Since I’ve been working hard on finishing my balloonist story and can’t read romance while trying to write it, I’ve been catching up on books in other genres, especially those recommended by friends. Of these, my favorites were The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. To me, there’s something moving and deeply satisfying about each of these.
I’ve also read some outstanding YA novels with my daughter. These had me totally engrossed: the first two books in Mary Jo Putney’s Dark Mirror series and Jane George’s The Mumbo Jumbo Circus. Although settings and styles of these books are very different, both weave in great writing, intriguing characters and magic.
Although it’s not a book or movie, another exciting discovery was hearing up-and-coming pianist Shai Wosner play Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto with the Binghamton Philharmonic. Although he has immense technical talent, he plays with loving attention to every note and phrase, allowing the music to speak, never just showing off. I’ve added a clip of him playing Schumann’s “Carnaval”.
Continuing in the spirit of trying new things, my family and I will once again cook together on New Year’s Eve, trying recipes we’ve never made before. One year we tried making individual Baked Alaskas—a science experiment that sort of blew up but the debris was rather tasty! This year should be easier. The menu is herb stuffed mushrooms to start, bacon wrapped scallops as the main course and for dessert, lemon poppy-seed cake with glaze.
What were your discoveries of 2011? Are you planning anything special for New Year’s Eve? Whatever it is, I hope you have fun and that 2012 brings you much joy!
I loved Year of Wonders too and I think Geraldine Brooks gets better and better with each book.
May I come to dinner tonight?
You’d be more than welcome, Janet!
Aww, I’m so happy you and your daughter enjoyed The Mumbo Jumbo Circus!
I’m delighted that I discovered the Mumbo Jumbo Circus to buy today for my Kindle. Only $.99
I have some Amazon gift cards and an iTunes card and I am looking forward to discovering new books and new music this year!
YEAR OF WONDERS and DARK MIRROR are both on my Wish List. I hope I’ll get to them this coming year. I may have YEAR OF WONDERS hiding in my TBR mountain. I hope so.
We will have one of our daughters and her family here on New Year’s Day. We always watch the parades and just sort of graze all day.
I like the idea of trying all new recipes for a meal. Our whole family likes to cook, so this would be fun.
I hope you have a wonderful 2012.
I discovered how to use a Kindle as I got a Kindle Touch 3G from my critique partner as my Christmas/Birthday gift! She continues to be the person who drags me kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
I discovered Grace Burrowes series of historical romances this year and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
I discovered Catharine Arnold’s books this year. Currently reading her The Sexual History of London. In addition to being fascinating and chock full of great information it really is a great read!
I loved “Year of Wonders” until the end, where I thought it fell apart. Brooks is so good at making her characters, even those who only appear for a few pages, come alive (my heart broke for the poor, sweet tailor).
Susan/DC I’m ambivalent about that ending too. Still thinking about it…