Possession is the story of a pair of contemporary scholars whose study of two Victorian poets brings them together. A thrilling discovery is made that could change the course of their study, and together the scholars unearth the Victorians' letters, journal entries, and poems to ascertain more clues. The book raises questions about scholarship and the past and whether we as a public have a right to the private thoughts of others, no matter if those thoughts emerge from buried past more than a century ago. Chock full of poems and literary allusions to other poems that delighted my inner English literature dork, this book seems entirely like my cup of tea. And it is, but I found it more dense and difficult to get through than I had otherwise expected of a book of this nature. At 555 pages, it's definitely not for the faint of heart, either. This is a serious, rigorous literary novel and I probably wouldn't recommend it to most people I know. Nevertheless, I am so glad I persevered, because I felt so gratified by the time I finished and instantly had the urge to go back and re-read certain passages, as only a book that makes an indelible impression does.
Looking back, I can say that I've really enjoyed the books I read this year. I was entertained, delighted, stimulated, and inspired. The following five books were among the most memorable for me in 2009:
One Hundred Years of Solitude--The first of a few difficult, yet rewarding books I've read this year.
Memoirs of a Geisha--This one also took awhile for me to warm up to, but I ended up being completely spellbound by it.
The Omnivore's Dilemma--Probably one of the most important books I've read and again, took some time plodding through the difficult parts. I'm noticing a theme here; apparently, I quite like a good reading challenge.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--Loved from start to finish and just delightful all around.
Loving Frank--Thoroughly enjoyed this one and fell in love with the flawed main character, whom I found wholly sympathetic and fascinating. This might just be my favorite book I've read this year.
And because I cheated, Possession by A. S. Byatt makes six. I really look forward to discussing it with my book club in the weeks to come.
I'm also super excited about my reading for 2010. In spite of the increase in visits to my local library this year, I still somehow managed to purchase more books than I care to admit. This just means I have more browsing through my own bookshelf to look forward to. Wishing you all the happiest of new years! See you in 2010!