In the High Peaks

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An April Winter, Life after Life, and James Garner

So much going on in my book world and I have no time to blog about it.

Spring has not sprung yet, but I hear rumors that temperatures in the 50s will be our fare this coming week. Last evening before sundown a wintry squall of enormous snow clumps came whirling like hornets around a nest. Then a brisk day today--early this morning about 18 degrees. By noon the sun was warming and brilliant even though the air temperature did not rise above 40 degrees. I climbed to see Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State, totally covered with snow, as were all of its surrounding mountains. The day was beautiful, but the reflection off the snow was painfully blinding. I have to wear very large, dark glasses and a broad-brimmed hat when I venture forth on snowshoes in April.

Books: I'm lucky to be among the first in my area to read Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. Being the first has happened to me frequently with new library books this year and it's not the norm. Usually I order and have to wait and wait for  popular, recently released books, but this year, I've had so many dumped in my lap that I almost feel guilty. Are people really paying $14.99 for e-books of 2013 titles? I wonder what's going on? I'm baffled.

About Life after Life: I'm finding it a bit of a departure for Atkinson. It's long, at well over 500 pages, and I realize at the moment that I've had far too complex a day to describe its idiosyncrasies fully. I'm hanging in with all of it, but I do wish the action would progress. It's quite grim as well, and is written as though Atkinson is holding herself at an extreme distance from the characters and their tragedies. It's very different, but I WARN YOU, DO NOT listen to a person who has only read 150 pages of a 500+ page book!!! However, if you have views on the novel, I welcome your comments!

I also have borrowed The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, which is not due to be released until Tuesday, but somehow or other one of my college libraries put it on the shelf anyway. I am very keen to read it, but it, too, is very long at 450+ pages with very small print in the hardcover edition.

And audiobooks! I've nearly finished listening to The Garner Files by James Garner, the popular American movie and television star, who is in his eighties now. It has had me laughing and quite absorbed to and from work. From the time I was four years old, I loved him in the television western, Maverick, then later in films. I recommend it highly for an audio read.

 I'm in awe of the way that audiobooks can alter my mood while driving. I can be in the foulest, most depressed state, as I was Friday morning, and I listened to a chapter in The Garner Files about golf, and he had me laughing hysterically for my 60-mile journey! I don't play golf, I don't watch it on tv, I don't even like the sport, but I was in stitches. So!

I have barely scratched the surface of my book life at the moment, but I hope to blog on in a few days at the latest.


  1. Judith, Are you driving 60 miles to work and back? If so, that's some commute - poor you.

    1. Alas, yes. It's just for this semester that I'm teaching at one of the satellite campuses. Fortunately, 35 miles (70 round trip) of the journey are on an excellent highway, so it's not as bad as it might be. And it's just 3 days a week. Better yet, I've got just a month to go until the semester ends. Then, at the end of May I'll return to the 35 mile route to the main campus only 2 days a week, which seems like nothing. So I make quick work of audiobooks!

      I hope Scotland is warming up. Is it?

  2. It is a wee bit warmer now but the wind is so fierce that theTay bridge was closed to all vehicles on Monday. Yesterday we had rain and now today (Thursday) it's bright but the wind is howling again. I'm going to brave it though. I hope your ice is thawing.