Lake Waban in Massachusetts June 2017

My favorite place to walk in the Boston area






Saturday, February 24, 2018

We're Melting: My Current Book Pile

Wednesday was a dreadful day for winter lovers. The thermometer rose to 64 degrees in my high-elevation northern wilderness region. Although I enjoyed sunning myself and reading on our balcony, all outdoor exercise--traipses into the woods or hikes on the road--were impossible. The road was squelching, deep-boot-covering mud. The trails were deeply water-logged.
It's cooled down a bit now, but nowhere near enough to be normal for February. Must we now face the end of winter sports for the season? I hope not! I'm praying for March cold and oodles of snowstorms. It's okay--I know I'm in total denial of climate change.

Books are a primary means of comfort at such times. I had to ditch Fire and Fury, my audio--knitting combo, by Michael Wolff. Halfway through was more than enough. I may pick it up later, but for now the daily New York Times is offering more scandalous fodder than Wolff's book.

I'm finishing Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, for the Now Read This Book Club, which will be featured on the PBS NewsHour on Wed. evening, Feb. 28th. I will be ready. A very worthwhile read. Please see previous posts for more about this book and a link to the Book Club.

Once more, just this week, I returned to Conn Iggulden's Stormbird, which I was reading in December in Vermont while it snowed endlessly. It's the first novel in his War of the Roses Series (four books). The emphasis is on wartime action and adventure, but I found enough to like in it to continue reading this 430-page book. I learned a lot about how battles were fought in the fifteenth century, and I will say that the details were interesting, though I would not want to read book after book about the details of additional battles in the prolonged struggle for dominance in England. Still, it was interesting to learn how desperately the French feared the English archers who faced them in the front lines. Good writing.

I am loving a wonderful book  about a spunky Bassett Hound, who came to stay at the home of the writer Hal Borland and his wife Barbara in northwestern Connecticut. Penny: The Story of a Free-Soul Basset Hound was published in 1972, but to me this book reflects the much simpler times of rural America in the 1950s.

Hal Borland was a naturalist, outdoorsman, and writer for the New York Times and an author of books on these topics. He was born in 1900 and died in 1978. His most popular book by far was The Dog Who Came to Stay, a story about a dog previous to Penny, who adopted the Borlands and became their beloved companion.  Penny the Bassett is quite another number--much more high-spirited, recalcitrant, and fiendishly devilish. But, all the same, I find it very relaxing and amusing to read about their struggles with this staunchly independent dog. Strangely, no human in this book, and there are many, has any clue or inkling how to train a dog, not even a little bit, which is what makes it so hilarious.  Oh, the poor, poor humans to be so tyrannized by a Bassett.

9 comments:

  1. We had the same burst of mildness in Toronto; I, too, am wishing for the return of the snows! Meantime, we can read in every season!

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    1. I'm so glad you're mind is set on more snow. It's a very, very rare year when we aren't dumped with snow in March. So I'm hoping (and praying.)
      And reading, you're right, can be very soothing when one is hoping for a bit more wintry blasts.

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  2. Has the cold returned? We're getting an arctic blast this week... winds from Siberia apparently and it certainly feels like it. To be honest, I like it when we have a proper winter and not some namby-pamby wet and mild thing. And this year we have had a cold and frosty one... hopefully some of the garden pests will have been killed off.

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    1. I think you would enjoy our winters, Cath.
      Oh, darn it, perhaps you're getting all the arctic weather while we're being deprived. Well, it has turned colder. This week is featuring daytime temps in the low-mid 40s F and nighttime temps below freezing. But our snow is disappearing! The deep woods still has some, but not enough to last at this rate. No snow in sight--for at least a week.
      Please do tell about your garden. I'm a garden appreciator, admirer, but gardening here has been very, very difficult, to say the least.

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  3. We have snow again, it's colder here than it has been all winter. I'm getting fed up with it now as the hard frosts began in early October. I hope you get your March snowfall though. We're more likely to get snow in March than December but I hope we miss out on it this year.

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    1. You should be having spring right now. Spring bulbs popping up and blooming, for heaven's sake.
      I want two feet of snow. I want all the cold weather that can be thrown at us. I feel cheated. So does Sasha. I'm afraid today was our last snowshoe out in the woods. The temps are above 40 degrees, which is when all the bad, deadly ticks get activated, and there are bare spots, where under the leaf cover, they all are waiting. Must start walking Sasha on the road tomorrow. She does not like that, I'm afraid.

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    2. Katrina,
      I do hope you have warm temperatures and loads of sunshine very soon!

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  4. We've not been outdoors for two days, we've had so much snow. The shops are running out of food apparently, we're stocked up though. No newspapers either. High winds are making the snow drift everywhere. That's awful about the ticks. we have them here too but I think it's mainly a problem if you walk through areas where sheep are grazing. Next week it's to be warmer but wet! The ground will be sodden.

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    1. I've read about the bitter cold and the days of snow that you've been having--that's crazy. You should be having some early spring by now.
      I'm so glad that you have enough food. But no newspapers! At least it seems you have internet, which is a help, as long as it doesn't get knocked out!
      I'm not fond of a "quick melt" after loads of snow, and to have more rain--gasp.

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