In the High Peaks

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

About ten days ago, we finally put our reading tent up. I really love reading in the tent where absolutely no mosquitos or other biting bugs can bother me, yet the breezes can flow and I can see perfectly well and listen to the birds and the wind and the animals and gaze out over the fields and woods. We've been pretty much in the low 80s F, occasionally into the high 80s. If the humidity is very high, it's horrid, but otherwise it's not too bad. Could be much, much worse.

I have finally dug my teeth into one of my Classics Club books--Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jabhvala, who won the Booker Prize in 1975. The novel was adapted into a television drama by the BBC, I believe, but I never saw it. Did you, by any chance?

I'm only about 40 pages into this 138-page book, but so far the story moves back and forth between 1923-1926 British India and the India of the late 1960s or early 1970s, the latter time period narrated by a granddaughter and grand-niece of two women who spent years in India in the 1920s and 1930s. Much of the mystery for the young narrator revolves around a character of her relatives' acquaintance, Olivia, who created a huge scandal by leaving her husband, Douglas, for the Nawab of the District.

I've also just started The Rocks by British author Peter Nichols, which is set in summertime Mallorca. I'll have more to say about this wonderful novel soon. It was published last summer 2015.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What I'm Reading Today

A very, very brief post to say that I'm fascinated by P.D. James's The Black Tower, especially the deeper I get into it, and I have been so inspired by the extraordinary characterizations in Julia Spencer-Fleming's One Was a Soldier. As many of you know, Spencer-Fleming's "mystery" series about Episcopal priest, U.S. Army helicopter pilot, and recently-returned Iraq War veteran Claire Fergusson  and Miller's Kill Chief of Police and Vietnam veteran Russ Van Alstyne just can't be beat, in my estimation, especially if you admire character-driven fiction or mysteries. I am so in awe of the writing in One Was a Soldier, published in 2011.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Here Comes a Long Reading Weekend!

Due to circumstances beyond my control, it appears that this weekend will be devoted to reading. A new tennis racquet arrived at my door, but I don't know that I'll have the strength to play this weekend. It may have to wait. But Wimbledon watching will continue, primarily in the evenings.

I've nearly finished Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, and P.D. James's The Black Tower arrived yesterday, all ready to go. So the latter will be rapidly consumed, I imagine.

But I'm also reading, chapter by chapter with rests in between, the nonfiction work by the 2015 Nobel-Prize-Winning Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets. To write this book, Alexievich personally interviewed hundreds of former Soviets about the conflicts between Soviet life and the Life After. I hope to have much more to say about it later. It has received tremendous accolades throughout Europe and North America.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Holiday Weekend Reading

All I can say is that I'm finally reading.

I downloaded the current bestselling thriller Before the Fall by Noah Hawley yesterday in an attempt to break my lack-of-reading crisis.  It worked. It's been given multiple starred reviews, and other laudatory comments from many news outlets, so I figured it might at least entertain. And it has been a page-turner, though I'll reserve a final judgement until I'm finished. 

Today I ordered The Black Tower, an Adam Dalgliesh novel, by P.D. James, which will arrive on Thursday next, to see me through the latter half of next week. I know I can read James, no matter what.

I can't believe all the titles by favorite authors to be published in September: Ann Patchett, Ian McEwan, and the Dutch author Herman Koch, to name a few!