In the High Peaks

Friday, March 20, 2020

It's Friday--Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times Has Arrived

Please note: I composed this post between 5:15  and 6:30 EDT, and for the last half of that time Blogger was giving me fits. More info has been added and I will add more on Saturday. Maybe lots of people are blogging!!

Yet another topsy-turvy day in New York State. Every day brings new restrictions, but I'm in full agreement that they're necessary, though I feel badly for anyone who must suffer one way or another as a result.
Our local businesses struggle in the best of times, largely because we don't have tourism 12 months of the year.  We've just entered one of our leanest times (from the end of skiing until June). So last night we got take-out from our favorite restaurant that normally only serves in house. And that take-out includes alcoholic beverages! Restaurants are temporarily permitted to sell all alcohol on a take-out basis, including spirits. Never thought I'd see the day, but Governor Cuomo is trying to do everything possible to mitigate the losses the restaurants and pubs will suffer. So in addition to our meals, we ordered carry-out draught beer and I decided to get some Amaretto DiSaronno,  just because I could. We'll keep patronizing our favorites because we would hate to lose them.

Now for the MEME.
I have 3 separate one-foot-high stacks of books that prevent me from opening the bottom drawer of a tall bureau in my bedroom. This bottom drawer holds summer clothing, so I'm good for now.
Today at the bottom of one stack I uncovered The Overstory by Richard Powers. Because this novel depicts the inter-connected experiences of nine Americans with trees (and forests), I was immediately interested in it, though I haven't read it yet. Since we moved to the Adirondacks, I have become a tree nut. A bona fide tree-hugger, in fact. And I study trees, observe them endlessly, especially the trees in the forests I roam.
The Overstory was published in 2018, and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in that year (the link is to a BBC interview). And in the spring of 2019, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  Reviews from readers are mixed. Outdoor people, environmentalists, and forest nuts like me are wild for it, while others don't like it at all. I hope to read it this spring. Evidently, Powers was inspired to write it after his encounters with redwoods in California.

Another surprise in the stacks was Arthur Conan Doyle: His Life in Letters. I found this lovely hardcover edition at a library book sale and paid just a dollar. I haven't read it, and as I paged through it today and read the introduction, it seems that many of the letters were written to his mother throughout his life. Evidently Mary Foley Doyle was full of stories herself, a creative person, who encouraged Doyle throughout his literary career until her death. ACD often noted that her gift for story-telling was passed on to him, that some of her stories made his hair stand on end, and that she was influential to his work always.

My final discovery for this evening is Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which was so carefully produced by the Kansas Historical Society. Blogger has been having fits for the past ten minutes. I'm going to close, and I'll add more info tomorrow. To all a good night!


  1. Thanks for the update on your situation in New York state. I'm hoping that takeaways from pubs and restaurants will start to be available here as well.

    I'm so envious of your Arthur Conan Doyle book of letters. I've just finished a book of Patrick Leigh Fermor's wonderful letters and went around my shelves seeing what else I'd got. Found five books in all so, inspired by your post, I'll do my post tomorrow on those books of letters. I had no idea there was an ACD volume available will see if it's available for Kindle, somehow I doubt it but you never know.

    1. Cath, I do hope the book is available via Kindle. And you're right, I have found it impossible to predict whether they have a title or not, and sometimes they surprise me with books that I would never imagine them having!! I wish you luck with it.
      And I also wish you luck with takeaways--Are you saying that all restaurants and pubs are closed for you now?
      Til later,

    2. Yes, all pubs, clubs and restaurants are now closed in the UK. But on the news tonight they said that loads of people had gone out to the seaside for the day today... like it was a Bank Holiday or something. Unbelievable.

      Yes, the ACD book is available for Kindle. *But* it is £9.99 which I think is quite pricey so I will think on that for a while.

    3. It often takes me a while to decide if I should wait or postpone purchasing. A tricky business. I've been able to justify several recent purchases because we are not spending now doing lots of other things that are shut down. Maybe you can put it on your list and hope you get it from the library at some point in the future?
      In Florida, throngs of people are whooping it up on Miami Beach and the other beaches in Florida. The Republican governor has refused to shut the beaches down. I believe the mayor of Miami is in quarantine. TV footage shows people shoulder to shoulder on the beaches and in the surf, and next week all those people will fly a plane to their homes in the Northeast and spread more disease. It really is shameful. I have heard people blaming college-age students for this behavior, but in that footage I saw many, many older adults. They're in denial and they're imposing their denial and its consequences on the rest of us.

  2. Takeaways are available from restaurants in Edinburgh now, I hope it'll keep them in business. I fancy reading all of those books, I'm a tree hugger too. More to add to the ever lengthening list.

    1. Katrina, I hope the restaurants will all stay in business. And that the restaurant workers will receive enough in tips from the public to see them through this.
      Somehow I always knew you were a tree hugger. In fact, you may be considered an honorary number of those of us here who refer to ourselves as "nature nuts."

  3. I am down in Suffolk County. I agree that this is necessary. I cannot imagine what this is doing to businesses such as restaurants.

    It is a great time for reading and finding books.

    1. Hi Brian,
      Absolutely a great time for reading. I'll look forward to reading about what you've discovered.
      And just picture us ordering take-out from the restaurants we'd hate to lose.

  4. California is about in the same status as New York. Everyone is supposed to "shelter in place" now but OK to go the to grocery store, gas station, etc. We had take-out from a restaurant near to us on Thursday night to support them. At the time they had not shut down but maybe they have now since the governor announced more restrictions. We ordered books from our favorite independent bookstore and picked them up at the door, for the same reason. And then went to the grocery store in the same center hoping for more toilet paper and for the first time were able to buy one small package with 4 rolls. Today we are at home of course and I did some weeding.

    I enjoyed your comments on the books you found in your stacks. My husband has The Overstory but hasn't read it yet. I may read it also.

    Sorry I was late seeing your information post on the new meme. My idea was to go through my stacks and boxes of uncataloged books and I am sure I will find some surprises. I will see how that goes. I hope to have a post up today or tomorrow.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      Governor Cuomo announced new restrictions yesterday, but they did not apply to restaurants, so the restaurants and pubs that are still willing are still doing take-out. I hope that that will be the same for you.
      Don't feel any rush to do the meme. If you want to wait until next week or the week after, that will be great. No one needs to feel pressure these days, that's for sure!
      But I'm frankly drooling over the image of your "stacks and boxes" of books! Oh, that's so much fun!!