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Books that I have enjoyed reading

1. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool. I have books that I use in my research of the Victorian era. This is one of my favorites.

2. I re-read The First Four Years for the fourth time in my adult life. This is the last of Laura Ingalls Wilder's nine books. It is about her life with Almanzo and the hardships they faced during their first years of marriage. I enjoy reading her books while in the tub.

3. I re-read a collection of short stories by Kim Edwards. The book is titled, "Secrets of the Fire King." Of all the stories in the collection, my favorite is “A Gleaming in the Darkness. ” This review is by Guy Savage, who has written reviews for Mostly Fiction.

It is a tale,  told by an old French woman. With her children swept away by war, she’s left alone with her memories, and she recalls the time she knew Marie Curie. As a young woman, the narrator cleaned the laboratory in which the Curies conducted their early experiments, and while this leads to some glorious memories for the narrator, these memories come with a terrible cost. The narrator recalls Madame Curie with great affection and admiration, and in spite of the differences between these two women, the narrator identifies with Marie Curie’s persistence and sacrifice.

4. I picked up Peter Mayle's book, A Good Year at a used bookstore. I enjoyed this book very much, as it sparked my imagination and transported me to southern France for a while When I finished reading it, I yearned for more. So, I went to my local library and borrowed A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence. One book leads into the next, so I am enjoying the journey. A Year in Provence is divided into four parts (each season), and each part is subdivided into the months of each season. So, by the time I am finished reading the book, I will feel as if I spent a year in Provence and experienced each season's weather along with Peter Mayle and his wife!

5. I read Toujours Provence soon after completing  A Year in Provence. It was a smooth transition from one book to the other. Toujours Provence was not divided into months or seasons. It was more a reflection as if it were a travel journal. I found it difficult to put the book down after I read a chapter, even though I had things to do. Often, I began the next chapter. A book like that is a joy to be in... and it is like saying 'goodbye' to a familiar friend when the end of the book is reached. I enjoy Peter Mayle's non-fiction books.

6. Hotel Pastis by Peter Mayle is not as enjoyable to me as his non-fiction work. This is a mystery novel. It was OK to read once, but I wouldn't read it for the second time.

7. I discovered  Katherine Center's books one day when I was reading Shauna Reid's blog. I like Shauna a lot, so if she recommends a book, I will most likely read it. I ordered all three of Katherine Center's books via Better World Books . I am currently reading "The Bright Side of Disaster," and I am really enjoying it. I look forward to reading her next two books.

8. I have read Claire Tomalin's biography of Thomas Hardy. It reads like a novel. I took my time reading the book. I read it mostly while taking long baths. The book has a nice flow to it that makes me feel as if Tomalin is writing to an audience of one. I read a few of Thomas Hardy's stories, so to learn that his characters were often written based on the mannerisms of his parents or close friends makes me want to re-read his works from a new perspective.

9. I started reading Claire Tomalin's biography of Jane Austen. The book sat in my living room's bookcase for two years before I finally had time to delve into it! I out it down for a while and need to start reading the rest of it. So far, I feel like I did when I read the Thomas Hardy biography. Claire Tomalin makes you feel like she has written a long letter just for you. I began reading this biography about Jane Austen when I was in graduate school and was doing so many things at once. It was a nice diversion when things were weighing heavy on my mind.

10. I have read I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. I enjoyed reading "Bridget Jones' Diary" and "The Nanny Diaries" (before it was made into a movie), so I had high hopes for Pearson's first book. It is part journal, and part epistolary novel written in the first person. I was not disappointed!

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