Category Archives: On reading

Reading Short Books

Renia Reading, 1910, painting by Wojciech Weiss

This week, in between my current project of reading two long books at the same time, I took a break and read two short books. I didn’t plan to do that, it just happened. I also didn’t sign up for a ‘reading non-fiction in November’ challenge, but both short books were non-fiction. I guess I just needed some delightful balance in my reading life this month.

Both short books were very interesting to read. The first one was Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals, by Ken Follett. It was, simply put, a love letter to the magnificent cathedral of Notre-Dame, started shortly after he heard about the fire that shocked the world. Having done extensive research on cathedrals for his book, Pillars of the Earth, and having spent much time in Notre-Dame, he was deeply shocked and saddened when he learned of the fire. It wasn’t too long before reporters started calling him, wanting his expert advice and viewpoint on the possible fire damage. Another call he received was from his publisher telling him that given his knowledge and background in the constructions of cathedrals, he must write a book in response to this tragedy. This little book was what he produced from the notes he started immediately.

The wonderful cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the greatest achievements of European civilization, was on fire. The sight dazed and disturbed us profoundly. I was on the edge of tears. Something priceless was dying in front of our eyes. The feeling was bewildering, as if the earth was shaking.”

The second short book I read last week was The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson. It was actually a re-read for me because I’d listened to the audiobook a few years ago, and decided to re-read it because I’m currently working on a major decluttering/downsizing project here at home. I hoped it would give me some ideas and motivation to really let go of a lot of things, and it did. It’s a common sense book, and is just straightforward in explaining the ideas and philosophy of “death cleaning.” I’m glad I re-read it.

So I am enjoying my November reading, both the long books and the short ones. I hope you are enjoying your current reading, as well.

 

Reading Long Books

A Place of Her Own, by James C. Christensen

It’s been a long time since I read a long-ish book, and now I’m immersed in two of them at the same time. Both books are on my Classics Club list, but I didn’t plan to read them right now, let alone at the same time. However, one was chosen as my Classics Club Spin book, and the other one was for a fun read-along challenge that I simply couldn’t resist. So here I am, reading one chapter a day for The Three Musketeers read-along, and listening to the audiobook of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court while doing chores or driving in the car. And I’m enjoying them both!

Summer Reading

“Summer Reading”… those two words evoke wonderful memories, and always fill me with anticipation for the great reads of the next few months. Our library is still in lockdown for the quarantine, but hopefully it will reopen soon and my summer can include walks to the library every few days. And, of course, I plan to do much of my reading on the porch!

I don’t have a specific plan or list for my summer reading, but there are a couple of books I have in mind that would be perfect summer reading. The first one, which I’ve already started, is The Solitary Summer, by Elizabeth von Arnim. It’s turning out to be a perfectly delightful porch read!

And I ordered a 4 book series called “A Gardening Mystery,” by Mary Freeman. The books were hard to find, but they seemed like the perfect combination of my favorites: mysteries and gardening. I hope they turn out to be a lot of fun!

And there are lots of books on my Classics Club list, and my personal challenges lists. I have so much to read, so it won’t be difficult at all to fill up the summer with pleasurable reading.

Howard’s End is on the Landing

The audiobook I am currently listening to is Howard’s End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home, by Susan Hill. It’s a book that has been on my TBR list for a long time but I just never got around to moving it to the top of the list. When I discovered that it was available from Audible, I downloaded it and started listening. I am so enjoying it (!) but realized immediately that I needed the book itself to refer to, so I ordered it from the library. Happily, it came in quickly and I have been reading and listening to my double pleasure. But now I have realized that this is a book I need to own, so I have ordered my own copy and it should be arriving shortly. That’s high praise for a book, don’t you think?

A Bit Obsessed

I have to confess that I’ve been a bit obsessed in the last few weeks. Pinterest does that to one, of course. One quiet afternoon, I decided to start a new Pinterest page dedicated only to my reading and connect it to this blog. It was so much fun setting it up and then searching for the photos I wanted! So if you have a quiet, lazy afternoon, perhaps you could check it out. It’s just another place to share the books I have read and loved over the years!

Click here to visit my A Fondness For Reading Pinterest page