Contemplating Reading in Retirement

booksinhearts

I have a list of books that I’ve been meaning to read—waiting for a rainy day, when I’m in the mood or when I retire. Finally I’m going to have time. But what I keep hearing is that I’ll be busier than ever after I retire. I hope that doesn’t happen—at least not yet. I have books to read and there are three books at the top of the pile. I’ve been putting them off based on sheer size—no more excuses. Here are three I’m going to read first, with descriptions from Goodreads.

goldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (3.87 of 5 stars on Goodreads)

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. Winner of 2014 Fiction Pulitzer Prize.

emperorofallmaladiesThe Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee  (4.25 out of 5 stars on Goodreads)

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer withThis book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.  Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.  Winner of 2011 Nonfiction Pulitzer Prize

middlemarchMiddlemarch by George Eliot  (3.9 of 5 stars on Goodreads)

“We believe in her as in a woman we might providentially meet some fine day when we should find ourselves doubting of the immortality of the soul” wrote Henry James of Dorothea Brooke, who shares with the young doctor Tertius Lydgate not only a central role in Middlemarch but also a fervent conviction that life should be heroic. By the time the novel appeared to tremendous popular and critical acclaim in 1871-2, George Eliot was recognized as England’s finest living novelist. It was her ambition to create a world and portray a whole community–tradespeople, middle classes, country gentry–in the rising provincial town of Middlemarch, circa 1830. Vast and crowded, rich in narrative irony and suspense, Middlemarch is richer still in character, in its sense of how individual destinies are shaped by and shape the community, and in the great art that enlarges the reader’s sympathy and imagination. It is truly, as Virginia Woolf famously remarked, “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”.

When I checked goodreads.com for readers’ ratings, I checked the sidebar that lists books that you might also like.  In the case of Middlemarch, readers like The Small House at Allerton by Anthony Trollope, Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell and Armadale by Wilkie Collins.  I haven’t read any of these.  I love when reading one book leads me to another.  It’s a delicious feeling to know that I will finally have time to read whatever and whenever I want.

Connie Regan

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