In the High Peaks

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

 It has been so very, very long since my last post. I discovered or, rather, found myself with nothing to say about any book or any author or anything for the past few months. I have missed you all!

Ken and I are both finally fully vaccinated now. Our last dose was March 29th, and our fully immunized date was Monday, April 12th. We have both been out doing things we have not been able to, but it's a funny thing--after 14 months of being sequestered, it's been tricky getting back into the swing of the "outer world." Based on my experience on Tuesday, it may be a while before I feel comfortable going to all sorts of places! I'm amazed by that fact. How crazy, really.

BOOKS!!  Well, now that we have more freedom, I don't know how I'll be able to stop reading throughout the entire afternoon. I've become so accustomed to reading for hours that I don't see how I can stop. So for now I won't. I was so excited when Crandall Library opened totally, for 50 patrons at a time, all floors! I was so overwhelmed, so joyously happy, that I cried. I picked up my 5 holds, and found 5 more books easily, and then I had to leave. Stimulus-overload!

It's been a wonderful reading year so far. I had a slow start right after the New Year, but then me and books took off! 

A few highlights:  My most memorable book of this past year was Belonging by Nancy Thayer. I listened to the audiobook, which was a re-issue of a novel she published in the 1990s. It was absolutely unforgettable, searing, yet redemptive. Five stars.  Thayer's current novels are not as well-crafted, or as splendid. I like reading them, but this one from her earlier oeuvre was a tour de force. Set on Nantucket Island and New York City. I lived and breathed it, and I was so totally one with the experiences of the two women protagonists in this novel. I will never, ever forget it. Be prepared! It's a roller-coaster, but so worth the experience. 

I also loved the acclaimed English novelist Margaret Drabble's The Radiant Way, which is actually the first book in what turned out to be a trilogy, although not planned by Drabble at the time of the first publication. It is set in the early 1980s in England, in what came to be known as the Thatcher era. I do so love Dame Margaret Drabble's novels. And I'll look forward to reading the next installment. I own the trilogy, but always like to give myself "breathing room" between books in a series.

I so loved returning to Maisie Dobbs with the #6 in the series, Among the Mad. I heartened to this one much more than to #5, and it was a stunner. It's interesting, but no matter how the mystery goes down, or the crimes therein, there is something so comforting in these mysteries. The author is so keenly attuned, so empathetically attuned to what transpires that I feel wrapped in a warm embrace as I'm reading, despite the crimes and terrors within.



  1. Judith, I missed your posts and, honestly worried about you, hoping all was okay and that you just needed a break. So Happy you are well and vaccinated. We are fully vaccinated as well (me officially on Friday with the 2 extra weeks). Glad you are still reading and now I must look and see if I read the Nancy Thayer book, Belonging - I don't think so and if not, I'll look for a copy.

    Our first real outing vaccinated will be a hotel stay and dinner out for our anniversary in early May - still a little nervous but taking the plunge. I doubt the hotels will be very busy. I am also beginning outdoor yoga (weather permitting) in the park starting next week.

    Well, hope April is a good month for you. Our libraries are open now as well but, I've gotten so used to curb side, I'm going to stick with it while it's still an option.

    1. Hi Diane,
      Thank you for your caring. I'm excited that you and hur husband have planned an anniversary celebration. Wonderful! I totally sympathize with the nerves about doing it. Ken and I had our first restaurant meal today, and it was a wonderful experience. Such a rainy day it was and it was pure pleasure to go out to The Olive Garden, an hour's drive away.
      And so glad to hear your yoga practice will be resuming. Doing things in a group is something I haven't done yet.
      Will visit your blog now. Thanks for writing.

  2. I feel the same way about "going out" again. I've been to one store, our food co-op, for this whole time. Tom has made other stops, but not me. That's the only time I have driven as well. Actually that had been happening even before the virus. I'm just not comfortable anymore on the road. I have two store visits planned for May, when I am considered totally vaccinated. My next shot is in two days, and I am nervous because of all the bad reactions people have had. We'll see. The first one didn't affect me at all. Such a strange, strange time. I am quite sure my personality has changed. My Governor is planning to get rid of the mask mandate. It's hard to get my head around any of these changes. We'll see. I love the image of you reading all afternoon. Thanks for posting.

    1. Nan, I was nervous about my second dose as well. Ken had a mild reaction, but mine was difficult, for about 14 hours only though, so that's good. I just had to keep reminding myself of the final outcome--safety and more freedom.
      I know what you mean about personality changes. I have a friend who is a therapist and she says that all of her therapist friends and their clients have experienced mixed feelings about getting out into the wider world.
      I hope you have lots of good reads stacked up because I believe we still need them as much as ever!

  3. Judith, it is good to hear from you.

    My husband and I recently had our second shots, and had medium to bad reactions. We still haven't ventured out much yet. I am looking forward to going out to the plant nursery often starting soon, but that will be no different than last year, when I got back to gardening again. Looking for more plants to attract hummingbirds and butterflies in our small outdoor areas in front and back of our condo.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      And you do have some gorgeous hummingbirds in California as I recall from my reading! A very worthwhile and rewarding project to attract more of them and butterflies to your garden.
      I bought two large pots of mixed pansies, in the shades I wanted (blue, violet, and yellow), and it has been such a treat to have them. We're having snow tonight and a low of 30 degrees after a very warm and early spring. I think maybe I should bring them in.
      Truth to tell, I was the one with the bad reaction to the second dose in our house. The worst of it was just 14 hours, but it was extreme aches and joint and muscles. Thank goodness, we're through it now!

  4. It's so good to hear from you again, Judith! I was starting to worry! Glad to hear you are well and fully vaccinated. Next Thursday will be the day I reach full immunity and we are already planning to celebrated with a lunch or dinner at a restaurant - outdoors. Then I'll make an appointment for a visit to the hair salon.

    Sounds like you've read some wonderful books this year. Not sure what a "return to normal" will mean for my reading either, but I doubt we'll really return to normal either.

    Our library is open (as is everything in FL) but I am still using curbside pickup... counting the days until I can go in and browse again. The local bookstore has moved to a new location since the beginning of the pandemic and I plan to check that out next Saturday (4/24) for Independent Bookstore Day.

    Hope you are enjoying spring (and it isn't too muddy) with long walks with Sandy. Take care!

    1. JoAnn,
      How good it is to hear from you as well! I wish you a wonderful time on Thursday. Our first dining experience was yesterday, and we so enjoyed ourselves we can't wait to do it again.
      You will so love browsing in the library again--I was amazed by my joyous, overwhelmed reaction.
      And--Independent Bookstore Day! The independents in the region are not opening yet. I'm keeping an eye out, but unfortunately, Barnes and Noble at 55 miles is our closest bookstore. I go out of my way to go to independents when I travel. I will drive on a day trip within 70 miles of our house, but not open yet.
      We had 5 inches of snow last night after a wildly warm, early spring. Muddiness for a few days, I think. Actually, the incredible earliness of our spring this year worries me.
      Best wishes, JoAnn!

  5. Nice to see you back, Judith. Bit late commenting as I've been a bit off-colour for several days. Peter and I get our second jab tomorrow and Monday. Different days because I'm getting a second Pfizer vaccine and he'll have his second Oxford, Astrazeneca. Hoping for no reaction but lots of people like yourself have had them. As to going out into the big wide world, probably not for a bit. We're supermarket shopping and running errands but that's about it really. We saw our youngest daughter and family in their garden on Easter Sunday as they live near us, but we haven't seen our eldest since Christmas. That will be for late May when we'll be allowed to have family members back in the house again. Looking forward to it but it's fine, the rules have been tough but necessary to keep people safe.

    I too have become used to spending most of my afternoons reading and I don't plan to give that up. (Although I didn't this afternoon as The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral was on TV.) Currently reading The Cold Vanish by Jon Billman, about people who vanish without trace in your National Parks. Absolutely fascinating.

    1. Cath,
      So good to hear from you. I do hope your reactions to the vaccines are minimal and short-lived.
      So glad to hear that I'm not alone with the afternoon reading habit--I just can't give it up, and I don't see how I'll be able to no matter what. It has been too pleasurable, and moreover, too mind-expanding, especially when our worlds have by necessity become so small.
      Oh how I wish I could have watched the funeral this morning! Mornings are so busy for me that I felt guilty even contemplating watching. Maybe I can watch some of it on YouTube tomorrow? I don't know, but I would have loved to have listened to Prince Charles's eulogy.
      Ah! The Cold Vanish--I have heard about this one, actually! I'm so glad you're finding it interesting, because I have a friend who I think would be really interested.
      Take extra good care of yourself, Cath!

    2. I finished The Cold Vanish this afternoon and thought it was excellent. Then I read complaints on Goodreads from friends who knew Jacob Gray, the young man who disappeared, basically saying the author had some facts wrong and so on. Hard to know what to think but I found the book incredibly absorbing and the subject of people disappearing into thin air very intriguing.

      Thank you. Peter has his second jab tomorrow so we might be having a couple of very quiet days. Practically everyone I know has some reaction to the second vaccine. I'm going to bed tonight armed with paracetmol and lots of water!

    3. I hope your reactions to the second dose are short-lived. I suffered for 14 hours with incredibly over-done (!) muscle pains, but then I was much better.
      So glad to hear your thoughts about The Cold Vanish. In the Adirondack wilderness, there have been quite a number of cases of people over the years simply "vanishing." Most of the time, the person here who has vanished has been male and over 60 years of age, that I have observed. When I think of how many volunteers and NYS staff try to find the vanished, one realizes the difficulties.