So I have a long weekend now stretching before me, and as yesterday was one of "those kinds of days" (the kind where everything you do goes wrong and you just really want it to end) and I had already been toying with the idea of picking up one of my languishing books and maybe starting something else new, I decided to go ahead and treat myself with a little kindness and give in to whim.
Whim this time around comes in the form of two books I have been thinking of often. One to pick up once again and continue on and another that I keep eyeing but never give myself permission to actually start. It is rather chunky and maybe just the tiniest bit intimidating. So rather than adding the 'new' read to my sidebar, I'll give a try and see how it goes. A little teaser from each.
First the book I am returning to after a little hiatus. I'll be giving the first few chapters a skim, but as I have read it before and this is a second go, I think that should suffice to refresh my memory. Marking Time is the second of the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I reread The Light Years a few years back and it is definitely time to get back into the story of the Cazalet families. Britain is on the cusp of the Second World War. I left off with Louise visiting a friend in London where she wants to pursue an acting career. In my teaser she is thinking back to the Christmas holiday, which was the same as always but not the same at all.
"When she thought about Christmas she felt uneasy--sad. It had been spent, as it always had been, at Home Place, and although everybody made efforts to make it seem the same, it hadn't been, although it was difficult to say that anything (that really mattered) was different. They had all had stockings--although there was no tangerine in the toe and Lydia had wept because she thought they had simply left hers out. No tangerines and no oranges--no lemons, so no lemon curd tartlets on Boxing Day, one of the Duchy's traditions--all details but they added up. But the house seemed colder, and there was hardly every any hot water because the range took so much coke and the Duchy had changed all the light bulbs to a lower voltage to help the blackout, she said, and use less electricity."
I've not forgotten how good these books are, but beginning to read Marking Time again reminds me how much I enjoyed them the first time around. Perfect vacation reading I think.
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I think C. J. Sansom's Dominion has the potential, too, to be a good absorbing holiday read. It is another WWII story (technically a post-WWII story) set in England, but this time it is an alternative history. This is a 'what if' story. What if Churchill had "lost to the appeasers" and Britain had surrendered to the Nazis after the loss at Dunkirk?
I'm going to begin reading it in earnest later tonight, but I will skip the prologue momentarily and go to the opening chapter to give you a taste of the story.
"Almost all the passengers on the tube to Victoria were, like David and his family, on their way to the Remembrance Sunday parade. It was a cold morning and the men and women all wore black winter coats. Scarves and handbags were also black, or muted brown, the only colour the bright red poppies everyone wore in their buttonholes. David ushered Sarah and her mother into a carriage; they found two empty wooden benches and sat facing each other."
And a bit later in the chapter . . .
"Hitler had looked in seventh heaven, beaming, flushed and rosy-cheeked, his dream of an alliance with the Aryan British at least fulfilled. He smiled and waved at the silent crowd, but the King had sat expressionless, only raising a hand occasionally, his body angled away from Hitler's."
I read Sansom's Winter in Madrid several years ago and liked it very much. I suspect I'll like this as well. And I still need to give his Matthew Shardlake mysteries set in Tudor England a go. I have the first of the series and may have to dig it out of its hiding place in the next few days.
Ah, lots of bookishness both here and behind the scenes to look forward to in the next few days. More about that later.