We’re in the depths of winter here in eastern Ontario, my friends. As I guess many of you are. Winter can be a difficult season in the north. And Hubby and I find we need several crucial things to help us survive. Or at least to stay healthy and happy. Snow for skiing, of course. Good food and wine. Great books. And a big crackling fire in the evening. Because after the skiing and the eating, comes the reading by the fire.

I’d happily hunker down in this cabin for the winter. source

We haven’t had quite enough snow yet to make the cross-country skiing wonderful. There has been enough to cover the trail near us, so we have been skiing. Hubby many more times than me. He gets restless and cranky if he can’t get outside and ski in the winter. So he has been skiing in all kinds of conditions: sometimes on hard-packed crust, sometimes in wet snow or even slush and ice, and sometimes when there’s just enough of a dusting to barely cover the ground. Me, if the conditions are too bad, I’m quite contented to take my book downstairs and read (or listen to an audio book) while I’m pedaling my exercise bike.

But we have had a fire in our woodstove every evening. And lots of good food. The odd bottle of red wine. And lots and lots of reading by the fire.

Reading by the  fire.
Reading by the fire tonight.

Hubby and I both have been devouring the Sally Spencer Chief Inspector Woodend series. We’ve read most of them now. They are not great literary texts. But the plots do gallop along. And I like the characters. As I’ve said before, Spencer (the pseudonym for British writer Alan Rustage) is no Kate Atkinson (if you haven’t read Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie mysteries you should) or Reginald Hill (the best mystery writer ever, IMO.) Spencer’s books are a bit formulaic, and sometimes I can pick out exact phrases used from one book to the next. But oddly, I still enjoy reading them. I say oddly because it’s often the style of a book that will turn me off of a writer.

Hubby has been continuing his reading of Robert Galbraith’s (aka J.K. Rowling) Cormoran Strike series. And I’ve been listening to the audiobook versions. We both find the books compelling. Hubby finds them a bit long. But I love a good long book that draws me in and keeps me interested. I love the characters of Strike and his assistant/business partner Robin. They are both interesting, endearing, and just flawed enough to be believable. There’s no doubt that Rowling/Galbraith is a wonderful writer. I find, though, that she can be harsh in her depiction of certain sorts of people she obviously doesn’t like. Especially the secondary characters. In particular the idle rich, middle-aged (but trying to be young) women depicted in the first book The Cuckoo’s Calling. As I said to Hubby, she doesn’t pull her punches. Still, we are both enjoying the books. I’m listening to The Silkworm now.

I also listened to the most recent in the Joy Ellis, Nikki Galena series, Fear on the Fens. I like Joy Ellis as a writer very much. She has several other series that I’ve written about before.

And a week or so ago, I finished the latest book by Peter Grainger, Missing Pieces. I’ve not read such an engaging character as Grainger’s D.C. Smith in a long time. In the last couple of books though, the D.C. Smith series has moved onto the next generation, so to speak, now that Smith has retired. But I’m finding that I’m still really enjoying the series even after Smith’s exit. Grainger’s books are only available in e-book form. I’m not sure if he is self-published. But if he is, he is certainly a testament to the fact that not all good writers are picked up by traditional publishing houses. If you haven’t read his very competent and satisfying mysteries, give him a try.

Hubby and I have been watching, as well as reading, by the fire this winter. We’ve become addicted to The Repair Shop. I think it was Wendy from York who first mentioned that we might like that show. And when it was finally available on our cable network, we were excited. We’ve been taping the shows and watching one, and sometimes if we feel particularly indulgent, even two a night. It’s so satisfying to watch the craftspeople on that show repair much loved heirlooms.

The other show we’ve been captivated by is called A Stitch in Time. Thankfully a friend alerted me to the fact that all six episodes would be shown on TVOntario in a single night. We taped them and have been rationing them so we don’t finish too soon. The show is all about researching and reconstructing historical clothing, based on famous portraits. The social history as well as the skills used to make these garments is fascinating to me. And Hubby loves it too. Which surprised both of us.

Continuing on our theme of reading about murder and mayhem and watching calm, almost nourishing shows on TV, I discovered a YouTube channel the other night and Hubby and I have been watching it together. In the series, Martijn Doolaard, a Dutch graphic artist and YouTuber, has bought a derelict property in the Dolomite mountains of Italy and is setting about making it habitable. The property consists of two ancient stone buildings and several acres in the mountains. The scenery is stunning, and the pace of the videos is slow and deliberate. In some episodes we see work on the cottages, and in others Doolaard visits the two other inhabitants who live on the mountain. Sometimes we see him just walking. Or admiring the view. I can’t explain why we love this series. We just do. You can check it out for yourself here.

Good books. Crucial ingredient to a happy winter.
Painting by Rosemary Leach source

You know, I’m finding that my book posts are not very inspiring lately. I’m a bit impatient with writing about books. I just want to be reading, and then maybe talking about them. Not in the structured way of a book club where everyone reads the same book and then each person expresses their opinion about the book in turn. No, I’m thinking of a much more free-flowing discussion. Not even an actual discussion. More of an “oh my god you won’t believe the great book I’m reading” kind of thing.

So, I have a dream. A dream inspired by a recent Facebook post I read.

I dream of myself in a cabin in the mountains. See the first picture in this post for an example. I’m accompanied by all my reading friends, real and virtual.

We’ve descended on this cabin for a week. We’ve brought our skis and our skates and our warmest walking gear. There are ski trails and walking trails nearby, and skating on the lake. There is a wonderful restaurant ten minutes walk from the cabin, where we have dinner reservations each evening. Groceries for lunches and breakfasts have been delivered. As well as enough wine to fuel many round the fire after dinner discussions. If we decide to stay in for dinner the restaurant delivers.

We have each packed enough books to keep us happily reading by the fire for seven days.

Seven days of reading. With a bit of walking, skiing, or skating. Good food. Good wine. Crackling fires. And every evening while we sip our wine or coffee round the fire, we’ll talk about what we’ve been reading.

Seriously. That sounds like heaven to me.

So. My book-loving buddies… are you in? What books will you pack?

P.S. The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.

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72 thoughts on “Reading By the Fire”

  1. I love this idea, talking about books is my idea of the best time.
    Living in the Southern Hemisphere, as a dedicated reader I find that I am drawn to “summer reading” when it is hot and “winter reading” when cold (although Canadians might laugh at our version of cold). So I am reading lighter, easier books in January, for instance, detective fiction whereas I would really enjoy Anthony Trollope novels in winter.
    Talking about books is the next best thing to reading them.

    1. I find that I love to talk books, but I’m finding myself less drawn to more formal structured chats like at book clubs. Partly this is down to too much Zoom which does not allow for the easy back and forth like in real life.

    2. Frankly, I’d be found hanging from a tree if I needed to stay for more than two days at your rural location. Toronto is as far north as I wish to endure. In any event, my suggestion for reading – now more than ever – is Life is in the Transitions by Bruce Feiler. Smart. Factual. Relevant.

  2. its summer here in Australia but since we are fantasising anyway I am definitely in. I seem to be behind in my reading lately and am drowning in a sea of great books waiting to be read (no hardship!) top of the list is 1979 by Val Mcdermid, then the latest Daniel Silva and Ian Rankin. I have just started reading a wonderful book by Trent Dalton called Love Stories. he is an australian author and it may not be available in Canada but definitely worth looking for. He put a stall out in the street in sydney and asked people to tell him a love story. not necessarily romantic love. it is beautifully written and I have been hooked from the first page. I loved your picture by the fire.

  3. Will be making my booking for the handy imaginary magic plane that I like to use for these jaunts. I won’t be skiing or skating but I will definitely be walking in the snow. And packing plenty to read, hopefully with the aim of picking up some good swaps. Like you I am reading my way through the dark months and have had three books on the go for a couple of weeks now. Last night I finally finished Bleak House and oh…what a marvel! I would say that the ending is a bit too cloying but the novel itself is astounding, his finest in my opinion. Stanley Tucci is cracking along, David Sedaris is amusing at bed time and now I can start Scoff by Pen Vogler which I gave to Mr G and which he has now finished, with hearty recommendations. As for Repair Shop – wonderful viewing. If you can see Worzel Gummidge on bbc, then give it a go. I managed to not see it last year (no idea why) but have just watched both series, back to back. Joyful. Like Detectorists, both by Mackenzie Crook who needs to be knighted for services to the national wellbeing. Now – I must away. Stay cosy and entertained.

    1. I need to pull myself out of my mystery reading binge and read some of the other books in my TBR pile. I’m ashamed to say I still have not tackled the last Hilary Mantel in her Wolf Hall series. Stu and I loved The Detectorists. For the first fifteen minutes of the first episode we sat silent… thinking what the heck is this? But soon we were drawn in and loved it! I will look for Worzel Gummidge. Sounds like our kind of viewing. Don’t you love how Stanley Tucci has become flavour of the decade? We loved his cooking in Italy. And laughed when every time he tasted something he murmured, “Jesus!”

      1. Dear Sue, Yes, yes, yes, cabin, books, warm fire, walking (for me) in woods, good food and conversation, especially conversation. Sign me up. What to read…the latest Paula Brackston I just picked up. Catch up on The Royal Spyness mysterys by Rhys Bowen (I’m behind), or the last two or three of Daniel Silva (again behind)…or start the Cormoran Strike series, I ordered the first few on my Nook. I am very, very behind in my reading, I truly need the away to the cabin time. Can I be a party poop and ask to not have to cook! I will do cleanup!

          1. I’ll cook; I like en masse catering. As long as someone tops up my glass and drops in to discuss interesting points now and again. Just don’t ask me to load the dishwasher.

  4. I’m hoping that on this virtual trip I will be a competent skier & skater . It is SO out of my comfort zone that I may not survive the week 😁 I love walking but even clambering through that depth of snow looks pretty daunting . You’ll be exhausted pulling me out of snowdrifts . The rest of it sounds wonderful though . Which books ?
    Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
    The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn
    Patchwork by Claire Wilcox
    Dog Days by Andrew Cotter – so looking forward to this
    Death in the Dordogne by Martin Walker
    That’s probably enough , otherwise I shan’t have time to talk to anyone .
    (These are all on my book pile so I can’t vouch for how good they are yet )

    Winter for us is watching some TV & films too . Films we’ve enjoyed recently :
    The Good Liar with Helen Mirren ( the book was good too )
    The Wife with Glenn Close
    The Highwaymen with Kevin Costner
    Monsoon Wedding , Indian with subtitles . An award winner that really brightened up a gloomy evening .
    We’re nearly at the end of The Kominsky Method on Netflix with Michael Douglas & Alan Arkin , very funny .
    There are a few other gentle TV programs we watch . The current favourite is Walking Lost Railways with Rob Bell . Hope you can get that over there .
    We may need a longer stay ?

    1. No snow drifts on the walking trails, Wendy. Never fear. They will be groomed and smooth but not slippery. As perfect as an imaginary walk in the snow can be. We still have not subscribed to Netflix. But I may see if we can get some of those films through the library here. That way we can stock up before we go on our real ski week at the end of the month.

  5. Yay,new book post! And book (ooops! Ski )vacation. I do miss talking about books very much indeed. Next best thing are your and Frances’ book posts and comments. So many recommendations,love them
    I’ve read Missing Pieces as my last book in 2021. (Waiting till the last pages to meet DC Smith…..but ok,love the New Generation too) and Richard Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice as the first one in 2022.(his first one was my first book in 2021,almost serendipity…). It is such a lovely book,book like Love Actually film,funny,interesting,moving,a little bit sad…and it even has Emma Thompson!
    I was watching Handmaid’s Tale,looking for a new series,so,I’ll look at all the comments here
    This is a fairy tale vacation so,I’ll ski and skate and everything and every day will be 48 hours long(IRL I’ll be drinking tea by the fire place)
    Dottoressa

    1. Wasn’t The Man Who Died Twice good? I saw it panned in reviews and can’t understand why. I too wish that Peter Grainger would bring back DC Smith for a book or two. Even for a guest appearance.

  6. You absolutely must read Pluck by Morrissey
    “NATIONAL BESTSELLER A deeply personal account of love’s restorative ability as it leads renowned novelist Donna Morrissey through mental illness, family death, and despair to becoming a writer–told with charm and inimitable humour.”
    Oh wait…. I bet you already have , let me know.

  7. I take many of your book suggestions and those I hear about on The Next Chapter and Writers and Company, our excellent CBC reviewers and interviewers. It’s a bit of a wait at the library but eventually your turn comes up. Just finished The LincolnHighway, Amor Towles. I might try A Gentleman in Moscow as well by the same author.
    I don’t know what it says about me but I have been watching endless cabin building YouTube channels:
    My Self Reliance, This is my Alaska, The Outsider, Erik Grankvist, Penniac Wilderness. I even subscribe to some of the Canadian ones! What is a Covid winter doing to me!
    We certainly could use more snow in the nation’s capital. So far it’s only been hiking with crampons.

    1. When I read your comment, Grace, I looked up Penniac Wilderness. I watched several videos. I grew up very near to Penniac in a small town called Marysville, before we moved to the farm. I had lots of friend there, still do, in fact.
      P.S. We definitely need more snow. Yesterday we skiing in the rain!

  8. Thank you for introducing me to Mary Lawson. On your suggestion, I read A Town Called Solace, and then The Other Side of the Bridge. I enjoyed both, but The Other Side of the Bridge was among my very favorite books of 2021. I look forward to reading Lawson’s other two book this year.

  9. I just finished the Agatha Raisin series by MC Beaton. I read the books that hadn’t been made into episodes on the tv series and the James Patterson Murders Club Series (excellent).

    I am now catching up on the Stone Barrington books by Stuart Woods. Fast paced and easy to read.

    Love to hunker down with a good book and a hot cup of tea. That is what winter is made for.

  10. Sue I just loved this post. Even though we are in California, I feel like my husband and I are doing roughly the same except he’s hiking instead of x-country skiing. I am intrigued about the two repair shows, and the Dolomite home. Sounds like shows we would love. This winter has been rough and books, cooking good food and occasional outdoor expeditions have gotten us through! I love your idea of a book weekend getaway and know many other friends who would agree! Have a beautiful week and stay cozy. xx

    1. If you like a program with a slow pace you’ll enjoy them. The YouTube channel set in the Dolomites is so beautiful. He does a lot of drone camera work, and the music he chooses is lovely.

  11. The best book that I read last year was How Lucky by Will Leitch. It is a thriller that skillfully reframes a tragic situation into one of inspiration. Highly recommended.

  12. I love the Cormoran Strike books on audio – the narration adds so much that it feels like such a treat to listen.

    Just managing to get back into reading – as a health care worker, my concentration has been so affected by the pandemic – but I’m getting there. I like the sound of your recommendations, and the trip to the cabin!

    1. The narrator of the Strike books is so good. I forget that it’s a man narrating the female voices he does it so well. AS a health care worker I imagine you need all the cabin time you can get. Hang in there.

  13. Not to brag, but my husband and myself plan 2 bookcations at the beach every year, one to a local beach in the summer and then a month in Florida in February. Each of us loads a bag with our choices and days are spent on the sand next to the waves. Evenings find us still reading after having gone to a local place for seafood. The kitchenette is large enough to hold the necessary wine, bourbon and snacks. It is our idea of bliss!

    1. Pat, I love this idea…substituting mountains for the beach. A deliberate plan to go somewhere lovely and quiet with my husband and just read, read, read sounds like my idea of heaven. Discussion not required.

      My social conscience has me reading one book per month for a diversity book club discussion on Zoom. Beyond that, be still my heart! It’s that big stack of mysteries gathered from the local libraries or “checked out” to read my Kindle.

      Has anyone noticed how many new mysteries have come out recently from our favorite authors socked into their writing rooms in 2020? I’m in awe of the writer’s mind that can put the worrisome world aside for a while to drift into imagination and spin wonderful stories for our adventure cravings, and I’m so grateful to hold and read the results.

  14. Lots of walking in the snowy (sometimes icy) Arboretum and through Fletcher with the grand babies. Helping to preserve their parent’s mental health. Not much time for reading these days. When I find time I keep it light…could never find murder and mayhem ‘escape’ reading. Currently have The Lost Daughter (Elena Ferrante) on my Libby App. It’s also a Netflix film directed by the amazingly talented Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Olivia Coleman. The book is a psychological mystery, with elegant prose and evocative description. I will be looking for more of the writer’s books but leaving the movie until after I finish this book. Clara Callan was new to me but I loved it, reading it twice before returning it. The Lawson books (reminded me too much of Canadian Literature class in high School circa 1973 so meh, I might give them a go later.) Did manage to get in some Elizabeth Strout novels. I think a second Covid winter and too much screen time has affected my attention span….adored Stitch in Time! The presenter is so enthusiastic, her own outfits are amazing. Loved Lucy Worsley on TVO over the holidays as well, we love Lucy anytime! Hope she does more TV work.

    1. I loved Clara Callan. It stayed with me for a long time after I finished reading it. I guess it didn’t remind you of Can Lit class?? I love everything that Olivia Colman has done. Even her interviews on Graham Norton are priceless.

  15. I have a favorite house redo Instagram. @whathavewedunoon A young couple in Scotland mistakenly bid on the wrong house at an auction — I’ve been following them with delight and admiration.

    1. Oh, wow! Thanks for mentioning this Instagram account. Their story and what they have done is AMAZING.

  16. The greatest gift you can give someone is to inspire them to read. You have inspired me to read more. I live in a warm climate and always guilty if I’m not outside doing something. I’m going to allow myself the time to sit & read, and try to listen to more books while doing other things. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. I love this idea as well, and I think I’m going to pop in a copy of André Alexis’s Fifteen Dogs for Wendy (and I’ll reread it myself the first day or two, before I pass it along). I think I’d also like to say what she might think of Dog Boy by Eva Hornung, and I’d reread that first as well. . . Maybe there will be other dog lovers in the mix, and we can chat about other books that “read well with” these two. Of course, that means that we’ll all come home with TBR lists much longer than the books we read during our BookCation have made room for. But when we hear laments about the length of our TBR lists, no true reader is really lamenting, but secretly reassuring herself that she’ll never run out. Am I right, or am I right?!
    Also will bring along Elif Shafak’s latest, The Island of Missing Trees and whichever Maggie O’Farrell has come into the library by then (since this is an imaginary gathering, I will have ample imaginary luggage and the strength to move it effortlessly). I just picked up a secondhand copy of Siri Hustvedt’s Memories of the Future (I’ll probably try to tell some of you why you should read her earlier book, What I loved) and a copy of Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, so I would probably bring those, and I think I’ll bring the next Vera
    Stanhope with me (The Glass Room) — but I’ll need to be careful that I don’t let any of you leak any spoilers 😉 . . . I know many of you have finished the series already.
    Not sure what I’m looking forward to more, the reading in quiet companionship in such a cozy environment or those wonderful dinners where our discussion about our reading leads us into discussion about our own lives and then back to other books that touch on those topics, where books and “Real Life” inform each other. . . . I think the restaurant owners might be surprised how noisy and animated a table of readers can be!

    1. I have two Maggie O’Farrell sitting waiting for my in my Kindle library. I just have not been able to heave myself out of the mediocre but still enjoyable mystery kick I’ve been on. I almost wish that I’d yet to discover Ann Cleeves or Peter May. I just love the idea of a big table in front of the fire of an old log inn, with all of us sipping and eating and yakking. And then walking home in the snow all bundled up and laughing and still talking about books.

  18. Lots of reading around the fireplace going on here, too. My latest books (often based on finally getting them from the library). They all seem to come in at once!

    There is Nothing for You Here by Fiona Hill
    Apples Don’t Fall by Liane Moriarty
    The Push by Ashley Audrain
    The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
    The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

  19. This sounds like heaven to me too! I’ll bring my snowshoes if that’s okay.
    I’ve just finished reading a couple of very serious non-fiction books about patriarchy in the Christian church which resulted in a slightly longer than usual post on my blog earlier today, so I’ll be packing some lighter reading for our get together. Hubby recently read The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman Sundberg and thought I might enjoy it, so I’ll bring that along. It sounds like fun. I’ll let you know if I enjoy it when we meet by the fire.

  20. Hi Sue,
    I like anything by Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham for a breezy, fun laugh. I am currently reading the David Baldacci “Memory Man” series (police procedural) for its twists and turns. John Grisham, Michael Connelly also good “who-dun-its”. I love fashion and have read more than 100 style/fashion books, and I’m always looking for more! Love your idea of a “reading weekend.”

    1. I plan to use my Christmas book gift card to look for more books about fashion. I have a few, but always like to browse that section in the bookstore.

  21. Hello,
    Google suggested your blog to me yesterday and I’ve been really enjoying it.
    I am a relative newcomer to Ottawa and am learning to embrace skiing and reading by the fire. I still struggle with it being -20 one day and +3 the next! I think the cabin sounds fabulous.

    I have found since being in Canada I’m much more drawn to consignment stores and trying to make quality considered purchases. I’m not sure if it’s Canada or Ottawa or just my circle here but I’m finding people to be much more careful about the ethics and sustainability of purchases and more willing to buy used.

    I’m intrigued by the fens book as I actually grew up in that area and it’s not a place that inspires a lot of art, literature or anything much!

    Looking forward to reading more from you!

    Kate

    1. Welcome to my blog, Kate. Hubby and I are intrigued by the fens area of England. We’ve read two mystery series set there. One by Jim Kelly (the Philip Dryden series) and one by Joy Ellis as I mention in the post. I’m happy that you find people are interested in sustainability in the fashion industry. So many people I speak to irl have barely even heard of it. Your experience makes me more hopeful.

  22. What a wonderful idea! My bags are packed and ready to go. My toes are ready to be toasted by the fire as I sip wine after our time out in the snow.
    Perhaps I might finally finish Yuval Noah Harari’s book ‘Sapiens’ or Bill Bryson’s ‘The Body’ . Maybe I will read the next volume of ‘The Clifton Chronicles’ by Jeffrey Archer or the next Angela Marsons book about Detective Kim Stone. What glorious chats around the dinner table about all we have read. Friends, food, wine and warmth. Bliss.

  23. Please reserve a room for me in that cabin – it sounds like heaven! I just got back from a work trip to Palm Beach (yes, really…) while home got our first snow of the year – 10 inches of it in one day, which is rare! I’m really sorry I missed it, although I can’t complain about walking on the beach. This time of year, we built a roaring fire every night in the fireplace and bask in front of that and the TV. We also adored Detectorists, and will look for this new series – savoring Ted Lasso at the moment. I also love that you appreciate the Cormoran Strike and Jackson Brodie series as much as I do – I think only Inspector Lynley is their equal, but I must try some of your other favorites.

    1. Ten inches of snow… I am jealous. We’ve only had tiny bits at a time. Enough to cover the trail, but still make it treacherous if you fall because there’s no soft padding.

  24. Also – wanted to tell you I finally made time to finish The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant, and have recommended it to several others – thanks for that!

  25. Hi Sue, I’m new to your blog and loving it! Summer here so I’ve mostly been outdoors but steadily getting back into reading. Love the idea of sipping, eating and yakking about books…and life! Thank you 😊

  26. Oh a bookcation sounds wonderful. Adding in hikes would be a must. It would be fun, at least for me to cook some simple meals together, eat outside and discuss what we’re reading.

  27. Christine Cascadia

    This reminds me of some great cross-country ski weekends I’ve had, so I am all in. And if there is a large rink near by that hasn’t been completely taken over by hockey players (haha), we could do a bit of afternoon skating as well. But I have to admit that once the dinner, wine, and good conversation were winding down and we were all relaxing by the fire with a good books, I would be nodding off after a few pages unless my book was really, really compelling. It happens almost every time!

  28. May I bring my knitting? Thst would complete my list of favourite activities (besides reading, eating, walking, and talking).

  29. I’m with you on winter nights with wine and a wood burning stove–ours gets lit 2-3 afternoons/evenings a week. We’ve got some cold nights (and days) in western Wisconsin. However, there’s nothing like a summer day, a lounge chair, a gin and tonic, and a summer read.
    In the past few months, I liked Under the Whispering Door and Beneath the Cerulean Sea, both by TJ Klune and The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel. Oh, and then there was The Lincoln Highway, Cloud Cuckoo Land, and Klara and the Sun. Feel free to friend me on Goodreads.

  30. We’ve been lighting a fire on cold weekend nights and it is so comforting. I’ve found it especially so during the pandemic. We tend to not do it on weeknights, because we are busy being practical and tackling all that needs doing before a work day. When retirement comes, there will be weeknight fires!
    I love the idea of a get-away with fellow readers, time outside, dinners at restaurants and book discussions by the fire. I’d be busy jotting down all of the recommended favorites.
    I’m not much of a skier, so I’d opt for long walks.
    I’d also be on board for a beach version of the trip, with long walks, reading under umbrellas, bonfires on the beach at night.
    I’d bring Ruth Reichl’s A Kitchen Year, which is on my list to read this year. My audio versions of the last Comoran Strike story is already loaded on my phone (we’re doing this soon, right?). I really like those books.
    I might bring an older book – one of Jane Austin’s perhaps.
    Maybe something silly too, such as a Karl Hiaasen book. Great for beach reading.
    This is a true pandemic fantasy.

    1. It is a pandemic fantasy, you’re right. And I love the idea of a beak vacation. In a place where we could have a bonfire. That would be great!

  31. Sounds so delightful! Reading by the fire while the snow silently falls, reading whatever we want, walks, skiing, with a fabulous group of women – and no cooking! I actually love to cook but am so very tired of it after the holidays. While I enjoy my book club groups, I also like to read whatever I want.

    Wish we could really do this but it’s wonderful to dream about it in this Covid world! Thank you for a fabulous much needed escapist (is that a word) post!

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