Pop Culture Princess

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 great ways to start a New Year of reading

As 2009 is on it's way out of the door and 2010 is getting ready to take a turn on the catwalk,a good strategy for greeting this bookend to the first decade of the twenty first century is to start up a brand pile of books to read.

True,there is a whole year's worth of new material soon to come out,plus plenty of books from the last couple of years that you may not have caught up to just yet(I am so a card carrying member of that club!)but that doesn't mean you should put some new stuff on hold until your TBR sections are clear. Perhaps one or two of these titles might help to jump start your reader mode and motivate you into digging into a portion of that backlog while planning on picking up another pile of fresh literature in time for spring.

Whatever your reason,here is a listing of ten books due to arrive this upcoming January and February for your sampling pleasure:


As many of you know,I am an all-day sucker for saga novels and when I spotted Leila Meacham's Roses at BEA last spring,my mouth was watering.

It's a generational story that takes a trio of prominent families in a small Texas town through years of heartbreak as Mary Toliver struggles over which she loves more,the cotton plantation that she revived after her father squandered their fortune or Percy Warwick,the timber tycoon and childhood friend who adores her but wants a stay at home wife and mother. Their reluctant romance leads to repercussions upon their family and friends for more than one lifetime.

This was a book that I couldn't wait to get home and read. Hopefully,so will many others out there feel the same way and enjoy this enticing epic tale of love that triumphs over time,despite the winds of change,thorns and all(January 6):


Persistence does pay off,folks-after months of trying,I received my first Advance Reviewers' book from Library Thing and it's a fresh and fanciful new novel from one of my favorite lady lit writers,Marian Keyes.

The Brightest Star in the Sky has an unnamed yet spunky guardian spirit sent down to earth to give some otherworldly assistance to one of the residents of a Dublin townhouse.

Just who needs help here is no easy question to answer-cranky Jemina and her son Fionn,who is set to star in a TV series as a hunky gardener,newlyweds Matt and Maeve stumbling over their first big roadblock in romance,Lydia,the sharp tongued gal who wards off everyone with her harsh demeanor or Katie,a professional business woman looking for equal success in her love life.

Whoever it is,there is no doubt that everyone will benefit from the charm and warmth that Keyes always adds to her stories and leaves you wanting more(January 21):

Another lost soul in search of much needed guidance,Ida Maclaird returns to the mysterious archipelago of St. Hauda's Land as The Girl With Glass Feet in Ali Shaw's debut novel. Ida's odd ailment first began there when she went to visit the strange snow covered area overrun with albino animals and her only hope of a cure may be found there.

Midas Crook,a young man who has lived on these unusual islands all of his life,joins Ida in her quest and loses his heart to her along the way. Will they find a way to halt the spread of glass upon Ida's person in time? This intriguing novel certainly seems to be worth a look to discover that solution,plus see if anything else gets broken as well(January):


Patricia Falvey sets her new novel The Yellow House in the early part of the 20th century,where the struggles of Northern Ireland were most keenly felt. Eileen O'Neill is determined to mend the rifts in her family due to the political turmoil as well as take back their former ancestral home and plans to do so with hard work and thrifty savings.

Those plans take an emotional turn as Eileen's heart is torn between James,a passionate Irish nationalist, and Owen,a British army officer. Which path to follow in order to seek true happiness here is not going to be to easy but when the choices come down to sense or sensibility,it never is(February).

In The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom,seven year old Lavinia is an orphaned Irish girl who becomes an indentured servant at a tobacco farm in Virginia.

Under the mentoring hand of Belle,the illegitimate daughter of the almost always absent master of the house,Lavinia bonds with the slaves who work in the homestead but as she grows up,race and gender barriers crop up that threaten to make both Belle and Lavinia's futures a trial by fire. A tender and turbulent take on such harsh times for women,regardless of who and where they were,knows no true boundaries of time and place(February):


Elizabeth Kostova made quite a splash with her Dracula themed thriller The Historian a few years ago and now she may do so again with her latest novel involving mysterious obsessions. The Swan Thieves has psychiatrist Andrew Marlow seeking to find out why his newest patient, Robert Oliver,tried to destroy a painting displayed in the National Galley of Art.

Robert is a respected artist in his own right and his reasons for this bizarre act of vandalism leads Marlow towards the women in Oliver's life and a pack of love letters from 18th century France that seem to reveal a hidden sorrow from the world of French Impressionism. The key element to understanding any form of art is mystery and Kostova provides that in abundance(January):


The heroine of The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens is Mary Gooch,who has been dutifully waiting for her husband of twenty five years to come home to celebrate their anniversary. When it becomes all too clear that he's not,she decides to get over her sorrows by taking a trip to California,to if she can find him and maybe herself along the way.

What Mary does discovers is a set of interesting new friends and some inner strength to face what lies ahead. This looks like a promising book to introduce to your reading group,who will probably see a bit of Mary Gooch in themselves and rally around this thoughtful new read(February):

The lives of four women connect in Wench,a historical novel by Dolen Perkins Valdez,under circumstances that may seem lighthearted at first glance but are more grounded in harsh reality upon further notice. Lizzie,Sweet and Rennie are regular visitors to Tawawa House,a vacation resort in Ohio where they spend their summers with the married men in their lives and take time off from their everyday cares and woes.

When a newcomer,Masu,arrives to remind them of their real situation as the slave mistresses of their Southern gentlemen masters and encourages them to run away,their pleasant fantasy escape goes up in flames in more ways than one. This looks like a real out of the box approach to characters from a time period that many may assume they already know about and be surprised to find something intriguingly new(January).

Sadie Jones' Small Wars showcases the strain upon a marriage from being stationed in a war zone. Hal Treherne spent most of his time in Cyprus fighting off insurrections that by the time things settle down in 1956,he is ill equipped to deal with a trauma at home that his long suffering wife Clara desperately needs him for as emotional support.

Clara soon enough realizes that Hal's service has taken more of a toll on him than she anticipated and must make the best of a bad situation before her family is swept away by the inner and outer forces of destruction all around them. Some stirring food for thought that wouldn't look out of place at a modern day banquet of ideas(January):


When Marilyn Johnson did research for her first book,The Dead Beat,she developed a strong appreciation for libraries and the struggles facing those who work at them in our fast paced techno loving times and made that the focus of her new nonfiction book.

This Book Is Overdue features both traditional librarians and new school "cybarians" who both seek to expand the borders of open access to their communities,despite budget crunches,government hassles and outdated notions about the usefulness and convenience that a good library can offer. A must read for anyone who loves books and still remembers their first trip to their local public library(February).

Well,I hope something on this list gives you a good idea of what to spend those gift certificates you received over the holidays on. Finding an amazing book to talk about and share with others is wonderful to do at any time of the year,plus it may give resolve to change your life for the better in the bargain. That's a good goal for New Year's,don't let anyone steal your wind!:

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