In the High Peaks

Friday, July 30, 2021

How Are You Coping These Days?

 Just thought I'd ask the question, because at mid-summer, we're reeling from the reality of the Delta variant. Indoor dining is out for us now. And crowded outdoor dining is out, too. Masks on at all times out there. So overwhelmingly disappointing.

I hope you have good reading to keep you company. I've been so quiet lately because of an intensive online writing course I've taken this summer. I've had zero time to read many books. But I've so enjoyed the class! And I loved the feeling of digging my teeth into something BIG, with other writers for company. Such a solace!

New books: Do you recall that I said I was going to concentrate on new (2021) books this summer? I've been doing that. I will tell you that The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman was very disappointing and barely reached high enough to be deemed MEDIOCRE. Her first two books were much better than this one.

A much better report about The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I'm two-thirds of the way through and as a thriller, it has held my interest. 

Next up: Lionel Shriver's Should We Stay or Should We Go? about a British couple, a GP and a former nurse, who decide that as they are 50-60 years old, they will kill themselves when they turn 80 years old, to avoid dementia and decrepitude. Ah! But how the years change them! I've started this one, and it's a very intriguing premise, that's for sure. 

I also have The Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi in the house. I read her first novel Homecoming and loved it. This one sounds very different, but equally interesting. 

I have loads more new books on hold, but our library has had a problem. They have reported that Baker & Taylor, who supplies most libraries with new books, has been up to two months late delivering books. The librarians are told, "It's because of Covid." Have you seen delays on your new books library holds??






  1. Hey Judith, Thanks for updating us and glad to read you have enjoyed your online writing course. Transcendent Kingdom (audio) was a favorite of mine, I liked Maidens as well - hope you like them. I have noticed that I've been #1 on the holds list for 2 different books for over a month now so either people are not returning them when due or library staff are overriding the holds list I suspect. Having worked in libraries for 15 years, I know that is a possibility. I suppose COVId could cause some delays and maybe your library was late in ordering newer titles??

    I was speaking to a vaccinated friend from FL who believes she caught the variant virus and has had severe flu symptoms this past week but is now feeling better. We went to a real nice restaurant tonight with our masks on and unfortunately no employees or waitstaff wore masks nor did other diners - fortunately it was not crowded. I think we will be eating in more. So sad for all the progress we were making. I'm disgusted. Hope August is a good month for you.

    1. Hi Diane,
      I'm confident that the library is not overriding the holds list. They are acutely aware of the problem and are very frustrated. They ordered the books months and months ago; other libraries in our system have experienced the same.
      Are you as eagerly awaiting the new Joyce Maynard novel as I am? Should be published soon. Maybe I'll order it.
      Hope your August will be not too hot, and a great reading month for you, too, Diane!

  2. Interesting reads here.
    At least you have libraries!

    1. Hi Mystica,
      So sorry you don't have library access. Where do you live, by the way, and how do you get the books you want to read?
      Best, Judith

  3. It is good to hear what you have been up to lately, Judith. I am glad you have been working on the writing course, I know you enjoy that.

    I have been reading from my 20 Books of Summer list, plus one classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I have read less vintage fiction this summer and a good number of my books were published after 2000, but I haven't read anything published in 2021 yet. The book by Lionel Shriver sounds very interesting.

    How am I coping lately? We haven't eaten out indoors since the pandemic started, but we did begin eating at a favorite restaurant nearby in mid June, always outdoors. And we have enjoyed that very much. The Delta variant does make one feel anxious at times. My husband retired in early June, can't remember if I told you that already. It is wonderful and I had been begging him to do it for months. But it sure has changed how I spend my time, and I am adjusting to that. Plus I have had digestive problems for about two months (nothing serious), and so I have good and bad days. Doing as much gardening as I can, and enjoying it.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      I'm so glad you found a great place to dine outside! It makes all the difference to have a place to go for a dinner or a quick bite.
      I have had digestive issues in the past. A big problem from November to January, which I discovered was related to my mold allergies. I was drinking New York blueberry wine, and I have been fine since ditching that stuff.
      I'm so glad you're enjoying your gardening!
      Best wishes, Tracy.

  4. The whole Covid situation is disheartening. I fear this is going to be something we have to live with for a very long time, longer than anyone could have predicted. I worry most about people thrown out of work and financially impacted, though the psychological toll can be equally devastating. Personally, I and my family are doing OK, but we aren't extroverts and staying home is pretty much second nature.

    95% of my library reading is now using Overdrive for ebooks, but yes, I have noticed that the wait times for hard cover books is pretty long.

    I've heard good things about The Maidens and nothing beats a good thriller for entertainment!

    1. Hi Ruthiella,
      As a hard-headed realist, I agree with you 100 percent about the Covid situation that's facing us now.
      I did enjoy The Maidens, and would give it 4 stars, but not 5. I think it's worth reading, because it's so much fun to quibble with its missteps. Had fun, that's what counts. Sorry I did not see your post earlier.

  5. It's so good to hear from you, Judith! Concentrating on new books sounds like fun. I enjoyed Transcendent Kingdom, but had decided to skip The Maidens... wasn't a huge fan of The Silent Patient. You may have me rethinking that. I've read quite a few new books lately, but want to read some of the titles languishing on my kindle this month. We'll see how I do with that.

    The Covid situation is certainly discouraging. We are thankfully in CT for the summer. Florida is in a tough place right now. We are back to wearing a mask indoors and have yet to return to indoor dining.

    Hope you and Sandy are still enjoying long walks this summer. Take care.

    1. Oh gosh, JoAnn, we are back to "sequester mode." No indoor dining, of course, but our outdoor dining here is very crowded, so we're avoiding that as well. SIGH! I had been hoping to do a little bit of travel this fall, but that is now out of the question.
      Good news--I'm going full throttle on a writing project after the wonderful writing class I was involved in from mid-June to the end of July.
      The incredible teacher of this class is now my writing coach, so that will help me get through this ridiculous period of re-sequestering.
      Sandy and I have been enjoying our walks, thanks!

  6. Sorry to hear that the Delta variant has set your region back so much. It doesn't seem to be affecting life for us in CO right now, but we'll see how the next few weeks go.

    I definitely want to read The Transcendent Kingdom, but first I need to get a are ahead of me there!

    Should We Stay or Should We Go? sounds so interesting. So many people my age who have cared for our elderly parents through their death have said that they don't want to live through the same dementia that robbed their parents of the joy of life, so I am interested to see how the characters in this book handle such a pact.

  7. The libraries here in Fife have been having trouble getting new books. I had to wait for so long before Hamnet eventually turned up. It's great to see you back!