My first weekend reading post way back in April had a view outside from a cozy window seat, and so, this last one of the year has a new one. I've been in the mood for a new view, a change of scenery. As I am now officially on my break from work it was especially nice to have a destination for my Saturday morning walk and a hot drink to look forward to. A little reading material and writing material close at hand--a nice way to begin a vacation.
This is the actual view--I like being able to sit by windows so I can look out and watch the world even though this was a quiet, rather gloomy morning (fitting I suppose for the shortest day of the year). It could always be worse--it could have been snowing!
By the way, if you look out the window on the left and see the building on the opposite side of the street? That used to be a bookstore (now is a restaurant/bakery). I used to work there! As a matter of fact I worked there for more than ten years and would likely have continued to work there part time had they still been in business (pity they closed!). I loved working in this part of town, though I still come down here quite often.
I plan on reading as much as possible over my break and writing at least one letter or a few postcards every day! I did some serious weeding of my library books (a hefty stack went back yesterday), removed a few more books from this end of the year pile (now there are only five books!) and cleared off a few books that had been languishing for far, far too long. As much as I dislike putting back books that I've started reading, it feels really good to have smaller stacks at hand. In some cases I just lost the thread of what I was reading, my mood has changed, or I am just ready for a new start.
Remember I was going to choose a new book to begin reading over break? For something a little different I have started reading Judith Merkle Riley's The Master of Desires, which is a reissue by Sourcebooks of a 1999 novel. Quite a few years ago I read a number of Merkle Riley's books and very much enjoyed them. When I was dropping off library books and picking up my one lone hold, it caught my eye. I had all but settled on Alice McDermott's Someone as my book, so it sits on my night stand, but I will start with this one. This is a cross of genres--historical fiction, fantasy, romance. It is called a "delicious romp" and "fiendishly funny", which sounds perfect at the moment. I need something light and distracting! It also has a feisty heroine, which I always like. The setting is 16th century France. Here is a little taste:
"The proprietress, in slatternly apron and cap, was crossing before me bearing several cups of her odious home-brewed beverage. 'Good woman,' I said (thus does politeness make liars of us all), 'tell me, do you know the name of that elderly fellow with the long beard and doctor's gown?'"
The elderly fellow is Nostradamus, and the heroine a spinster at age 22!
You see my reading material in the top photo? It's time for Wilkie in Winter, so I pulled out my copies of The Frozen Deep (a novella) and The Woman in White (a reread of a most favorite book of mine). I've just barely started the novella. I might be tempted to dip into The Woman in White early.
"The Date is between twenty and thirty years ago. The place is an English seaport. The time is night. And the business of the moment is--dancing."
Another story I am looking forward to getting into. This grand celebration is in honor of an expedition to the Arctic.
And then there is May Sarton's Journal of Solitude, which every time I open it and read find it so amazing. This is one of the passages I read yesterday, which seemed especially fitting.
"I can understand people simply fleeing the mountainous effort Christmas has become even for those, like me, without children. Everyone must feel revolt as I do about the middle of December when I buried under the necessity of finding presents, the immense effort of wrapping and sending, and the never-ended guilt about unsent cards, about letters. But there are always a few saving graces and finally they make up for all the bother and distress."
She goes on to talk about a major snowfall, seeing a man with a Christmas tree on his shoulders passing through silent woods covered in white, and spending time with her cats in "perfect peace" in front of a roaring fire with snow whirling about outside--as if "we were in the center of a 'snowing' glass paperweight.
I think I will leave you with that lovely image. I am still reading (and enjoying Saki). I am rationing the stories to just one or two a day from here on out and will finish them by next weekend. Now I will be just reading and tidying things up here for the rest of this year. (And hopefully finishing a book or two still).