In the High Peaks

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Catching Up & Reading Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

To skip the personal info, drop down to paragraph 4.

Last evening I returned home from a ten-day trip to Boston. My mother was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago, and my brother and I zoomed in to visit lots of doctors, hear lots of opinions, do some of our own research, and, finally, with my mother's input, come up with a plan. A "big surgery" was a possibility, but all of our research and my mom's wishes ran counter to surgery as an option.

On December 7, Mom will be 91. She has had an extraordinarily healthy and productive life, and we all wish for that to continue, without interruption, for as long as it's possible. As she herself said, "A huge surgery? What would be the point of that?"

The miracle in all of this is that my brother and I, who have always been at thunderous loggerheads, found ourselves having not a moment of controversy or ill will between us. We were in immediate, mutual agreement about what we wished for our mother. We spent time together and healed some wounds, and the miracle is, we didn't have to work at it. It all seemed to drop down on us out of nowhere, perhaps because deep down we both knew we needed it to move forward. And in our togetherness, we were able to fully support our mother. It seemed like magic to me and I'm grateful.

I was not able to read at all for a number of days, but when I latched onto Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë several days ago, I've been reading and enjoying it ever since. I'm two-thirds of the way through as of this evening. I'm reading it on the Kindle, and I must admit I was originally drawn to it because it's a relatively short novel.

I heartily agree with critics who say that Agnes Grey is reminiscent of Austen's novels in its depiction of English village society and romance among the gentry. I find Anne Bronte's acute and sometimes satirical characterizations highly entertaining. And, as a governess herself of some years, Anne knew fully the strait-jacketed role she had to play between the offspring she was supposed to instruct and the parents in the homes where she was employed.  Highly recommended!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Books for German Literature Month

Actually, two of my books have arrived. I'm still planning the rest of my reading for November, the dullest month of the year in the Adirondacks. Rain, constantly gray skies, cold, and waiting for snow!

I'm glad to say I have Flight without End by Joseph Roth for Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat's Joseph Roth Week, November 24-30. It's a short novel, first published in Germany in 1927, and first published in the U.S. in 2003. It's a post-World War I novel set in Germany in the early 1920s. I'm looking forward to it!

The other novel I bought is a YA novel recommended by Thomas of (Lazy after work tonight. See my blogroll, please.) It's Young Light by Ralf Rothmann. Eager to read and review it!

I need to study Lizzy of Lizzy's Literary Life's (see my Blogroll) most recent German novel recommendations for more ideas. I'd like at least two more novels.

Please forgive the abbreviated post!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Must Post but Pardon! Way Behind

I've fallen terribly behind with my blog writing as sometimes happens in the autumn months. Our prime foliage has passed, leading to a slump in my mood, something that only a bright snowfall can lift! And for that we need to wait for weeks. Just give me some light! Time for candles and the gas fire, and books.

I still fully intend to blog about my enjoyment and enthralled appreciation of The Haunting of Hill House, the 1959 classic by Shirley Jackson. I was supposed to do this on October 1st, and what day is it now? Please don't remind me.

I still haven't written about why A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger is one of my favorite books of 2014. This post is long overdue! If you are leaning toward reading this book, you will not make a mistake by moving forward to read it.

And books in my house as of today: I went to Crandall Library and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher was on hold for me. Wunderbar! I feel so lucky to have the short story and others in the collection to read this weekend.

Another read for my R.I.P. IX: I'm devouring Tana French's The Secret Place. Very, very worthwhile so far. French has a firm, masterful touch on dialogue and exquisite pacing--and her characterizations show the mark of a dedicated stylist. It's a long book, but I don't mind a bit, yet it might be a while before I complete it as it is a true chunkster.

One very lucky book arrived at my door today! For two years, I have waited for the moment to acquire a copy of The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, published in 2012 by New York University Press. I received this massive, colorful tome at a major discount from a used book sale at the New England Historical Genealogical Society. I paid $40 for a $70 book and it is "Like New." Lucky. I have browsed all through it while cooking dinner tonight and I'm very excited.

So I hope to post more substantial stuff very, very soon!