Hello everyone! I am not sure if anyone is still out there reading blogs, but I am back, ready to blog again and to share my reading and gardening successes (and failures) with you all.
2022 has been a year of change and sadness for me. I sometimes look back at everything that’s happened and want to collapse in despair but somehow I keep going. Part of the reason why I want to return to blogging is because I feel that in the whirlwind of this year I have lost myself a bit. This is an effort to remind myself of the books and authors I love and the things that give me pleasure.
Despite not having read very many books this year and feeling blah about reading the majority of the time, I have read a few gems lately. Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson was funny and incredibly entertaining. I loved it. And Lucy by the Sea was another great novel in Elizabeth Strout’s series about the lovely Lucy Barton. I also really enjoyed The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken, auto-fiction (though she says it isn’t) about the author’s memorable mother. It is very moving and a delight.
However, the book I read that made me long to run out and buy everything the author has ever written and immediately cancel all plans to binge on his books is Mr. Wilder and Me by Jonathan Coe. What a marvelous novel. It wasn’t on my radar at all, but one night I was looking for something to read and happened upon it among my library’s ebook offerings. I downloaded and began reading – I didn’t stop until several hours later. I was enthralled by the story of a young Greek woman, Calista, who through some twists of fate, becomes involved with the film director Billy Wilder and his circle of friends and colleagues. Wilder is at the end of his career and knows his style of humor and filmmaking is out of fashion. It is the 1970’s and violent, deeply serious films are the trend. He decides to make a serious film himself – a tale of a washed out Hollywood actress and the journalist who tries to find her. Part of it is filmed in Greece and Calista is invited to join the crew. Though the novel begins on a lightish note, there is a moving backstory that underpins the filmmaking plot. It is incredibly well done and I completely adored it.
So now Jonathan Coe is added to my list of “must read” authors and I have ordered a few of his books online. I have Christmas week off and see it as an ideal time to have a little Coe fest. Christmas with Coe! Have you read his novels?