Monday, July 3, 2017

A Long, Wildly Stormy Summer Saturday with Books

Note: Since the storms, internet has been spotty. Hence, the late posting of this entry.

Usually early July is sunny, very warm, and fairly pleasant, as long as it is not too humid. Saturday was a most extraordinary day for July. It was a day filled with wave after wave of the wildest thunderstorms and torrential rains lasting from 10:45 am until 6:30 pm, without much let-up. We did not lose power, but it was so dark that I lit candles. I had trouble reading at times, it was so dark, which made me turn to an audiobook by 2 pm. Going outside was out of the question, so Sasha and I hunkered down for the duration. It was spooky and kind of fun!  

It felt like a Sherlock Holmes kind of day, so I dived into my Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Volume 2, to read “The Empty House,” the first story in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes. As I discovered, over the decades there has been a great deal of “scholarly” speculation about this story, which begins with Sherlock Holmes returning from the dead after that fall into “the chasm.” Watson nearly faints when he sees his old friend Holmes again, which some scholars say would be extremely unlikely, given that Watson is a an experienced medical doctor and medical veteran of European wars, etc. I find lots of the annotations interesting, but sometimes I ignore them for the length of the story and then go back to  them and review the story as I do so. 

I felt like knitting in the afternoon and, because the internet was down all day, I had to listen to an audiobook downloaded years and years ago. (Oh, if only I had planned ahead for this weather!) You may cringe, but I was surprised that I listened for more than two hours to Danielle Steel’s The Ghost, and found it very interesting. A forty-year-old architect suffers the loss of his "perfect marriage" and flounders. He's transferred to the New York City firm of his company, discovers that they are passing off the same blueprints that he was creating 15 years ago for them, and takes a long leave of absence, landing by chance in Shelburne Falls, in north-central Massachusetts (a real town), near Deerfield. Of course he finds inspiration and hope there, and love, naturally. Perfect listening while knitting to humungous booms of thunder and flooding rains. I think I downloaded it at least 12 years ago. Something about it must have appealed to me in the description at the time.  I do know this: I do not have exemplary listening skills. I can listen to nonfiction, but fiction listening is difficult for me. However, I discovered twenty years ago that I can listen to Danielle Steel, because if my attention wanders, information will be repeated! 

I also spent time reading P.D. James’s Devices and Desires. I love the acute details of the landscape, the interiors of buildings and households, the characters. This book is so very rich in complexity—just what I love to read, but a book I could never, ever listen to.    



  1. I've never read a Danielle Steel in my life and never wanted to. *But* having been to Deerfield in 1996 and loved it to bits I now feel the need to investigate The Ghost!

    We experienced a NY state thunderstorm at the Finger Lakes, again in 1996, so I know full well the ferocity of your storms as opposed to ours in the UK. We were in the supermarket, the lights went out, and when we got outside the carpark was under several inches of water!

    1. I was born in Massachusetts and lived there all my life until we moved here 12 years ago, and I've never been to Deerfield. I am definitely making a trip--there's so much there about early American history.
      And the Finger Lakes! You did see some beautiful places when you visited over here. And do you know that's another region I haven't visited yet!

  2. New York State is beautiful in many areas. I wish I could travel around the state. I love the lakes with trees surrounding them, so peaceful, so serene.

    And it sounds like you found the perfect audiobook for the storm. And you had your dog with you.

    I often think if I read a scary book, I must have lights on and a dog beside me.

    1. It was the perfect audiobook for that day. The problem with finishing it has been that I need more scary afternoons to move along in it. That's okay--we have more stormy afternoons ahead, according to the weather reports.
      And, yes, dogs are wonderful companions in storms and when one is alone. If I hear strange sounds, and Sasha hears nothing, then I know I can ignore it. Of course there are the times when she hears something and woofs her head off and it's nothing--just some neighbors on bikes shouting to each other while riding by.