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What I've Been ReadingJanuary 15, 2012

Oooh, I've been reading a lot lately. Isn't it odd how urges take us over for certain periods of time? For weeks, I'll crave new music, and I'll buy and download everything I can get my hands on. I'll binge on music blogs, throwing songs into my iTunes as fast as it can gobble them. Or I'll spend weeks dreaming about lace, fantasizing about watching the patterns grow (who knew THAT would ever happen? Sheesh). Or I'll spin and knit and spin and knit until I can clothe the whole household, right down to tiny Miss Idaho.

I'm always reading, but lately I've been tearing through books like the Great Book Famine is coming. (It's not, by the way. There is SO much good stuff out there that even that whole pesky Mayan apocalypse thing won't get in the way.) I like to tell you about the books I LOVE (not the ones I merely like -- who has the time for that?), so here you go.

1. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle. Of course, I read this approximately one billionty times when I was a kid (I read all of them, over and over again. I wrote a fan letter to ML'E, and SHE WROTE BACK.) But I reread this because I wanted to read the second book on this list and everyone said to brush up on Wrinkle before I did. And I'm so glad I did. It was wonderful, falling back into the book, and I was Meg, all over again.

2. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead. This is the story of a girl finding out what friendship means while figuring out the very nature of time (I thought figuring out the time between bells at high school was bad enough). The novel repeatedly references A Wrinkle In Time -- the main character loves the book as much as I did when I was her age, and there was something so endearing about that, the way her book was tattered as much as mine was. I'm not surprised this won the Newberry in 2010. (How lovely that must be, to follow in L'Engle's footsteps like that. Can you imagine? Loving a book that much, and being able to honor it that way? Oh, it gives me goosebumps.)  Also, it was fun reading a book set when I was growing up -- it was so firmly grounded in that time period I could almost smell the plastic on the unicorn decals.

3. Learning to Swim, Sara J. Henry. I'm not quite finished with this, but I'm adoring it. Premise (without spoilers -- this all happens within the first few pages): The main character witnesses a little boy tossed off the end of a ferry. Learntoswim
She swims to save him, and then tries to figure out who would throw away a child. Henry writes so well, and I'm almost done and I haven't yet figured out how it will end. Delicious.

(Thanks to all of you who suggested books HERE, and feel free to leave me more suggestions for your most recent favorite.)

* Amazon links for convenience -- feel free to email your local indie bookstore, though! They'll even mail them to you, just like Amazon does!


I've never read "A Wrinkle in Time" but I remember enjoying "When You Reach Me" back in 2010. Unfortunately, all I remember is the cover and the good feeling; plots of books seem to leave me about a month after I read them.

I love all three of the books on your list. I felt the same way about Wrinkle when I was a kid, though none of her other books ever hit me in quite the same way. That one, though, I read over and over and over. I read "When you Reach Me" last year and was enchanted, and of course, I adore "Learning to Swim" and even interviewed Sara on my blog on her blog tour last year. Can't wait to hear what you think of the ending!

Too funny as I just reread A WRINKLE IN TIME - what a magical book. Thanks for the nod, and hope you enjoy the last few chapters of LEARNING TO SWIM! PS - there's a sequel.

I was completely obsessed with Nick Harkaway's The Gone Away World when I read it a few months ago. Completely. Now I'm on tenterhooks waiting for his new one, Angelmaker, to be released next month. He's just published a short story plus first chapter of Angelmaker, so you can sample...

(And, I've never read Wrinkle in Time, though everyone I know raves about it. I very much want to catch up on that and a whole heap of other reading, but am too busy knitting... and, y'know, child tending stuff. But free time is all knitting. I tell you, if I only had an iPad, maybe I could sort that out...) (I don't do audiobooks.)

I just finished "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" series. I really wasn't interested until I got to talking to a neighbor who said she loved it. So, I ended up reading them and got totally hooked. But, by the 3rd book it had so many characters it sometimes frustrated me. Still, I liked the series overall. Now I'm reading, "Wesley the Owl" which is a true story about a woman (who worked at the Caltech owl lab) who had Wesley live with her for 19 years. It is a fascinating read.

The kid & I loved "When you Reach Me" and then she promptly reached for "Wrinkle" (which I'd been trying to get her to read but she wouldn't because her mom was telling her to). Good read!

Amazon is letting me read far more than just the first chapter of Learning to Swim and, boy, am I glad! Such an immediately engrossing tale. And so heartbreaking. Thanks for the lead on this one.

Your brief story line of Learning to Swim has peaked my interest ... off to the library to reserve my copy.

Love love LOVE "A Wrinkle in Time." My other favorite childhood book was "A Tree for Peter" by Kate Seredy (actually, ALL of her books are lovely). She illustrates them, too, but that one has a beautiful, sensitive, detailed pen-and-ink drawing facing EVERY PAGE! It's a true work of art. I keep it in my safe deposit box and re-read it every once in a while -- I find something new each time.

Thank you, I think! Just finished the book I was reading and now instead of reading any of the dozen sitting on my desk I have teh urge to run upstairs (I worki n a library) and grab Learning to Swim off the new book shelf.

The first two books in Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Trilogy are fabulous -- The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. I don't know how I'm going to wait for the last one. It was a lot of years between books one and two. I think I'll be doing a lot of re-reading while waiting...

I love A Wrinkle in Time. I still have a copy and I think it may be time to read it again.

did you ever get around to reading "the passion" by jeanetter winterson? It has a gorgeous red head, and Venice and a deep love between 2 women. it also has Napolean and Russian and a secret and a life changing wager.


Thanks for your recommendations! I'm in the midst of "Learning to Swim" and am loving it.

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