See, I knew this would happen! Life always gets in the way of good record keeping. Well, I think I have only read three books since I last wrote, but perhaps I will think of another later. Who knows?!
1. The Teahouse Fire
I picked this one up on clearance at Borders because it looked to be about Japanese culture and the art of serving tea in Japan. I was correct, but it was much more than that. I learned so much about the samurai, the social and economic structure of Japan in the 19th century and about the beautiful ritual and deep traditions of serving green tea. It really captured the stubborness of people with respect to preserving tradition at all costs, even if it means they die in the process. I found what close, erotic relationships developed between young women because they were not allowed to have sex with a man until they were married (which was often VERY young). I was surprised at the honest, sincere nature of the writing, because the book was fiction. Not for everyone, but very interesting all the same.
2. Great Expectations (Dickens)
While babysitting, I was bored out of my mind and picked this one up because I felt it a necessary part of my repretoire, since I am going to be a librarian and all (is War and Peace next?!). So it took be about 300+ pages to get into this storyline, and it really started to get good when Pip finally came around to his senses and realized what an insufferable git he was being, only to end in 20 pages. Boo. Poor form, Dickens! I get why you were lauded as a genius, and still are, but I don't think I will be reading too many more of your books...sorry.
3. Where the Lost Things Go (Connelly)
Wow. That's all there is to say about this conglomeration of fairy tale, myth and outright horror. Narrated by a little boy of 12, set during WWII in England (and a competely fictional world), this story was like no other I have ever read. It was reminiscent of Harry Potter or Juniper Game, but it really takes dark to a new level, and is technically an adult book, so there isn't the childlike quality the others I mentioned have. The story could either be entirely about a boy that simply cannot deal with the death of his mother, the war, his father's remarriage and the birth of a new baby, or it can be about the possibility that an entirely secret, scary, wild realm exists that only certain children can access. I literally had a nightmare after reading this, but I wouldn't have put it down before finishing for anything. Highly recommend it, if you dare.