In the High Peaks

Saturday, October 24, 2020

My Reading While Coping with Insanity

There is no doubt that I may be going mad.

Well, who isn't these days, with all the craziness going on? I know my brain has been hit hard, and I apologize if I haven't visited your blog recently. I hope to catch up with you soon!

Yesterday I finished Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, published early this year, and which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Have you read it? I appreciated its originality, most of all. In the first two short chapters, the narrator introduces himself and relates that he once published a blogpost for his bookstore, which described, as he sees it, eight perfect murders in crime fiction. And the tale explodes! (literally) from there. My suggestion to anyone interested in this premise: Download the sample onto your Kindle or Nook or other e-reader. A sample will include the intro and the titles and descriptions of the eight novels in case you wish to read any before you tackle the novel. You don't NEED to do this to enjoy the novel. It's a quick read, by the way. Entertaining, though a bit creepy as more and more unfolds, especially at the end, but I really enjoyed it.  The setting is Boston and environs, and spreads out over New England in WINTER. That part was loads of fun.

I am reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, and am nearing the end. It's not a comfort read, but it is so true and real that it makes up for its lack of what we usually think of as "comfort." I do recommend it. A Pulitzer Prize winner, by the way. If you are feeling very, very shaky, then don't cross it off your list, but postpone it. The writing is brilliant.

I just started reading Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld this morning, an imagination of what Hillary Rodham's life might have been like if she had decided not to marry her friend Bill Clinton. It's so good!! I'm really loving it. Sittenfeld makes Hillary Rodham come to life, and so identifiable, at least to me. I'm so glad a friend urged me to read it.

Still listening to The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. Lots more to go!



Friday, October 16, 2020

ELEVEN WEEKS to New Year's Day!

I've read more than my usual number of books this year, but I must admit that many were not of high quality. Perhaps I was madly chomping on junk food in a bunker? Yes, most assuredly so!

By the way, I've made a very cozy bunker. It's in my bedroom and has a beautiful view of trees and sky. I feel safe from the outer world up there. Before 2 pm, I do all my housework and loads of dog walking, and then I traipse upstairs with Sandy and the safety and calm of my comfy bedroom, where I read and read, followed by knitting to audiobooks.

After reading the Gothic HORROR novel Mexican Gothic (over  the top),  I've realized I'm dying for substantial meat and potatoes fare--high-quality fiction and nonfiction. And it's whetted my appetite for more.  Gosh--I didn't know Mexican Gothic was Gothic HORROR! Who knew? No review told me, thank you very much.

So what am I reading? I'm at the very end of a wondrous book by the noted Canadian author, Michael Christie, entitled Greenwood. I have truly enjoyed reading it, and because underlying all of its themes are trees and forests, and the history of trees and forests in Canada, which parallel those in the U.S., I've loved it especially. It's a sprawling epic, 500 pages, beginning in the year 2038 and reaching back in segments to the year 1908, then  catapulting forward again through the years to 2038. Different! Incredibly interesting. Highly original.

Listening while knitting: I happen to be knitting a very complex cable pattern to make a sweater vest that accentuates the shoulders, a style I selected especially because I have small shoulders. But while doing this complex craft, I decided I must listen to Jeffrey Toobin's The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, published in 2007. I also managed to purchase the e-book as well, so I can go back and "re-read" sections that described court cases or incidents that are difficult to fully comprehend while listening to audio. This book explains so much of the background behind the Court today. I would like to learn more. Highly recommended.

Next Up: I'm definitely going to read Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld next. And, a mystery alongside it. Not sure which mystery I'll pick at this moment, but I'll keep you posted.

I TRULY REGRET that Blogger has made it IMPOSSIBLE to offer links. I do hope that if you're  you will follow via Google whatever name or link you'd like  to follow.



Monday, October 12, 2020

Four New Books in the Mail Today!

I so enjoyed my hardcover purchases in September (Monogamy by Sue Miller, The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves), that I bought another hardcover bunch, which arrived today.

My dear friend from Boston and her husband, who first introduced Ken and me to the Adirondacks, came to vacation in the area last week. She is a journalist, and more to the point of this discussion, was a former Boston Globe Book Review contributor of many years. Jan and I always  figure out a way to share books. When we met last week, she highly recommended Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, which I believe was published earlier this year. We  sat in the sun and discussed how much we both were surprised by and loved Sittenfeld's American Wife. She urged me to read Rodham, which is a novel about Hillary Rodham's life, as if she had never married Bill Clinton. I will read it soon, though I am in the midst of a chunkster at the moment.

Other books in today's UPS haul: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, recently published, and which is reputed  to be lots of fun and well done. "In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly discuss unsolved crimes." And soon become knee-deep involved in one.

Then the recently translated German post WWII novel about warfare on the Eastern Front The Turncoat by Siegfried Lenz. Lenz was born in East Prussia in 1926, a land that became part of Poland after WWII. He was a deserter from the Wehrmacht in WWII. Lenz has won numerous prizes in Germany. This was published in Germany in 2016, and was just published in the U.S. this month.

My last book was an impulse purchase: Love in the Blitz: The Long-Lost Letters of a Brilliant Young Woman to Her Beloved on the Front by Eileen Alexander. I would so love to say more but Blogger is giving me fits.  I should stop complaining and do something about this blogging situation.