Friday, March 22, 2019

New Books, Reading Update, Snow, and Movies

A wet snow is falling as I write this evening. It snowed several inches last night, turned to slushy rain at midday before changing back. Not a big storm. Good. It will be cold tomorrow, which might make for some excellent snowshoeing. We still have 2+ feet of snow.

An excellent reading week with The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I just love the twists and turns--what a rollercoaster of a book. I'm likely to finish  early next week. Every afternoon I have curled up and read another large chunk for about 2 hours. Insanely delicious. Where has this book been all my life? Do you ever have that feeling about a book?

I'm also reading a fast-paced novel, recently published: The Girls of 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib, about a young married woman who is being treated for severe anorexia--not in a hospital, but in a residential treatment center in St. Louis, where she lives with her husband. I'm a third of the way through, and her condition is still very serious. She is eating again, but is not gaining any weight, which can be an alarming sign of an  effect from long-term starvation. It is interesting--the primary focus is her struggle, rather than on lots of characters, and a solemn probing of the situations prior to her marriage that prompted her to stop eating.

I should look back to see the comment a fellow blogger made about a new book to come by my favorite serial mystery author, Julia Spencer-Fleming. She is expected to have a new book out later this year. When I searched online last night, I wasn't able to locate that bit of news, but I did come across an article in a Portland, Maine newspaper indicating that her husband died of cancer at the age of 59, late in 2018.  That is sad news indeed. My very best wishes to her and their three children.

Movies: We watched one from 2009 on Netflix last night that had us in stitches. Did You Hear about the Morgans? stars Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, husband and wife, both devoted Manhattan residents, who must go into the witness protection program to western Wyoming. Cute, funny, the perfect diversion. Mary Steenburgen is their host/protector in Wyoming.

Just to keep me honest:
1. I am in the midst of writing the review of my saga of my reading of Notes from the Dead House by Dostoyevsky.
2. I must write a  review of The London Train by Tessa Hadley, because I read it for the 2019 TBR Challenge. It is a rather complex book, so I will hope to vastly condense my thoughts about it before I actually write it. help.
I am behind with both reviews.


  1. Glad you are enjoying Woman in White—so much to love. I especially think Count Fosco is a great character—makes shivers run down my spine just thinking about him.

    I like Julia Spencer-Fleming too—sorry to hear of her loss. I wonder if this is a new mystery series you’ve heard a rumor of.

    1. Jane,
      Count Fosco is a great, multi-dimensional character. He does inspire terror in me as well!
      When I received the news of a new Julia Spencer-Fleming book, it seemed (to me at the time) that it was a new book in the current series. Just don't know and will have to wait, which is hard for me, as far as this author is concerned.

  2. Here on Long Island the winter seems to be over but there is still the possibility of a late storm. The Zgheib book sounds good. Anorexia is such a terrible and persistent disease.

    1. At this point, Brian, if any of us do get a bad storm, the snowy stuff probably will not be around for long, thank goodness.
      Anorexia is a terrible disease. I think part of what makes it so scary is that there is a point for some sufferers when physiology takes over, and unless medical intervention is properly supervised, it can be fatal. I've personally known people who have died from the disease. Very sad.

  3. I appreciate the perspective you added to the recent conversation on Gone with the Wind! There were many "victims" on the Southern side of the War, black and white as you remind us. I learned something today and I thank you.

    Mrs. Aldertree

    1. I have been suffering over my comment. First and foremost, I did not want the blogger to feel badly about reading an American classic, that so many people feel is controversial, yet I felt that my comment was "preachy" and that I was lecturing, when I should have done nothing of the sort.

      There is no question that GWTW presents a worldview that is abhorrent to most Americans today, but that doesn't eliminate its importance as an American classic, which portrays a world view held 85 years ago. We need to remember where we were then, so we can move away from it now.
      The very end of the Civil War in the South was a time, unfortunately, of terrible carnage and destruction. That is the fault of the institution of "War." War breeds destruction, death, and decay, and revenge on the vanquished. It has ever and always been thus, both before and after the Civil War.

  4. I am also a fan of Julia Spencer-Fleming's books and enjoyed meeting her a couple years ago in Brookline, MA. I did not know about her sad loss but no wonder it has been a while between books. The forthcoming book is the 9th in the Clare/Russ series. I realized recently I did not read the 8th. I lent it to my mother because I knew I couldn't get to it right away but kept the dust jacket to remind me to retrieve it. She swears she returned it. I am sure it is misplaced on her shelves but have not been able to locate so will have to get another before I am gammoned.

    I have been wondering when spring arrives in your neighborhood. I woke up to snow yesterday but it was only enough to require boots and was gone by midday.

    1. Constance,
      I haven't read the 8th book either, because I've been fearful that it was the last book in the series, and didn't want it to end.
      However, last night I discovered there is indeed a 9th coming, so I downloaded the 8th and started reading immediately!
      How interesting that you had a chance to meet Julia Spencer-Fleming! I would have turned out for that, if my husband and I were still living in Canton, Mass. We moved to the Adirondacks in 2005, but when we lived back in Canton, Brookline was one of our primary haunts, going back roads all the way. Just a 30 minute drive back then.
      About spring in the Adirondacks. It is a very short season. Nothing happens until early May, and then during the month of May everything to do with spring happens all at once. By mid-June it is summer. Our autumns are also only about 6 weeks long, if that, but beautiful while they last.