Reading by the fire

Over the weeks that are Christmas holidays when you have children at home, the hours stretch out as far as your legs under a blanket before the fire. This can be lovely or madness. Some years you count the minutes until the school bus pulls up in January, other years – like this one for me – you want the fire and the board games and the eggnog (yes, the eggnog) to keep coming. Especially if it means you get to read, and read I did.

I started the days by finishing up the second novel in Louise Penny’s Gamache series, Dead Cold. I’m new to the party that is Inspector Gamache but enjoying it, even if I’m reading it out of order. This one was all about snow and food and murder and ice and more food. Perfection.

Next I moved on to a new favourite – Terri Favro’s Sputnik’s Children. It was so, so good! It’s written by a Canadian author, its a little science fiction (if you love Dirk Gently, read this!) but not overpowering so don’t let that put you off!  It’s about family and a woman trying to figure things out, albeit it is tricky when she has no choice but to jump back and forth between timelines to save the universe from destruction. I loved it and my husband’s enjoying right now.

Then I started the first of my new books. My younger son had heard me talking about Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give and gave it to me for Christmas. It’s a tricky book to talk about without sounding out of touch and overly privileged. It’s a WOW book for sure that everyone should read it. It’s also being made into a movie. My older son bought me the best pillow ever, and I read all these books while cuddling up against it. They’re kind of the best – kids and books and pillows.

Other books I got for Christmas and can’t wait to read are The Power by Naomi Alderman and What is Going to Happen Next by Karen Hofmann, another Canadian author.

Right now I’ve dipped back into my summer stash and I’m reading Jennifer Egan’s (remember how much we LOVED A Visit from the Goon Squad!) Manhattan Beach. It is a historical novel set in New York during World War II. The protagonist, Anna, is sick of doing her part for the War by sitting in a room sewing with other women. She wants to dive in the harbour with the men and repair boats. She wants to find her father who abandoned her mother and severely handicapped sister. One night at a nightclub she meets a wealthy gangster who might be able to help her. It’s a fantastically researched and written story. There’s danger and intrigue and heartbreak and feminism. Wrap it up with a bow!

I’ll just finish it up, and then I’ll go back to my Christmas pile – too bad I’m out of eggnog.

-Sarah C.

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