Category Archives: On reading

May Check-in

A hill nearby covered in Crimson Clover…

I will start with an apology for not checking in sooner and for leaving this blog sitting too quietly for the last while. It has been an up and down month, a very emotional month, since my last post. The update on my husband, Byron, is that he has continued with his chemotherapy treatments with infusions every three weeks, and we have played the waiting game now for 9 weeks to see if the chemo is actually working to [temporarily] halt the progression of his cancer.  We had to wait until a certain period of time had passed to repeat his CT scan. The scan was done last Saturday, and we finally received the results yesterday. At this point in time, it is working. *Big sigh of relief here!*

So he will continue with his three-week cycle of infusions, and our lives are adjusting accordingly. The infusions are on Mondays. That first week is a challenge for him, with deep fatigue and other struggles. The second week, he feels better but not great. And the third week, he is almost back to “normal,” feeling well enough to work on projects (although his stamina is low), and have family come to visit. Then, the cycle is repeated …until it no longer works, or the side effects become too much to offset the benefits.

With this major change to our daily/weekly routines, plus the anxiety about whether or not this treatment is working, I simply couldn’t focus enough to read a book, and writing a post seemed too difficult. But, I am very thankful that we have a lovely grief counselor who is helping us through this roller coaster time, and she recommended a book that she thought I would enjoy. I downloaded it onto my Kindle directly after my appointment and read it in just a couple of days.

 The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II, by Madeline Martin, brought me back to my reading.

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

The Last Bookshop in London is an irresistible tale which showcases the transformative power of literacy, reminding us of the hope and sanctuary our neighborhood bookstores offer during the perilous trials of war and unrest.”
–Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

My counselor was right! I enjoyed it very much, and all of a sudden, my world seemed to right itself again!  She added one other recommendation for me:  she suggested I get myself over to Powell’s Bookstore for an hour of wandering.  Do you see why I love this counselor?

Back to my apology for leaving you without an update on our situation for so many weeks… I will try to check in with you here, dear blogging friends, at least once a month as we continue on our current health journey. And thank you so much for your care and concern.

Byron heading into Kaiser for his CT scan…

 

15 Years Old


Fifteen years ago on a quiet January morning, I started this blog. During those fifteen years, I’ve made many wonderful reading friends. I’ve been inspired by all of you, dear friends, as I’ve shared with you my own love of reading. The book blogging community is warm and supportive, and my life is greatly enriched by my interactions with all of you. So today I celebrate fifteen years full of great reading and great friends. Cheers!

My 2007 reading spot and my blogging spot in the background…

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.