In the High Peaks

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

My Summer Reading: New 2021 Books

 I am sorry that I have not managed visiting all of my favorite blogs recently. I hope to rectify this ASAP! And I mean it! 

It seems that my reading summer will be composed of very recently published books. That's how things are shaping up right now and how my interest is leading me. 2021 books rock!

Today I finished Stacey Abrams's suspense thriller While Justice Sleeps. I really enjoyed it, though I must confess that political thriller is not a genre I ever read. I was eager to read it because I think so highly of Stacey Abrams and her work for voting rights, and I followed her unfortunately failed bid to become governor of Georgia, and her unflagging work in the Democratic Party. So how intriguing, and how interesting is it that she had a suspense thriller on the burner--a labor of love for over 12 years, mind you--that was just published in early June?  I don't think my brain was totally prepared for all the twists and turns in this incredible novel, but I rode along with it all the same. It's on the bestseller list. And I will say that I read it because I admire Stacey Abrams so much, I was dying to see what her thriller was like. Recommended! 


Right now I'm in the midst of an acclaimed new Gothic thriller, Madam by Phoebe Wynne. I'm only 40 pages in, but I've been called, and Wynne is ingenious at unsettling the reader right from the first. The setting is northeast of Edinburgh, at an exclusive boarding school for girls, where nothing is right or as it should be. The young, naive protagonist is top of her game as a teacher of the Classics, but good teaching is not what is required of an instructor here. The setting of the school--it's set on a peninsula that juts out into the sea. Very Gothic. FUN. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Some Recent Faves from This Year's Reading List

 Back again--I'm really not sure what has made me such a sluggish blogger this year. I have been taking writing classes online, so that might be part of it. I'm happy to be able to go to the library again on a weekly basis, and so glad not to have to worry as much. 

I enjoyed a two-day trip to the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts in early May. On the way there, I had a wonderful first-time visit at The Clark Institute, a renowned art museum in Williamstown, the town that forms the rather mountainous northwest corner of Massachusetts. From there to Historic Deerfield, where I stayed. The weather was not good, so I followed my back-up plan to visit Webs, the yarn superstore in Northampton. My evening meals were lavish and filling, but it was sad to see that so many, many restaurants have closed their doors since Covid. It was extremely difficult to find places to eat breakfast and lunch, and most of the time I didn't. I was traveling solo and I'm accustomed to meeting people, but with Covid restrictions still in place, it was impossible. I think traveling solo will improve perhaps by summer, and hopefully by next fall. 

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher: I started listening to this on audio, but quickly switched to hardcover. Definitely one of the two best books read this year, (Belonging by Nancy Thayer being the other best read), but oh, I don't know when I've cried so while reading. So many wonderful characters.

Warning! Spoiler Alert! Next paragraph for past readers of The Shell Seekers:

I simply must say that I found the death of Richard so painfully hard to take. I just couldn't accept it. It seemed so unfair, when Penelope and Richard had finally found some happiness and then... All of the deaths in this book were hard, I thought. I guess I was so swept up in the world Pilcher created--that it became almost like real life. 

Another great read was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, which some of you may have read when it was making news after its publication in 2003 or so. I've always meant to read it and finally did. This one is a family saga, though principally about the son of Bengali immigrants to America. 

I read two novels entitled Dark Horses. This came about because I was searching for the 2021 Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic in the New York Public Library e-book catalog. At that time, the NYPL didn't have this new title, but I became curious about another book, a YA novel named Dark Horses. Both books have the setting and situations of young adult women and girls in the competitive world of equestrian show jumping, a sport I enjoy following, but each has different situations and themes. I recommend them both, but particularly Mihalic's, which I was able to get eventually from our local library. I wasn't sure about it when I discovered what it was about, an intense, abusive relationship between father (coach) and daughter, but I think the author did a great job. Follow the links for more info about these two books. 

I must confess I've read what has seemed like an awful load of mediocre books this year. For my birthday, I received the novel The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland (2004), set in British Columbia, about the artist Emily Carr.