Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Goodbye to Blogger

I've been having so many problems with this blog lately that I've decided to quit blogging.  I'm not sure I have that much to say anyway.

I'm not the only person with these blog problems.  I'm getting tons of e-mails from the Blogger complaint forum.  Others are just as puzzled and frustrated as I am.  I'm not getting e-mail notifications when people comment on my blog and it appears that commenters must have a Google account to comment.  I want everyone to be welcome and I want to reply to all comments.

My tolerance for technical problems is almost nil, so unless Blogger undoes whatever brilliant changes it's made to itself, I'm outta here!  I don't care to spend time trying to make things like this work.

I'll continue to follow those of you whose blogs I like.  If any of you know me only through my blog, feel free to stay in touch using my e-mail:  Until they make changes to that,  too!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Not Nice, Blogger!

For those of you commenting on my blog, you should be aware that Blogger no longer sends me e-mails when you comment.  I thought it was just a problem with my blog, but at least one other blogger has the same issue.  I've complained to Blogger, but, so far, it hasn't made a difference.  If any of you know how to get around this, please let me know.

I will check the last few blog posts to try to make sure I haven't missed any comments, but if I don't respond to your comments, Bad Blogger is why.  I'm annoyed by bloggers who don't engage with their readers.  It's rude and self-centered, a one-way conversation, and I'm never interested in that.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Books I Finished in May

My husband developed a back problem just as things started to become manageable and I thought I could get back to 'serious' reading, which, for me, means reading a lot of books including some classics.

He's had back problems for several years, but about three weeks ago, something very painful happened, but we don't know what.  Off to the orthopedic surgeon, but we already know that back surgery seldom helps, physical therapy, two other doctors for other issues.  Drugs for the back pain can sometimes make the other issues worse.  It's very hard on him because he's a 'doer' and needs to be doing something  -  or sleeping.

My husband is not typically very descriptive, so we've developed the 'Ache', 'Pain', or 'Excruciating' scale to help.  Today there's too much Excruciating.  A call to the On Call doctor at the orthopedic place wasn't helpful, basically, wait to see how he feels tomorrow (Monday).  I'm playing nurse and I'm not cut out for it.

But waiting for him during his hour long P/T sessions has given me time to read, if I can ignore all the other patients and relatives of patients in the room.  So these are the books I read in May:

The Secret Adversary  -  Agatha Christie

The Brandons  -  Angela Thirkell

The Lark and the Laurel  -  Barbara Willard

The Humane Gardener  -  Nancy Lawson

Calamity at Harwood  -  George Bellairs

The Globe Hollow Mystery  -  Hannah Gartland

I enjoyed The Secret Adversary very much.  I don't think I've read a Christie for quite a while.  Miss Marple is my favorite and this is a Tommy and Tuppence mystery.  Hercule annoys me, but I'll give him another go since I bought several Poirots at the library sale.

I'm developing a fondness for George Bellairs.  I have more than several of his as e-books on my Kindle.  I think this is the third I've read and enjoyed.  A haunted house!  Several murders!  Exciting!

I bought The Globe Hollow Mystery at the library sale.  It caught my eye because of the title and the fact that it was an old hardbound book.  I love old mysteries and this was a corker.  A crotchety old uncle dies in a fire, leaving his estate to a nephew who's returned after having been reported dead in the war (WWI).  He's cut his niece out entirely, very spiteful.  But there's a web of deceit to untangle before the truth is discovered.  It's all very mysterious.  I can't find out anything about the author except that it seems this may be one of her two only books.

Do I need to say anything about The Brandons?  If you're a Thirkell fan, as I am, I don't.  Tony Moreland has grown up but is still a force to be reckoned with.  Meanwhile, it seems all men fall in love with the widow Mrs. Brandon.  She's lovely, she's kind.   There's romance, there's minor conflict, there are gardens, there are books.  Thirkell's novels always make me feel that there's a calm, peaceful world out there somewhere, so maybe there's hope.

I liked The Humane Gardener very much.  In Massachusetts, I was a Conservation Commissioner and I've been an animal welfare advocate for thirty years or so.  Since I moved to Lancaster, I've joined a native plants / wildlife habitat garden group.  You can see why The Humane Gardener was perfect for me.  I truly hope that more people can find and enjoy the peace between species.

I'll not say much at all about The Lark and the Laurel because I just wasn't into it.  Maybe it's me because I know others adore this series.  It just seemed it was written for children, and maybe it was and that's why I didn't like it much.  But it was a short book, so I didn't waste much time on it.

There were at least three books that I started and discarded.  I was feeling impatient and could see no reason to force myself to finish them.  I want to be entertained or I want to read about something or someone interesting.  I was about 100 pages into one of them before I almost threw it across the room.

So, here's hoping that Excruciating and Pain get downgraded to Ache or, better, No Aches or Pains and that we can have our lives back.  My heart goes out to anyone suffering and to those who care for them.  Thank goodness for the sanctuary of books!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day

I didn't do it on purpose, but on this Memorial Day, I'm reading Few Eggs and No Oranges:  The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-1945.  I started reading this last year.

Diaries fascinate me.  I love to read about the details of everyday life.  I've been keeping a diary, off and on, mostly on, since 5th grade (many, many years ago).  I've posted about that before.

I have several books I started to read at least a year ago and which I'm determined to finish this year.  Feel free to query me occasionally about how I'm getting on with Gormenghast, Don Quixote, and Travels of William Bartram.  They're all interesting but not gripping.  Anyway, I picked up where I left off with Hodgson's diaries of World War II.

What people endured in the British Isles, Europe, and, I suppose, in other places during WWII is unfathomable to me.  Waiting night after night for bombs to fall, wondering if it would be your house next and whether you'll survive.  People dying when the bomb shelters collapsed or were flooded.  People trapped under debris.  Little food, disruption of utilites, fires.  We've been spared that in the United States.  Hodgson says she wonders if she'll be like the girl in Liverpool who sat writing in her diary as a bomb fell on her.  Her diary was found but she never was.

Members of my family have fought in every American war including the French and Indian War.  War is awful, war should be avoided, but, on this weekend of remembrance, I thank those who fought, some giving their lives, others wounded mentally and / or physically, hoping that their war would be the last war.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Big Trees

If you're reading this blog post, you probably know that my husband and I finally escaped from Philadelphia to the small city where I was born, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Last fall, an old and very good friend suggested we look at a house two streets over from the house he and his wife live in in an old (1929) residential development.  We fell in love and bought the house.  We're still trying to decide where to hang the pictures and what color to paint the upstairs.  But we're here and we love it.

One of the things we love about the neighborhood is the wealth of mature trees.  The streets are narrow, without sidewalks.  Trees meet overhead to form green tunnels.  I love it.  So I thought I'd show you some of our trees.  In the second to last photo, you'll note a very tall, straight tree.  This is a Dawn Redwood, a prehistoric tree thought to be extinct until it was discovered in China in the 1940s.  We have a seedling of it in a garden behind the house.  I'll have to move it because these trees can grow 2 to 3 feet per year and are enormous, 165 feet or more.  The last photo shows our house, tucked under two huge trees.  In the fall, our front yard is swimming with acorns  -  and squirrels!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Books and Feeling Overwhelmed

This will be a short post.  I only finished four books in April.  I finished another today and can finish one more tomorrow, if I get the time.  But those two are May books.

We're still getting settled in our new house.  We just painted the bedroom closet.  There's a huge walk-in closet upstairs.  I love it and really hate moving my clothes downstairs.  But I get it.  I'll leave the winter clothes and seldom worn shoes in the walk-in and bring lighter clothes and shoes I wear all the time downstairs.

I unwrapped all the artwork yesterday.  There are originals by local artists, there are prints of  paintings I can't afford, and there are original prints, if that makes sense.  I hang the prints in my bathroom and plan to hang the originals in the living room and dining room.  I had been thinking that we had less wall space in this house because it has more windows.  But it also has more rooms, so there is more wall space.  Now it's just deciding which pictures to hang where.

We've been spending a lot of time watching birds at the feeders.  After living in Philly for twelve years and seeing almost exclusively pigeons, English sparrows, starlings, the occasional hawk and cardinal, we're overwhelmed (not what I meant in the title of this post) by birds we haven't seen since Marshfield and a couple of new birds.  We have goldfinches, chipping sparrows, white-throated sparrows, probably more sparrows that I haven't identified yet, blue jays, cardinals, Carolina wrens, cowbirds, catbirds, turkey vultures, and more.  The more unusual birds we've seen are the brown thrasher we saw this morning, the two pairs of rose-breasted grosbeaks, which we've never seen before, and the indigo bunting, which I've only seen once before.  A hummingbird has been checking out the hummingbird feeder but hasn't stopped to drink.  It's like an avian Cirque du Soleil!

So, here's the list of April books:

The Wench is Dead  -  Colin Dexter

Die Trying  -  Lee Child

Free Air  -  Sinclair Lewis

A Darker Domain  -  Val McDermid

I have to say that none of them were really terrific.  Or maybe it's just the mood I've been in.  I keep feeling that when I'm reading, I really should be doing something else.  It makes it hard to 'get lost in a book'.  Don't you always feel a little depressed or disappointed when you spend the time to read a book and it fails you?  I keep hoping that I can find more time to read.  How do you find time to read?  Before bed?  In the morning?  Do you take hours during the day?  And do you ever feel like you're wasting your life if you're not reading?!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My Father's Craft

Since I mentioned the chess board and the little bowl my late father made, I thought I'd show them to you.

My father, James Armstrong Hindman, was a skilled craftsman, but he was the kind of person who did not want to do what he did for work in his spare time.  My mother would get so frustrated because just getting him to throw together a simple bookcase for us was almost impossible.  That said, my sister and I each have bookcases he made and we each have tall clocks for which he made the cases.  We treasure them all.

Here are the chess board and the bowl:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Library: The (Almost) Finished Product

Here it is, the almost finished library.  I have to tidy up a bit.  I just unpacked the boxes of my 'toys' and haven't decided where they should all live.  I'm glad we put shelves in the closet for the toys, my blank journals, my art stuff, and my notecards.  Yes, I still send notes to people;  one jokester in the crowd e-mailed me that when he got one of my notes, he was astounded and almost called the Smithsonian to tell them about this archaic form of communication that had arrived!

The room faces east, so I have direct sunlight to deal with.  I ordered bamboo matchstick blinds, which I hope will solve the problem without making the room look like a tomb.  The last photo is the view from the windows.  There's a corner window, too, but it faces my lovely neighbors.  I didn't want to invade their privacy by showing you their house.  I would also love to have a small sofa or a love seat.  I like to have my feet up while reading and to snuggle down.

Unpacking the "Library Stuff" boxes was like Christmas.  My library in Marshfield had a fireplace with a mantel, built in curio shelves, and wide window sills, so my toys and curios had lots of places to live.  In Philadelphia, there was no mantel and only one window sill, which I couldn't use because that's where the a/c went in the summer.  I hadn't even bothered to unpack several boxes, so I had forgotten about my little cast iron bear, my lion's head staple remover, my jaguar (some sort of big cat) ink blotter (I use fountain pens), and my tiger leaping through a hoop of fire.  I was delighted to see them again.

BUT, I was not happy to find more books after I'd already sorted and shelved what I thought were all my books except the TBR (and given away) books.  I found half a box of gardening books after I'd already shelved my gardening books.  I'd rather not have books stuffed on top of other books, but what was I to do?  I refuse to double shelve.  I need to see my books and don't want any of them to be hiding behind others.

In the second photo, you can see the board my father 'made' for my sister and I.  He was a talented cabinetmaker, so this didn't tax his skill.  I have an inlaid chess / checkers board he made for my grandmother and a curved inlaid bowl he made.  But he 'made' this flat board for my sister and I to use as a desk when we sat in chairs to do our homework.  It's all marked up with names and initials and this and that, but I almost panicked when I thought it got lost in a move.

We're so happy with this house, this neighborhood.  Believe me, I know how lucky I am and I hope I never take any of this for granted.

Now that the library is finished except for some tinkering, I hope to get back to reading!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Just a Few Shelves Short

The shelves are full and I still have 2 or 3 boxes of books without a home.  I did realize the other day that there's room for a small bookcase under the side window in the room.  I guess I'll have to use that.  I was so hoping to get all my books on the shelves.  I should be grateful that I have so many books and that I have shelves to put them on.  Many people have much bigger problems.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Library Progress and Books Read in March

Things are moving along in my library.  I've shelved pretty much everything except my gardening and nature books.  I have three completely empty shelves and two partially empty shelves.  I have nine boxes of books that I'd like to keep in the library.  What do you think?  Close, right?

Will they?  Won't they?  

As for what I've been reading, I've done better this past month than I have in months.  I finished eight books.  Still not my average, but better than the paltry four I finished in February.  In March, I finished:

The Bookseller  -  Mark Pryor

Chasing Cezanne  -  Peter Mayle

Le Road Trip  -  Vivian Swift

McNally's Trial  -  Lawrence Sanders

Sulfer Springs  -  William Kent Krueger

Something Light  -  Margery Sharp

Death and Letters  -  Elizabeth Daly

Before We Were Yours  -  Lisa Wingate

So what if they were mostly mysteries?  I like mysteries.  Shelving my books makes me want to lock myself in, with no distractions, to lose myself in more substantial books.  Maybe one day soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

My friend Patty gave me this book.  She had just finished reading it and thought I might like it.  I read very little contemporary fiction except for mysteries, but the story sounded interesting.

This is a novel based on the true, horrifying story of Georgia Tann.  Tann was a well-respected owner of an adoption agency in Tennessee.  What people didn't know was that Tann and her cohort stole poor children, sometimes right off the street, and sold / adopted them out to rich people and celebrities.  Stars like Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, and June Allyson adopted children from her.  Eleanor Roosevelt consulted her about best adoption practices.  They didn't know what a monster she was.

In Before We Were Yours, Avery Stafford, daughter of a politician, is being groomed to take his place after he retires.  They're an old southern family, concerned both socially and politically about any unseemly issues both now and in the past.  Avery meets an old woman in a nursing home who steals the dragonfly bracelet her grandmother gave her.  Avery's mystified by a photograph in the woman's room showing a woman who looks like her grandmother.  Her grandmother is getting dementia and forgetting people and things, so Avery can't get much information from her.  But she finds out that her grandmother has secrets.

The story skips back and forth between current times and Avery and the past and Rill Foss, the daughter of a family of river rats.  When the mother of the river family, Queenie, has trouble in childbirth, her husband, Briny, takes her to a hospital rather than allow her and the twins she's about to have die.  While they're gone, the police, under a directive from Tann, kidnap the five children and take them to Tann's orphanage.  All the children except one are blond and curly-haired, the kind most desired by adopters.  The children are split up and one disappears, perhaps dying at the orphanage.  The children are abused, some sexually, and are kept as virtual prisoners, given almost nothing to eat.

Because of the truth of the story, I could hardly put it down.  My husband grew up at a school for boys who had lost one or more parent and whose parents couldn't afford to take care of them.  Some of the things he's told me about his ten years there, although not as bad as things that happened at Tann's place, had already given me some insight into group homes for children.

Tann renamed the children and falsified birth certificates and other documents, making it almost impossible for parents to find their stolen children, but a few finally did.

In one of those amazing coincidences, Peggy at Peggy's Porch just posted about a woman in England who had been left tied up on a hillside as a baby.  She was rescued and finally, through DNA, found who her parents were.  Maybe this goes on today, too, but it seems that it was rampant in the 1930s and 40s.  I know that things were tough after the depression.  In my own family,  my grandparents had six children.  My grandfather was a proud man and refused any government welfare, but he apparently would accept help of sorts from family.  My aunt was raised by my childless great aunt and uncle, and, later, my cousin was raised by my aunt.  At least we kept it all in the family.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

New Library in Progress

I know I'm lucky that I've been able to have a room in several of the houses we've lived in that can be used strictly for a library.  I've always had bookcases or built-ins even if they weren't in a separate room.  Like many of you, books tend to migrate all around the house and end up in every room.

The bookshelves in my new library have been installed and the paint has cured, so I'm unpacking my boxes of books.  When I packed them, I numbered the boxes as I took the books off the shelves.  My fiction is in alphabetical order, my history starts with archeology and proceeds through more modern times.  Then there are the miscellaneous books:  poetry, Bibles, religion, and myth, art books.

Here's a photo of where I ended today, with the 'L's.  The books by themselves on the right are what I have to do to make sure the books are in order.  When packing, not all books would fit in the proper box.  So I have to unpack Fiction #6 and Fiction #7 at the same time to make sure I have all the books that belong, if you follow me.  And sometimes I get tired and start shelving out of order.  But I love touching my books, remembering where I bought them or who gave them to me.  I want to stop and dip into all of them, but then I'd never get them in their new home.

I haven't figured out yet if all the books will fit on the shelves.  I'm feeling optimistic, but I haven't done the math yet.  What's on the shelves are the first 10 boxes of a total of 51.  But look, I have all these shelves to fill!

I'll keep you posted on my progress.  I just can't wait until all my books are where I can see them and read them.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Something Light by Margery Sharp

I'm trying to get back into my reading groove, alternating between mysteries and novels.  I make a distinction between the two.  My bookshelves are finished, but I'm letting the paint cure until this weekend or next week.  Then I can put away my books.

I moved all the boxes out of the closet in the library and, today, I arranged my collection of classical LPs, blues, jazz, and musicals in the armoire where my little all-in-one (record player, tape player, CD player, and radio) lives now.  And my boxed set of Walt Disney's Treasury of Dog Stories:  The Incredible Journey, Savage Sam, Big Red, Old Yeller, Greyfriars Bobby, and Nikki, which I don't remember ever seeing (Half-dog, half-wolf...his courage and cunning made him a legend in a vast untamed land).  Six liquor boxes emptied and on their way to being recycled.

When Something Light came up on a bargain e-book site, I bought it.  The author's name rang a bell and then I realized she had written The Rescuers, a childhood favorite.  I read Something Light in two days.  It was just the break I needed.

Louisa Datchett is Datchett Photographer of Dogs, a professional, independent woman in the 1950s  -  who photographs dogs.  She suddenly decides that she should marry.  Unfortunately, Louisa doesn't know how to go about it.  She likes men and they like her.  But that usually means that she takes care of them and that they expect her to take care of them.  They don't want to marry her.

She decides to marry a wealthy man.  A very wealthy older man she met abroad sends her a letter asking her to meet him.  She thinks he's planning to ask her to marry him and she's ready to accept.  But he wants her to be a buffer between him and the woman he's pined for for years and who's now available, a widow.  Disappointed but up for a week of good food, she accepts.  She and the man  become great friends but she has to leave.

Then she decides to marry a steady man, someone responsible.  She looks up a former boyfriend but realizes that he doesn't want to get married, even though he likes her and they share fond memories.  What she finds is that many men like the idea of marriage, the idea of romance, but they don't want the reality of it.

Finally, she thinks she wants a family.  Through a babysitting job, she meets a widower with three teenage children.  She ends up liking the children and not liking the man at all.

She gives up on marriage and decides to devote herself to her photography.  Until a man she dislikes, and who dislikes her, complicates things.

This book was just what the title promised:  Something Light.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Spending Time in France

No, I haven't been out of the country, not using my passport anyway.  I've accidentally spent three books worth of time in France.  I didn't plan to read three books that take place in France, but that's what happened.

  A friend recommended the mystery The Bookseller by Mark Pryor.  I'm not sure I realized that it was set in Paris.  Even odder, one of its characters shares a name with a character in Chasing Cezanne, another of the books set in France.  Coincidences are so, well, coincidental.  I liked The Bookseller, but I don't feel compelled to read the next in the series right away.  Booksellers who sell used books from  kiosks along the Seine begin to disappear and reappear dead.  One is Hugo Marston's friend.  Marston is head of security for the American embassy in Paris.  He saw his friend Max abducted at gunpoint and is determined to find out what happened to Max and why.  He has help from a beautiful (and rich) journalist and an old friend who is ex-CIA.

I didn't read Le Road Trip next.  I just can't figure out how to move the picture around on my blog.  I read When Wanderers Cease to Roam by Vivian Swift several years ago.  I was enchanted by Swift's watercolors and her direct and descriptive writing.  Le Road Trip is the story of the trip her late-in-life-new-husband and she took in France.  She'd been all over the world before she met James and he had, too.  Seasoned travellers, but new to each other.  Her watercolors are just as enchanting.  Their adventures and her thoughts about travel and love make the book fun to dip in and out of.

I had read two of Peter Mayle's books, A Dog's Life and Toujours Provence.  Chasing Cezanne is one of his novels, which takes place mostly in France.  A photographer happens to see a Cezanne being removed from a house in a plumber's van.  That didn't seem right.  When he contacted the owner, the owner didn't seem to be very concerned.  That was odd, too.  The photographer, his girlfriend, and an art dealer discover a plot to sell forged art, but they don't uncover the entire plot.  This one took me a while to finish.  I was interested, but it wasn't gripping.

If you've made it this far, you should know that I'm writing this while the carpenters are running a sander, finishing the installation of the bookshelves in my new library.  My books have been living in boxes in the sun room and I can't wait to shelve them (ever the little librarian!).  But after the shelves are painted, they have to cure.  I've been too eager in the past and had books stick slightly to painted shelves that felt dry to me.

The carpenter's helper is my old high school friend, Bruce.  His friend Ryck is the carpenter and he / they are doing a terrific job.  Jack's pleased and if you can please Jack ....

And Smokestack Masonry just left after lining our fireplace chimney and installing a gorgeous copper chimney cap.  If you live in the Lancaster area, we can highly recommend Smokestack.  Brian and Courtney are prompt, professional, and careful to leave your house they way they found it, except for a safer chimney.

It's amazing that I could string four words together with all the activity and noise, at least I hope I've written something that makes some sort of sense!

C'est vrai!  Mais non!  Parapluie!  

Friday, March 2, 2018

February Books Read

I believe I've set a new low for myself:  I only finished four, count 'em, FOUR books in February!  I''m still trying to get settled in our new house, unpacking boxes (where did all these boxes come from?!), and trying to find the best places for things.

We solved one problem, very nicely, I think.  The decor of our house is sort of Art Deco.  The living room has a large slightly bay window with rectangular panes of glass.  I treasure the openness of the house, the views of the trees and the landscapes, so I didn't want to hang curtains or put up blinds.  I decided Japanese screens would be the thing and my husband found the perfect ones on-line.  They sit on the window sill and cover only the lower part of the windows.  We can see out over them if we're standing, but they give us some privacy if we're sitting on the sofa.  I love the way they look and am pleased with my brainstorm and his ability to find just about anything on the Internet.  I don't have that patience.

The books I finished are:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Death of an Airman by Christopher St. John Sprigg

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

Past Tense by William G. Tapply

My favorite of the four is the last one.  It takes place on Cape Cod and in Massachusetts, places I know well.  It was also a tense (was the title a play on words?) murder mystery.  It's part of the Brady Coyne series by the late author.  I've read a few of them but now think I'd like to catch up.

In a Dark, Dark Wood is the kind of book that makes you rethink a quiet vacation in the woods.  Do you really want to be that far away from other people?  Especially when creepy, murderous things are happening?

I read Death of an Airman because Katrina had read it and enjoyed it.  It's one of the British Library Crime Classics.  I love reading about or watching movies about the birth of flying, the old planes, the dinky airfields, the excitement of solo flight.  This one had all that  -  plus murders!

Gone Tomorrow was a disappointment.  Jack Reacher didn't seem to be as compelling as he often is.    He's riding the NY subway late at night and sees a woman who fits almost all the criteria for a suicide bomber.  She's not, but mayhem follows.  The book only got exciting at the very end.

My library has one unit of shelves up and the man making the shelves e-mailed that he has three more units ready for installation on Monday.  This means that our weekend will be spent painting the walls in the room, getting them ready for the shelving.  It's a very bright room, not too much direct sunlight, I hope, so I've chosen a very, very dark green (Valspar Blackened Pine) to tone things down a bit.  When we're finished, I'll post a photo.

I'm off to the library this morning to use my new library card for the first time.  I've requested Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift and The Bookseller by Mark Pryor and both are waiting for me.  I hope you all have a lovely reading weekend.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Books, Books, and More Books

That's what my husband titled the two photos he took of yesterday's purchases.  He's right.  I had no business buying books when I have 50+ boxes of books waiting for shelves to be built.  They can't wait to get to their new home, or maybe I can't wait to have them there.  Why is it that when your books are right there, on the shelves or stacked on the floor, your bedside table, etc., you can ignore them for months, but when you can't see them, can't touch them, you need them?

If you've been reading my sporadic blog, you know that we've been moving since last October.  We bought a house just outside Lancaster, PA, where I was born.  We did some updating, some painting, and loaded the car with smaller items to move on each trip from Philadelphia to Lancaster.  In January, we put our Philadelphia house on the market and sold it in 24 hours.  Amazing and wonderful.  The sale closed this past Thursday, so we have cut ties with Philly and have become Lancastrians.

But there are still boxes and boxes of household items to unpack.  It's difficult to decide where things go.  Some are easy, but which drawer or cupboard is the best place for the bowls that seldom get used or the oversized utensils?  The blender doesn't fit on the counter under the cabinets.  Where can it live so it's available for the smoothies we plan to make?  I've been culling clothes and 'stuff' as I unpack.  I have two bags to go to Goodwill or some charity organization.  We've been stashing boxes in what will be my library, the guest room upstairs, and another room.  At least we can relax in an uncluttered living room, bedroom, and dining room.  But the boxes are waiting, or lurking.

We haven't used the stove or dishwasher yet, but I did laundry last week in the big, old washer and dryer.  I'm holding my breath because the dryer didn't roll the sheets up like cigars, one of my greatest frustrations with the new dryer we had in Philly.  I hope this one continues to just fluff up the sheets until they're dry.

Back to the books.  Lancaster Public Library has several book sales each year.  I saw the notice in the newspaper and a friend e-mailed me about the sale.  So, yesterday, Jack dropped me off at the sale while he went to fight with Comcast (no winners in that one yet).  I'm only in the market for paperbacks these days, books to read and pass along.  At the sale, they were $0.50 each.  At that price, I bought quite a few authors I'd never read, mostly mysteries.  I've never read the Peter Mayle book or anything by Richard Russo, so I'm looking forward to those.

I bought these books for Jack, hoping that, as an ex-competitive sailor who misses his boat very much, he could get a sailing fix from reading them.  In case the photo's too fuzzy to read, they're eleven books in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and two stand-alones by the same author.  Truthfully, I've only read Master and Commander and am looking forward to reading the series, too.  Twenty-eight books for less than $15.00.  Really.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January Books Read

This is the best I can do at the moment.  We're still in the middle of moving house.  We bought a house in late October and thought how great it was that we'd have time to paint and renovate and move things before we sold our house in Philly.  Well, I'm not sure moving slowly is the way to do it.

The house in Philly sold the day after the Open House.  It's 99% a done deal, all the preliminary papers signed and inspections completed, just one thing to clear up and then the closing on the 22nd.  Movers are coming on the 13th to move the big furniture that we can't move and my many, many boxes of books.  I've already apologized to them twice.  We moved some of my more fragile or valuable books ourselves.

But, in just a few weeks, we get to sort out the chaos that is our new house.  How did we get all this 'stuff' and where are we going to put it?!  But there are gardens, a fireplace, huge mature trees, a fenced yard, a large patio, peace and quiet.  And good and old friends very close.  And family close, too.

In the meantime, here's what I managed to read in January:

Blackbird Fly  -  Lisa McClendon

Death Walks the Woods  -  Cyril Hare

Between the Pages  -  Kathleen Adelaide

The Wanted  -  Robert Crais

Dirge for a Dorset Druid  -   Margot Arnold

Nine Coaches Waiting  -  Mary Stewart

Blackbird Fly was sort of a combination of those 'ex-pat moves to village in France / Italy / some other European country and has trouble with the natives.  Except that this one is a suspense novel and includes more than one murder.  It didn't grab me and whirl me along, but I liked it enough to keep going.

I've always liked Cyril Hare and this one didn't disappoint.  There's a murder in a small village, there are quirky characters, there's even some humor.

Between the Pages is exactly what I expected from one of my favorite book bloggers, mirabile dictu. She write erudite blog posts about her love of Latin and books, and, sometimes, Latin books!  None of the books she writes about in Between the Pages are Latin books, though.  I love people who love books, but isn't that why you're reading this?  I recommend both her book, available on Amazon, and her blog.

The Wanted was good, but there wasn't enough Joe Pike!  More Joe Pike!  More Joe Pike!

With Dirge for a Dorset Druid, I've realized that although I like this series, my enjoyment is marred by the size of the type in the copies I've been able to find.  It's small and crowded on the page.  I'm at the age where my eyes blur and cross when confronted with too much small, crowded type.  It takes me forever to read.  That said, I like the archeological and murderous adventures of Sir Toby and Dr. Penny (I think she's a Dame now).  They're characters themselves and they're often in interesting locations to solve crimes.

Nine Coaches Waiting is a reread.  It's not on my list of Books Read, but I know I read it back in my teen years.  I wasn't as compulsive about keeping my list then as I am now.  Maybe I need to keep order in my life more now than back then.  Mary Stewart always delivers an exciting, romantic, suspenseful book.  At least that's my experience.  This one takes place in near the French / Swiss border, at an estate on the side of a mountain.  It involves a young boy set to inherit the estate when he comes of age and his uncle, who is his trustee.  Maybe his uncle thinks he should inherit the estate.      The new governess thinks the boy is at risk.

That's all folks until I get moved and settled.  I hope after that happens, someone will return my mind!