Read Well: Books I'm Excited About

All day yesterday I couldn't decide what I wanted to post about today. I have more pictures from Texas - should I post those? Or maybe I could make a holiday gift guide? Nothing struck me as something that I wanted to write about. And then it hit me: why don't I write about the one thing that's been on my mind all day? Books.

I am a dedicated reader, as I expressed in my first-ever post on books. Being as into books as I am, something I've been doing for years now is keeping a running Amazon wish list of all the books that I want to read. Whenever I get bored, I find myself likely to Google something like "best books of 2003" read the top couple hits, and add every single volume that sounds good to my wish list. My wish list currently has 59 books on it. It's an easy way to keep tabs on all those books that you hear about, want to read, but don't have time for now.

The books below are three of the 59 books currently languishing on my wish list (I have an additional 14 to-read books sitting on my shelf). I would like to stress that I am not putting my personal stamp of approval on any of the three books below - I haven't read them yet! And often books that I think are going to be great end up disappointing me big time (case in point: the book I just picked up. It's called The Family Fang and it's awful). However, I've got high hopes for these based on the summaries I've read and the glowing critical reception they've all received. Hopefully one (or all!) of them sounds good to you.

Book #1: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I first heard about Wolf Hall when its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, was published and subsequently LOVED by pretty much every critic ever. Wolf Hall is written from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, one of Henry VIII's closest advisors. From what I've heard, the book covers the beginning of Henry VIII's marrying streak, and yet does it in a way that doesn't continue to beat an often-told piece of history to death. I am insanely excited to read this book (I haven't yet due to my intricate book-choosing system...I'm not sure we're close enough friends for me to explain it yet) so when I get to it, it will be a beautiful day.

Book #2: Catherine the Great by Robert Massie

If a book has 700 pages and yet still has almost only five-star reviews, that's a pretty solid sign that it's a good book (not that you should regularly base your reading decisions off of Amazon reviews...as a friend of mine once said about books, the masses cannot be trusted!). However, Robert Massie is the master of Russian history, and what I've read on the Internet says that he's a master of entertainment as well. Although you may know little (or nothing) about Catherine the Great, there are few books that are more interesting than a well-written biography. Everything about this book makes me think that it's the perfect choice for reading by your fire, under your Christmas stockings, wrapped in a blanket.  

Book #3: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

I brushed elbows with this book several times before placing it on my sacred to-read list. I saw it on "best of" lists, I saw that it sold a lot of copies. Nothing convinced me that I would find it all that interesting until I heard a book store employee raving about it to a customer in New York about one year ago. I know from personal experience that true book lovers will not go out on a limb and really push a book unless it is really, really, good. Blood, Bones & Butter is an autobiography about one woman's long journey to becoming a chef. My inadvertent eavesdropping made this book about an inadvertent education one of the most exciting additions to my list.

What's on your to-read list? Have a great Thursday!