Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Cool, Dark, Rainy Saturday with Books and Candles

With all of our trees in full leaf, a rainy day is ever so dark indoors. Hence, my trip to North Creek to buy my favorite "Northern Light" tapered candles, in dark reds and spruce green, to keep me comforted while reading all the afternoon long, very deeply. Saturday was a rest day after a busy week.

I started the day journal writing, and after the trip to buy candles, I immersed myself in reading one of May Sarton's published journals that I have never read, Recovering: A Journal, which was written when she was 66 and 67 years old, in 1978-79,  a time of crisis and nearly insurmountable challenges in her life. May Sarton was a European-born American, a distinguished and award-winning poet, novelist, memoirist,  academic, and feminist, who lived from 1912-1995.

Her most well-known work is Journal of a Solitude, written in her late 40s,  which was embraced by American women of all ages during and after the second wave of feminism in the U.S. in the late 1970s, and the 1980s, and 1990s. If you have not read it, it remains her most beloved work and is still her most popular and most widely read book today.

I read it in the early 1980s and consider it one of the best books I've ever read. I read it when I was not yet married and saw no potential of ever being married. I believe I gravitated to it because she described her challenges as a writer, she wrote about the solace of nature, gardens, and animals (she was one hell of a gardener, indoors and out), and she contemplated what it is to be a fallible human being, in life and in love and in failure. In her journals, she speaks to me, so openly and honestly, that I am drawn close to her experience.

And so it is, exactly the same, with Recovering: A Journal. I couldn't put it down.

The rest of the afternoon I devoted to Sharon Kay Penman's Time and Chance, about Henry II and Thomas Becket. I'm halfway through this chunky chunkster and it looks as though perhaps Thomas is on his way out after trying to hold on to his role as Archbishop of Canterbury. An atmospheric read and one that does not disappoint in this rendering of Henry II's reign.


  1. I had to Google where Fowl Meadow, MA was as I never heard of it. Especially since I spent most of my life in MA and RI - LOL

    Hope you are having a nice weekend!

    1. Fowl Meadow is an exciting place to walk during the annual songbird migration in early-mid May. So many species of warblers--and loads of waterfowl. We lived in a town bordering Dedham, the town where most of Fowl Meadow is located .

  2. For some reason I think of May Sarton and Eudora Welty together, and I have never read either of them. I will look out for Sarton's books.

    I have a mystery by Sharon Kay Penman, The Queen's Man, a Justin de Quincy Mystery... which has sat a long time om my shelves unread. I have heard that her non-mystery novels are very good, although I might have a hard time with the length.

    1. Tracy,
      That's so interesting that you own one of Penman's mysteries. I wonder how they are. I'm nearing the end of Time and Chance, but when I finish, I'll be staking out when I read the third and last novel in this particular series, The Devil's Brood. I do hope I get to her mysteries.
      On your blog, I'm very interested and am putting on my list for December The Becket Factor. I love mysteries set in England in December.
      Then again, I would love to see Their Finest, the film.
      Did you borrow it from a videostore, or did you get it via online streaming?

    2. Judith, I am glad to see that you plan to read The Becket Factor, I enjoyed it very much and it will make a wonderful December read.
      We bought a copy of Their Finest because we assumed that we would like it well enough to rewatch. And we did. (We do buy too many DVDs or BluRay discs, when we should be streaming more.)

    3. Tracy,
      I've discovered a number of good December reads, just in the past week, sort of serendipitously. It will be my autumn task to line the books up, because there's nothing that cheers me up more in the darkest month of the year than books with dark December settings. For some reason, nothing pleases me more. With candles burning at my side, of course!

      I think it's marvelous that you purchased Their Finest. I think sometimes that Ken and I wait too long for films to come to streaming, and you know, lots and lots of them NEVER do get there. So, I think you are very smart to purchase special films as they become available. I'm going to set a standard by doing this more often.

  3. I have a couple of books by May Sargon but really no nothing about her so your post was very informative. And a fellow gardener! I have to prioritize her now.

    1. Hi Jane,
      I have never read even one of Sarton's novels, but have read three of her journals. All of her journals have discussions about the joys of flowers and gardens.
      I would really like to try one of her novels in the near future.