And so begins another year of reading...
I enjoyed keeping up with the books I read last year. It's nice to be able to look back at what I read - since I often forget - and see what the books were about and what I thought about them. I'm going to continue that tradition this year. I do have a new "guideline" for my personal reading this year: read one classic each month. I wonder what 12 I'll read...
1. Outwitting Housework by Nancy Rosenberg
I'm interested in organizing things in my life right now, making things simpler, smoother. When I saw this on the library shelf, I knew I couldn't pass it up. And what better time to get this under control than the beginning of the year?
I don't recall anything really ground-breaking for me in this book, but it was a great reminder of some things I know but don't always do. And it's also nice to know that some of things I am doing are also being done by someone who has her housework ducks in a nice, neat row.
The basic idea of the book is to find your trouble spots and pare them down. Too much clutter? Rosenberg provides several options for getting rid of it. Too little time? She gives short lists of quick room pick-ups to help freshen things up when you're in a hurry. She covers everything from maintaining the different rooms in your house (garage included!) to yardwork, from pet care - and wear and tear - to being ready to entertain for any occasion. She even includes tips on keeping holiday stress to a minimum, from decorating and parties to gift-giving.
While it's not a book I'd want to take up space on my own bookshelf, it's good to know where I can find it if I need a refresher course.
2. Emma by Jane Austen
In keeping with my reading goal of one classic per month, I'm happy to say I completed this one with a few days to spare. For a while I thought maybe I should have chosen something a little less daunting. Reading early 18th century British English can be a little time-consuming. Several times I had to read a line or a passage two or three times to grasp the meaning. Still, I love the story, having become familiar with it through various viewings of Emma and, in a sense, Clueless.
Most of the major characters were so well-written, I could picture them in my head. Some of them truly got on my nerves, most notably Miss Bates and her insufferable rambling chatter about nothing and everything. Mr. Woodhouse made me feel tired with all his worrying about the general health of himself and everyone around him. And Frank Churchill, trying to cover his great secret with Miss Fairfax, seemed over-the-top silly at times.
Knowing how Mr. Knightley wins in the end, I couldn't help pulling for him right from the beginning. Still, when he finally declared his feelings for Emma, and she declared hers, I was on the edge of my seat.
I think I'll choose something a little shorter for next month, as I'm already behind on getting my third book for January read. Maybe I'll even revisit an old favorite from my high school days like Lord of the Flies or Silas Marner. The Scarlet Letter is on my must-read list, but it's a little lengthy so I'll save it for later on.