2014-01-04 / Features

‘Reading orgy’ about to end; new titles on list

By PHYLISS BOATWRIGHT
For The CT

I’ve had two weeks off from school, and have spent them working my way through a “To-Read” list I’ve had for several months. After three years in the classroom, I still find it ironic that teachers – especially high school English teachers – have little time to read for pleasure. I miss my reading time. Immensely. So, whenever I get a break, I overindulge on books. Yes, I’m guilty of holding my own reading orgies.

During this latest break, I spent five days in Illinois with my precious grandchildren Maren and Jack. The rest of the time, however, I’ve spent reading. I finished the latest Wally Lamb novel, which I’ve reviewed on this page. I also read the fabulously written and highly interesting Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. That book was a Christmas gift from my sister Patsy, and was a great read. It made me want to read the previous titles by the O’Reilly-Dugard duo. I picked up Killing Lincoln from the library on Friday, and have Killing Kennedy on request – hopefully I’ll be able to finish one or both before their return dates. Look for a review of one or both next month.

I also finished John Grisham’s Sycamore Row, which I may or may not review. The long-time-coming sequel to A Time to Kill was good, but a bit disappointing. I still haven’t put my finger on exactly why I was disappointed, so I don’t want to do a review until I’m sure.

During my break, I also started The Road by Cormac McCarthy. My stepson Gary, a fellow avid reader, has praised McCarthy for years, but I haven’t made time to read him until now. I can say, after getting about halfway through The Road while flying to and from Chicago, that McCarthy knows how to use the English language for maximum effect.

I’ve also almost finished Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining. Doctor Sleep is classic thrilling, chilling King. I realize that many don’t like King because of his subject matter. Understandable, but regrettable if you want to see a true master at work. Whenever I think of craftsmanship in writing, King is the second author – after The Great One, Pat Conroy – who comes to mind. King is a truly amazing writer. I would love to one day teach a course on his work.

As if my recent spate of reading wasn’t enough, I of course have a few Barnes & Noble gift cards burning a hole in my pocket. But the next time I’ll have a long stretch of reading time will be Spring Break, in April. On tap for that reading orgy is Dean Koontz’s latest, Innocence; Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings; Mitch Albom’s The First Phone Call From Heaven and the much-talked-about The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

While I dream, I wish happy reading to the rest of you!

If you have suggestions or comments, please email me at ctbookpage@gmail.com.

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