Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Reading

When not rushing around taking photos, writing, walking the dog,  gardening in a very confined space and, occasionally, cooking, you will find me with my nose stuck in a book. It was ever thus. I think I like books better than real life...they take most of the really boring bits out except poor Tess laboring in the fields in the opening of Hardy's novel and, of course, the even more wretched Ivan Denisovich...
One reads to explore other worlds, other lives.
However, a super book rather close to home - though written almost a century ago - is

The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher in which a woman is perfectly miserable at home - though a meticulous housekeeper - and manages to make her family perfectly miserable too and then...well...things change.
I hate knowing all about a book's themes before I begin it.  (I'd read the preface afterwards!) This book should have felt a bit schematic and predictable but the author breathes such life into her characters that one really wants good things for them.
I read it in two days.
I also recently loved Margarita Laski's Little Boy Lost - a most moving but brisk and uncloying account of a father's search for his son in post-World War II France. It was originally published in 1949 and captures the gloom and poverty of Europe immediately after the war. 

My third recommendation is not a novel but a family history, A World Elsewhere,  is beautifully written and utterly gripping. In brief, Sigrid's mother, a young American abroad in Europe in the twenties of the last century, meets and marries a most charming, handsome, romantic - and impoverished - aristocrat. This all sounds wonderful - but this idyll turns into a nightmare when Germany goes to war.

So, happy reading in these long dark evenings!


  1. The last book sounds especially interesting. I have just started All The Light We Cannot See.
    Woofs to Buster

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Having one's nose in a book is such a sublime way to experience the world. "The Home-Maker" sounds like the kind of book I'd enjoy, too. We'll see about that! Have you read "Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson which I discovered thanks to Michael Dirda's recommendation. Robinson would not write another novel until decades after this first one.

  3. Sorry, the preview button would have been the right one!

  4. I shall look out for that Marghanita Laski book Elizabeth - I used to admire her so - and love her writing.

  5. Elizabeth, to have the benefits of electric light in these darkest December dates is a treat. Thank you for the book recommendations.


  6. Oh look, all my friends are here already! Thanks for the recommendations Elizabeth. I hope you enjoy the festivities and find some lovely books in your stocking. x

  7. Thanks Elizabeth, I'll give the Home maker a look over.
    Christmas greetings for a white one.
    Just plain old hot and humid here.

  8. Thanks for the recommendations!


I look forward to hearing from you!