In the High Peaks

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Classics Club Spin: Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope was an adventure. I’d never read any of his work and I didn’t know much about him. I found it interesting that he was writing during the same time period as Charles Dickens, at mid-century.

It was fascinating to learn just how complex the Church of England community was in a cathedral city, with bishops and arch-bishops, deacons and arch-deacons, deans, prebenderies (sic?) and on and on! I enjoyed the satire and the comedy, and most of all the unforgettable characters! Mrs. Proudie and her strangled efforts to fill the vacuum sucked dry by the most do-nothing character in literature, her husband, the bishop. If ever there was a non-character, an ineffectual zero who took up lots of space, it was Dr. Proudie, the bishop! The Signora was a creation of pure genius—I do think Trollope’s greatest strength was the breadth and depth and the imagination that he used to draw each of his characters. They will stick with me forever!

And it’s wonderful to read a book that has such a satisfying, rousing ending. I must admit I felt the most pleased (because it was a total surprise) with the way things finally ended so well for the long, long-suffering Dr. Harding.

This is definitely a book worth reading, but I must admit that I think it’s unlikely I’ll read another of Trollope’s novels. There are so many other 19th-century English novels that I’ve enjoyed much more, and I still have more books by treasured authors of this time to read. But I am so glad that I read it, especially after knowing how so many of you have enjoyed his novels. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Some Favorites from 2022

 After finally pulling together my list of books consumed in 2022, I was very surprised to find I'd read 105. This far surpasses any previous year. I think I read between 70-76 books in 2021. My 2022 books read are listed in the sidebar.

One of my favorites was a very satisfying read that I devoured in the spring when I wasn't blogging much. Both Ken and I simply loved These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant. We both hated to see the novel draw to a close. Set in the West Virginia wilderness, a young man and his young daughter live off the grid in a cabin miles from any road. Right at the beginning it's clear that he must isolate and stay hidden because of an event in his past. The father/daughter relationship is very strong, and their appreciation of the natural world is mutual. The suspense builds right from the beginning and escalates, but never fear, this is not your typical thriller. It's better than any formulaic mystery or thriller. 


Another favorite was Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark, which was one of my 20 Books of Summer. Fascinating. The link goes to my post about it.

Another 5-star book from the spring that I didn't call attention to before is Elizabeth George's Something to Hide. Set in London, this mystery focuses on the Nigerian community. I read it for hours and hours each day for three days during our first heat wave of 2022 in May (yes, it's long!). Riveting and  absorbing--George's characters are so well developed. In my opinion, she's a master and she most definitely has not lost her edge. There is no need to feel that you must read previous novels in the Lynley series to enjoy it.