On one hand, my grand schemes to read a lot while living in DC have worked out, on the other, they haven't. Maybe I should explain. I have discovered that there is a lot of really awesome stuff to do in DC that does not involve books, though there is a bunch of book related stuff as well. In my just over a week here, I have spent a great deal of time doing stuff and exploring the city and not necessarily reading books all the time. But that is not to say that I have not done any reading or bookish type adventuring.
1. I have been carrying a book with me everywhere so that on the Metro or if I just happen to see a lovely bench during my travels I am prepared for some reading. This has also helped to justify my purchase over the years of various purses that really are bigger that what I usually prefer to carry. Now a requirement is that a book fit in along with all my other exploring gear.
2. On Wednesday I fulfilled a dream by going to the DC famous independent bookstore Politics and Prose. The author was Joe Yonan a food writer for The Washington Post, the book is Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook. I have made one recipe so far and have grand plans for a few more in the not too distant future.
3. I have read four books since I have been here, which is pretty good given how much time I have spent jaunting about when reading is not appropriate, like say while viewing the exhibits at the Corchoran Gallery of Art.
A. Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe. I always thought I was a fan of Jane Austen, but this book convinced me that at best I am just a liker...sort of. It did make me want to re-read all her work and seek out a few of the more highly regarded film versions of her works. I have always liked Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet and did find the version with Dan Stevens because I liked him in Downton Abbey. There is also a Mansfield Park with Billie Piper of Dr. Who fame I have queued up. This morning I also watched the first installment of a BBC version of Emma from 2009. To continue, the book was a really interesting look into the world of people who truly love Austen's work and know it far better than I.
B. Superstar Babes by Narinder Dhami. This one is a cute book in a series about three young teen sisters in London who get themselves into various scrapes. This is the author who wrote Bend it Like Beckham, which I have not read (I saw the movie though.). The other books, Bindi Babes, Bollywood Babes, and Bhangra Babes are equally charming stories appropriate for a middle school audience.
C. Next was Doll Bones by Holly Black. This was creepy, but not as creepy as I was expecting. I acquired this book right after it was released, because after White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart, I have been wanting to read more of her work. AND I just found out at the end of last week, that I am going to get to introduce Black when she comes to the National Book Festival in a few weeks. (Yes, this is super-exciting and I am nervous and thrilled and a bit afraid I might act a fool in front of her.) She is coming to talk about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which I have pre-ordered to read in time for the intro. I really felt that if I were going to introduce her properly I better have read a few more titles.
D. Today I read Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters, who passed away August 8th. She is the author of the Amelia Peabody series of mysteries as well, but I liked this one better than I did those. I like mysteries a lot, but really enjoy ones I can finish quickly so I am not tempted to flip to the last page to end the suspense. The heroine, Vicky Bliss is an art historian, which means creepy castles, and lost artwork. Just my type of mystery.
4. Today I visited Capitol Hill Books, a used bookstore near the Eastern Market. The last time I was there it was impossible to look for anything because of all the people. The shelves and their close proximity to each other makes browsing an adventure already so it was much more pleasant with only a few other patrons. I picked up a few Terry Pratchett Disc World novels. I have been planning for a while to jump into these and was chivvied along this path recently by Charlotte of Charlotte's Library who recently devoured these and whose opinions I regard highly.
5. Next up in non-fiction is a biography of Margaret Fuller by Megan Marshall who also wrote The Peabody Sisters, a book that totally blew up everything I thought I knew about Transcendentalism. I recently listened to Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante about Louisa May Alcott and her mother in which Fuller was discussed so it seemed time when I ran across this biography to find out more about her.