This year I simultaneously fell behind on this blog and started using GoodReads. I resolve to get caught up here this winter. Due to that I had a hard time this year counting exactly how many titles I read, but I believe it was 75–not bad! That does not count all the audiobooks we listened to-this was the year we enjoyed listening to children’s stories in the car. I loved the Beverly Clear books narrated by Stockard Channing and also by Neil Patrick Harris. As for myself? Top reads were All Clear by Connie Willis, I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, Cleaning Nabokov’s House by Leslie Daniels, and The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.
This was fantastic- I loved,loved,loved it. It was beautifully written and there was a great deal of humor in certain turns of phrase. While I wouldn’t describe this as a funny book, there was a lot to be amused at. There was actually quite a bit that I found heartbreaking–basically whenever the main character describes not having her children. I get ahead of myself-what is this book about? A woman lives in upstate New York in a bleak drab town (have you ever been in the middle of upstate New York? The descriptions seemed spot on. I loved it when she said that it was so drab because all the artists, troubled children, and otherwise extreme people had either been squashed or left) and finds herself in really dreadful circumstances-she and her husband are getting divorced, he has gotten custody of her children, she has no friends, and it’s as if she’s moving through life in a daze wondering how this all happened. This was just so sad, and her husband so awful. She finds a little house that she can buy and then afterwards finds out that Vladimir Nabokov once lived in it. She loves his writing, so finds this fascinating. But even more thrilling is when she unearths a manuscript in the built in furniture. She is convinced that Nabokov wrote it and is captivated by the marvelous book. Now she has a mission-to get this book read by other people. With the help of a conveniently local and wonderful lady who is in publishing Barb finds herself making a friend and breaking out of the daze. Most astonishing of all (and I was not prepared for this at all, having read no reviews) is what she decides to do to get her children back (I will not spoil it for you because it was just so much fun when I read it.)
This was just a terrific story-quirky, humorous, heartbreaking, and very well written.