Moody Autumn Mountain View at Home













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!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

June Reading and Other Books!

I must face facts. I am a person who cannot read 20 books between June 3 and September 3. For  some reason, during the summer I find myself  gravitating toward chunksters. I'm so interested in other people's plans, but I'd  never make the boat. 

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott was a delight from start to finish. And for those considering reading it in the near future, I will caution you that Alcott wrote it in 1874 and gender norms of the Victorian period are adhered to, despite Uncle Alec's revolutionary departures. I'm waiting for A Rose in Bloom, the sequel, to arrive. I think I might devour it upon its arrival, but I do have other literary fish to fry.

I'm also waiting for The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper  a Barnes and Noble paperback edition, which I'm reading for the Back to the Classics Challenge, which is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate. I very much like these low-priced classics from Barnes and Noble. The type is legible, the books have an intro, a chronology of the author's life, and reviews from the time the book was published. I have the Barnes and Noble e-book edition of this title, but for a book that's 445 pages, I really want a hand-held, hard copy. I feel I get lost in e-books that are over 400 pages.

And, in the meantime, while I wait, I'm thoroughly enjoying Elizabeth George's third Lynley/Havers mystery novel, Well-Schooled in Murder (1990). If there is one cardinal strength in George's Lynley/Havers series, it is her superlative creation of scenes. Each scene is meticulously crafted. I can picture each telling detail in each and every scene with such clarity. George is a marvel, in this respect. I know that these were BBC mysteries years ago, but I wouldn't want to see them now. The book, the text, is so extraordinary.

We are supposed to have three days in a row of sunny days starting tomorrow. Everyone is holding their breath, scarcely daring to believe it. We have had a very DIM, rainy spring. Think DARK.
Just leaves us wondering--what will our summer be like? Since last November, our weather has been out of the ordinary, so can't help trying to guess what's up next?