That title is a little misleading. As we hover on the edge of 2012, the books I’m thinking of are those that made the deepest impression on me in the old year, that impacted or changed me in some way.
— Frances Osborne’s The Bolter, which set me off on my Kenya project.
— Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton, which introduced me to a whole new historical/modern hybrid.
— Beatriz Williams’ Overseas, which reminded me how compelling a well-written love story can be.
— Robert Graves’ Good-Bye to All That. I’m always thought of Graves as the I, Claudius guy, but his memoir of his time in World War I opened my eyes to the realities of that war as no history book had.
— Elspeth Huxley’s The Flame Trees of Thika, a fictionalized memoir of her childhood in Kenya. I’d seen the mini-series with Hayley Mills back in the day, but what really caught me about the book was the writing style, with its keen but kindly sense of humor. Her voice reminded me a great deal of L.M. Montgomery– and there really just isn’t enough of that out there.
I realize, looking over these, that they’re all attached, in one way or another, to my current writing project (aka “the Kenya book”).
There were plenty of other books that I savored just for fun: Eloisa James’ When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Rosemary Clement-Moore’s The Splendor Falls, Susanna Kearsley’s The Rose Garden, Tracy Grant’s Vienna Waltz.
Which were the books that meant the most to you in 2011?