End of Year Lists

I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions (I have yet to keep one, so why bother?) or Christmas lists –somehow Christmas has become much simpler. I’m talking about those “Best of” lists that bloom in the first week of December, the lists about books.

We’re New York TImes “Weekenders,” which means that we walk down the driveway Friday, Saturday and Sunday and scoop up the plastic bag that holds one of the few fripperies in our lives. (A subscription to The New Yorker is another. Um, I guess we’re officially Old School.)He’s a fiend puzzler and these three days provide the most challenging grids.

How would we spend Sunday without The Times? It’s the atheist’s Sunday observance , and I continue to amaze myself that I can spen three quarters of an hour reading the Style section, Easy.

But I digress. The Book Section had the traditional 100 Best Books listing this Sunday, and the tab-sized sheets are sitting on the piano bench lest they be carelessly recycled. The fun of reading the list is to discover that fancy-dancy literary critics agree with some of your faves, remembering books you should have read and haven’t, and scowling at entires that strike you as super snores.

Here are a couple of books on the list I’ve read and loved loved loved.

This is modern Jane Austen. I saw it at the library and took it out because I’d read a rave review somewhere. Never has a rave been more deserved — it blew me away.

A gentle, witty cookbook that made most everyone’s  Best Cookbook list is Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. This is not a rehash of French classics, it’s fresh and modern. I loved that she gave me permission to buy chicken bouillon cubes — it seems that French ladies use them all the time.

But jeez, I haven’t dipped a toe into the “100 Notable Books of 2010.”  I want to read Operation Mincemeat and Charlie Chan and Big Girls Don’t Cry and Keith Richard’s Life. That’s the beauty of saving this section — it’s a heads-up for wintry treks to the library.

Send me your list!





Filed under Books, Collections, Five bucks or fewer, Media, Worth it anyway

2 responses to “End of Year Lists

  1. Maggie, I must be tired. Just reading the synopses kindled an unaccountable urge to weep, right here, right now, for the sadness and heavy hearts and weighted souls of most of those books.

    But then, I wish I had back the two hours that was Lovely Bones.

    I’m gonna have another look tomorrow, when I haven’t been working all day, and have the prospect of a sunny day out with Chris. Thank you for the referral, but right now, my next trip to the library is still going to be for all the Mma Ramotswes which were out last time, and perhaps a couple of Poirots on CD.

    My very best find this year (not OF this year) was also an “Austen” by Sybil G. Brinton. Written in 1913, it’s billed as “the first sequel” and will make you want to put your feet up on a tuffet. “Old Friends and New Fancies” is a compilation of quite a few of Miss Jane’s characters’ interactions, and Lucy-Steele-what-was gets the sharp side of Lady Katherine’s ill-humor.

    Do tell your handsome apron model to check this—I LOVE these puzzles. There are anagrams and words-in-words and puns galore, and they have the wit and the WAY wisdom of master puzzle-makers. I definitely have to have a pen for these.


    They’re Brit, and will occasionally throw an unaccustomed spelling at you which sometimes the US editors don’t catch, and so the number of squares is off. Very Henry Hook, bless his Heart.

  2. Kim Shook

    I LOVED Major Pettigrew! I wish that I could find a hundred books like it and tuck them away for when I’m stressed and depressed! I loved his gruffness and his standards and finally his kindness! And Mike came home from Costco with Dorie’s book a couple of weeks ago. I want to make EVERYTHING. I did the brioche rolls and they were amazing. I impressed MYSELF!

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