In the High Peaks

Friday, January 25, 2019

Big Reading Update--Late January is Tops

I don't think I've ever posted two entries in one day, but today is an exception. I needed to do a review of Frankenstein, but also wanted to do an update of what else has been going on in my bookish world.

Winter weather upheavals abounded in the past week. We had 2+ feet of snow  over two full days last weekend, which was immediately followed by wind chill temperatures of 24-36 below zero F on Monday. I went out that day to unbury my car, and when I inhaled, it was unbelievably painful to breathe. Surprised me, really. I don't recall being such a sissy in past years.
Then! Guess what? The temperature suddenly rose into the 30s F and then 42 F and we had well over 2 inches of rain--how impossible is that? And now we're going down to 4 degrees F tonight after crazy, blinding  snow squalls all day today. And somehow or other, in the midst of all this, I managed to get myself a little bit sick, really. It can't be connected to the weather, can it? Sigh.

I felt so crummy that all I could do today, after going out to our two bird feeding stations and after a little bit of tax work, was READ IN BED.

And the  reading was a delight. How wonderful it is to cast aside all cares for a time and retire with lots of books. I continued knitting a scarf and hood set while I listened to the 2018 definitive biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Jane Sherron de Hart, written over a period of decades, and which is 735 pages long. The listening will take a while, but it's fascinating so far. It's entitled Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life.  

I just finished Messenger of Truth, the 4th Maisie Dobbs mystery. Oh, how I love this series. What makes the Maisie Dobbs series different, or unique, is in the way these books plummet the depths of human experience. We are carefully carried right into the battle zone of the full range of experience. Although  it is now 1931, and the Great War has been over for 13 years, there are still tremendous repercussions in the lives of individuals and families who experienced the enormous losses. There is also a worldwide depression  that is having a negative impact on the lives of people everywhere in England. This book takes us into the heart of an upper-class family and its favorite artist son, and into a poor working-class family, who must struggle for every meal.
I do heartily recommend the Maisie Dobbs series. And although I've read the first four sporadically over time, I'll continue to read at least one book now per year. They are very fine indeed.

And what else today? I'm enjoying a romance, with dogs. In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick is set on the Delaware Coast in summertime and is peopled (or doggled) with a good number of Labrador Retrievers who are the ultimate show dogs. Jocelyn signs on to be their caretaker, and before she knows it, the owner dies, leaving all of his wealth to the dogs and to Jocelyn in trust of them. It's very quickly paced, and is a fun, funny read. Romance abounds, and includes strictly Labradorish hijinks. If you know Labs, or if you're acquainted with other sporting dogs or retrievers, I recommend this as a fun, relaxing change of pace.  I learned about this January 2019 book from Book Dilettante and immediately snapped it up at the library last Saturday. Lucky me.


  1. Soory to hear you're not feeling well. There's a bug that seems to be worldwide and when you've had it doesn't half cling on! We've had it since the new year and although we're much better we still have traces of it.

    I'm planning to take up knitting again, haven't done it for years but I want to knit myself a really nice scarf that I've seen a pattern for online. Just need to buy the pattern.

    And in other news, the first Maisie Dobbs book is on my library pile for a reread. Determined to try again with her.

    1. Hi Cath,
      It's really hard to avoid at least one wintertime illness, I've found.
      And I hope that you both shake off what's been bugging you very soon.
      I do enjoy knitting, especially to audio--In my teenage years, I could knit and watch TV. I don't think it's age, but I do like challenging patterns. But audiobooks, podcasts, radio programs--mix perfectly with knitting. Knitting is so much fun.

      Cath, you mentioned that you put down the first Maisie Dobbs.
      I would suggest that if this first one continues to be a zero for you,
      I would recommend that you skip the first and try the second one, which is Birds of a Feather.
      As I recall, I liked the first one OK, but I really liked the series much more as time went on.
      You know, I had this problem with the Louise Penny series. I got a hold of the very first in the series, and I couldn't go on after about 45 pages. Yet all my friends, including you, have loved the series. I think I need to take my own advice, don't you, and perhaps go to the second one in that series?

    2. I'll see how I go with the reread of the first one, I got to the end of it the first time round but need to refresh my memory in order to read book 2. I rather fancy that first books are rarely wonderful. You're right, Louise Penny's first one was not amazing and neither was Dana Stabenow's first book in the Kate Shugak series. I read book 1 of that and didn't read any more for 4 or 5 years. Now I love it. This is something I need to remember, always give a series a decent try before dismissing it.

      Funny, as a teenager I too knitted avidly and watched TV in the evenings. I think knitting was much more normal back then than it is now. Girls learnt to knit as a matter of course, where they don't now.

  2. What a weather roller coaster you've had lately! Sounds like it's been much the same scenario for my sister, a teacher, in central NY... they're starting to worry about using too many snow days.

    Glad you're enjoying the RBG bio on audio. Sometime when you're in a bookstore or library, take a quick look at the photos included, too. I'm hoping to have my review ready to go soon.

    It's been quite a while since I listened to the first could of Maisie Dobbs books. Enjoyed them very much, so I'm not sure why I haven't kept up with the series.

    We're in for a relatively cool, rainy, and gloomy weekend in southwest FL, so I plan to make a big pot of soup, then settle in with a few good books. We'll see what catches my eye today.

    1. Hi JoAnn,
      If you're like me, the reason why I haven't been able to keep up with all the Maisie Dobbs books is the conundrum of "Too Many Books!"
      #4 Maisie Dobbs was published in 2007, I discovered. So I feel I'm behind, in a way, so I'll make time--maybe another one this year, or stick to the one per year plan.
      I'm happy you have a gloomy weekend--do report on what you got up to with the books you're reading.