In the High Peaks

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Magnificent New Books in the House

I'm writing a post to cheer me up. We were already having a challenging week, completely aside from having company coming for the President's Day Weekend (Ken's cousins), who are arriving Saturday morning, and we had no running water as of late afternoon yesterday. This morning we were so incredibly lucky to be installed with a new pump for the well.  We have  water now, but it's very murky at present. For a while, all the sediment caused every tap and bathroom to malfunction. But Ken got us sorted out after six hours of labor--how thankful I am about that. So all we have now is murky water (iron-laden), but we always have plenty of bottled water for drinking and cooking. I'm so glad I washed the bed linens ahead of time, but I still  need to do all the towels. (This is wilderness living.)

I received three books by mail this week, which was so rewarding, but I've had so many financial duties to attend to and other disasters that this week has been the least "readingest" week of
2019. Oh, I'll catch up!

I now have a beautiful hardcover copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, which Katrina (of Pining  for the West) and I have planned to read together, starting July 1st,  as part of the Back to the Classics Challenge, hosted by Karen of Books and Chocolate. Isn't this a gorgeous book cover?

Also in the mail was  The Radiant Way by the acclaimed English author Margaret Drabble, which is the first novel  in a trilogy set in the 1980s, during Thatcher's time. I picked up a lovely, very clean first edition hardcover  of the third book in the trilogy years ago from a library book sale entitled The Gates of Ivory. I realized this year that I might enjoy the trilogy more if I read the first book first.  The Radiant Way I purchased from a book dealer as a  first American edition hardcover in "like new" condition. It was cheaper than buying a new paperback, and it will match my third book. It is in beautiful condition. I am a total devotee of Drabble, for reasons I'll make clear further on in the year, I fully expect. I feel so at home in her novels.

The third arrival by mail was The Love-Charm of Bombs, which Katrina of Pining for the West reviewed. (Check out the link.) For this one, I bought another hardcover, at a very low cost compared to the paperback, and it is a pristine copy.

My next Classic Read is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I have managed to begin and am enjoying it, but have not had a minute to read during this entire week, and I can't wait to really dig in to the novel this weekend (imagine a thoroughbred waiting to be released to race the track). This one is for the Back to the Classics Challenge and the TBR Challenge.
Gosh, how I need to escape! Ken keeps his cousins well entertained (they are all guys and are a very nice bunch). They only need me to cook a few breakfasts and dinners. I actually love doing  that and the rest of the time I go snowshoeing, I read, and knit while listening to an  audiobook. (I am so looking forward to some time to do that.)


  1. I was a serious Margaret Drabble reader in the late 1970s, and early 80s. Then I came upon some that didn't appeal to me. I'm not sure if I have read these three or not. I may try and get back to her. I did buy her very first a while back. She has had such sadness recently. Her daughter died, and then her ex-husband, the father of her children.

    1. Hi Nan,
      That's sad to hear about the deaths in her family. I read quite a few Drabble novels in the late 1970s, but did not continue to read her--there may have been a definite reason, but I don't remember.
      I read The Seven Sisters in 2015. This is one of her relatively "later novels," and I really liked it, or at least the main character spoke to me.
      Her most recent book, "Dark Flood Rising," is on my list of TBR 2019 Challenge books. I started it, loved it, but stopped because the book had to go back to the library. So this year I'll tackle the whole thing. I read nearly half of the book, and I loved it. The main characters are all in their 70s, and it is quite humorous in places.

  2. Goodness me, I'm sorry to hear about your woes with your water supply. I think I didn't realise how much 'in the wilderness' you actually are. Even though the clue is in your blog title. LOL!!! I'm glad it's pretty much fixed now.

    I haven't read a single thing by Margaret Drabble so will interested to hear how you progress with that. *And* The Woman in White. Enjoy, and I hope things calm down a bit soon.

    1. Hi Cath,
      Thanks for commiserating. We are not as much out of the woods as we thought. The iron sediment made the the washing machine malfunction. A plumber came today to help out. But there's no real washing of clothes that can be safely done for a couple of weeks. I've now heard horror stories from several friends who tried to wash clothes "too soon" after a new pump was installed. The iron particles, pieces of sediment, permanently stain clothing, I've been told. (oh, my gosh--it looks like a laundromat is in my future.) One of the crew helping out said, "That's why no one needs Geritol in the Adirondacks!" Geritol was a product sold in my childhood, advertised on tv as being for "iron-poor blood."
      I love Margaret Drabble's novels. Have you ever read anything by her? She started publishing novels in the early 1970s, I think? She's the sister of A.S. Byatt, but they don't get along and supposedly avoid each other.

  3. Oh, Judith, what a week! We has our well pump go several years ago and it wreaked unimaginable havoc... with our washing machine (iron sediment) and we had to dig up landscaping to get to the pump. I sure hope you get the all clear soon!
    Meanwhile, the new books sound wonderful! Years ago I made several unsuccessful attempts to read One Hundred Years of Solitude. Perhaps it was a case of timing, but I've never gone back to it. Maybe some day. I do enjoy Wilkie Collins though... you may want to try The Moonstone if you like The Woman in White. I need to get going on my Back to the Classics Challenge. The Grand Hotel is good, but I'm never excited about picking it up... may move on and give something else a try instead. Enjoy the long weekend. Hope you get some time to yourself for reading, knitting, and listening!

    PS I just started listening to My Own Word by RBG, a collection of her writings. Was pleased to hear her read the intro and to find some actual recordings of her speeches... one of Marty, too. Such a surprise!

    1. JoAnn, the pump disaster is the gift that keeps on giving. We were very fortunate to get the new pump Thursday, but everything inside the house has been malfunctioning since. We think we're turning the corner, but then sediment clogs another faucet, and the washing machine keeps malfunctioning. Fortunately, the cousins have been so supportive, so helpful, so cheering, that I feel a great sense of relief.
      So! I have heard other readers say they had problems reading One Hundred Years of Solitude and that they liked Love in the Time of Cholera much better.
      I'm liking The Woman in White, though I've only made a very modest beginning.
      I'm very interested to hear that you like the My Own Words by RBG--sounds so interesting, especially after reading RBG: The Bio.
      I wish you plenty of reading time this weekend. Despite the water crises of today, I managed to listen to RBG for an hour while knitting. So fascinating!

  4. Sorry about your challenging week. My son's well pump went last summer - bad enough but a winter malfunction so much worst.

    I need town sewers and town water these days. We had a brand new home with a septic that failed after 10 years. We both said no more septics.

    1. Thanks so much, Diane.
      I think it's likely our septic will go before we're ready to move. Not looking forward, but what can you do, except next time move to a different situation, as you did. It's a horror, for sure.

  5. I'm just catching up Judith as this weekend we've been celebrating Duncan's (eldest son) wedding! Thanks for the mentions. My copy of the book has a very different cover.
    I am so thankful that we're on mains water here, I'll not take it so much for granted in the future. I hope it doesn't take too long for the water problems to clear up. It sounds like the guys will be keeping you cheery.

    1. Oh, Katrina, how wonderful about the wedding--congratulations to you and Jack, and of course Duncan and his bride! I have a dozen questions, which I will put in an email.
      The guys helped tremendously, especially when the washing machine overflowed and flooded the laundry room! That was Friday.
      Today finally I got out for a long snowshoe and I feel much better.
      Email coming soon.