Winter Reading & Writing About Winter Reading.

I can’t quite believe how my psyche betrayed me today, my friends. Yesterday I was excited to write a post about my winter reading. This morning I was excited to write about my winter reading. And when I sat down to write, I couldn’t muster anything beyond a faint … “Meh.” And a sigh.

“What’s the matter now?” Hubby asked with a hint of impatience. As if he were not himself moody and easily irritated by everything and nothing much just the other day when I was bouncing off the ceiling with good spirits. “It’s my back,” I explained. “And it’s COVID. It’s COVID and isolation,” I ventured. “And it’s the weather. And I’m sick of being cold. It’s my hair. And I’m getting fat. I need something new to wear. And I can’t stand any more political news.” I sighed, “But most of all it’s winter. And COVID.”

All of which is code for… it’s everything and nothing much… it’s me.

But I told myself I would write a book post. About what I’ve been reading this winter. And so I made a start. I just started writing. About reading.

Some of my winter reading. Books by Ali Smith, Jim Kelly, Kate Moses, and Hilary Mantel.
Currently reading and hoping to read soon pile.

This winter I am uncharacteristically struggling with reading. I think I mentioned that in my last book post. And a while ago I was convinced I had found the answer to my literary mood swings. I decided that I will read exactly and only what I want. Not the books I’m supposed to be reading, not books I’ve told someone I’d read, unless I still feel like reading them. And not books that are “good for me” or will “stretch me” unless I feel like being stretched. Which of course, sometimes I do.

I am doing what a very insightful woman once said in a Slightly Foxed podcast. I am following a thread of interest, wherever that may take me. And this past week I have been reading two books. And I’ve found that, despite my recent struggles, I can enjoy two books at one time, if they are very, very different. This strategy may save my winter reading from deteriorating into winter scrolling.

First, I’ve been reading the beautiful, meditative, poetic Autumn by Ali Smith. It’s a book about art and history and relationships and time, in a way. The main relationship is the friendship between Daniel, an elderly man, and Elisabeth, who lived next door to Daniel when she was a child. The book jumps back and forth in time, the present being when Elisabeth is a grown woman visiting the very elderly, and seemingly dying, Daniel in a care home. The fragmented narrative moves through Elisabeth’s life and through Daniel’s, touching on some of the definitive events of their respective times: the Brexit vote and the ensuing turmoil, the Profumo scandal and Christine Keeler, and through their shared experiences, and an exploration of art as it affected Daniel and Elisabeth, in particular the work of 60’s pop artist Pauline Boty.

Autumn is not a book I wanted to rush through. Otherwise I’d have missed the beauty of Ali Smith’s language and her wordplay. It’s a book that makes one stop and think, and muse, and grow slightly meditative. Several afternoons, I’ve put my book down and sat sipping my tea and just staring out at the snow on the river. And it’s the kind of book that sends me down other reading rabbit holes. I’ve been consuming articles and images about the Profumo scandal and Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies et al. And also articles about the artist Pauline Boty, and her work. So it’s good that Smith’s narrative is fragmented, and non-linear, and thus not diminished by stopping and starting one’s reading.

The other book I’m reading is the Jim Kelly mystery The Mathematical Bridge. It’s very, very different from Ali Smith’s book. Of course, since it’s a murder mystery, plot is king. So I am totally caught up in the story. But Kelly is a fine writer, and he depicts time and place and character skillfully. The Mathematical Bridge is set in Cambridge in the U.K. at the onset of WWII. The Cambridge we see most in Kelly’s novel is a nighttime Cambridge, cloaked in darkness. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke is a WWI veteran, who suffered injury to his eyes while in captivity. So he feels most at home now at night, in the darkness that doesn’t hurt his damaged eyes. Kelly’s depiction of the moonlit cobbled streets and alleys, the darkly churning river, and the ancient buildings is wonderful. As are the characters Eden regularly encounters on his rounds.

This is the second book in Kelly’s Nighthawk series featuring Inspector Eden. Hubby and I have enjoyed them both. I just ordered the third book, The Night Raids, for my Kindle. Jim Kelly is one of our favourite mystery writers. Like P.D. James and Peter May, he writes a great mystery, but he’s also a great writer. Period. I’ve written about Kelly’s other series here, if you’re interested.

In other reading news. Hubby and I both finished the fifth and last book in Thomas King’s delightful Thumps DreadfulWater series. I had put off reading Obsidian because I didn’t want the series to end. We both loved all the books. They are quirky, filled with wonderful characters, and go a long way to restoring one’s damaged faith in human kind. And the mystery is interesting as well. I waxed lyrical about Thomas King’s DreadfulWater series last summer; you can read that post here, if you want.

I’ve been listening to, and loving, the audible version of Jane Casey’s Cruel Acts this week. Hubby and I both like the Jane Casey books. In fact, even though it’s almost suppertime, Hubby is currently in the bedroom with his nose stuck in The Cutting Place by Jane Casey. I guess it’s not just me with my nose stuck in a book when I’m supposed to be doing something else. Ha. I must remember to tell Mum that.

On my cold winter walk. Snowy fields  and blue sky.
The “Tracks of my Tears” walk.

I have had no trouble at all listening to books this winter. When I’m cleaning, they distract me from the fact that I hate cleaning. They keep me contented on my exercise bike, and on my solitary walks.

I took the shot above on my walk yesterday while I listened to my Jane Casey book on my phone. I almost turned around twice it was so cold. Tears ran down my face from the wind, even though I had my hat pulled down to my eyebrows, my neck warmer pulled up over my face and nose, and my sunglasses on top. I hummed the song “The Tracks of my Tears” under my breath. But, once I’d turned, and had the wind at my back and the sun on my face, it was wonderful. A perfect crisp winter day. I pulled my neck warmer down and even eventually took off my gloves.

You know, winter can be excruciating and spectacular. And exasperating because, like yesterday, it’s often one extreme followed closely by the other. And so much easier to navigate when one is listening to a good book.

Ali Smith's Winter, part of my winter reading.
My next literary read.

Ali Smith’s Winter is my next literary read. I’m hoping that I will love it as much as I did Autumn.

I’m intending to pair it with Peter James’ Find Them Dead, the latest in his Superintendent Roy Grace series, set in Brighton. Or perhaps I’ll combine Smith’s Winter with the latest Jane Harper novel The Survivors. Hubby and I are big fans of Australian writer Jane Harper. This latest book is set in Tasmania. Hubby and I spent a wonderful week in Tasmania on our first big adventure back in the winter of 2003, so I may feel duty bound to read Harper’s book before the Peter James. So two very, very different books, meditative musing, combined with murder. I hope that strategy works for me again.

I’m also hoping to get to Hilary Mantel’s book The Mirror and the Light before the snow goes. I waited for it for so long after having adored her two earlier books in the Wolf Hall trilogy. When it came out, I purchased it right away, and saved it for winter by-the-fire reading, and now I don’t want to start it until I am in a better mood. I ordered the memoir Cakewalk by Kate Moses, shown in my book pile at the beginning of this post, because I saw that she had written about Sylvia Plath, and I liked the sound of her memoir, about growing up in the sixties and seventies, about sugar and kitchens, and what sounds like chaotic family life. I’ll let you know how I get on with that one.

I’m hoping that with the books I’ve lined up I’ll be able to keep the reading momentum going after a pretty successful week of reading. A whole week of not tossing a single book aside in a fit of pique or boredom or whatever it is that makes me stop wanting to read a book.

This morning after Hubby and I had discussed my slow start writing about winter reading, all my sighing and getting up to make more tea. And after I “explained” to him what was the matter, he retreated to the basement to wax his skis.

Later he came into the den and asked cheerfully, “How’s it going? What are you writing about?”

“Well,” I replied, “I’m supposed to be writing about my winter reading. But I’m afraid I am writing about not being able to write about reading instead of writing about reading.”

He looked as if he was sorry he’d asked. Ha.

Snow covered skier.
Snowy ski day.

So that’s more or less it for my winter reading. At least so far. Lots of winter left though.

Which is why I think we all need a night off. A pub night with just us girls, all layered up in our winter finery. You’re all invited, of course. Just like with our fantasy backyard book party last summer, or our afternoon tea party, or our weekend in Paris, we’ll be imagining COVID and masks and social distancing gone. At least for 24 hours. So send me a shot of you in your party outfit. The dress code is casual, winter layers, smart enough to make you feel good, and warm enough for an evening in a lovely heritage building that may be a bit drafty. Send the photos to me here by Sunday, February 14. Don’t be shy. We’re all longing to put a face to the names we see in the comments.

P.S. If you are fairly new to my blog and want to read more book posts, you can click on “books” in “categories” and access all the book posts in reverse chronological order.

P.P.S. The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a small commission.


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From the archives


Where Books Live

I'm reading about libraries this week. A wonderful book about those wonderful places where books live. And reminiscing about my own library memories.

Planning for Travel: Here We Go Again.

We're planning for travel this winter. Not actually travelling, but reading and researching and dreaming of our next big trip.

Childless By Choice or By Chance

  At my book club a week or so ago, we discussed the use of the term “childless.” I say “we” but, actually, I started the discussion. Someone used the term innocently, in a comment, and I admit I ranted a little. I hate that word. And the slightly condescending implications it packs. Not that my friend was being condescending. Not at all. Still… use of that particular term to describe a couple who do not have children always rankles.  Hubby and I do not have children, a fact I’m sure you’ve surmised if you’ve read my blog before. I don’t ...

54 thoughts on “Winter Reading & Writing About Winter Reading.”

  1. I should certainly enjoy a session in a pub. With a roaring fire. I love the idea of following a thread, it takes all pressure off. Like you, I have become adept at telling myself all the positive things but there are some days (yesterday was one) when it was easy to fall into a rabbit hole of dull negativity. Winter, Covid. Restriction. I think we have to ride it out, boring and frustrating as it is until spirits rise again, as they always do. Just as I was feeling like I wanted to punch the entire world, I caught Hilary Mantel on a fab radio programme we have here called Word of Mouth, all about language. Listening to her talking about writing and then hearing excerpts from The Mirror and The Light turned me around in short order. I do hope you enjoy reading it; it took me months because I began it as the pandemic took hold and it was too much for me to give it the attention it deserves. And then I loved every single word.

    1. Oh I wish I had heard that interview. Sometimes when I listen to Canadian public radio I comment to Stu that I can’t believe we’re so lucky to have the CBC. And free podcasts like Slightly Foxed, and all the people who are putting intelligent and free content out into the world.

  2. I can’t do with any angst right now , the world is worrying enough without disturbing books . I’m interested in Ali Smith & can well remember the Profumo scandal . What strikes me now is how young they were & how vulnerable to those older , powerful men especially Christine Keeler who seemed fragile somehow .
    I’m really enjoying the. Nighthawk series too perhaps as I have a fascination with that era , just before I was born , my parents era . I’ve recently tried a new author , to me , Chris Nickson who writes historical murder mysteries set in Leeds . The Hangman’s Psalm is the first in his series beginning in the 1820s . I know Leeds pretty well , one of my sisters lives there , we have ancestors who lived there & it’s interesting to read about streets I know , albeit two hundred years ago . He writes well too – historical but not hysterical . Some historical fiction is grim .
    I’ll look out for Cakewalk as I’m a fan of good memoirs . I’m currently reading This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear . I’ve read one or two of her murder mysteries but this tells us about her family especially her parents & their life in the 1940s – that era again .
    We’re watching more TV in these times too . Loved the French Lupin series & the White Tiger film . Better go see what outfit I can put together for the pub .

    1. I am going to look for Chris Nickson’s books. Our library has let us down in a few instances in not having a tremendously great collection of British mystery authors, aside from the really well known ones. But I mustn’t grumble they provide us with an invaluable service. I do on occasion recommend that they buy certain writers.

  3. It may not be what you planned it would be … but this is still an excellent and inspiring post Sue.
    Wonderful descriptions of so many books that transport to different settings and times. Encouraging research into people and places. Your enthusiasm for these books is shining out even though you may not be getting the feeling yourself .
    “Meh” describes how I feel on many days too, I’m starting to wonder if in some ways it’s “too much of a good thing” (as odd as that sounds ) … if a “good thing” is relaxing and reading, or watching a favourite film. Been there, done that … over and over , for almost a year now. Inter dispersed with cooking, walking, cleaning etc.
    Desperate for something new, exciting and exhilarating! Seeing family, friends, meeting new people with interesting stories to tell, … chatting, hugging.
    All the while feeling guilty for feeling this way when we have so, so much to be grateful for.
    As I write this it’s started to snow … tiny pieces of fluffy cotton against a bright blue sky. The sun’s shining, it’s so beautiful! Normally I’d be outside, feeling the snow on my face and the complete happiness that I usually feel walking in snow … today I’m just watching…
    On a different note, thank you again for continuing to post regularly and encouraging wonderful conversations here. Yours and the small number of other blogs that I read, by bloggers, that I think of as friends, really have been a ray of sunshine during the last few months. Leaving me each time with the feeling of having met and chatted with friends!
    See you at the pub!!
    Rosie xxx

    1. Thanks, Rosie. I would love to be able to amble around Stratford with you and then go for dinner at that pub you recommended to Elizabeth and me. I can’t remember its name. So old and wonderful!

      1. That would be lovely Sue… with no time or Covid constraints. Maybe one day! 😊
        If it’s the one you went to, I think it was Lambs or maybe The Garrick. I just hope places manage to re open after being closed for so long. xx

          1. I think it was Lambs then … I remember you eating there and saying how good it was. Plus, the old building with the beams etc is gorgeous. xxx

  4. When I start a good mystery book (especially series) ,or any really good book- I get lost,it is an escapism,therapy for me….
    So,there are so many books waiting. Lucky me,I’ve just started reading Peter Lovesey and Tana French. I’ve read Faithful Place some ten years ago in a translation and didn’t like it (translation can really make it or breake it)-both you and Frances were very enthusiastic about her and I’ve started from In the Woods-I love her very,very much
    I’ll try Peter James as well
    Major Colin Burgess,an Equerry of late Queen Mother (“…who was a devoted drinker…it was just that she loves social drinking and,of course,her life was very social!”- What’s here not to like?)wrote Behind Palace Door
    I’m not so sure what will be my next literary read
    I agree with Annie,just start with The Mirror… and after a few pages you’ll be totally immersed

    1. Tana French is one of my favourites. I will take up The Mirror and the Light soon. Maybe during the next snowstorm. Love starting a book when it’s storming outside.

  5. Thank you for writing about books again. I have picked up quite a few titles from you and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Was about to give up on you and your battles with feeling sorry for yourself and your clothing woes. You aren’t going anywhere right now so who cares about needing new clothes! You’re alive and you’re healthy. Thank God!

    1. Hm. Not sure how to reply, Judy. I am alive and healthy. And I am grateful for that. But as for feeling sorry for myself… in the posts where I have moaned a bit, or a lot even, I assumed I was articulating feelings, often transient ones, that most of us are experiencing. But it sounds as if you don’t feel that way.

  6. Your thoughts on this winter/COVID really hit home for me. I’m alternating between feeling grumpy about missing out on travel and time with friends then feeling ashamed of my bad moods when others have it so much harder during this time. I’ve just started my annual 3 week break from studio work (as it’s too cold to work in there this time of year), looking forward to having some time for reading, knitting and cross country skiing. I took a break from “should reads” and totally enjoyed “The Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell now I’m back to this month’s book club selection “The Certainties”, by Aislinn Hunter.

  7. Like you, I bought The Mirror and The Light early on after loving the first two books of the trilogy, but have yet to dig into it. Same with Obama’s book. Good to see encouragement from Annie and Dottoressa to get back to Mantel’s. We’ll see. Just got ‘Eleanor’ by David Michaelis in audio book form from the library. New biography on Eleanor Roosevelt. I’ve read many books about the Roosevelt family, so looking forward to this one. Have several other new reads coming up on hold at the library–Winspear’s new book, The Consequences of Fear is due out March 22nd. Will see if my interest holds in some of the others by the time I finally get access to them.

    1. I’ve been putting books on hold at the library too, often on very long list. Lately I’ve found that I can get some of them on Audible so I’ve been listening to them instead. Like Tana French’s book The Searcher. It was really long and really well read by the narrator… what a joy!

  8. Thank you for your post and the book recommendation, I have noted several to be added to my long list of books to read. While I am a fast reader, I can easily finish a book in a day, I always have a long list waiting to be read as I am subscribed to Scribd and there are always books to tempt. When I see or hear of an interesting book I first check to see if it is available on Scribd (for someone who reads a lot it is well worth the cost) before I buy it elsewhere. An exception to my fast reads is “Wintering, the Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May which I am reading on my Kindle. It is a wonderfully written, informative book and I am rationing myself to one or two chapters per day in order to prolong its enjoyment – I highly recommend it. You can get a free Kindle sample and there are several interviews with the author on the internet, she also has an interesting Podcast series.

    1. I am waiting in line to get that Katherine May book from the library. Good to know what others think of it. In the meantime I must check out her podcast. Thanks for that, Carla.

  9. Thanks for introducing me to some new mystery writers, one of my favorite kind of reads. Also love memoirs. Read Cakewalk
    long âge and reread it recently and loved it more. Highly recommend.
    As a new follower I Look forward to more book posts.

    1. That’s good to know, Judy. I’m excited to read it now. I usually do a book post a month, sometimes more frequently. But you can read old posts as well… if you want. There are quite a few stretching back to 2014.

  10. Thank you for some new book recommendations. My husband and I both enjoyed the Peter Grainger books…..husband finished before me and is back to rereading his old favorites…..Louis Lamour! I’ll check out Thomas King and Jim Kelly. We both got our first COVID shot yesterday at the drive through location in Wenatchee, WA. It was very organized and the second shot is scheduled for the same location, same time in three weeks. We went out to lunch while we were in the “big city”…. fun day! After we get the second shot, we are inviting our eldest daughter and her family to travel over the mountain and stay for her birthday weekend in March. We have only entertained outdoors, so this will be a big deal and so looking forward to seeing these three grandkids again.

  11. Always love your posts Sue. I got some great ideas for books add to my every growing list. Looking forward to your Pub gathering. My husband got his first vaccination at the VA and goes for his second on Saturday. I am still waiting, but they are setting up clinics for my age soon. I have been feeling rather down (we are in a cold spell here in the Midwest), but know it will subside. Your posts help! ❤️

    1. It is definitely a waiting game for the vaccine. We will be waiting until the late summer as far as I can tell. Don’t forget to send me a picture of you in your winter layers. I’m getting a few in but not as many as I hoped.

  12. I really enjoyed reading this, Sue. Thank you for putting it all together and for sharing. No one would guess you had a momentary struggle with writer’s block just prior to writing this! I understand how you are feeling: it is frustrating to be dealing with the pandemic, then you feel bad because so many other people have it worse. It doesn’t mean you are ungrateful or complaining. It is still okay to talk about how you feel and please be assured that many of us out here are with you in that regard. In the meanwhile, if you want a new outfit and it will make you feel better, then get it! Please don’t let negative comments get you down. Keep being you!

  13. Well, first off, I think your feelings experssed for us all to understand is what a blog is all about. The fact I adore the diversion of clothes and skin care and makeup does not mean I am less of a person. I love books and reading takes me to places I will never get to in real life, and that is OK too. Perhaps Judy should read the book The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant to understand the absolute importance of clothes and makeup in the war times and even in the concentration camps to make a woman still feel a bit more human. Such a fascinating book. I am lately also a bit too distracted to get into anything heavy, so just finished A Witch In Time by Constance Sayers and also The Saffton Gate by Linda Holeman. Pure escapism. With your wonderful personal touch to all subjects, I will follow your words anywhere. Thanks for being here.

  14. I will not bore you with “brain science” but think of it this way…..we are all on House Arrest and our brains are on hyper alert because there is an unseen danger “out there”….and we are tired of being on hyper alert and not being allowed out. Those feelings of “can’t settle”, “can’t concentrate”, vague grumpy, etc. are all to be expected given the circumstances. Sounds like everyone here is doing the best they can under the circumstances so please be kind with yourselves…..we will get through this. I love reading this Blog because it feels like talking to a friend about how she is feeling and that is as social as I can get right now… distance supplied courtesy of the Internet 🙂

  15. Thank you for today’s blog. Thank you to all your readers for their comments. All very helpful and insightful in these trying times. Two things…ordered three Jim Kelly Cambridge ww2 books for my Nook…always wonderful to have something new to read and look forward to. Second, English was not my maternal Grandmother ‘s first language, but she always said “Every day you get up, you fix yourself, everyday.” And so everyday, even during covid, hair, makeup, clean clothes, comfy, but not pj’s. We’ve got to keep going…we will get through this. See everyone at the pub.

    1. I like the sound of your grandmother and echo her sentiments. Just put in my earrings and added more moisturiser against the cold, dry air outside.

    2. I love that quote from your grandmother in so many ways, Heather. For what she is intending to say and for what it conveys that she didn’t intend. Every day we get up and fix ourselves… in whatever ways we need to.

  16. I am relieved to read I am not the only one who has struggled with reading these past few months. Like many of your followers I am an avid reader but could not get into anything of real depth for months. I have The Mirror and The Light and was so looking forward to reading it but gave up about a third of the way in September. I have started it again and am also interested in several of your other book suggestions. Thank you, Sue, for sharing your feelings, you have helped more than you will ever know.

  17. Thank you for such an honest post. If you haven’t read it yet, I so enjoyed DE Stevenson’s Winter and Rough Magic. I love the gentle(your description and perfect) reads you share with us. As the title suggests, this is a good one to read during winter and also when feeling isolated. I also recently read The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Has your Mum received her vaccination yet? Might it be possible to plan a spring/summer trip? I know many who have found ways to travel safely when necessary. It would definitely be something to look forward to. All the best…

    1. I’ve read two of the Miss Buncle books… so thanks you so much for that recommendation, Jill. Just what I need this winter! My mum has not had her shot yet. I am very anxious for her to get it. And we won’t get ours until the late summer. So maybe I’m be able to go down in the fall. Fingers are crossed.

  18. Dear Sue,
    thank you for your thinking and writing about your life in this strange times. I researched and find out that some of the books you wrote about are also in german translation. I will start with Thomas King “Dunkle Wolken über Alberta” (dark clouds over Alberta). Looking forward to a nice reading adventure.
    In this Covid times we all have similar feelings. Sitting in the homeoffice one over the other day, longing to see friends and family again… oh’ life is boring this days. But we are patient and grateful, yes we are! Your blog, your writing… you make a very good job, I love it!
    Today is a very, very cold day (for Cologne conditions) with – 9° Celsius in the morning. Brrrr! Spring feelings for you 😉
    Sending hugs,

  19. I really enjoy your book posts. I am always looking for the next good book. I think that I have learned more about mystery series from your postings than from any other source. I now have read two Louise Penny books and really enjoy her group of characters. I am starting to read the book by Carly Simon about her friendship with Jackie Kennedy. I know that sounds light and it is, but I have always been interested in Jackie and Carly is a good writer, so it doesn’t feel like fluff, and it is a view into a whole different world of Martha’s Vineyard and NY. That offsets reading the book about Truman. I agree two books at once is manageable if completely different.

    Do you recall a memoir written by a woman who was an assistant to someone important–like maybe British royalty? She is an older person–not someone helping Lady Di. I know that is a shot in the dark, but throwing it out there just in case. I feel like once of your readers mentioned it. It’s one I would like to get. Feel blessed that you at least have a view over a snow covered river. Sounds like heaven compared to gray skies in the midwest of America.

    1. I think you might be talking about Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner. Someone recommended it on the blog and then I read it and also wrote a post about it. I really loved it.

      1. Thank you so much! Writing it down right away so I don’t forget it. Glad to hear you liked it.

  20. It was thanks to one of your “about reading” posts that I discovered Jane Casey, and I just this morning finished the most recent book, so thank you for that, I enjoyed them tremendously. Actually I still have one coming from the library (thank goodness for curbside pickup!) so that is a thing to look forward to, and badly needed at the moment; I’ve really about had it with the isolation and the tiresome weather and the frustration of trying to get signed up for a vaccination (I suspect that final irritant is even worse where you are, although perhaps you can trust your system to actually efficiently administer a vaccination program once the shots become available? Ours not so much, although one hopes for improvement!).

    ANYWAY thank you for Jane Casey! I hope she is hard at work producing the next in the series!


    1. You are so welcome, Ceci. I am glad you like the Jane Casey books. Hubby and i have been reading them for a while, and I in particular love listening to them. The narrator does the character of Josh so darned well.

  21. I enjoyed your post very much, Susie-Q!

    “Meh” is what so many of us are feeling these days. And then we all list the things we are grateful for….and then, inevitably, it circles back to “meh.”

    I am back to teaching in person again – which is better than the “teaching in the abyss,” which was my experience with remote teaching (“Hellooooooo! Anyone there?! I can’s see you. Or hear you. Is just me and my cat present for class today?”) It’s winter, and I love snow, and the skiing has been fantastic. I get to wear proper shoes and an outfit that people will see at work, and talk to live kids and colleagues. My parents are isolated and safe. I no longer fear COVID for myself; instead, it’s my role to limit social contacts to protect others. I will get a vaccine this year and see my parents again some day.

    And yet….meh. It’s great to take stock of our blessings, but let’s face it: most of the time when we have to take stock of our blessings it’s because something awful has happened to force us to take stock of our blessings. Taking stock sounds like a horrible summer job I once had and blessings reminds me of someone sneezing. We aren’t horrible people for wanting something more exciting in our lives: after a year of recognizing the blessings you kind of want to say, “OK blessings, I’m tired of you… what shall I think of next?” And then there’s the problem: what else is there to think about? Every conversation I have with my kids at school, my husband, my parents, my in-laws, my kids at home inevitably comes back to COVID. And the projected third wave. And so on. It’s just so bloody tiring.

    So, in light of Judy’s claim “You aren’t going anywhere right now so who cares about needing new clothes!”, I assume she’s trying to be kind, but in my opinion, if one doesn’t care about what one wears, because one isn’t going anywhere, that’s really – sorry Judy! – not all that helpful, because it just reinforces how we are all waiting. And waiting. And waiting. For life to return to normal…or at least better. And because many of us have now been through several lock-downs, we are growing more weary, and wondering if our waiting is for something better or for something worse.

    So Sue and others, I certainly don’t mind your emoting about being tired and frustrated and bored. I think anyone living in a deep freeze gets a special license to complain a bit every day, because -30, and days without any sun, are difficult for those in northern climates. I welcome chat about clothes, because it sure as heck is better than COVID talk. And while outfits might not be for actual outings now, we’ll be back to visiting with people again some day! Hang in there, everyone!

    1. Ah, thanks for that my friend. I hope your own kids are handling things okay and Andy too. Now… about outfits. How about taking a photo for our pub night get together. I know you have some fashionable winter layers. And I’m sure that Danica will love to take Mummy’s photo. And if not… there are always bribes. 🙂

  22. Hi Sue- Thank you for sharing the recommendations and providing a means for us all to connect. I’m having a difficult time concentrating when attempting to read any book these days! As a life-long lover of book reading, it is disconcerting, but realize it is an unexpected side effect of COVID isolation. What I am enjoying is watching authors talk about their works online or on TV and noting your recommendations for future reading.

    Hope you are able to brush off the negative remark from the other follower above about your shares on fashion and feelings. The rest of us appreciate your humanity! Please don’t let her unkind criticism squelch your desire to share.

  23. I have had the worst time reading books these days. I find that the politics here in the US are driving me nuts. So I need a big distraction like TIKTOK. I’m reading an interesting book but not devouring it like I used to. I have gotten pretty good at washing floors and even some windows. Do you think that if I listened to books it would go easier? Would it get me exercising also? I’m so impressed with your dedication to exercise. I’m a total wimp. I need something to get me out the door or onto the treadmill. Maybe it’s listening to books. I’m going to try some of your book recommendations. I need something frothy but sturdy underpinnings. Anything but USA politics. This is just to say I always enjoy your book recommendations. You’ve given me many hours of joy!!! Sp which one of your recommendations should I start with? I’m putting the burden on you, teacher.

    1. I think you would find that audio books are great for getting you out walking. I never walk without them. And often prefer to walk by myself so I can catch up on my book. Ha. Have you read the Peter May “Lewis trilogy”? If not they are really, really good mysteries, well written and very well narrated. I started the series by listening to The Blackhouse. Also I listen to the Jane Casey books which I mention in the post. They are all really well written and the narration is so absorbing. It’s amazing how much the narrator makes a difference. Let me know how you get on, Sandra. xo

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