and is frequently to be seen about town for those who would recognize this lovely and unassuming woman. In addition to being an author of note, in our midst her most recent fame has come as a result of the opening of a small independent bookstore, Parnassus, of which she is the co-owner. I have read nearly everything that Patchett has written and until State of Wonder, my favorite novel by far was her first, Patron Saint of Liars, followed by Run; however, State of Wonder has vaulted itself to the top of the heap over the her six previous novels. I cannot say enough about this book. It surprised me at many turns. With but a few questionable and predictable plot turns, it was a book that I would happily rank among my top 100 (and for me, that is saying a great deal). This is a story that encompasses the multivarious aspects of journey from beginning to end: metaphorical as well as physical. And while Patchett ever so gently raises questions about Western civilization and the tribal culture, she stops short of the indictment we are expecting to encounter. There is great food for thought here and an opportunity for a good discussion for many a book club.
Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Another debut novel. Another author to watch. My friends loved this book and recommended it highly to me. I found it charming, engaging and captivating. The protagonist Victoria stealthily wormed her way into my heart with her story of loss, suffering, and betrayal. I found myself rooting for her and celebrating each cathartic change that came her way. This was another book that kept me reading into the wee hours of the night.