I began the year in Ohio, surrounded by LE’s family, amid much hullabaloo as pots and pans were banged, crackers were pulled, dogs barked, and peals of laughter disturbed the deer probably lingering at the edge of the field below the Sky Cabin.
After this wild night, a few peaceful days were spent at the cabin. I read Dust Lands: Rebel Heart by Moira Young, lost to LE twice at Scrabble, wandered down the road to visit the neighbor’s chubby ponies, and ate the rest of the New Years Rainbow Poke Cake (there’s jello in it…!)
The snow started to get wild yesterday afternoon, so LE and I headed down out of the hills, over the river to West Virginia (where outside Wheeling she made me sample the fabled Di Carlo’s Pizza, a decidedly odd but yummy bit of cheese and bread), and back to PA and Pittsburgh. Home sweet home.
Odd, that. I would have never dreamed that I’d call PA home – would have scoffed if someone had predicted it. Yet here I am, rapidly falling for Pittsburgh and settling in for an extended stay. LE’s original housemate moved out and I got a “downgrade” – abandoning the attic for a real room on the second floor, whoo! Check this out:
My room of course has other walls, and they actually look cooler than this one but I am the most excited about this one. Because once I hang that art elsewhere and unpack that box and cobble together some shelves and collect ALL THE BOOKS, that wall is going to look like this:
Friends, 2014 is the year that I am allowed to start collecting books again and I can’t even tell you how wonderful that is. At the end of 2011, right before I left Maine for Oregon and beyond, I had whittled my library down to bare bones and I went on an official book-buying-ban. Living out of a duffle bag and not really working for almost two years kept both my compulsive and calculated book collecting habits in check, more-or-less, but NOW! Now I live in a fabulous row house and I have an excellent job and I’m going to stay here for a bit, so the book-buying-ban is officially off.
The first tome I gathered into my bookish nest this year is Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. It is winging it’s way to me as I write, and I am excited and terrified to finally read it. Way back at the start of my book blogging adventure, when I met a handful of bloggers I would come to respect and adore, they were almost all involved in a group read of 2666. I have kicked myself repeatedly for not joining in then, but now I have a second chance to brave this book in good company. Richard of Caravana de recuerdos (and The Wolves, still my favorite book “club” ever) is hosting a readalong of 2666 during Jan. and Feb. of this year, as part of his greater 2014 Caravana de recuerdos Ibero-American Readalong. My fellow adventurers look like the sort who will be able to stand beside me and watch my back (here we go again Frances and Bellezza, and I can’t wait to talk books with ya Miguel!) As for Bolaño himself, he is always an interesting challenge, and this book is well known for being…a handful. I can’t wait! More companions are always desired, so if you’re hearing about this for the first time and want to join, pop over to Richard’s blog and give a shout.
It’s the time of year when everyone is updating their TBR list with the fresh crop of recommendations gleaned from other bloggers’ “Year End Wrap-Up” posts, resetting their GoodReads Reading Challenge goal for 2014, and kicking their year off properly by promising to read excessively and blog like a champ. And I’m right there with them!
2666 will dominate my January reading, but I’ve also got a history/portrait of Pittsburgh to dip into, and a handful of YA books I’ve been meaning to inhale for months (Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, the entire King of Atolia series just so that I can enjoy the last book with the others fresh on my mind…)
And since today is J. R. R. Tolkien’s birthday, to celebrate I used up a Christmas gift certificate and got myself the Kindle edition of Tales from the Perilous Realm, which combines Tolkien’s four novellas (Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, Smith of Wootton Major, and Roverandom) and one book of poems (The Adventures of Tom Bombadil) – most of which I have not read. I am considering tagging along with Amateur Reader (of Wuthering Expectations) for a bit as he spends the year chasing Scandinavian literature, considering that so much of Tolkien’s myth-building is rooted in medieval sagas. After reading this new volume of Tolkien’s I’ll have more-or-less gone through his entire body of work, just in time for a re-read of LOTR – it’s been a couple of years! At present though, I’m a Tolkien fan who doesn’t have a good excuse (as Amateur Reader suggested) so I guess it’s time I read an Icelandic saga. But should it be Grettir’s, or Egil’s, or Njál’s…? Guess I’ll see what I can find – time for the original Carnegie Library and it’s brothers and sisters to prove themselves!
I took on the sunny, freezing day this morning (9 degrees plus wind chill!) and went out for a ramble in Allegheny Cemetery.
And now I’m hungry. I think I’ll go make cheesy biscuits and tea. Cheerio!