In the High Peaks

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Happy Christmas Week!

At long last, I found a Christmas novel that I am thoroughly enjoying and heartily recommend to all. Finally!

The Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini (2015) is a novel that criss-crosses two time periods in Cambridge, Massachusetts--the Civil War era and the War in Afghanistan in modern times, through the eyes of a single family. The Civil War years are visited through the lives of the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family, and through their holiday traditions, and tragedies. I am astounded by how extraordinarily well-written this book is and how well researched (so judged by my  historian of the Civil War no less!). I am listening to the novel on Audible while knitting peacefully. You may wish to consider putting this one on your list for next year, especially if you appreciate Massachusetts and New England history. So well done! And more than that, so affecting.

I may not have roasted a turkey at Thanksgiving, but I surely made up for it Christmas Day, and we enjoyed it so much. Turkey pot pie will follow tomorrow night.

I am contemplating my reading for 2020 as well as my other plans. No decisions on my reading plans yet. But although I was overjoyed, immeasurably so, with the pleasure of my extensive reading from January-July 4th 2019, I was not happy with the plunge off a cliff into the ocean of desultory reading for the rest of the year. I do not know what I want to do in 2020, so this week I am leaving the question open.

Of course I know I'm reading Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale with Katrina of Pining for the West, starting January 1st, but other than that, I am leaving my heart and mind open for what will come books-wise in 2020.  


  1. Books that take place in more then one time period are very popular these days. Though I only have read a couple of novels that employ this technique I think that it is something that can work very well. This sounds very good for several reasons.

    As for future reading plans for next year yield good results for you.

    1. Hi Brian,
      If anything, I think it's likely that the first few months of 2020 will see me reading books that are more interesting to a greater number of people. Thanks for hanging in!

  2. I love that photo of Ken, is it you ahead of him? I really like the sound of that Christmas Bells book, but so far there are only two books by her in Fife libraries, from a 'quilters' series. Have you read any of those? Enjoy your knitting. I'm doing a lacy head band now.

    1. I'm so glad you've enjoyed seeing the photo of Ken on the trail. I'm snapping the photo, so that's not I ahead of him. I love the way his backpack (filled w. snacks and a drink) is a convenient way to rest against accommodating trees. His glasses are so dark because I believe this photo was taken in late March, when, even if it's snowing, the sun is powerful and darkens his lenses.
      Yes, Chiaverini has authored an Amish quilter series, which is a surprise to me, because those books are supposed to be very cosy, according to Goodreads. Christmas Bells is way, way less cozy and, to my mind, all the better for it.
      I do indeed think that you would like this one very much--I'm sorry your libraries don't have it.
      So interesting about your lacy headband knitting. I've just started practicing some lacy patterns during the past year. And now I am so DETERMINED to tackle Fair Isle knitting. Right now I'm practicing in swatches. I have loads of books to instruct me and YouTube. Practice is essential. Have you ever tried Fair Isle??

  3. Sounds like you're having a good, relaxing week Judith. I'm still working on an overall game plan for 2020 reading, but know I want to be more deliberate in my choices. There a so many older books and classics I want to read, but got side-tracked by new releases this year...

    1. Hi JoAnn,
      Like you, I know I want to have some moderate sort of game plan for 2020 reading, but right now I'm not sure which directions to go in. I've got my mind wide open, and I think about it everyday, waiting for inspiration to strike.