In the High Peaks

Thursday, July 30, 2020

August Reading upon Us and a Warning

I'm happy to be launching into August for a reason I would rather not say though I will. August is my least favorite month of the year (Don't we all have a month that we wish were another, more favored month?). And I'm about to get through it. Happily, merrily, make the bestest of it, damn it! ;)

This August I'll be continuing to write my way through my Creative Nature Writing class (via the University of Cambridge Continuing Education. Cambridge, England, that is.), which ends the next to last week in August.  And to challenge myself, and hopefully pass the time, I've enrolled in another writing class entitled, "Two Essays, Four Weeks." This online course runs from August 5th through September 2nd, and is offered through Grub Street, a Boston-based writers' collaborative. I took an online class with Grub Street late last fall, and it was excellent, and encouraged me to write like a demon. I find these classes challenging, fun, and a great way to meet and spend time with other people from around the world who enjoy writing. These classes expand my worldview and also help me to more closely examine my own worldview.  Consequently, my posting will be less frequent in August, as has been the case for me since June, I'm sorry to say.

I've dug in to Sharon Kay Penman's Devil's Brood, and I'm 85 pages in, which has taken a bit of time. It has been wonderful that Penman has cleverly interwoven the events and  personages from the first two books with the beginning of this third book.  This book could easily have been and should have been 1,000 pages, but the publisher used a very small font, though, to be helpful, they used a decent amount of leading between the lines, which means it is legible for me. Still, it's dense! This week I haven't been able to gather the time to read it everyday. So I see this one going onward and forward through Labor Day, September 7th, which is fine with me.

While Devil's Brood is ongoing, I'll be reading one easier read at a time, as well as an audiobook, whenever I grab some time to knit in the late afternoons.
Right now my easier read is The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs (July 2020), and I'm finding it exceedingly mediocre. I read on thinking it will improve, but it is overly repetitive about grief for a parent, and that is troublesome because the author repeats the same feelings and facts over and over and over. I'm all for books describing grief about parents, lots of us have been through it, but grief is not static, it moves and changes as time goes along.

The warning: I updated to the new version of Blogger quite some time ago, but tonight, there was no way for me to write a new post. I clicked on "New Post," and when the page appeared, there was no way to do it whatsoever. The page to write a new post did not appear. After trying repeatedly, I reverted to the Old Blogger (only viable til August 24th), just so I could post.  If you are a Blogger user, would you try to see what happens when you hit the "New Post" tab?

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Buried in Books as I Haven't Been for Months!

Indeed, my bookish areas are swamped by piles of books. All the books I had on hold at my favorite Crandall Library for the past five months were "let loose", due to Covid-19, last week. I picked them up curbside in a large paper bag.
As sometimes happens, after what seemed like many, many months, only a few of the hoard still interest me.
I am nearly finished reading Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener, which is a memoir by a young woman who worked in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco area, in the hopes of making much more money than she was making working at her job at a literary agency in NYC. Her tale of start-up computer companies (she worked in several) is revelatory, especially considering her work there was so recent. She does not harp on the misogyny in these companies, but it is crystal-clear. I entered a totally foreign universe when I read this memoir. I listened to the first half on Audible, but it was too slow. The second half as I read it in hardcover zooms by and is much more satisfactory. I sometimes mind how slow audio is from a reading perspective.

Next: As some of you may recall, I waited for one month for the Sarah Kay Penman novel, the third in the series, The Devil's Brood to arrive. I can't believe that it actually made it, after four weeks, and in excellent condition. I've started it, but with  Penman's novels, there are so many characters and so much going on, it takes about 50 pages to really settle in, and I'm only 20 pages in so far. Yet I'm fascinated! Nothing like England in the 12th century, I always say! Henry II and his Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons, the devil's brood, for sure. Fireworks will ensue!! At 770 pages, with tiny print--it will be a work in progress, but one I'm happy to make. Fortunately, there is lots of leading between the lines of tiny print, which helps immensely.

The other book I'm reading now received a starred review from several publications. It's Susan Wiggs's The Lost and Found Bookshop. I was fortunate to borrow this very recently published book as an e-book from the New York Public Library. It's women's fiction, first of all, and it's the story of a woman business executive who abandons  her career to rescue her deceased  mother's bookshop and to take care of her grandfather who has dementia. Sounds grim, but it's not at all. The community she returns to offers lots of possibilities in every area of her life. I'm enjoying it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Warning: The Disastrous State of the Nation

Think very seriously whether you want to read this post. No books are mentioned. And no, I don't consider it a rant. It is a warning cry to all who would listen. Yes, gosh darn it,  I have had terrible difficulty posting regularly here. The state of our nation presently could not be more dismal, could not be more horrific. And people are sitting idly by. Well, perhaps if we were at war with a nation destined to crush us to dust, perhaps that would be worse.

I don't wonder that people in countries throughout the world HATE the U.S. 
There should have been a massive insurrection a long time ago to pressure the removal of our current pseudo-leader who is a sham, a charlatan, a puffed-up self-aggrandizer who is fatally paranoid, a fake, a conniver, and most of all a malevolent person who would do anything at all if it meant he would come out on top. He is, in fact, evil.

My apologies to any of his supporters who have stumbled onto my blog by mistake. It would be best if you left now.
But the stakes are too high now to remain silent. The president is operating a secret police force in several cities, where ununiformed federal officers are kidnapping protestors off the street. These officers wear no identification. They throw people into unmarked cars and take them away. Where???This has been happening in Portland, Oregon for one. This is real news. And little wonder, with this secret police crackdown, the  protests are becoming worse. We are now in the throes of a country exactly like Nazi Germany, like the Soviet Union, like the Russia of today. And it's all thanks to Mr. Fake Man who is a white supremacist and an anti-Semite, and his cronies. Oh, and don't forget the troops he has called out to battle protestors.  Troops armed with U.S. military weapons to shatter protestors. Oh, yes, you're right. Those weapons were intended to only be used by trained military in the event of war. The  police using them have not been trained in their use. And they were never developed with civilian uses in mind. WTF???
I am 67 years old. I remember the race riots of the 1960s. I remember the deaths at Kent State. But nothing then compares with what's happening now.

Okay, so where do BOOKS fit in to this picture? Well, they don't, not really.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Where Have I Been?

We seem to be having a trying summer weather-wise. We have been much, much hotter than normal here in the Northeast, and worst of all from a blogging perspective, we have had frequent violent thunderstorms that have knocked out power and internet on a regular basis. Of course we usually get thunderstorms this time of year, but never daily, and never with the loss of power every time it happens.
Satellite internet is beginning to seem very appealing to me. When I mention it to Ken, he astutely points out that a satellite would have to go out in our back field. Do you want to stomp through four feet of snow to wipe a storm's ice and snow off of it? Uhh, maybe not. Thanks for pointing that out.

Still reading, though I need to get a really good book very soon. I'm waiting for Sharon Kay Penman's The Devil's Brood to arrive. It has been held up, but I can't wait to dig into a Penman tome and be swept away to the 13th  century. The first two books in this series were so good.

My nature writing course, which I'm taking through the University of Cambridge Continuing Education, started this week, and it looks very promising. Despite the heat, Sandy and I have been managing to enjoy nature and the outdoors, though we must take short walks. We take multiple short walks, in fact. After each outing, we return to the house to cool off in air conditioning, then we head out again.

I need to write a blog entry about some of the special books I've read over the past few months. I am just so behind in responding to all of your blog posts. I hope to catch up soon, power permitting.