Monday, October 24, 2011

Catching Up

One might think, based on the rate at which I post new blogs, that my reading life is waning. Not so. Between harvesting the garden, working, hiking in gorgeous Rocky Mt. National Park, making salsa and tomato sauce for the winter, figuring out how to do a photo directory for our church and then doing it, and generally being a parent, the blogging part of my reading life has taken a hit.

To make amends, here's a snapshot of what I've been reading.

I basically have two mysteries series going. Nevada Barr's series on Park Ranger Anna Pigeon and Donna Leon's series on Venice Commissario Guido Brunetti. I recently got my Leon fix with A Sea of Troubles, which was actually quite different from most of the other books in the series that I've read so far in that Brunetti personally had a stake in this one. Mostly taking place on the island of Pellestrina, south of the Lido on the Venetian lagoon, Signorina Elettra, staff secretary and researcher, beomes an integral part of the story and Brunetti's concern for her safety and jealousy of her relationship with other men in the story force him to acknowledge that his feelings for her transcend that of mere work colleagues.

I found the premise, that of a small society (i.e., a fishing village) closing ranks against the outside world, interesting, and I learned a lot about the fishing industry in the Adriatic and nuances of Venetian society, both of which are bonuses on top of another first rate murder mystery yarn from Leon.

This was #11 in the series, and in looking at a list on Amazon listing them in order, I appear to be reading them out of order. I think the next one I'll read is Blood from a Stone, which is #14.

I also recently finished Coming Home, by Rosamunde Pilcher. I loved both The Shell Seekers and September when I read them years ago. I've also read a book of romantic short stories as well as Winter Solstice, which I liked okay. A friend sent it to me as a thank you for a favor, and so I shoved aside all the other books on my TBR shelf and dove into Coming Home. It was wonderful--everything I like about Pilcher captured in this ~1000 pages paperback. The timeframe: 1936-1945; the setting: mostly Cornwall with a bit of London and bit of wartime Ceylon (Sri Lanka); the premise: family drama, with a strong female heroine on her own, growing up, and doing a good job of it.

I've been reading a fair amount of WWII non-fiction lately, so this was a real treat to indulge in a meaty, detail-rich novel with lots of interesting characters. A book to escape into definitely.

In looking for the book image, I found that there was a 2-part video done of the book in 1998, and it's on NetFlix. I know what I'll be watching when I'm done with Larkrise to Candleford.

I also recently finished rereading Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. It is the book's 75th anniversary, and I enjoyed Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood when I read it earlier this year. It was a nostalgic read, definitely, but troubling. Much as I admire Mitchell's writing and storytelling abilities, I can't recommend the book because of its racism. My contention that GWTW is a book about the south of the 1930s not the south of the 1860s holds on this rereading.

I'm also working on finishing up London, by Edward Rutherford, John Adams, by David McCullough, and Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. I've promised myself I won't start anything new until I finish at least one of these. They are all marvelous. I'm liking Little Women so much more than I expected to. Wish I'd read it as a teenager!


  1. I have Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon on my TBR shelf. I've never read anything by this author before (this copy was a pressie)but what I'm hoping to enjoy aboiut it when I finally get round to reading it is that it's set in Venice.

    I read Coming Home several years ago. I'm not a big fan of Rosamunde Pilcher, but I read and enjoyed this one because it's partly set in an area of Cornwall I used to live in. (They did a TV series of it too, and filmed it in several very familiar locations)

    The racism in Gone With the Wind is something that has always put me off attempting to read it.

  2. I love Rocky Mountain NP and have been there many times. I've hiked up Hallett's peak and Flattop mountain in your picture. Even did Long's peak when I was younger and in much better shape. Had a great hike up Twin Sisters peak with my brother on his birthday in July 2004. he uses a picture I took of him "balancing" on the summit with Long's Peak in the background as his profile pic on Facebook, Twitter, etc. My favorite hike there is Estes Cone.

    Which hikes did you do?

  3. Bibliophilica - my favorite hikes are a bit lower key than yours; I'm good for a 5-7 mile hike round trip. I really like the Bridal Veil Falls hike, the Cub Lake Hike, and Lake Helene hike. I wanted to hike along the Ute Trail this year, but put it off too long and by the time we attempted it, Trail Ridge Road was closed and won't be reopening until late spring. Between RMNP and all the Boulder County trails, we actually haven't done to many repeat hikes.