Even though I’ve enjoyed some great parties and a few dance floors in my day, I am really at my best when I get to be anti-social.
Reading and writing are really my 2 favorite things to do, and now adding children’s books into the mix has me in heaven. Reading bedtime stories is the best part of my day.
I tried to go on Goodreads to make digital shelves of my favorite books so I could share them all and get reading recommendations, etc, etc, but…I couldn’t do it. I just can’t join one more social networking site. The thought of it makes my teeth hurt.
Here are a few favorite reads of 2011—
Hotel Du Lac-Anita Brookner. What a superb book. It’s elegant, graceful and mysterious…right up until the very end. It tells the story of the underbelly of love through the life of an exhausted writer of love stories. When she tries to escape her own tumultuous love life, she just finds herself back in the same place again. Although it would be just as enjoyable on the beach, this is a great winter blues read. It’s perfect with a warm drink and a soft blanket.
Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach-Meryl Gordon. I’ve never read a sort of ‘tell-all’ book like this before, nor do I listen to audio books, but this is a great book to listen to. I listened to it when we were settling into our first temporary apartment and it was very entertaining (plus, you could walk out of the room, return and feel like you didn’t really miss anything that would make you lose the plot). It tells the story of the end of Brooke Astor’s life and the trouble her son and daughter-in-law got into while managing her assets.
Bossypants-Tina Fey. She’s funny. In the middle of the night, when the boys were sound asleep, I’d giggle under the covers. You just have to read it and see for yourself. One of my favorite things about the book is the retelling of the happy accident of Tina Fey going back on SNL to play Sarah Palin. She includes pages of the script from her original scene with Amy Poehler with Seth Meyer’s edits. It’s just too good.
The 19th Wife: A Novel-David Ebershoff. This is an historical fiction, which frustrates me and fascinates me at the same time. I’m not entirely on board when facts are twisted into the author’s own made up version of things, but it made for a page turner in this case. The basis of the story is the founding of the tenants of Mormonism including plural marriage. The story is primarily based on the story of Elizabeth Young, one of Brigham Young’s wives.
A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York-Greg King. After learning a little bit more about Mrs. Astor, I was intrigued about her history, or rather the history of the family that came before her. This was a terrific book that read like a biography of an entire era in America’s history. The mid to late 1800s and the very early 1900s, for some, was a time when huge fortunes were made and spent extravagantly (like on parties where a monkey dressed in a tuxedo was the guest of honor).
The Age of Innocence-Edith Wharton. A classic story of unrequited love in the face of strict social rules. Reading the history of the Gilded Age made me want to revisit Edith Wharton. She won the Pulitzer Prize for this book and deservedly so. The writing is sublime and the story is heartbreaking. Apparently she had 3 different endings for this book before she published.
I Was a Dancer-Jacques D’Amboise. This book is so much fun. Mr. d’Amboise clearly enjoys life and his writing is hysterical. His descriptions of various experiences in his life had me in stitches in the bathtub. He was an original company member of New York City Ballet so there is a lot of history from a young man’s perspective. If you’re a Balanchine fan or want to become one, this book is full of personal stories of Jacques’ time with him. My favorite parts of the book are the footnotes. Some of them are full page stories of their own.