It's a grey day in Grey County. Snow's looking a bit sparse and sad. Temperature is above zero, so there's that. As anyone who knows me knows, I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions. On a personal level, I just like to do some ongoing assessing and tweaking. Gawd knows, we need to reflect more than once a year about how the old life is heading. At least I do.
One promise that I did commit to - and it's not a difficult one, really - is to read more fiction. Doesn't matter whether it's digital or paper, although I prefer the latter.
I'm convinced that reading something other than news (mostly depressing) or work-related stuff (necessary and interesting, but not as an exclusive literary diet) will actually make me better at my job and more imaginative in my life. There are a lot of fancy studies that back me up, but I've known this intuitively for, oh, 50 or so years. So there.
So today, here are three new books I got over the Christmas holidays:
Okay, the first one doesn't strictly apply to the argument above. But I could not resist getting and reading the biography of Michelle Obama. I usually don't go for the rah rah reviewed books, but I had seen her interviewed a number of times, and she's a cracker - smart, eloquent, funny. Plus she's my age. I wanted to know more.
While I'm only halfway through, it's delivering big time. From her humble beginnings on the south side of Chicago to the White House, Obama comes off as someone who's pretty clear-eyed about her ambition, the country, and its (and her) faults. But there's also the hope and optimism that she's had to maintain through quite a few trials and tribulations. Highly recommended.
I didn't even know that Ian Rankin had a new Rebus novel out, but when I saw it on the shelf, it just sort of automatically jumped into my hands and into the basket. That's what happens when you're a die-hard fan.
I ostensibly bought it for Rob, but really got it for both of us. He's already raced through it and yesterday, with a smile, a sigh and a flourish, closed it up. I can always tell when the book has been a good one - cause he makes a (small) deal out of snapping it shut.
This one's apparently about a case Rebus worked on back in the day. It's been re-opened and there are nefarious bits that need to be checked out.
Now that his protege Siobhan (pronounced Shivon - gotta love Gaelic) is a lead investigator, things could get a little dicey, if not deadly. Also, the setting is in Edinburgh...a favourite city and one that Rankin incorporates almost as a character. So what could be better? This is book 24 of the series, and I've read all of the previous novels. Can't wait to read this one.
Finally, I bought the new Louise Penny, again for Rob, but really for we two.
She's consistently solid in the way she weaves together the plot lines in Inspector Gamache's adventures. Somehow, she usually manages to tell a grippingly good murder mystery while providing an incisive perspective on what's happening in the world.
Top that off by having strongly-drawn characters like Gamache, his wife Reine, and the many quirky characters of the small Quebec village of Three Pines - including a cranky elderly poet named Ruth Zardo and her pet duck Rose.
Another one I can't wait to delve into.
I hope I've given some of you some ideas for your own reading list. Until next week.