I find myself more than a little bit jealous of Henry Bohun, whose functional parasomnia means that he only needs to sleep a couple of hours a night, and can spend all of the rest of the time that I spend sleeping reading and learning cool stuff.
This was the only thing about Twilight that I liked - the vampires didn't need to sleep, so they would read classic literature, listen to music, and become doctors...
Sleep is lovely, but it's such a waste of time that could otherwise be delightfully spent with a book!
I decided to check out the next in the Shetland series from my library, and started it today. I love the bleak, windswept setting, as I sit under a handmde quilt in my quiet living room with a cup of tea and The Nutcracker playing on my bluetooth speakers.
I am having a very relaxing weekend. In addition to reading, I've been doing some minor sewing - I have promised my daughter a pair of Christmas stockings for her and her new husband, as well as their cat, if all goes as planned, so I made a prototype to test out the pattern.
I really like the way it turned out, although there are some modifications that I will make to the final product, including adding a personalized, embroidered cuff in a complementary color to each stocking. I also plan to hand quilt it as opposed to the machine quilting on this one. I was just trying to get it done so I could test the pattern. I am glad I did, because it needs to be a bit wider - this one is a little on the narrow side for functionality.
There will probably be a task related to this at some point during the 24 Festive Tasks game, but it's coming up to the end of the year, and this is the time that my mind starts turning to the burning issue of making reading plans for next year.
My plans boil down to basically a couple of new mottos:
Read My Own Damn Books
Read What I Want When I Want and Because I Want To Read It
At first blush, these two things might seem to be in conflict with one another. How can I read what I want if I'm only reading my own books? This isn't actually as complicated as it might seem, though - if there is something that I desperately want to read, I will either check it out of the library or I will buy it. While this is intended to be a way to buy fewer books, there is no chance that I will have a zero-book-purchase year. It's just not happening.
In service of the first motto:
At some point, I will likely put together a vast TBR list of focus books that I hope to read throughout the year. There will be lots of Golden Age Mysteries on this list, many Virago and Persephone titles, a few long, door-stopper style classics. I'd like to get to Zola next year, at least one of his books, and finish off at least one more Trollope. I have a number of Barbara Pym books, and some by Elizabeth Taylor as well. I have enough books to keep me busy for the rest of my life, frankly, but I'm not going to pretend like I won't be adding titles to my library.
Having said that, I would like to minimize new book purchases. My general plan is to set myself a monthly book budget, although I haven't quite decided the amount. I will focus on buyiing inexpensive kindle books, especially golden age mystery titles, and used paperbacks from Abe Books or my local used book resources.
And, in service of the second motto, well, the reality is that I probably won't be hosting any reading games over here in 2020, except Halloween Bingo (I will ALWAYS host Halloween bingo). I'm going to go where my fancy takes me this year. If that means blogging, I will blog. If that means overdosing on rereads of P.D. James mysteries that I get from the library, that's what it means.
You never know. I may well get an itch for a summertime game of Booklikes-opoly, but for right now, I'm not making plans.
So, that's it for my 2020 plans, at least at this point. I will update on all of the ongoing projects before the end of the year. I'm not abandoning any of them at this point, and I'll make whatever progress I want to make, but I'm not scheduling anything . . .
I received my box set of Little Black Classics about four years ago, in November, 2015, but hadn't really dipped into them. They survived the purging process from earlier this year, and have a place of honor in my bookshelves, taking up half of a book shelf.
I finally decided that it was time to move them up onto the "reading" list. I'm going to read one or two of them a month, on Sundays. They are nice little bite-sized bits, around 50 pages long, that I can read in an hour or so. I'm thinking that I will go in order, but I'm not fully committed to that at this point.
The first one is by Boccaccio, and are 4 excerpts from the Decameron: Andreuccio da Perugia's Neapolitian Adventures, Ricciardio da Chinzica Loses his Wife, Miss Rosie and the Priest and Patient Griselda. The back matter says "Bawdy tales of pimps, cuckolds, lovers and clever women from the 14th century Florentine masterpiece the Decameron."
Bawdy is an understatement, you guys. Certainly the second and third tales are basically medieval pornography. Not to say that they are graphic, but Boccaccio is certainly the master of the allusion - we have patches being plowed (or not) and priests using their pestles to grind in the mortars of other men's wives. They are very funny.
Patient Griselda, though? Her husband was a straight up abusive jackass and she should've stabbed him in the throat.
I had a little bit of a hard time rating this book because I liked it, but I also think that it is one of those series that will grow on me since it seems to be so character driven.
I usually don't like jumping into series in the middle, but these books are pretty expensive for kindle, and, while my library has most of them, the first one has entered some sort of parallel universe where it is apparently infinitely unavailable. It's Schrodinger's book, but it pretty much only does not exist. I decided to just say screw it, and start with book #16, which may not have been ideal.
I get the sense that the crime involved is really secondary to the characters, and I don't know the characters yet. I was trying to explain it to my husband, and came up with "The Northern Exposure of murder mystery series" but set in Virginia, not Alaska. Lots of eccentric, quirky characters who do eccentric and quirky things. I spent the entire book trying to figure out what Meg Langslow does, and I'm still not sure. Something churchy, but not a pastor or rector or anything? She has an office in a church - I figured out that much.
Anyway, I feel like I need to read more. I liked the characters I met, even if there was a lot happening that was confusing to me. I can't get Murder with Peacocks, apparently, but I can get Murder with Puffins, which is book 2.
MBD, what do you think? I already have two other Meg Langslow Christmas mysteries: Six Geese A-Slayin' and Lark, The Herald Angels Sing, checked out. Should I return them, and start at the beginning, or should I just go on as I have begun with the scattered approach and expect that everything will start to make more sense about five books in?
NEW: Once you've completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.(show spoiler)
Previous door's tasks are "beneath the fold"
I think that this is the 16th Miss Silver mystery that I've read, and they've become one of those series that is a constant source of comfort reads for me, especially since I've finished all of the Christie mysteries.
This was a pretty good one, too. I liked the atmosphere of The Catherine Wheel, which definitely had similarities to Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, although Wentworth never matches Du Maurier for darkness. The side characters were good, and I really liked by Eily and Jane Heron. Of the two male love interests - because Miss Silver always has romance in her heart - I liked John Higgins, but found Jeremy Taverner to be a bit too he-man, masterful for my personal tastes.
I would note that this book marks the dead middle of the Miss Silver books for me. None of the stand-alones have matched Miss Silver for enjoyment, although Grey Mask remains the low point of all of Wentworth's books.
Next up is Miss Silver Comes to Stay.
Old houses settle slowly to their rest. Floors upon which many generations have walked, furniture which has been a very long time in use, walls which have borne the stress and weight of old beams for centuries, have a way of lapsing into silence by degrees. There are small rustling sounds, creakings, movements—a whispering at the keyhole of a door, a stirring amongst spent ashes of a fire, a sighing in the chimney—and all in the darkness which has been there night after night for perhaps three hundred years. Thoughts, feelings, actions which have left their impress come to the surface. The life of today no longer dominates these empty rooms. The past comes stealing back.
We have not merely one, but two, young couples for Miss Silver to matchmake in this book: Jane & Jeremy and Eily & John.
I think that everyone is aware of my love of used vintage paperbacks. I rounded out my Agatha Christie collection earlier this year, and now have a print copy of every single book she published. Not all of them are paperbacks, and not all of the paperbacks are vintage MMPB, but it's very satisfying to look at the shelf and see them all sitting there.
I haven't really been on a book buying kick recently, but decided that I wanted to collect a new series. After dithering a bit, I've decided to go with the Inspector Henry Tibbets series by Patricia Moyes, because I recently read one and enjoyed it, and the Roderick Alleyn series by Ngaio Marsh. I ordered the first two of each from Abe books today.
My edition of A Man Lay Dead is one of the old Fontana editions from the UK, so it will take a while to arrive, having to cross the pond to get to me.
I think I will just mark any door where I've finished at least one task and/or the book because I'm feeling lazy...
Door 4: Guy Fawkes Day:
Task 1: Make a list of the top 3 treasonous crimes against books that an author can commit.
Task 2: Start a revolution: What one thing would you change about the book reading world? (Be it publishing, distribution, editing, cover art, bookstores – anything having to do with books.)
Task 3: Make a little straw (or wood / cloth / wool / fabric) effigy of the book character you like least.
How do you order the books on your shelves?
Book: Read a book set in the UK . . . : I finished Blue Lightning, the fourth in the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves. Link to post.