February’s snow and cold weather offered more time for reading. I tried Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons, but gave it up at page 148. Like in Cold Mountain, Frazier’s style is slow and full of lengthy descriptions. Set in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains, Thirteen Moons takes place in the 1800s and is narrated by Will Cooper, an orphaned literate “bound boy” who is dispatched to run a trading post at the edge of the Cherokee Nation. The first hundred pages held my interest, but I found myself drifting away from the story, wanting to skim the long descriptions, and that is certainly not the way to read Frazier. So I put the book away, and may try it again later when I have more time to read. Being a big Alice Hoffman fan, I devoured Skylight Confessions and her young adult book Incantation. Ah, if only I could write prose like she does. For my birthday, I received a copy of Lynda Barry’s The Good Times are Killing Me. I’m looking forward to a quiet evening and a warm fire. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday. Anita Shreve has a new book out this spring, Body Surfing. Look for it in April, or preorder your copy now. While you’re at it, check out The Weight of Water and Fortune’s Rocks, two of my favorite Shreve novels.