The votes are in and counted! (Well, not by us, but by the awesome computer software that does the job for us.) It was a tight race, with three of the four books claiming seven, eight, and nine votes and only one book receiving no votes at all (poor James Herriot). Nevertheless, we have a winner. We will be starting out the New Year with The Night Circus, the highly acclaimed current Times Bestseller by Erin Morgenstern. Obviously we’re no strangers to the circus theme, having read (and watched) Water for Elephants only a few short Litwit months ago. But The Night Circus seems to be a very different beast altogether, filled with mesmerizing illusions and spectacular feats of magic. If Water for Elephants was made of dirt and sweat, The Night Circus promises to be made of gossamer and glitter.
As one of the nine original Lady Litwits, I was honoured and excited to decide on the list of books for January voting. My goal was to provide a wide variety of choices and for each book to be one we’d all be enthusiastic to read. One of the choices, I have to confess, already tops my list of Must Read books. My relationship with Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God began when it was a mandatory read for my African American history class in university. In the end, I had the good luck (and good sense) to fall absolutely in love with it. Hurston’s originally underappreciated novel is one of the most simple, graceful, and soulful books I’ve ever been blessed enough to read. So when you have the time, and if you have the inclination, read it! I can almost guarantee you will be glad you did.
Although I’ve technically never made it all the way through All Creatures Great and Small in one sitting, it’s also a novel I hold close to my heart, my Dad being a Brit himself and having spent a small portion of my childhood in the area about which Herriot writes. If you love animals, Herriot’s care and tenderness for each creature he treats as a rural veterinarian will be sure to charm you. All Creatures Great and Small is also one of the most precious and relaxing books on tape you can find, read by a sweet older British man. I can’t think of a better accent to listen to for hours on end!
In making my final choice for January voting, I had to pay homage to my secret lover – Shakespeare. But I didn’t want to totally bore you with my bordering on nerdy love of the Bard, so I thought A Thousand Acres, a modern Midwestern update on Shakespeare’s King Lear, would be a good compromise. Written by famed author Jane Smiley, I was fascinated by the complex family relationships that beckoned from her Pulitzer Prize winning novel. And by the opportunity to finally read King Lear itself. All said, I hope I provided you with at least one interesting choice for our first 2012 Meetup and that you’re happy with the results of the voting! We had a bit of a low turnout this voting session so be sure to take part in next month’s poll. With close calls like this one you can be sure that every vote counts!