Summer is in full swing. (In full leap?) So we have been soaking it up.
Below are a few pictures from a photo shoot at the lovely Birchwood Motel in Camden, owned by dear friends of ours. They offer sweet, clean rooms, perfectly located for all of your midcoast excursions. Plus they are green: as in solar panels, permaculture gardens, and clothesline-dried sheets (swoon). That lavender is from a hedge behind the motel that makes you think you might have been teleported to Provence. (Um, the funky peeling paint photo is NOT part of the motel, it’s just a cool old piece that caught my eye on our friends’ private patio!)
People have been asking me to write more about what I am reading here. So I will, and thank you for asking, but I want to also direct your attention to that sidebar thing at the right of the page that says Goodreads and it has all these book covers. I use Goodreads to keep track of what I read. So the books that appear in the sidebar are books I have finished reading in order of most recent to least recent. In case you want a visual.
~a foot tattoo? maybe.~
I’ve been reading some adult books this summer, cleansing my palette a little bit and also catching up on some favorite series books that I missed during the school year. Donna Leon’s latest (The Golden Egg) took me to Venice to visit Commissario Brunetti, who I love a lot (but Inspector Gamache still has my heart). I love the atmosphere of the Brunetti series and it was a nice visit with a bit of an intense conclusion.
I was not so enthralled with Alexander McCall Smith’s stand-alone novel Trains and Lovers. I wanted to really like it. But it didn’t feel fully realized and I felt dumped off at the end. Which I suppose could have been purposeful, since the book is about four travelers who meet and chat on a train from Edinburgh to London, and the nature of train travel is that it just ends. Sometimes abruptly. But now I’ve just picked up his latest Botswana mystery, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, which is already comforting and enjoyable as usual. The first chapter is called “On a Hot Day We Dream of Tea,” which pretty much sums up my feeling today.
~well. we dream of a swim, too.~
But the big, meaty book I just finished was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Fascinating book about parallel versions of a life, or maybe not parallel but threads. I loved the mechanics of this book: there are moments when the mechanic feels predictable and then the predictability unravels, just when you might have been getting used to it. The reader learns about Ursula’s life through chapters that weave in and out of time, ending abruptly when she dies at various points in her life and narrative, but then the next chapter offers an alternative version of how it might have happened differently. I feel like I missed some nuances in my first reading, so I am glad I purchased it and can go back and re-read it. The setting is England from about 1910-1960. There were some very horrifying and realistic moments during the Blitz in London. It was an excellent read.
I just finished the audio version of The Diviners by Libba Bray, a fantastic listen. Again, it was a definitely historical fiction with an interesting twist of supernatural—set in the roaring Prohibition Era in NYC. What fun to encounter flappers and slang and so many many excellent historical references in this Young Adult novel. The reader was able to produce so many convincing voices. I look forward to the next in the series.
And now I have just begun listening to the YA audiobook Countdown by Deborah Wiles…more historical fiction, but this time just straight up, no twist. It’s set in the 1960s in America and I wonder how this would “read” since the audio is so artfully enhanced with these snippets of real radio broadcasts and quotes (the author describes it as a “documentary novel”), in very convincing voices that really sound like the radio of the 60s. These snippets are interspersed with the narrative of Frannie, who is dealing with all of the usual issues of school and family and friendships against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis and other unsettling politics of the time.
Up next: what I’ve been knitting this summer.