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?


  1. Judith, I had similar frustrating post issues with "new blogger" today as well. I almost gave up. I tried to copy and paste something I wrote elsewhere and although it looked like it was in post, when I'd preview it was blank...UGH I had to retype the entire thing. Also formatting issues, so I went back to old blogger after that.

    Enjoy your nature writing workshop, sounds lovely.

    1. Hi Diane,
      Oh, how frustrated I am when I can't cut and paste, and then have to retype a post, or anything else, for that matter.
      I don't see a way to give feedback to Blogger, which they seem to ask for. And I've been overwhelmed by horrible porn spam. Have you, by any chance?

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying The Devil's Brood, even with the very small font! I can't manage that these days. I really should have my eyes tested soon -if I can pluck up enough courage to go to the opticians - they say they're open and it's safe, but ...

    It sounds as if you're going to be very busy in August! Enjoy your reading and writing!

    1. Margaret,
      I know what you mean about going to the opticians, or for any health matter whatsoever. I wonder if it's safe, who has been there. When all the tourists depart, maybe I'll feel better, if we're not having an "uptick" in cases here. I desperately need new glasses. I was overdue when Covid started. Oh, dear.
      I hope to keep visiting blogs, even if I don't post often.

  3. I am still using the legacy version but when I switched and tried to open a new post it did cooperate but with noticeable hesitation. I have that Susan Wiggs on reserve but may wait a while as I think I'd prefer to avoid any grief for parents not already experiencing. I have an errand today to donate books to my favorite used bookstore, More Than Words, which provides jobs to troubled teens. Alas, the bookstore itself is not open but they are taking donations.

  4. Enjoy your busy August, Judith!

    I've had two tries with the new Blogger interface, both abject failures. I ended up going back to the legacy one both times. It's depressing me, to be honest, to think that I can't seem to get a handle on it, posting pics being the problem for me. It plonks it in the middle, no question of placing it yourself (left, right, centre) and then the cursor stayed in the middle under the photo. I couldn't get it back to the left to start writing again. I was almost in tears. Like I said, I'm quite depressed about it and the legacy one will only be available until the end of the month. Mind you... they said that in June and they said it in July. So many people having problems I think.

  5. I swapped to the new blogger but then changed back again. I am not looking forward to when we have to swap for good.

  6. Judith, I finished The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman in late July. I liked it a lot and will be finishing that trilogy (when I get copies of the books), which is a mystery series. I then will move on to the Eleanor of Aquitane series, although I am a bit intimidated by the length.

    I have not had the problem you report with new blogger. I will be doing a post soon (I hope) and I will report back when I do that. I have had similar problems to Cath's. The cursor does seem to get stuck in the center under a photo. I think I handled that by having a lot of empty lines that I could cut and paste text into. I always write my text first and add the pictures, but with old blogger I could move them around easily. With new blogger, if I try to move them they get lodged in the middle of paragraphs. If I don't get the placement right at first, I find I have to cut and paste instead.

    Once I changed over to new Blogger, I have not gone back, but I have found that there are various ways to get to a new post or to re-edit a post. And some of those use the old Blogger, which is confusing.

  7. I just tried with the new interface and it wasn't great but not a disaster. I agree with Cath, it is hard to manipulate the images (given that was difficult before, you'd think that would have been a priority). The caption function was not easy to use. It also surprised me that the save and preview functions are the same button and preview comes first. Maybe it is just me but I always try to save first in case something disappears. At the end, I couldn't click on anything that brought me back to the homepage. And I found the labels tricky. I should have written down all the irritants - I will do that next time. One thing I liked was that the indent worked, which had not cooperated lately.

    One of my library classmates posted last week that her generation are all doing podcasts instead of blogging so I guess (as Cath speculated) this revamp is meant for a younger generation.

  8. Judith, last night I worked on my July summary post, and things did not go well at all. I did finally get out a post I was mostly happy with. I had no problem with the new post button, although the button had moved to the top left of the screen. Previously it was on the bottom right of the screen. I do think that is a better placement but the constant changing of buttons make the new interface hard to get used to.

    I had horrendous problems with adding images. When I first added an image, I was unsuccessful at placing the image on the right or left side of the text, which is what I wanted. In the old blogger that worked fine, and I could move images around manually using the mouse. That never works now. I finally successfully add one image below some text on a blank line and it centered and I left it that way. And I did the rest of the images that way. Which was fine for this post but could be limiting for others. It was a very frustrating experience.

    I will be looking to see if I can find any pointers for using new blogger. And try to post feedback to Blogger, which I have heard does not work.

  9. I have had some problems, but have worked them out - probably truer to say "figured" them out after quite a while. I think on the whole it is going to be good, but I think they should spend some time on a tutorial for all the little things we have on our blogs.

  10. I'm currently reading Devil's Brood too. Absolutely loved Penman's historical novels, but they are chunksters!