Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Quick Book Catch-Up Before Friday's Bookshelf Travels

I'm definitely established in a daily routine. And so is Sandy. And  more recently Ken.
Those of you who have known  and  loved dogs surely know how dogs thrive on  routine.
I wake up, wash and get dressed,  take  the dog for an early am walk, then coffee for Ken, which starts his 90-minute book-reading escape.
I then grind my coffee beans and make my snobbish special coffee with cream, read the New York Times online, and have breakfast. I do the dreaded stretches I must do in order to walk the dog 4 miles up steep hills and down. And then out we go. It is NOT spring here, although the snow is gone.

Honestly, by the time all of this is done, it's early afternoon. I then have my happiest time of the day. From two to five pm I read. I am so grateful, and so thankful for these sacrosanct hours to retreat from the world and read. I wish for a longer escape than 3 hours.
I'm making great progress with Stalin's Daughter, the biography of Svetlana Alliuyeva. It's been an  utterly fascinating history, reaching from 1926, the year of Svetlana's birth, through all her years in the Soviet Union, and now, currently, I'm mesmerized by the intricacies  of  her defection to  the  West, and to the United States, in  1966-67. When have I read a history or biography where I totally lose track of all the pages I'm reading? I'm well over halfway through the 637 dense pages.

I'm also loving What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, the second novel after the first  in the series, Winter in Paradise. It is such a  relief to read, to retreat to the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and be swallowed up by the many stories affecting the people in two families. I'm well over halfway through this one, too, and I think I'll finish it this weekend.

And I've been borrowing and buying books like MAD as well.
I just borrowed from the New York Public Library an ebook published in mid-March that's set in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1630.  Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit. I was very lucky to be able to borrow this one as it's a new book. It starts out thus:
"We thought ourselves a murderless colony. We created a place on a hill overlooking the sea, in the direction from which we came. For a while, God's favor seemed possible. But it pleased Him to have other plans...  I remember that day, in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and thirty, that the first colonist was murdered."
For those of us celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Landing in Plymouth, and the founding of Plymouth Colony, this novel has been highly acclaimed and most of all sounds like fun and is supposed to be illuminating about the lives of colonists. Did you know that at least three million Americans and people from around the world claim ancestry from a Mayflower passenger?  So it's not a big deal, really. My ancestor was not a Puritan. He was a "stranger"  and was  an indentured servant to Stephen Hopkins, who also was not a Puritan. They both survived the deadly illness and starvation that plagued the colony during its first winter and that killed off well over half of the settlers. My ancestor was named Edward Doty.


  1. Stalin's Daughter sounds fascinating and also Beheld and a nice tie in for you with your ancestor.

  2. What a marvelous mix of reads. I envy you your choices!!! happy reading.

  3. Funnily enough I tend to read in the afternoon too, probably a couple of hours with breaks to make a cup of tea. Then we tend to have a reading hour in the evening too, usually from 7pm to 8. I don't know why but it never feels right if I sit to read in the morning and that only happens if I'm ill.

    No, I certainly did not know as many as 3 million Americans claim ancestry from a Mayflower passenger. That's an incredible number!

  4. I am reading The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard (book 1 in the Cazalet Chronicles) and very relieved that I am loving it because I bought the whole series at the same time.

    I read mostly in the evening before bed although sometimes I will read an ebook in the morning or afternoon.