Archive for December, 2012

With eleven days to go in 2012, it’s entirely likely this list may change or at least grow before the end of the year. But I got thinking today about some of the best books I read this year.

I’m extremely lucky to have a number of good friends who are writers and who are generous enough to share their not-yet-published works with me, and some of those were my most memorable reads of the year so far, but for this post, I’m including only published books.

I glanced at my bookshelves before I sat down to write this post in case I was overlooking anything great. But in the end, I decided to stick with the handful that came to mind first. It’s a good sign that I remembered them off the top of my head, I think.

I have a TBR pile that includes books that are years old that I’ve only recently discovered, new books, books I’ve been meaning to read but have never quite been in the right mood for and ones I buy because I have to read them Right Now, so often what I read is not newly in print, and that is certainly true of some of this year’s favourites.

last letter from your lover I talked about this one in the summer, and all these months later, it’s the first book that comes to mind when I think about recent reads. Lovely, lovely book, beautifully written.





the rose garden This is the third Susanna Kearsley book to feature on my blog. ’nuff said.





my husbands sweethearts This book’s unusual premise caught my interest. In it, a wife whose husband is dying figures she shared her husband’s good years with other women, so they can bloody well take a turn at his deathbed, too. It had the potential to be vindictive or perhaps voyeuristic on her part, but it’s neither of those. It’s about finding support and creating a family out of unlikely circumstances, and I enjoyed it.



renegade This is the second in Jack Whyte’s Guardians trilogy, (The Forest Laird is the first) and focusses on the young life of Robert the Bruce. I feel like I know young Robert after reading this book, and am looking forward to the next installment.

What were some of your favourite reads this year?


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Who are we?

The grey, drippy skies of a West Coast December invite reflection. It’s a time for philosophical discussions over warm beverages and taking personal inventory. At the moment, I’m also mulling bits and pieces of a new novel that have been infiltrating my consciousness. I’m not at the point yet where I can look straight at the ideas without chasing them away into the dark, but the sense of them is there, the hint of what’s forming beneath the surface. And that makes me slow down and listen to whatever my subconscious reveals.

One of the themes that’s been nagging at me lately, connected somehow to that new story I can’t yet put my finger on, is the question of what defines us.

I think when this subject arises, people are often quick to trot out labels or name the various “hats” they wear. In my case, I am, among other things, a writer, a mother, a conference coordinator, a wife, a friend…. We can all count these off on our fingers, and possibly our toes, too, depending on how much we try to pack into this life. But do they define us?

Certainly they are easy, these labels, and their obligations fill our days. But alone when no one else is around, with time to really think and simply be, are they the things that make us who we are? I think not. I think maybe we come to those things because of who we are and not the other way around.

So what, then, truly defines us? Does it take everything – those labels, the things we enjoy doing, our backgrounds, the way we think about the world, the side we take on contentious issues, what we eat for breakfast, whether we cheat on our taxes or at board games, and any/every other measuring stick we can think of – to truly express who we are?

Or is it as simple as knowing whom and how and what and why we love?

I don’t know. But I like this stage of a new book, where I don’t have any idea what it is or where it’s going or even if it’ll become anything at all, but my mind turns over impossible questions, looking for the ones that resonate with the story hidden behind the curtain.

How do you define yourself?

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