Reconnecting in 2020

Candid Nook was originally established by me, Candace, in 2010.

Reading has always been a passion of mine. I have never been picky with genres and will read just about anything you put in front of me, but something happened over the last few years, or decade would be more accurate at this point. I slowly stopped reading as much as I use to, opting to stream a show in the background while I worked on my computer. One thing that didn’t slow down or stop, purchasing books. In 2019 I did manage to get in a few good reads. Edward Snowden’s Permanent Record was my last and I would say my favorite for the year. 

2020 is a new decade, a new fresh start, the perfect time to return to one of my most favorite pass times. It’s not really a New Year’s Resolution or goal, I don’t really believe in those. It is more a reentering of my interests into my life getting back to what I enjoy, what makes me uniquely me. One thing I have missed immensely is making time in my schedule for reading all sorts of books. I miss the stories, the history, the smell… 

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

I decided to put together a small selection of books to start my returning to a more regular reading schedule. Taking the initial tough decision of what to read out of the equation, and since I received some really good books over the holidays made this easy to do.  

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo 

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

The Saga of the Volsungs Introduction and Translation by Jesse L. Byock

One of the great books of world literature–an unforgettable tale of jealousy, unrequited love, greed, and vengeance. 

Based on Viking Age poems and composed in thirteenth-century Iceland, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend, and sheer human drama in telling of the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer, who acquires runic knowledge from one of Odin’s Valkyries. Yet the saga is set in a very human world, incorporating oral memories of the fourth and fifth centuries, when Attila the Hun and other warriors fought on the northern frontiers of the Roman empire. In his illuminating Introduction, Jesse L. Byock links the historical Huns, Burgundians, and Goths with the extraordinary events of this Icelandic saga. With its ill-fated Rhinegold, the sword reforged, and the magic ring of power, the saga resembles the Nibelungenlied and has been a primary source for such fantasy writers as J. R. R. Tolkien and for Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle.

A Border Passage by Leila Ahmed 

In language that vividly evokes the lush summers of Cairo and the stark beauty of the Arabian desert, Leila Ahmed tells a moving tale of her Egyptian childhood growing up in a rich tradition of Islamic women and describes how she eventually came to terms with her identity as a feminist living in America. 

As a young woman in Cairo in the 1940s and ’50s, Ahmed witnessed some of the major transformations of this centurythe end of British colonialism, the creation of Israel, the rise of Arab nationalism, and the breakdown of Egypt’s once multireligious society. Amid the turmoil, she searched to define herselfand to see how the world defined heras a woman, a Muslim, an Egyptian, and an Arab. In this memoir, she poignantly reflects upon issues of language, race, and nationality, while unveiling the hidden world of women’s Islam. Ahmed’s story wil be an inspiration to anyone who has ever struggled to define their own cultural identity.

Photo by Candace Woodbury

As I write this I am 110 pages away from finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House that I started on January 1st. I had to force myself to put it down to eat, sleep, and to get some work done… it is that good, but you will have to read my full review once I finally finish it. 

One other project that I am going to start working on is organizing my books by the Dewey decimal system. It just makes sense… and my home library is now large enough to warrant such an organization. It will make boxing my books for when we move easier as well. Right now they are like many other bibliophiles I image, sorted into random categories that make sense to only me, stacked throughout the house on and off bookshelves, in dressers, closets, under beds… most still in boxes. We never really intended to be here in S.E. Idaho for this long, life just has other plans for us right now. 

Photo by on Unsplash

No matter where we are, or for how long, I am going to start making more time for other interests of mine, writing, discovering new and unique book shops and cafés, fountain pen and notebook collecting. Although I don’t just collect them, I use them, so I plan to offer up some of my thoughts and reviews on my favorites, and last, but not least, journaling… I never really stopped, but I want to share more and make it more of a daily practice as opposed to weekly, monthly, or on a whim as it has been for most of my life. This will help me process a lot of the adjustments concerning my health issues. 

Photo by Candace Woodbury

It’s been a while since I was blogging, reading, and reviewing books regularly… but I will be getting back into the swing of things and hopefully will be able to post once or twice a week to start. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter for updates on new posts, recommendations, and news. Join the new Facebook Group where we can recommend books, cafés, and our favorite paper paraphernalia that coexists with a penchant for reading and writing. 

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