Moody Autumn Mountain View at Home

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Lake Placid Notes

Current book news note:  I am more than halfway through The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. It has some novel twists and turns, it takes place in the Scottish Highlands, and is very creepy. Good for RIP, if you are doing that.
Now for Lake Placid Adventures:
I have taken getaways to Lake Placid at least five times since we moved to the Adirondacks in 2005. As I see it, it's a way to stay in the Adirondacks and do Adirondacky things (hiking, birding, skiing, snowshoeing, paddling) while having a taste of big-city life at the same time. That's its attraction for me.
When considering Lake Placid, it is crucial to note that it is unlike any other Adirondack village or town or locale. Lake Placid has an abundance of very wealthy residents (understatement), and that is probably the single factor that allows this place to be the unique Adirondack destination it is. This area is able to support one of the best independent bookstores I have ever had the pleasure of splurging in. I become literally insane when I visit and always spend more than $100 when I am there. This bookstore is well worth its own blog entry, and I will have to do that.  And to think I didn't take a photo while I was in the store!

The above photo is a view of Mirror Lake taken from the area near the Mirror Lake Inn, a very short walk from Main Street, Lake Placid. I arrived Monday morning and left Thursday morning. Monday, when this photo was taken, was a beautiful day, as was Tuesday, which I spent in Saranac Lake.

So what I've been trying to say is that Lake Placid is in no way representative of what the Adirondacks, that 6 plus million acre state park is really like. For fun, and for an expensive splurge, I recommend Lake Placid, but if you can visit the less posh, and much wilder and just as beautiful areas of the Adirondacks, please do.
While hiking up and down Lake Placid roads, I will confess that I did just a wee bit of trespassing to take a few shots of beautiful Lake Placid. Taking photos of Lake Placid is immensely difficult, I can tell you from my experience. If I may be blunt, the public is not supposed to take photos of Lake Placid, because ALL of its immense shoreline is privately owned. Although I'm grateful that many,  many Adirondack lakes are within the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and are all publicly owned New York State lands and open to everyone, I am bothered that Lake Placid and all of the immense shorelines of the various Saranac Lakes

are not among them. It is a shame that New York State, when it set aside lands for the Adirondack State Park and Forest Preserve, could not claim even a section of these absolutely gorgeous lakes.
 Mirror Lake Inn has luscious gardens.  In this one, I captured a photo of a frittilary butterfly on zinnias. We have had a monarch butterfly explosion here this late summer and September, but this is not one of those. I have misspelled frittilary,  sorry.  There were  loads of these in Lake Placid last sunny Monday.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Brief Update before Lake Placid/Saranac Lake Photos

I thoroughly enjoyed a trip to Lake Placid earlier this week. Lake Placid in the summer is horrendously overcrowded. Why ever do people go there? So I went Monday, the week after Labor Day, and the area was still extremely busy, loads of people, but I was able to get a great off-season, mid-week rate on a great hotel, and had a lot of fun.

In my next post, I'll share a few photos and stories of my travels. I especially enjoyed my visit to Saranac Lake, 11 miles to the west of Lake Placid. Saranac Lake is one of the most historic towns in the Adirondacks,  because in the late 19th century and the early 20th century it was a world-renown center for the treatment of tuberculosis. I walked all over SL photographing the Victorian houses that boarded tubercular patients. The entire history is fascinating. I will post some of the most illustrative photos. I walked so many miles! And Saranac Lake is so hilly, I went up and down, up and down over and over, photographing houses.  Need to research this all some more.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Early September Update and My Apologies

I'm so grateful and felt so happy reading the good wishes from everyone who responded to my post about our new addition to our household,  our very special Golden girl Sandy.
It's hard to explain, but I have been so exhausted,  so unbelievably worn out since we've had her, that I've not had the energy until today to respond to everyone who responded to my last post with best wishes. Sorry! I really am so sorry.
As wonderful a dog as she is, Sandy has never lived in a house before now. She lived in a show kennel with lots of other dogs, exercised with them in paddocks and had gay times, so I'm amazed in a way at how quickly she's adapted to our household, to being a "house dog." But the adjustment has required a great deal of dedicated dog time.

Reading stats:
When I hit my bed at night, I literally crash into oblivion. So my reading has been SPOTTY.
And, I did not mention that from July 22 until August 25 I was wholeheartedly  involved in an online fiction writing course via The Adirondack Center for Writing.  Yes, I am working on a novel, for the umpteenth time in my life. My desk is full of novels and half-completed novels.
Anyway, I focused my whole heart and soul into this writing course and it was a wonderful experience with a great mentor and teacher, who writes YA fantasy novels. Her name is A.C. Gaughen.  Her prompts and special "pushiness" forced me into all the right places to get something accomplished, which amounted to a promising start on a novel. Not my first, by any means! 

Still, despite everything, I have managed to finish reading a superb Gothic YA novel, Dreaming Darkly by Caitlyn Kittredge (2018). Set on an isolated, scarcely inhabited Maine island, this novel is the best Gothic I have read for this age group. No wonder, as Kittredge spent the summers of her childhood on a small, isolated, barely habited Maine island. I thought it was excellent. But, remember, I am a devotee of all books Gothic. Full of unexpected twists and turns and unbearable suspense.

I have been listening to Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, an excellent narrative by a therapist about what it is like to be in therapy and what it is like for her, the therapist, to be in therapy and to treat her clients in therapy. Acutely fascinating and well worthwhile. First class!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Welcome to Sandy! Woof!

Another quiet month from me. I find it unfathomable that I did not spend it reading much at all. Just bits here and there.
BUT I did spend time searching for a Golden Retriever to join us in our Adirondack home. Lots of time online, and several trips to New England were what it took. We enjoyed the travelling, but it had a nervous edge to it. Would we find a dog that would be the right fit for us?
And we did! Sandy is a two-and-a-half-year-old girl with plenty of spunk. She comes from the same breeder that Sasha and Sophie did. Sandy loves retrieving tennis balls at all hours of the day.  She is very affectionate and is calm (after exercise). She walks beautifully on the leash and doesn't pull! A key point in her favor. We love her to pieces after having her in our home just 8 days. When it's time to rest, she actually prefers to go to her crate for a nap and for overnights. So we are a happy home indeed. "A house is not a home without a Golden." (Little sign by our side door.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Re-Entering Earth's Orbit: Day One--A Brief Note

I'm finally coming down to Earth after a few unexpected weeks away from this blog.
I am so very sorry to say that I had a spin-and-crash event after reading the first 58 pages of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And to think that this happened when I vowed to read it with Katrina of Pining for the West--a terrible blunder.

It has only rarely happened that I've vowed to read a book and been unable to continue. I think this happens to everyone at some point or other. For reasons I do now understand, One Hundred Years was deeply disturbing to me--so unsettling that  I could not carry on. I am glad I had the sense to stop. So whither now?

My next few posts will cover my June and July reads, and it may take several to relay info about each one.

I picked up nearly 20 books at a summer library book sale. So interesting and some great finds. Will hope to report some more substantial book news. A dull post, this--but interesting stuff awaits!

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Dreadful Time of Year to Be Offline

Just a note to say that for the near future, Ken and I will not have internet access. We drove to a restaurant tonight, so I could check our weather, check email, and post this very brief entry. This is the worst week to be without internet, because it is the very busiest week in the tourist season, and wherever I go to find wifi, so will there be loads of tourists doing the same. I have nothing against our tourists--we desperately need them here, but we usually steer clear of busy places.
Wimbledon can occupy us--we don't need wifi for that, thank goodness!
I will be checking in, though.
Katrina and I have just started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude for the Back to the Classics Challenge.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Hitching up with The Big Book Summer Challenge 2019

The Big Book Summer Challenge sounds perfect for my summer reading habits. I first learned about it from a post on Jane's blog, Reading, Writing, Working, Playing (See sidebar).

The host of The Big Book Summer Challenge is Sue who writes the blog Book by Book. The link will take you to the sign-up page where all the rules are explained, yet they are simple, and to participate you only need to read ONE big book (400 pages and up). The challenge started on May 24 and ends on September 3, the day after Labor Day.

Since May 24th, I've read two books that qualify:
Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George (412 pages) and
Last of the Mohicans (425 pages). My review of the latter is coming up in a day or two.

Other BIG BOOKS I either plan or hope to read this summer:
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez  (also reading for the Back to the Classics Challenge)  417 pages  
Plan to start this  on July 1st. 

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller  (BCC Challenge)   probably in August   453 pages.
Hope: I may have to put this one off until fall.

The Radiant Way by Margaret Drabble  408 pages.  
Plan to read

Winter of the World by Ken Follet, (Vol. 2 in The Century Trilogy), 940 pages.  I had a hankering to read this one this summer. And then I found out how long it is.  I read Vol. 1 a number of years ago. But it would be an entertaining immersion.
Hope to read

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fun Books While in the Midst of The Last of the Mohicans

Fun Books--That's what's needed when slogging forward in a book that you're determined to read but which is fraught with forbidding challenges for the reader.

I very much enjoyed The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd (2014), which really surprised me by how much fun it was. Yes, at first glance, the description sounded as though I'd like it, GoodReads readers rated it a 3.9, with most readers rating it a "4," and the next most numerous group a "5." I believe the book can be categorized as an "historical romance," but really, truly, it is a cut above the norm of that genre. It's set on the "moors" in England, in what appears to be northern England, because it's a dark, snow-covered, wintry setting. The novel is a modest length and the action does not slacken its pace throughout. Original as well, I thought. But if Romance with a capital "R" is not your thing, then some of its pleasures may not find you.

My next FUN read is The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper. I've dug into this one already and again I like it immensely. The young, though experienced, nanny in question has by chance and by luck, been hired to be "under-nanny" to the young royals at Sandringham Estate  in Norfolk in 1897. Her young charges include David, oldest grandson of the Prince of Wales, and also heir to the throne after his father George, the Duke of York, as well as Bertie, the second son, and another child who is an infant. And thus her adventures begin.

Lest you think I have gone dotty for pablum reads, I am also beginning The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble, which was published in 2016, and which I started, but then had to return to the library. I am content to start the novel all over again because what I read two years ago was well worth rereading. Tales of those in their mid-seventies and hanging on with every breath. This one I'm reading for the TBR 2019 Challenge.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

More Elizabeth George Mysteries and The Last of the Mohicans

Because I posted last Thursday, I feel the need to note an update on my reading before I get down to a "proper post." That may happen Friday at the earliest.

With a flourish and a hurrah, I finished Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George this morning, the #3 novel in the Lynley/Havers mystery series. This third title was every bit as extraordinarily excellent as the first two, for those who are interested. I must say to you personally, if you only viewed these mysteries via PBS or BBC, you owe yourself something very, very special by reading the first three novels in the series in print. I declare that George's novels do not translate well to television, because so very much, yes, so very much of her novels are what goes on in the characters' heads. In their thinking, which never makes it way to film.  I think it's time for a revival of Elizabeth George's early novels because they are so special. No one I know is writing mystery or police procedurals of this caliber today. No one. If you believe that there are those who are, I beg you, do please let me know.  It's true that George's novels took a tumble--I believe the worst tumble came after the publication of What Came before He Shot Her. George's fans revolted, utterly revolted at that novel that resulted in the murder of Lady Helen. Personally, I thought that that novel was a brilliant departure--brilliant, but her long-time fans saw otherwise.
I believe that George lost her footing for a time after that novel. Careless in Red, the next novel, was a disappointment to all. George picked up the pace after that, but most will agree that her earliest novels are the best.

About me and The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper,  published in 1826. I am a third of the way through this novel. It is more than a bit of a slog--I don't mind saying. I am thrilled by the descriptions of wilderness landscape--whitewater rivers, thickly greened wilderness, etc., because the action of this novel took place within 35 miles of my home. But the language is difficult--it is turgid. I checked to see when Pride  and Prejudice was published (1815). And the language of that ever-so-readable English  novel is nowhere near as contrived, nowhere near as muck-mired as The Last of the Mohicans. That is my pronouncement. And of course I'll happily finish Cooper's book, but really his style has me gasping for air at times.  In addition, there are the constant Indian battles and killings as the party tries to make their way to the safety of Fort William Henry.

In my next post, I'll write about the new books that are helping me survive The Last of the Mohicans!