My Own Personal Challenge, #ReadingJanakay

I can’t express in words the joy I experienced yesterday when a huge package awaited me at my entrance door. I knew they were the books that Janakay had sent me a few days ago.

15 Beauties, plus a notebook from no less than the Walters Art Museum (top of the pile.), and a Luis Meléndez‘s (born in Naples, died in Madrid) box of art cards, Flavors of Spain. And flavors from Spain they are. The one she chose to write to me features bread and figs, two of my favorite things to eat. Meléndez featured oranges, salmon, walnuts, plums, cheese, melon… I’m so glad to announce that this summer I’ll be travelling to my country of origin.

Still Life with Bread and Figs, 1770

As it is Janakay’s custom, each item comes with a post-it with her words on the history of the item, or her thoughts on the book in question. Her comments will be in the captions in italics. Maybe you’re seeing some of her topics of interest emerge, art and books. I felt compelled to take pictures of the beautiful books, seeing them altogether in a pile. It dawned on me how much some book covers can be called art without reservations. But don’t let me tell you, allow me to show you this with my picture offering of the books through this post. And a last announcement before I leave you to my book catwalk for you. I’m going to engage in a challenge of my making I’ve called #ReadingJanakay.

She’s reassured me that I have no obligation to read any and/or all. I do appreciate that, and that’s the beauty of this challenge, for which I am setting my own rules 🙂 Only if and when I read a book that she’s sent me, I’ll be adding the tag, and linking to this post. If any of you have read the book in question, or any others featured, and you want to add to the conversation via post, Goodreads review, comment, etc., you can.

Where was I? Oh, I decided to take pictures of the books, and to do so with my good Nikon camera when I realized the battery was completely down. While charging, I thought I’d give my phone a try.

By accident, yesterday I hit the portrait mode, with this depth feature, and I was very surprised to see the results, so much that I ended taking all the pictures with the phone, and then coming to the computer to enjoy the books even more, and doing some editing. Many of the pictures came great straight out of the phone though, if I may say so. I had missed being involved in that creative process of finding places in my backyard for each book, and trying new ways and angles.

Statues in a Garden. Isabel Colegate. Loved this one -it’s such a perfect period piece.

My first picture was of Statues in a Garden, by Isabel Colegate. Silly me, I started to photograph the books with the post its, which were blocking the stars of the photoshoot, the covers! 🙂 Worry not, my friends, in the captions I’m sharing Janakay’s thoughts on the books.

Voices in The Evening. Natalia Ginzburg. NYRB has been doing a lot of Ginzburg. I’ve read a few of her novellas and liked them very much. Haven’t read this one yet; which came to me in a book club (already had a copy)
Old New York, Edith Wharton. I love Wharton and these are some of her best novellas
The Hunters, two novellas, Messud. Messud isn’t one of my absolute favorites, but I seem to come back to her work. I’m slowly making my way through her backlist. Haven’t yet made it to these (copy is a duplicate)
A World of Love, Elizabeth Bowen. I’ve mixed feelings about Bowen; she can be too subtle for me at times… but, I’ve read most of her novels!
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, William H. Gass.
The Invisibility Cloak, by Ge Fei. Another duplicate! I agree with you, -it does look intriguing
I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, Laura Van Den Berg. I encountered this writer through one of those “Best of the Year” short story anthologies. I found her quirky and atmospheric.
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Elizabeth Taylor. You didn’t ask for this one, but it’s such a great novel I threw it in! I love E.T’s work -she’s so perceptive and writes so beautifully

I’m interrupting here 🙂 I wasn’t initially interested in Elizabeth Taylor, but I am so thankful that Janakay included this book in the package. I’m adding these two I bought here, to the #ReadingJanakay challenge, because she’s the one who officially introduced me to her. I’m currently reading At Mrs. Lippincore’s.

The Bachelors, Muriel Spark. I love Muriel Spark -even when her novels don’t totally work, they’re always interesting.
Moon Tiger, Penelope Lively. My first Penelope Lively, which I read shortly after it won the Booker. I loved it and went on to read most of her other novels. I need to re-read to see if I’d still be as impressed so many years later.
Simonetta Perkins, L.P. Hartley. My favorite Hartley is “The Go-Between” which is quite long. I liked this fairly well; it’s good for a certain mood and it’s set in Venice. Besides, physically it’s a lovely book.

This was my #5 Classics Club Spin #30 title, and I plan to enjoy it soon. It truly is a lovely book.

Last but not least, two gorgeous Art Books:

Keith Morrison, Renée Ater.

And that was that, friends. Please, let me know if you have a favorite in here, which cover do you like best, and is there any title that sparked your interest?

My most heartfelt thanks to Janakay. Gracias, amiga, por todos los libros, y por tu amistad estos años. I can’t believe that you, my friend, wrote your first post in . Your friendship has inspired me ever since.

To you all, guys, Janakay is still reading, mustering some resolve to write about her musings on books, art, travels, cats, and life.

20 thoughts on “My Own Personal Challenge, #ReadingJanakay

  1. Pingback: I made it! Simonetta Perkins, Classics Club Spin #30 | Silvia Cachia

  2. Pingback: Summer of 2022 & Reading Plans | Silvia Cachia

  3. Pingback: At Mrs Lippincote’s, #myfirstElizabethTaylor, #ReadingJanakay | Silvia Cachia

  4. What a wonderful gift and a wonderful response. I loved seeing glimpses of your backyard in the photos too. Portrait mode is my favourite 🙂

    So lovely to have you back reading and blogging xo

  5. What a sweet and amazing gift! How fun to make it into your own personal reading challenge! 🙂

  6. Thanks Ruthiella for stopping by to comment. I am glad you did because I am just in time for your new post which I will read shortly.
    I have missed you.
    Janakay has green taste so it was an idea that I am glad it came to me.

  7. What a wonderful gift and I love that you are making a challenge of reading them. Also glad to see you blogging again! I too loved “Moon Tiger” when I first read it. I haven’t read those Elizabeth Taylor titles, but I adored her “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont” and have long been meaning to read more from here.

  8. I am glad you liked my thank you post. I know you gave me these books with no conditions but believe me when I say I am very excited about reading them and glad about this project. 4 years yes, quite a feat! Cheers to at least four more! 😂

  9. Your recommendation is reassuring and I am glad to hear you are willing to read The Bachelors, I am willing to attempt it too.

  10. Silvia–what a beautiful “thank you;” I’m totally overwhelmed. Also, blushing like mad — I really don’t deserve this, as it was a personal joy to pass along some great books (some read, some unread) to an appreciative reader like you. If you do get to any of the ones I’ve read, it will be a treat to compare our reactions (let me know if/when you decide on the Messed, as I can’t understand why I haven’t yet read it!).

    I’ve really missed your blog and I’m selfishly looking forward to your posts! And I remember very well, querida amiga, who was one of the very first (and very kind and encouraging) readers on my own little blog! (Can it have been FOUR years ago????).

  11. What an amazing gift and what a wonderful project – I shall certainly enjoy watching your progress through these marvellous books. I particularly commend Grand Hotel – loved it! And coincidentally I recently realised I’d never read The Bachelors so have picked up a copy too. Happy reading!

  12. Thanks Carol. I also have enjoyed some of Wharton’s novellas. I am looking forward to reading many of these and sharing the reviews.

  13. Any that I love, I am always happy to pass on to you. We should meet and maybe decide on a couple of books to read, what do you think?

  14. Lovely! I’ve only read False Dawn, The Old Maid, in that collection by Wharton. I’ve enjoyed her novellas & short stories more than her full length books & I usually don’t read much in the way of short stories.
    I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Taylor but am interested; also Margaret Drabble.
    Happy reading!

  15. What a gorgeous gift!! So many new-to-me books and what beauties. 🙂 I know you’ll have the best time reading!

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