Welcome to our annual winter reading poll! Tell us about a great book to curl up with on a frosty winter night, and what fragrance we should wear while reading it. (Or, do what I do and record here everything you have read since the last reading poll. And if you want more recommendations, scrolling through the literature tag will bring up all the older reading polls.)
My recent reading:
After the pile of Wodehouse I read last fall, I finished re-reading the Blandings Castle series (Service With A Smile, Galahad at Blandings, A Pelican at Blandings and Sunset at Blandings), then I finished a Jeeves & Wooster I had never read, Joy in the Morning, thought by some to be his best. If you have never read any Jeeves & Wooster, it actually might be the best place to start. The fragrance: Aftelier Candide.
I finished five other works of fiction: Bryan Washington Memorial, Ian McEwan Machines Like Me, Olga Tokarczuk Flights, Brit Bennett The Vanishing Half, Sunjeev Sahota China Room. After reading China Room, which I loved (and which would go nicely with a hot weather spice, like Comptoir Sud Pacifique L'Eau du Gouverneur, or maybe better Lubin Idole), I started Sahota's The Year Of The Runaways, but either I didn't like it as well or I wasn't in the mood or both, because I gave it up about 1/3 of the way through.
On the non-fiction front, I gave up on David Graeber and David Wengrow's Dawn of Everything even sooner — maybe about 1/5 of the way through? I did do a bit of quick skimming of the later sections. It is probably as brilliant as everyone says it is, but I suspect I no longer have the will to read 700 pages of history. I don't have it right now, that's for sure. I did start and finish Lyndall Gordon's Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds after we did our community project. Since what I knew about Emily Dickinson beforehand could be summed up in a few vague words (poetry, Amherst, recluse), it was all a bit of a shock, and possibly more salacious detail than I wanted.
I read David Sedaris Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) in short spurts, as a kind of palate cleanser to some of the heavier fiction I plowed through this quarter. It was perfect, and now I might go back and read Theft by Finding.
I read three mysteries: Elly Griffiths The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway #13), and then two by Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club and The Man Who Died Twice. All three were enjoyable no-brainers, and I will scent them with Guerlain Cologne du 68.
Note: top image shows detail from Still Life with French novels and glass with a rose, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.