Oh, yes, please! I don't see a U.S. publication date but it looks like it will be out in the UK in April. I shan't wait.
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For me, this was unquestionably a strange year for reading, for reasons beyond the pandemic, but I loved these five books (listed in the order that they were read) and greatly enjoyed many others ... and because this year was sort of a missed opportunity, I'm especially looking forward to all the reading I'll do next year. :)
Thank you for visiting this year, and for sharing books with me here and in other places ... and I hope you have a safe and especially happy new year.
This is what I love about experiencing the world at walking pace: the small but significant luxury of having the time and headspace to notice details that make me feel part of my surroundings, a sense of belonging rather than passing through.
My Christmas spirit definitely needs some boosting this year, but I'm getting there -- with the snow, and some extra time off before Christmas to bake cookies, and most of all, with the early gift of very easy and brilliantly successful surgery to fix a vision impairment that emerged earlier this fall. I can read again!!
And with lovely bookish friends. I've already started a Christmas mystery by a favorite author (thanks to Frances!), and that started me thinking about looking for more Christmas books. And that started me wondering about an Anthony Trollope Christmas book of some kind that I vaguely remembered from a few years ago, when I first went Trolloping with JoAnn. And there it was, on my bookshelf. It was either there and forgotten all along, or there was an elf. I know which one I'm going to believe in. 🎄
There is something almost outlandishly generous about the act of offering away the best of something — we humans are so innately selfish — rather than keeping it for yourself. And it was always like that with her: whoever has the good fortune of sitting at her side at a meal will be offered something from her plate — but only if it’s so delectable that it cannot be missed. She would allow herself only a piece of the second best peach, the subpar pear, the plum that needed another day, so that her company might taste the very best fruit. It was like that with everything, really: the perfect morsel of lobster claw that slid from its pincer shell. Anything that took effort, that might be messy but whose taste was a reward — she would do the dirty work and turning to me, give it away. … These were delights harvested or prepared especially for me. There was a knowingness in it, though, as if she were saying, ‘I’ve been here before. I’ve sipped the ambrosia. It’s tour turn now.’ I do wonder whether this is typical of motherhood or of the love that attends that role. I can’t yet venture an opinion, but I suspect the impulse is more driving in my mom’s case than in most.
Edith Wharton set aside the manuscript of A Son at the Front next to that of The Glimpses of the Moon, and after an interval came up with the scenario of still another novel. It bore the working title 'Old New York' and the scene was laid in 1875. The two main characters, Langdon Archer and Clementine Olenska, are both unhappily married. Falling in love, they 'go off secretly,' Edith explained, 'and meet in Florida where they spend a few mad weeks' before Langdon returns to his pretty, conventional wife in New York, and Clementine to an existence, separated from her brutish husband, in Paris.
To come to the Opera in a Brown coupe was almost as honourable a way of arriving as in one's own carriage, and departing by the same means had the immense advantage of enabling one ... to scramble into the first Brown conveyance in the line, instead of waiting till the cold-and-gin congested nose of one's own coachman gleamed under the portico of the Academy. It was one of the livery-stableman's most masterly intuitions that Americans want to get away from amusement even more quickly than they want to get to it.
She's neither bitter nor boisterous about her people; instead, she has irony, tenderness, clear vision, and most of all, a gorgeous sense of their absurdity, which is never really exaggerated into more than life-size. ,,, She does not have to distort or magnify what they're like; she just recognizes them, delights in them herself, and then creates them for our benefit...So there they are, her characters, concentrated for our benefit into a small circle of time and space, deliciously giving themselves away not only in action but by the smallest working of their motives and preoccupations; absolutely unaware, of course, that anyone is catching them out in it. It's mo crime to be a lover of Jane Austen; but if you aren't, you can't understand why we find her so restful, because you're much too inclined to translate 'restful' into 'soporific'; if we just wanted an author who would send us nicely to sleep , we should not go to Jane Austen; she's restful from exactly the opposite reason: we're alert all the time when we're reading and re-reading and re-re-reading Jane, otherwise we might miss something, some tiny exquisite detail, an almost imperceptible movement in the mind of one of her characters. ... the air of Bath is relaxing, but the air of Jane Austen isn't; she's pungent, she's bracing, you're breathing good air while you read Jane, and so you feel well.
I realized last night that I actually have to return this book to the college library in ten days, and wouldn't be able to take it out again for a while. I hope all our little problems are this nice. )