In the High Peaks

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Lots of New Books in the House and End-of-Year Reading

 Merry Christmas, everyone! Our holiday has been frigid, with a depth of several inches of glare ice on the road, but we have plenty of food, have internet and streaming, and plenty of electricity and heat. My heart goes out to those in Ukraine who do not have their most basic needs met this Christmas. We will give what we can to them. But then Ken and I think, what about all the other people in this world who don't have adequate food and shelter? It's painfully unfathomable.


I'm within 15 pages of finishing Rhys Bowen's 2021 offering in the Royal Spyness series, God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen. I enjoyed this one, which was set almost entirely in a large house on the royal Sandringham Estate, the home of Georgie's husband Darcy's Aunt Ermintrude, a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary. The Queen has confided in Georgie that there is great evil afoot. (Georgie is a first cousin twice removed from King George.) The Prince of Wales has been shot at during a royal shoot, his equerry was killed mysteriously, and so much more. Aside from the murder(s) mystery, I really enjoyed the description of a 1930s upper-class English Christmas, especially the full descriptions of all the meals that were consumed. That's the cosy side of this mystery. The combination of a fun, light read with some grisly murders mixed in!

I'm also reading Christmas Holiday by W. Somerset Maugham, inspired by Katrina's mention of it in a post on her blog Pining for the West (see sidebar). Published in 1939, Christmas Holiday has been critiqued as not being among his best novels, but I'm finding it very interesting. I will say that it's only the first of Maugham's novels I've read. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it later. 

Unlike most of this year when I bought almost no books at all, I have purchased quite a number of books in November and December. These TBR books include the following:   

The Last Chairlift by John Irving

Lessons by Ian McEwan

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man  Paul Newman

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre

The Private Eye: The Letters of John Le Carre

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

THEN!!!  There are the 3 new books currently on hold for me at the library! Help! Well, actually these are riches, and I will respond by reading furiously!

OH! And I'm currently in the midst of Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope for the Classics Club Spin, review due no later than January 29.

Monday, December 19, 2022

I'm Way Behind! Hoping You'll Bear with Me--

 Our foul weather has put me in a daze--It took us three days to deal with the heavy, wet concrete of 28 inches of snow. Have never seen anything like it! Impossible to deal with. We had to call in reinforcements! Now, Monday, we finally managed to get out after three days locked in. All of this to say that I'm way behind in responding to all of your comments. Tomorrow offers a clear day to buy loads and loads of food an hour to the south, because even worse weather is in the future forecast. It will feel so good to get tons of food in the house and then I won't have to worry about anything. Let the weather do what it will, which it is forecast to do the meanest and worst. Inches of rain on Friday at 50 degrees on top of all this snow, followed immediately by a deep freeze to 10 degrees. Yes, it will be a skating rink around here. Flooding predicted.

I'm reading steadily and happily with Barchester Towers.

So much more to say about reading, but wanted everyone to know why I've been silent. Will catch up soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Classics Club Spin: Barchester Towers It Is! And The Letters of John Le Carre

 So far, I've read 74 pages of Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. (511 pages in all). I know that many of you have read it and liked it, which is very encouraging as I tackle it on these ever so dark December afternoons, when dozing off is so much more tempting than continuing to read.

My December reading has not been stellar, by any means. I loved the first four mysteries in Martin Edwards's Lake District Mysteries series, but the fifth, The Hanging Wood, was nowhere near as good as the first four, in my opinion. I finished it today. I'm sorry to say I thought it was a clunker. I do hope the sixth will be better. 

In the MAIL: My copy of A Private Spy: The Letters of John Le Carre, edited by his son Tim Cornwell arrived. It was published here on December 6th, and looks so fascinating, I could not put it down. He loved writing letters! Much more to say on this topic.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

Classics Club Spin #32

Well, I've finally managed to pull together a list of twenty. My main problem the last two days has been that I totally lost my previous list, but after searching and searching, I found it, and made a few changes, and now here it is. 

I do hope that everyone participating lands with a book they've been thirsting to read!! 

1. Home of the Gentry by Ivan Turgenev

2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

3. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

4. Snow by Orhan Pamuk

5. Short Stories by Shirley Jackson

6. Barchester Towers by Trollope

7. Another Nature title by Henry David Thoreau

8. The Doll: The Lost Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier

9. The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier

10. And Quiet Flows the Don by  Mikhail Sholokhov  

11. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

12. Testament by Vera Brittain

13. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

14. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

15. The Things They Carried and Other Stories  Tim O’Brien

16. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

17. Emma by Jane Austen (I can't believe I haven't read this one.)

18. Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek by Annie Dillard

19. The Razor’s Edge  by W.S. Maugham

20. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham