In the High Peaks

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

UK Books and Wimbledon

I don't need to calculate any statistics to know that I read more UK fiction past and present than from any other country, including the US. I've visited the UK a total of only three times, and each time was a wonderful, eye-opening experience. If I could, I would visit every year, no question, and so would Ken.

Wimbledon--the highlight of the tennis year is here. And it seems that every tennis player in the world that is willing to spend the time and the pain to conquer the sport on grass, is determined to win.
We watched a match today, the likes of which, we have seen only a very few times in our careers as tennis fans--watching Roger Federer (Swiss) combat Kevin Anderson (South African) in the quarter-finals. A superlative,  top-ten match is one in which both players are playing their absolute best game, are neck-in-neck the whole way, and are battling, no-holds-barred tennis, going for it all. This doesn't happen that often, actually. And it happened today. Wow.

They went straight out for five sets and beyond, and then the last set had to be extended, punishing the players with overtime. Anderson, well-deservedly, conquered Federer in the end. Federer is the top champion of the modern era, but even he, who will turn 37 in early August, knows all too well that exhaustively long matches are getting to be beyond him now.  He knows he must win all the early sets to win and move on, rather than be ensnared by extended games, and extended matches.
Federer was at match point in the third set, but lost that single defining moment. The consequence of that  last moment led to the match going on for 3 more hours. Can you imagine?

I've been so quixotic in my reading. Oh, gosh, that MOOD thing that has been driving my reading. I never know what I'll be reading from one moment to the next. I am finally in the mood and very much want to read The Summer before the War by Helen Simonton, which is yet another English book, published in 2016. The war in question is WWI. I can't wait to get going on it. I will pick it up at the library tomorrow. I thought of reading it two summers ago, but I had read so many WWI novels and books during that centennial, that I held off on this one, and am now glad I'm in the mood for it.


  1. Judith, have you read Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith? It's One of my favourite books about WW1.

    1. Gosh, Cath, I've just looked it up and I do want to read that, and I do wonder that I haven't come across it. Well, it's on my list now! I'm glad to know it's your favorite. Did you also read Testament of Youth? Just curious. I have it at home, but haven't read it yet.

    2. No, I haven't read ToY but have it on my tbr pile. Must get to it. The First Casualty by Ben Elton is also not bad.

      Fascinating article on the news this morning about a site in Belgium where they were going to put up a housing estate, until they started to find mass graves and armaments and realised it was an important WW1 site. The archaeologists have now moved in.

    3. Cath,
      I always plan to move on to Testament of Youth, and when I really see just how long it is, I put it aside, because I always have a list of so many pressing books to be read immediately. Sigh.

      How wonderful that archaeologists will now have time to unearth and study what occurred there. I'm so glad that people here in the US and in Europe stop construction dead in its tracks when they realize that a site of historical importance is present. I'll have to search for more news about this, because archaeology is one of my "things."
      I'll keep an eye out for The First Casualty, thanks.

  2. Sadly we missed that Federer match as we had to go out. I love those tennis duels, but the five setters take so much out of the players. I must admit that I really miss Andy Murray at Wimbledon, but I think he's hoping to be at the US Open soon (or something like that). I really enjoyed The Summer Before the War.

    1. Oh, yes--or Ach, yes, I do miss Andy and have been so worried about him since the time it was announced that he would undergo hip surgery in Australia this past winter. He was brave to go through with it so far from home. And the recovery back to full flexibility and strength has been harrowing. He's a brave one, but I can certainly see how he would feel that at his (relatively young) age, he didn't want to throw his career away. I do wish him the best.
      And I'm so glad to hear that you read, and that you liked The Summer before the War. I've got it in my hot little hands now.