What We're Reading, Vol. 4

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Another month, another stack of books. We here at the Attic are devoted to our reading piles, no matter how busy days or months get. Reading allows us to slow down, to relish the words that make the world an exciting place to live. It allows us to empathize with others, to travel from place to place, and to learn.

Here’s what we’re reading this December…

As term dwindles down, I’m trying to find time for my annual read of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I’m not a huge fan of Dickens but there’s something about him at this time of year that feels right. Long afternoons of lounging on a sofa rotating from good food to good films to good reading is exactly what I want my from my Christmas breaks and the original Grinch story can always be that good reading.

I am about to start Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney which I have put off for so long because I just adored Normal People so much and didn’t want to compare the two! I’m looking very forward to reading more of Rooney’s incredibly relatable prose and depictions of Irish life.

You know I’m slowly getting back to my old pace because I’m under the impression that I’ve read nothing this month, when I’ve actually read more than I have in a while. A friend of mine just started a PhD on Joan Didion, making me realize that I had never read Joan Didion. Consequently, I picked up The Year of Magical Thinking a couple of weeks ago (which Lauren and I will be discussing soon!), and I’ve started making my way through her works. Keeping up with the non-fiction (shocking for me!!), I’ve read a little Hillary Mantel, in the form of her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost, and I’m currently finishing up Deborah Davis’s Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X, an enthralling book I picked up by chance at Berkeley Books in Paris. I’m obsessed with Sargent’s paintings and obviously with the time period, so it’s been my favorite read this month. Otherwise, I’m rereading Jane Eyre and am about to start The Wings of the Dove by Henry James!

After some stressful weeks dealing with work and my health I wanted something light to get me through the rest of Autumn. A lot of my recovery/down time involved watching favorite romantic comedies for comfort and so when getting back into reading I decided to finally give the genre a try in written form. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory was a perfect, fun read and I can’t even remember the last time I inhaled a book so quickly. Moving into the holiday mood next, I’ve just finished French Exit by Patrick DeWitt and am now getting into Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding. Set in the month of December, both satires have made me laugh endlessly and feature ill-advised get togethers involving questionable characters.

As Christmas approaches, I thought it appropriate to indulge a little bit, and buy a gift for myself. Fire and Blood by George R R Martin has been talked about since before it’s publication, among rumours of new projects signed by the famous writer of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. I finally put my resentment aside for the fact that this author decided to write this ‘prequel’ before even finishing his series (seriously, I feel like we have been waiting for The Winds of Winter for years... oh, wait), and bought it today. The prose is engaging and you definitely get the feeling of reading an entertaining history book. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, definitely adding to the expensive quality. I look forward to see where this is going, and how (or if) this book will enrich the world of ASoIaF.

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