In the High Peaks

Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Twenty Books of Summer!!

 I've been formulating a list for several weeks now.  I must admit I'm not sure how the books will travel down the transit line. (Books on hold at the library.) And I must admit, I can be a MOOD reader, especially when life gets too busy or stressful. I also have not had the time to be as alert as I used to be about new books and recommended books. Despite these quandaries, I'm really looking forward to this event! The heat got up to 87 degrees here today, so I'm all in for reading the summer afternoons away. 

Okay—here’s my list so far. Right now I feel my list is unbalanced, and I feel I may be missing titles I really want to read. Please be prepared for the possibility of a new and refined list in the next week or two.

Please note that I’d love to read every book on this list, yet new or older books may fly across my path to tell me they must be read immediately. That’s the beauty of The Twenty Books of Summer. Substitutions okay!

1.     The Flaw of the Design by Nathan Oates  (2023)

2.     Lost Son: An American Family Trapped Inside the FBI’s Secret Wars by Brett Forrest (2023)

3.     The Body in the Web by Katherine Hall Page (2023)

4.     The Midnight News by Jo Baker  (2023)

5.     The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz  (2023)

6.     The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

7.     Killingly by Katharine Beutner  

8.     All The Days of Summer by Nancy Thayer (2023)  audio

9.     The Last Honest Man: The FBI, the CIA, the Mafia, and the Kennedys—and One Senator’s Fight to Save Democracy by James Risen (2023)1

10.  The Senator’s Wife by Liv Constantine

11.  Seems to be missing! I'll fill in soon!

12.  The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand on audio

13.  Another Martin Edwards Lake District Mystery??

14.  The Covenant of Water

15.  Fatherland: A Memoir of War, Conscience, and Family Secrets by Burkhard Bilger (2023)

16.  Pathogenesis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues by Jonathan Kennedy  

17.  The Only One Left by Riley Sager

18.  The Puzzle of Blackstone Lodge by Martin Edwards.

19.  Tom Lake by Ann Patchett  (2023)

20.  The Lock-Up by John Banville (2023)


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Having Trouble with Blogger Comments--Will Respond Soon!

 I'm sorry not to be able to respond sooner to all the wonderful posts replying to my "Twenty Books of Summer" initial post. Blogger (yes--it's really Google) is giving me trouble. I will deal with this on Thursday, tomorrow. Thank you to all who responded!

I had work in Lake Placid today--it was snowing! It was 32 degrees at 10 am. When I left at 2 pm the sun was shining and the temps had risen to an astonishing 38 degrees! Tonight, we're many miles to the south and at a much lower elevation, but we're going down to 26 degrees. 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

The Twenty Books of Summer: Are You In? I Do Hope So!

 I so loved the entire experience of The Twenty Books of Summer last year! It was Katrina, of Pining for the West, that hooked me into it, and a big thank you to her for a really fun 2022 Summer that I will never forget. So, indeed I am making a List!

You've no doubt noticed my absence here:

What's new and different with me: I went back to working, back to my professional genealogy practice, which is so far proving to be a full-time occupation. Right now I'm happy about this, but I wouldn't mind if it were a part-time practice. Much of the work is at home, but I recently spent 4 days on a research trip to the mid-Hudson River Valley researching court records from the early 1800s. This work is challenging, incredibly mentally stimulating, and I feel happy about it, and a bit sharper than I've felt in a long while. I tell my friends that I think retirement didn't like me, but I think it's much more that the pandemic flattened my spirit.

About my Twenty Books of Summer List: If my work continues as it's going now, there is no possible way I'll finish reading 20 books by September 1st, which I've decided is really Labor Day, September 4th.   BUT!  Take note! I'm going to make the list anyway, and I'll devour as much as I can. One of the benefits of summer reading. So many days are so DARN HOT that I find I can't exercise as much and thus end up reading more than at any other time of year. So here's hoping!  My list to come! Please do join me!





Sunday, January 29, 2023

Classics Club Spin: Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope was an adventure. I’d never read any of his work and I didn’t know much about him. I found it interesting that he was writing during the same time period as Charles Dickens, at mid-century.

It was fascinating to learn just how complex the Church of England community was in a cathedral city, with bishops and arch-bishops, deacons and arch-deacons, deans, prebenderies (sic?) and on and on! I enjoyed the satire and the comedy, and most of all the unforgettable characters! Mrs. Proudie and her strangled efforts to fill the vacuum sucked dry by the most do-nothing character in literature, her husband, the bishop. If ever there was a non-character, an ineffectual zero who took up lots of space, it was Dr. Proudie, the bishop! The Signora was a creation of pure genius—I do think Trollope’s greatest strength was the breadth and depth and the imagination that he used to draw each of his characters. They will stick with me forever!

And it’s wonderful to read a book that has such a satisfying, rousing ending. I must admit I felt the most pleased (because it was a total surprise) with the way things finally ended so well for the long, long-suffering Dr. Harding.

This is definitely a book worth reading, but I must admit that I think it’s unlikely I’ll read another of Trollope’s novels. There are so many other 19th-century English novels that I’ve enjoyed much more, and I still have more books by treasured authors of this time to read. But I am so glad that I read it, especially after knowing how so many of you have enjoyed his novels. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Some Favorites from 2022

 After finally pulling together my list of books consumed in 2022, I was very surprised to find I'd read 105. This far surpasses any previous year. I think I read between 70-76 books in 2021. My 2022 books read are listed in the sidebar.

One of my favorites was a very satisfying read that I devoured in the spring when I wasn't blogging much. Both Ken and I simply loved These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant. We both hated to see the novel draw to a close. Set in the West Virginia wilderness, a young man and his young daughter live off the grid in a cabin miles from any road. Right at the beginning it's clear that he must isolate and stay hidden because of an event in his past. The father/daughter relationship is very strong, and their appreciation of the natural world is mutual. The suspense builds right from the beginning and escalates, but never fear, this is not your typical thriller. It's better than any formulaic mystery or thriller. 


Another favorite was Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark, which was one of my 20 Books of Summer. Fascinating. The link goes to my post about it.

Another 5-star book from the spring that I didn't call attention to before is Elizabeth George's Something to Hide. Set in London, this mystery focuses on the Nigerian community. I read it for hours and hours each day for three days during our first heat wave of 2022 in May (yes, it's long!). Riveting and  absorbing--George's characters are so well developed. In my opinion, she's a master and she most definitely has not lost her edge. There is no need to feel that you must read previous novels in the Lynley series to enjoy it. 


Sunday, December 25, 2022

Lots of New Books in the House and End-of-Year Reading

 Merry Christmas, everyone! Our holiday has been frigid, with a depth of several inches of glare ice on the road, but we have plenty of food, have internet and streaming, and plenty of electricity and heat. My heart goes out to those in Ukraine who do not have their most basic needs met this Christmas. We will give what we can to them. But then Ken and I think, what about all the other people in this world who don't have adequate food and shelter? It's painfully unfathomable.


I'm within 15 pages of finishing Rhys Bowen's 2021 offering in the Royal Spyness series, God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen. I enjoyed this one, which was set almost entirely in a large house on the royal Sandringham Estate, the home of Georgie's husband Darcy's Aunt Ermintrude, a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary. The Queen has confided in Georgie that there is great evil afoot. (Georgie is a first cousin twice removed from King George.) The Prince of Wales has been shot at during a royal shoot, his equerry was killed mysteriously, and so much more. Aside from the murder(s) mystery, I really enjoyed the description of a 1930s upper-class English Christmas, especially the full descriptions of all the meals that were consumed. That's the cosy side of this mystery. The combination of a fun, light read with some grisly murders mixed in!

I'm also reading Christmas Holiday by W. Somerset Maugham, inspired by Katrina's mention of it in a post on her blog Pining for the West (see sidebar). Published in 1939, Christmas Holiday has been critiqued as not being among his best novels, but I'm finding it very interesting. I will say that it's only the first of Maugham's novels I've read. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it later. 

Unlike most of this year when I bought almost no books at all, I have purchased quite a number of books in November and December. These TBR books include the following:   

The Last Chairlift by John Irving

Lessons by Ian McEwan

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man  Paul Newman

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre

The Private Eye: The Letters of John Le Carre

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

THEN!!!  There are the 3 new books currently on hold for me at the library! Help! Well, actually these are riches, and I will respond by reading furiously!

OH! And I'm currently in the midst of Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope for the Classics Club Spin, review due no later than January 29.

Monday, December 19, 2022

I'm Way Behind! Hoping You'll Bear with Me--

 Our foul weather has put me in a daze--It took us three days to deal with the heavy, wet concrete of 28 inches of snow. Have never seen anything like it! Impossible to deal with. We had to call in reinforcements! Now, Monday, we finally managed to get out after three days locked in. All of this to say that I'm way behind in responding to all of your comments. Tomorrow offers a clear day to buy loads and loads of food an hour to the south, because even worse weather is in the future forecast. It will feel so good to get tons of food in the house and then I won't have to worry about anything. Let the weather do what it will, which it is forecast to do the meanest and worst. Inches of rain on Friday at 50 degrees on top of all this snow, followed immediately by a deep freeze to 10 degrees. Yes, it will be a skating rink around here. Flooding predicted.

I'm reading steadily and happily with Barchester Towers.

So much more to say about reading, but wanted everyone to know why I've been silent. Will catch up soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Classics Club Spin: Barchester Towers It Is! And The Letters of John Le Carre

 So far, I've read 74 pages of Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. (511 pages in all). I know that many of you have read it and liked it, which is very encouraging as I tackle it on these ever so dark December afternoons, when dozing off is so much more tempting than continuing to read.

My December reading has not been stellar, by any means. I loved the first four mysteries in Martin Edwards's Lake District Mysteries series, but the fifth, The Hanging Wood, was nowhere near as good as the first four, in my opinion. I finished it today. I'm sorry to say I thought it was a clunker. I do hope the sixth will be better. 

In the MAIL: My copy of A Private Spy: The Letters of John Le Carre, edited by his son Tim Cornwell arrived. It was published here on December 6th, and looks so fascinating, I could not put it down. He loved writing letters! Much more to say on this topic.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

Classics Club Spin #32

Well, I've finally managed to pull together a list of twenty. My main problem the last two days has been that I totally lost my previous list, but after searching and searching, I found it, and made a few changes, and now here it is. 

I do hope that everyone participating lands with a book they've been thirsting to read!! 

1. Home of the Gentry by Ivan Turgenev

2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

3. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

4. Snow by Orhan Pamuk

5. Short Stories by Shirley Jackson

6. Barchester Towers by Trollope

7. Another Nature title by Henry David Thoreau

8. The Doll: The Lost Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier

9. The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier

10. And Quiet Flows the Don by  Mikhail Sholokhov  

11. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

12. Testament by Vera Brittain

13. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

14. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

15. The Things They Carried and Other Stories  Tim O’Brien

16. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

17. Emma by Jane Austen (I can't believe I haven't read this one.)

18. Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek by Annie Dillard

19. The Razor’s Edge  by W.S. Maugham

20. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham