Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Reading

1. The Devil's Steps - book 10 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1946
kindle
finished 1/5/15

2. An Author Bites the Dust - book 11 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1948
kindle
finished 1/12/15

3. The Mountains Have a Secret - book 12 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1948
kindle
finished 1/19/15

4. The Widows of Broome - book 13 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1950
kindle
finished 1/28/15

Another four Arthur Upfield mysteries! And with book 10, I felt a little change. Every book, except one, up to this one was set in a remote area of Australia with Bony pretty much invincible. Now he is called to solve crimes in suburban areas, or cities or towns. He still finds clues on neighborhood lawns and pathways the way he could in the bush, but the emphasis isn't as prominent. The reader isn't reading about trees and sand and endless travel, but more 'regular' murder cases. And we see Bony as more vulnerable. He is apt to make mistakes. He has always felt his great strength to be patience, and though he still makes use of it, it is harder to maintain in the more populated, busier locations. Sometimes another murder occurs because he hasn't solved the first one yet. The books have a more modern feel because of this. 

Also, the reader isn't subjected to as much racism. Bony isn't always thinking about his Aborigine and white heritage, and happily for this reader, he is not referred to as a 'half-caste' any longer. My sense is that we are seeing a post-war Australia with new ways of thinking, and more psychological crime. 


From An Author Bites the Dust:
“Have you read any novels by Mervyn Blake [the character who dies]?” “No. I don’t care for Australian novels. I borrowed one of Wilcannia-Smythe’s [another character] just because I saw the man in the next door garden. It was all about the bush, you know, and gumtrees and things, but the characters were just too terribly, crashingly boring. He’s frightfully clever, you know. At least the paper says he is. I like a book that tells a story - you know, books by Conrad and John Buchan and S.S. Van Dine.”

I wonder if Upfield was feeling the sting of this kind of criticism, and so changed his settings and cases to counter it.

I feel a bit like I am taking a course on Australia through the years. I'm reading the whole series on the kindle, but recently bought the print versions of Upfield's short stories, and a book about the series itself.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Year with Mrs. Appleyard - January

The wit and sense of playfulness which permeates Mrs. Appleyard’s Year begins on the copyright page, after we read the 1941 date.
The author asserts that any resemblance between Mrs. Appleyard, members of her family, or other characters in this book, and any real person or persons, including the Scandinavian, is purely coincidental, and she can’t think how it happened.

When you read that, you know you are in for some light, fun reading. The book begins with a chapter called About the Appleyards which rambles on enchantingly from one thought to another from statues to getting older to details about her husband and four grown children, and her house
that was too small for them when the children were small, and that is too big now that the children range in size from five feet four to six feet two.
The book then proceeds to a short January chapter which begins
Faults Mrs. Appleyard certainly has. As she looks them over on the first day of the New Year they seem to her like the ‘other articles too numerous to mention,’ always mysteriously listed in auctioneers’ advertisements. Since she has had most of her defects for over half a century, she is well acquainted with them. Some of them, indeed, have become enjoyable simply because she has had them so long. For instance: if she did not impulsively bring home a large Chinese cabinet (because it was such a bargain) instead of the lacquer finger bowls she started out to buy, her family would be deprived of the pleasure of observing: ‘Now, isn’t that exactly like Mother.’
She tells more anecdotes which illustrate her ‘faults’ and ends the chapter with a list of the things she intends to ‘improve,’ like planning to ‘glance occasionally at her engagement book instead of keeping the entries in it a secret from herself.’ And then because it is getting ‘too depressing’ to continue on with her faults, she takes note of her ‘virtues,’ such as
She uses the brakes on her car instead of the horn.She balances her own checkbook, no matter how long it takes.She never makes a fourth at bridge to help anyone out. She found out long ago that she was no help.
And the month of January ends with her feeling pretty good about herself!
Really, as she thinks it over, she feels almost unbearably virtuous. Perhaps her own best contribution to a pleasant New Year for everyone would be for her to indulge in her vices a little more. So, that is her Resolution.
I just love this book, as I did twelve years ago. It is a joy to read.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quote du jour/Penelope Fitzgerald

Writing of the pleasure of having grandchildren, Penelope Fitzgerald says,

‘It is such a joy to have someone who wishes to sit with you on a sofa and listen to a watch tick.' 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Today's poem by Esther Cohen

Yesterday a Friend a Very Good Friend Said

Esther what are you going to do
With all your poems?
Where will you put them?
How Will They All Add Up
What Will They Say When They Do?

When I was a little girl a very little girl
my grandmother lived with us
before my Uncle Alex drove up to our door
then drove her to LA.
We were at 43 Jackson Street
Ansonia Connecticut and then we moved
oddly enough to 43 Holbrook Street
also in Ansonia Connecticut it was not
intentional or unconscious either and my grandmother
I thought she was wise because she was old
she was much younger than I am now
my grandmother said to me
I was around seven you have a lot of poems,
so many poems in your room
you never have to do anything with all those poems
because they are poems.
But now, because of life speeding up
and because I live in New York City
Upper West Side in particular and because
Of Homeland and The Good Wife and Anti-Social Media
and because of books and ebooks and because of ambition
and NPR and the finite nature of life and because I am
a Jew not a Buddhist though I often wish
it were otherwise and because I do not meditate
when my friend
said to me What Will I Do With All These Poems
I said I Will Have a TV show or a podcast
or I will paint them or make a book or two
or turn them into shower curtains or poem wall paper
or make an audible app or maybe I will
just write poems.

Esther Cohen is co-editor of the new Jewish Currents art calendar. (type Channel Esther into the search bar)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yoga with a one-year old

I have a number of different yoga DVDs, and today's was 

Tom had gone down to get Hazel Nina this morning, and when she arrived I was just beginning the seated part (in my jammies). He put her in the Joovy and she came into the living room and was riveted. She never moved for the whole 20 minutes.


When I finished, Tom took her out. I went into the study to do cobra pose, and look who followed, and crawled up to do it with me!


Over thirty years ago, her mother and her uncle used to do the very same thing. Makes me so happy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Today's pictures/We are family

Yesterday we all went down to visit the little cousins' great grandparents, who are celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary today! No pics of Matthew, or Tom, or me.

Campbell Walker - 8 months and Hazel Nina - 13 months








Saturday, January 10, 2015

Today's song/Three Little Birds - sung by Stephen Marley


This song, these words are like a prayer to me. 

Over fifteen years ago, a friend had breast cancer, and these were the words in my heart as she went through her surgery. Everything was indeed alright, and there’s never been a hint of the disease since. 

Then last fall when Margaret was in the hospital for those five weeks, the hardest and scariest of my whole life, she saw these three little birds outside her window


and I saw this number plate in the hospital parking lot


We all took it as a sign that Margaret and her unborn baby girl would be fine. And they were.

The past few days, I have been aching with fear because one of the friends I love best in the world is in critical condition, in an induced coma, and on life support. This morning, Three Little Birds came on the radio, and I am praying it is yet again a good, good sign that all will be alright with him.

I couldn't find a good video of Bob singing this, so I thought his son's version would be the next best thing.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Today's Pictures / Hazel Nina - One Year Ago Today, and Today

One month old, January 5, 2014


Thirteen months old, January 5, 2015

Tom's 2015 Reads

December - 1

11. Dreaming Spies - book 13 in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series
by Laurie R. King
mystery 2015
kindle
finished 12/28/15

October - 1

10. Disappeared - book 1 in the Inspector Celcius Daly series
by Anthony Quinn
mystery 2012
print
finished 10/11/13

August - 2

9. Proof
by Dick Francis
mystery 1984
print
finished 8/17/15 (his father's book)

8. The Big Burn
by Timothy Egan
nonfiction 2009
print
finished 8/7/15

July - 2

7. Stranglehold - book 4 in the Detective Greene series
by Robert Rotenberg
mystery 2013
print
finished  7/24/15

6. The Barrakee Mystery - book 1 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1928
kindle
finished 7/1/15

June - 1

5. Stray Bullets - book 3 in the Detective Greene series
by Robert Rotenberg
mystery 2012
print
finished 6/28/15

May - 1

4. The Godfather
by Mario Puzo
fiction 1969
kindle
finished 5/19/15

March - 1

3. The Guilty Plea - book 2 in the Detective Greene series
by Robert Rotenberg
mystery 2011
print
finished 3/17/15

February - 1

2. Old City Hall - book 1 in the Detective Greene series
by Robert Rotenberg
mystery 2009
print
finished 2/27/15

January - 1

1. Another Great Day At Sea
Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush
by Geoff Dyer
nonfiction 2014
print
finished 1/10/15

Books Read in 2015

December - 7

69. Information Received - book 1 in the Bobby Owen series
by E.R. Punshon
mystery 1933
kindle
finished 12/31/15

68. Mystery Villa - book 4 in the Bobby Owen series
by E.R. Punshon
mystery 1934
kindle
finished 12/20/15

67. The Water Room - book 2 in the Bryant and May series
by Christopher Fowler
mystery 2004
kindle
finished 12/16/15

66. The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
by Dave Barry
fiction 2006
reread
print
finished 12/10/15

65. Full Dark House - book 1 in the Bryant and May series
by Christopher Fowler
mystery 2003
kindle
finished 12/9/15

64. The Resistance Man - book 6 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series
by Martin Walker
mystery 2013
kindle
finished 12/3/15

63. The Devil's Cave - book 5 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series
by Martin Walker
mystery 2012
kindle
finished 12/1/15

November - 5

62. The Crowded Grave - book 4 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series
by Martin Walker
mystery 2011
kindle
finished 11/20/15

61. Black Diamond - book 3 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series
by Martin Walker
mystery 2010
kindle
finished 11/14/15

60. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine - book 16 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction 2015
kindle
finished 11/10/15

59. Stranger in the House
by Julie Summers
nonfiction 2008
print
finished 11/7/15

58. Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha - book 7 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1985
reread
kindle
finished 11/6/15

October - 7

57. Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station - book 6 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1983
reread
kindle
finished 10/31/15

56. Mrs. Pollifax on Safari - book 5 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1976
reread
kindle
finished 10/24/15

55. To Dwell in Darkness - book 16 in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series
by Deborah Crombie
mystery 2014
kindle
finished 10/22/15

54. The Housekeeper and the Professor (also called The Gift of Numbers)
by Yoko Ogawa
translated from Japanese by Stephen Snyder
fiction 2003; 2009 in English translation
print
finished 10/13/15

53. The Sound of Broken Glass - book 15 in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series
by Deborah Crombie
mystery 2013
kindle
finished 10/13/15

52. A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax - book 4 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1973
reread
kindle
finished 10/8/15

51. The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax - book 3 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1971
reread
kindle
finished 10/3/15

September - 6

50. A Dangerous Place - book 11 in the Maisie Dobbs series
by Jacqueline Winspear
mystery 2015
kindle
library book
finished 9/27/15

49. The Complete Inspector Morse
by David Bishop
nonfiction first published 2002 - this updated edition published 2011
print
finished 9/21/15

48. The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax - book 2 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1970
reread
kindle
finished 9/20/15

47. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax - book 1 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1966
reread
kindle
finished 9/17/15

46. The Egypt Game
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
middle grade fiction 1967
kindle
finished 9/9/15

45. Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese
fiction 2009
kindle
library book
finished 9/5/15

August - 7

44. Behind the Green Door - book 4 in the Penny Parker series
by Mildred A. Wirt
young adult mystery 1940
kindle
finished 8/27/15

43. Mavis of Green Hill
by Faith Baldwin
fiction 1921
kindle
finished 8/23/15

42. In the Garden with The Totterings - a Tottering-By-Gently collection
by Annie Tempest
graphic novel 2011
print
finished 8/22/15

41. The Cases of Hildegarde Withers
by Stuart Palmer
mystery (not sure of publication date - it may be a collection that St. Swithin Press put together recently just for e-books. the stories were published in various places in the 1930s and 1940s) - call it 1940s
kindle
finished 8/14/15

40. The Benson Murder Case - book 1 in the Philo Vance Murder Cases series
by S.S. van Dine
mystery 1926
kindle
finished 8/12/15

39. Thursdays in the Park
by Hilary Boyd
fiction 2011
print
finished 8/10/15

38. Celia's House - book 1 in the Rydelton series
by D.E. Stevenson
fiction 1943
reread
kindle
finished  8/4/15

July - 6

37. The Novel Habits of Happiness - book 10 in the Isabel Dalhousie series
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction 2015
kindle
finished 7/27/15

36. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
by Ben Macintyre
nonfiction 2014
kindle
finished 7/20/15

35. Can't we talk about something more PLEASANT?
by Roz Chast
graphic nonfiction 2014
print
finished 7/19/15

34. Find the Good
by Heather Lende
nonfiction 2015
print
finished 7/13/15

33. Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs
by Heather Lende
nonfiction 2010
print
finished 7/11/15

32. The Will of the Tribe - book 27 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1962
kindle
finished 7/5/15

June - 3

31. Game Without Rules - the Calder and Behrens series
by Michael Gilbert
spy fiction 1968
kindle
finished 6/27/15

30. If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name
by Heather Lende
nonfiction 2005
print
finished 6/19/15

29. Way Down Deep
by Ruth White
young adult fiction 2013
kindle
finished 6/19/15

May - 6

28. Bony and the Kelly Gang - book 25 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1960
kindle
finished 5/23/15

27. Bony and the Black Virgin - book 24 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1959
kindle
finished 5/12/15

26. Bony and the Mouse - book 23 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1959
kindle
finished 5/10/15

25. Bony Buys a Woman - book 22 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1957
kindle
finished 5/10/15

24. A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler
fiction 2015
kindle - library book
finished 5/5/15

23. Essays After Eighty
by Donald Hall
nonfiction 2014
print
finished 5/1/15

April - 4

22. Anything for a Quiet Life
And Other New Mystery Stories
by Michael Gilbert
mystery 1990
kindle
finished 4/23/15

21. Dead Beat - book 1 in the Kate Brannigan series
by Val McDermid
mystery 1992
kindle
finished 4/17/15

20. The Man of Two Tribes - book 21 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1956
kindle
finished 4/12/15

19. Spot's First Easter
by Eric Hill
children's book 1988
reread
print
finished 4/2/15

March - 5

18. The Battling Prophet - book 20 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1956
kindle
finished 3/27/15

17. Cake in the Hatbox - book 19 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1955
kindle
finished 3/18/15

16. The Rude Visitors
by Gail Chislett
illustrated by Barbara Di Lella
children's book 1984
reread
print
finished 3/12/15

15. Death of a Lake - book 18 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1954
kindle
finished 3/10/15

14. Murder Must Wait - book 17 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1953
kindle
finished 3/5/15

February - 9

13. The Vanishing Houseboat - book 2 in the Penny Parker series
by Mildred A. Wirt
young adult mystery1939
kindle
finished 2/24/15

12. Cocaine Blues - book 1 in the Phryne Fisher series
by Kerry Greenwood
mystery 1989
kindle
finished 2/22/15

11. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good - book 10 in the Mitford series
by Jan Karon
fiction 2014
kindle
finished 2/18/15

10. Howards End is on the Landing
by Susan Hill
nonfiction 2009
print
reread
finished 2/14/15

9. The Search for Belle Prater - book 2 in the Belle Prater series
by Ruth White
young adult fiction 2005
kindle
finished 2/14/15

8. Belle Prater's Boy - book 1 in the Belle Prater series
by Ruth White
young adult fiction 1996
kindle
finished 2/13/15

7. The Clue of the New Shoe - book 15 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1951
kindle
finished 2/9/15

6. The Bachelors of Broken Hill - book 14 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1950
kindle
finished 2/3/15

5. Bee-bim Bop
by Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
children's book 2005
print
finished 2/2/15

January - 4

4. The Widows of Broome - book 13 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1950
kindle
finished 1/28/15

3. The Mountains Have a Secret - book 12 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1948
kindle
finished 1/19/15

2. An Author Bites the Dust - book 11 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1948
kindle
finished 1/12/15

1. The Devil's Steps - book 10 in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series
by Arthur Upfield
mystery 1948
kindle
finished 1/5/15

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mrs. Appleyard's Year - a year-long reading adventure

In March of 2003 I wrote this in my reading journal:
Mrs. Appleyard's Year by Louise Andrews Kent  1941    
non-fiction (with fictional names) 
Delightful book about life in the 1930s, and early 1940s. The author has great humor and love toward her family, and their life in Massachusetts and their summer home in Vermont. I loved the book which was divided into months.  She tells of their life, and meals, and adventures. I laughed out loud several times, and I learned a lot about life in my area 60 years ago. Amazing how people, and life itself, haven't fundamentally changed all that much. 

I’ve missed doing a monthly reading, as I did with Gladys Taber and Rachel Peden (see A Year with Gladys and Rachel under Letter Topics).  And in fact, I ended my last post of that series with:
This year winter begins at 6.12 am EST on December 21, the earliest arrival of winter since 1886. On that day I plan to begin reading two chapters called Winter from two books: Country Chronicle by Gladys Taber in Connecticut, USA and The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill in Oxfordshire, England; New England and old England. Each book is divided into four seasonal chapters. These two women, though not the same age, are writing within a few years of one another. Country Chronicle was published in 1974 and The Magic Apple Tree in 1982. Susan Hill was born on February 5, 1942 so she was 40 when The Magic Apple Tree was published. Gladys Taber was born on April 12, 1899 so she was 75 when Country Chronicle was published.
The last day of winter is March 19, 2013 so please stay tuned for a first posting around that date!

I fully intended to do so, but 2013 was just too full a year to attempt it. Maybe sometime in the future I will. But for this year, after considering a number of books I own that are divided into twelve entries, I decided I would reread Mrs. Appleyard’s Year, and write about it each month.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Today's poem by May Sarton

New Year Resolve

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

May Sarton (1912-1995)
From -
The Silence Now: New and Uncollected Earlier Poems 1988