Book #42 of this year was Rodham, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I'd read two books by this author before; one was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice that I liked (I wrote a bit about it here). The other was Prep, which I wrote about here. I really disliked that one; I used the word "excruciating." My daughter asked me why on earth I had chosen to read alternative reality fan-fiction about Hillary Clinton by an author I hadn't really loved in the past. I'm not sure why. And while it's fascinating to consider, as the author does, what might have happened to Hillary if she hadn't married Bill Clinton, it felt a little uncomfortable to read about all these real people (who are still alive) doing fictional things. Especially when you're not quite sure where the fiction begins and ends. If you're a public person, does that mean authors can just write whatever they want about what you might have done in a different situation? (Sort of the same kind of argument you could make about the TV series "The Crown.") I don't know - all I can say is I kept reading to the end.
Book #43 was The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare, which I was teaching to my sixth graders. I read this book when I was their age, and I still like it now.
Book #44 was Dark Tides, by Philippa Gregory, the second book in the Fairmile Series (I wrote about the first one here). Gregory has written, about this series, "I wanted to write a different sort of historical fiction: actually a series of books tracing the rise of a family from obscurity to prosperity." This one was fascinating and fun to read. I especially enjoyed the character who had left England and gone to the New World. With a lot of Gregory's books, I was reading about history I know well (in the case of the Tudor stories). The Plantagenet history was less well-known to me, but still, since I was reading about real characters, there was a certain inevitability about what was going to happen to them. With these fictional characters, though, absolutely anything could happen. I can't wait to read the next book; Gregory gives some idea in an interview at the end of the book about what might be coming. And it sounds like this series is going to be one of those endless sagas - yay!
Book #45 was a book of poetry, Alive Together, by Lisel Mueller. I got it for my birthday back in February, and managed to stretch it out this long by reading just a couple of poems at a time. Wonderful stuff! Now I get to go back and read it again.
Book #46 was In Broken Places, by Michèle Phoenix. This is the story of Shelby, who grew up with her brother Trey in an unstable, violent home. After suddenly becoming a single mom, she decides to move to Germany to teach at a school for missionaries' children. I enjoyed reading this, and watching Shelby start to find healing for her past. My favorite part was her relationship with Trey.