The hardest, and last, prompt on my 16 square library winter reading challenge card was "Hobby". I really couldn't decide how to interpret it. Was it a non-fiction book about a hobby? Was it a character with an interesting hobby? Was the hobby the main focus of the story?
Once again, I had to turn to Google to find a list of ideas because every hobby idea I could come up with was something I had already read. One list returned me a huge collaborative Goodreads list with votes for ranking. Right near the top? Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier, and I already know I enjoy her writing.
The novel also has the pleasure of being of the historical fiction persuasion, which does happen to be my favorite. In the early 1800s, Mary Anning spends hers days hunting for "curies" or curiosities along the beaches near her hometown in England. In actuality, the curies are fossils and she finds more and more unusual ones. Her friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a single woman from London who is also interested in fossils and beach combing, becomes of even more importance as Mary discovers some of the earliest dinosaur fossils and has to fight with the male-dominated scientific community to have her discoveries recognized.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy Tracey Chevalier's books and Remarkable Creatures was a great way to wrap up my reading challenge. Although I usually read a lot of historical fiction, it tends to focus on World War II, the Middle Ages, even some Civil War and World War I mixed in. A non-war story and in the early 1800s isn't something I can remember reading in years, which made the book extra enjoyable.
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