Not a war with guns and tanks, not an atomic apocalypse. Not a power-hungry leader pushing a button in a fit of pique. Just a stupid little virus that moved from an animal to a human, likely in an open-air market, and brought the world to its knees. This tiny organism has brought out the best and the worst in our leaders and indeed, humankind.
It’s not the first time this has happened and likely will not be the last. We can look to literature to shed light on the political and behavioral rhetoric that invades us from every source. Continue reading →
Julian Fellowes’s magic pen is at work again with Belgravia. A classic “wrong side of the blanket” story is spun elegantly and eloquently against the drawing rooms and societal divide of the English class system. For fans of Downton Abbey, this is a nice follow-up. You can also listen to it in serial format (https://www.julianfellowesbelgravia.com/).
If you’ve got a good thing going, why mess it us? Number 24 in the Hamish Macbeth series is predictable, yet charming. Maybe someday I’ll read them again in order to get the lady friends’ stories right — Priscilla and Elspeth just keep coming back for more of Hamish’s bumbling romance and frankly, I’m not sure why. Beaton always comes up with an original cast of characters that are likely drawn from real life. I would hate to be one of the author’s friends and acquaintances as I’m sure I would end up in one of her books. Yet I keep reading these cozy mysteries, one after another, so in that I’m like Hamish’s girlfriends.
Summer reading — isn’t it just the greatest? Trying to find books set in Scotland in anticipation of our fall vacation has been interesting, though. I’m surprised at how little I’ve found; beyond M.C. Beaton’s Scottish mysteries featuring Hamish Macbeth and Diana Gabaldon’s massive Outlander series, there’s not much. Okay, I know there are books but maybe my library doesn’t have them. Here’s Wikipedia’s list. Anyone have any suggestions for me?
I have gotten hooked on the Hamish Macbeth series, and while this wasn’t my favorite of the few I’ve read, it was cleverly plotted and full of excellent character development. I found it interesting that the villain is a “traveling man” — another word for hippie or drifter — and the author distinguishes this from the Roma travelers common in Europe. As with all of Beaton’s smysteries, our hero solves several cases throughout the course of the book, and I also learned more about Priscilla, Hamish’s fiancee. I really need to go back and read these in order.
One of the reasons I like the Hamish Macbeth series is its seeming back-in-time plots that turn out to be very modern indeed. This book was no exception. I’m not going to give away the solution to the mystery, but I loved how a modern invention is used to terrorize a community.
Hamish McBeth is a wonderful character, and Beaton has surrounded the likable policeman with intriguing Highland characters. This mystery was pretty complex, with new twists and turns popping up everywhere, all clothed in wit with a gentle author’s touch.
If you haven’t started reading this series, start with this one. It’s a goodie!
I was at the library the other day, and hidden among the travel guides was a charming little book written by author, artist, and traveler Susan Branch.
Click on photo to see Susan Branch’s web site
It sat on my TBR pile for a few days, but since it’s from the library, I knew I needed to get cracking on it before it was due. To come clean, I have a bunch of other books that I SHOULD be reading but this one was speaking to my soul. What a wonderful title!
Imagine my amazement, delight, and honestly, my chagrin, when I found that Susan Branch has actually written the book I was born to write. It’s kind of a good thing/bad thing. Written in the form of a journal and memorializing her 25th anniversary trip to England with her husband, the book abounds with quotes from songs and authors, hand-painted illustrations, and photos and stories from her travels. Continue reading →
I’m back again with a bunch of totally disconnected bits and pieces that piqued my interest this week. I hope you have as much fun as I did!
While looking for wire plate stands that hold more than one plate, I discovered this gorgeous plate holder at Bed Bath and Beyond. I don’t need it, but it’s beautiful and someone among my French decor friends must have to have it to complete her look!
Sometimes I have things to share that are short and don’t really need a full blog post. My niece Jessie does a Saturday wrap-up post that I always enjoy, so I decided to try it myself. I hope you like my random thoughts. 🙂
I joined a photography challenge called the 365 Project and have been posting photos daily. The point is to actually take photos every day and get some feedback to improve your photography. I have to admit that I’m not always perfect about posting that day’s photo. Sometimes I get nothing and resort to “filler” shots from previous days, but it’s my project and I can make my own rules. Right? Here’s a couple of my favorites from the last few weeks.
I have taken many photos of this little girl (with her parents’ permission, of course), and she’s always wary of the crazy camera lady. I thought this shot captured her wariness perfectly.
Today I’m going to talk about a book and about a family story. The book made a real impact on me, and it cleared the way for me to memorialize a family story without keeping the artifact. That’s what this book is all about.
Click into photo to connect to my Amazon Associates link.
When I’m traveling in my car, I usually choose light cozy books in which I’m unlikely to be shocked by overt sex and graphic language, since one can hear my speakers outside of my car if I’m at an intersection or in a parking lot. That was one of the reasons I chose The Merlot Murders by Ellen Crosby; it looked interesting but also safe. I was also intrigued by the idea of a book based in Virginia’s wine country, rather than California or France. My choice did not disappoint; it’s an easy murder mystery with enough intrigue and surprise built into the plot to keep me guessing. The book is the first of a series about Lucie Montgomery and her family’s winery, and I was encouraged enough by the first book to go on to the second. The Chardonnay Charadewas just what I expected — another cozy murder mystery with a little romantic spice built into the story. Thank goodness my library has the books so I don’t have to keep buying them; I just put holds on the other four titles and will enjoy spinning through them over the next few weeks. Continue reading →