I'm back today to share one of my 2011 resolutions: to read more. That may seem like a silly resolution for a librarian, who probably already reads a lot, but that's what it is nonetheless. More specifically, I want to read at least a book a week (or the equivalent, at least 52 new books this year). That's a potentially long list of things I haven't read before, and I'm pretty excited to have started. Plans are to briefly mention each book here; hopefully you'll find something you'd like to read, too!
The first book I finished this year was Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone. This historical nonfiction book is about four sisters from 13th-century Provence who, despite some relative monetary disadvantage, all make extremely good marriages that make them all queens. With their own strong personalities and intelligence, as well as some political maneuvering on the part of some of their relatives, all four women end up having quite a lot of impact on European politics in the mid 1200s. I love how Goldstone's narrative moved from sister to sister, never settling on one topic too long; this style demonstrates the interconnectedness of politics in medieval Europe, and it also helps hold the reader's attention rapt. I would definitely suggest this book to readers who enjoy historical nonfiction, the Middle Ages, strong females, and/or medieval politics.
Then, last night I finished my second book of the year: Good Omens by Teri Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. While I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about this book as some people I know, I did enjoy most of the main characters and story lines. In this collaboration fantasy, angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley know that the Antichrist has been put on earth; the Apocalypse is coming. Having decided that they rather like living on earth, however, the unlikely friends decide to try to intercede and prevent the Apocalypse. Throw in the Four Horsemen, a witch, a witchhunter, and some other strange and amusing characters and you've got the workings for this book. I didn't find it quite as enjoyable as Gaiman's Stardust or The Graveyard Book, but I have to say I'm not sorry I've read it. If you like Gaiman (in particular, I think, if you like American Gods), you'd likely enjoy Good Omens.
So there you go, books #1 and #2 of my year of reading. Stay tuned throughout the rest of 2011 for some reading suggestions of your own!