What We're Reading - Part II

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And now it’s Gina’s turn to discuss her bedside reading pile.

Having just finished rereading Pride & Prejudice for my book club, I eagerly await our next choices, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and Master Pip by Lloyd Jones. I don’t know much about any, so upon looking them up, I see that the first is a young adult novel set in Nazi Germany, the second is about a Nigerian orphan and a British couple, and the third is a New Zealand coming-of-age story. All come highly recommended. One of the best things about a book club for me is reading things I wouldn't have thought to choose on my own.

Middlemarch by George Eliot also sits upon the stack, a recommendation from a book club friend. I’m always a sucker for a classic and can’t believe I’ve never read this one. I’ve read lots of Jane Austen and Henry James - clearly it’s time for some Eliot.

But first I must finish all the books I’m halfway through. Three are work related. The first is Vanished Smile, highly recommended by Janice . The second and third are rereadings of a few key chapters of Renaissance Rome by Peter Partner and Michelangelo and The Pope's Ceiling by Ross King. Both are must reads for anyone interested in the time period.

Right after that I need to complete the second half of Steven Heighton’s Every Lost Country. I was greatly enjoying this novel by a Kingston, ON author that I know slightly and Janice knows better. Steven is originally a poet, and those skills are directly evident in his novels. This is a contemporary tale based on a true story that takes place on the border between Tibet and China. The tagline asks, “When is it acceptable to be a bystander, and when do life and loyalty demand more?” An intriguing question, to be sure. (I also greatly enjoyed Heighton's Afterlands, also based on a true story.)

Then comes Race Traitor by Elisa Hategan. A fellow Ontario author, I have gotten to know her through social networking. It’s about a runaway teenager who belongs to a paramilitary group that she later spies on - sounds extremely gripping.

After that, if I don’t get interrupted by other books begging to be read, comes a beautifully bound first edition of Louis Auchincloss’s Exit Lady Masham, inherited by my husband from a dear friend who died a decade ago.

Finally, The Last Concubine by Lesley Downer, a gift from our agent, another of his authors.

All this is what is preventing me from getting an ereader! With so many hard-copy books to read, how can I yet justify the transition?

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