Sunday, November 15, 2020

Miss Plum and Miss Penny, set in a 1950s English village

 

This book is a delightful novel, so interesting that you may read it quickly, as I did. Such turmoil in a small quiet English village in the 1950s. Some bachelors and the unmarried Miss Penny lead a life of quiet pleasures, of ice skating and sharing tea, when Miss Plum bursts on the scene. She is a complete mystery and Miss Penny saves her from drowning in a pond and takes her home to recover. Miss Plum was trying to drown herself, she had lost the will to live. Miss Plum is rather young, apparently has no talents, no money, no family, and Miss Penny finds her a tedious house guest and can’t get her to leave. There is a possible air of menace around Miss Plum. Is she as clueless as she seems?

In addition there are potential love interests for Miss Penny, including a young man she loved 20 years ago, although the local bachelors find Miss Plum intriguing at first. Miss Penny is taking the occasion of turning 40 to consider her life, past and what she would like in the future. A fun tale. 

This book is brought back to print and Kindle by Furrowed Middlebrow Publishers, and they have a good list of novels from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. I am deciding which of their books to buy next, lots of them look great. I already purchased two: Vittoria Cottage by D.E. Stevenson and Family Ties by Celia Buckmaster.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

My Handsome Loving Hubby, Gone Four Years Today

Yes, my dear husband, William Hangen, died four years ago today. How sad. We shared 47 happy years together, and he died a few days before our 45th wedding anniversary.

Here are some photos.


Lane, Will and Colt on Will's birthday in August 2016, he was age 69.


Above photo: Will and I on vacation in Palm Springs in 2004. Of course he took his mountain bike with him so he could explore trails. His articles and photos of adventurous rides appeared in many biking and travel magazines. Below photo: Will and I enjoying Thanksgiving in 2015. You can see 4 place settings for us and Colt and Lane. Little did we know that would be our last Thanksgiving with Will. So sad.

Will and two guys he rode on mountain trails with.



Colt, me, Lane and Bounce at our first Christmas without our darling Will. We were still in a state of shock. We adopted Bounce at Thanksgiving in 2016.


I found a spot in a city park near our house that allows memorial benches, so I bought one for Will. The park is about a block from our house, and the bench is near children's swings and a skateboard area. I had them carve a mountain bike on one of the boards. The bench says "Bike Adventures" because Will loved riding his mountain bikes every day on nearby trails, and in wild areas on many vacations and magazine writing trips. In the photo below is a rose made of straw, left there by someone, we don't know who, but someone who misses Will too.


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Books, Carole and I at the Yacht Harbor and a Bit of Confusion in Blogland

 I don't aim to confuse you, but somehow on Oct. 26 this got posted with the posting date of Oct. 1. So I think most of my blog readers did not see this post before. But if you are one of the few who did somehow see it earlier, you are not losing your mind, maybe Blogger is though.

Our local bookstore needed help; they sent customers an email saying if they are to stay in business we need to do our Christmas shopping now! I debated going in the store but decided to use their online site, found three great sounding books, ordered them online, and they will contact me when I can drive there and pick them up curbside. So no going in the store. Much as I miss browsing in the store, I am a senior and am glad I can help the store in this safe way.

I haven't received these books so am not actually recommending them, though they sound wonderful.


 

"I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life" by Maria Shriver. This book has wonderful reviews including "wildly gorgeous, inclusive and accessible."

Below is the second book I have on order. "Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life" by Melanie Shankle. I am attracted by this cover and have been wanting to buy this, so, voila. 

 
 

"House of Trelawney: A Novel" by Hannah Rothschild. This novel was published this year and sounds charming. An eccentric English aristocratic family tries to save their family home which is crumbling around them. The author writes sly humor and has been compared to Austen and Dickens. I haven't read it, so that is what reviewers are saying. 

Just for fun here is a photo of my friend, Carole, and me on our walk around the local yacht harbor. We wore masks but took them off for the photo. We also ate lunch harbor side at an outdoor dining venue, her treat. I had fabulous crab cake, real crab, and coffee. I am on the left, the photo is rather dark. We stopped on the deck of the yacht club and the manager, her friend, took our photo.

 
This is an odd post; I accidentally published it on Oct. 26, but with the posting date of Oct. 1, so likely no one will see it unless I publish it again and pretend it is a new post, with the date of November 1. It is some sort of weird time travel to be able to post in the past! Posting on Oct. 1 when it is 25 days later. Plus now the photos and words are being difficult to load.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I'd Rather Be Reading, this author gets me and Rules for Visiting novel

 Hi Anne Bogel, can we hang out? You get me, and I get you, as your book shows.


I don't know anyone who loves to read as much as I do. Reading is a bit like oxygen to me. I have friends who read, and we trade books. Yet, when Anne Bogel wrote of a Reading Twin, I was a bit jealous. She met her reading twin after many years. They share titles that mean a lot to them, fiction and nonfiction, of many genres. I keep acquiring books and work hard to give them away, and aim to have my book collection grow smaller, not larger. My favorite book that I read this year is The Splendid and the Vile. I don't know how Anne (yes, we are on a first name basis, on my side) would like this book, but perhaps it is a wowser of a read for her too.

Does Anne love Anthony Trollope, C.S. Lewis and P.G. Wodehouse as I do? Perhaps so. How could she not? Ha ha.

Here is quote from her book. "People read for a multiplicity of reasons. Nearly forty years in, I can tell you why I inhale books like oxygen: I'm grateful for my one life, but I'd prefer to live a thousand - and my favorite books allow me to experience more on the page than I ever could in my actual life. A good book allows me to step into another world, to experience people and places and situations foreign to my own day-to-day existence." 

I laughed at some of the stories she shares. Any other bookaholics out there? I have a list of novels I want to read, and now that our library is open (you can request books and pick them up outside the library) I am reading them. 


 

I just read "Rules for Visiting" by Jessica Kane and found it a delight. A lonely 40 year old single woman who is a landscape gardener at a university is given a month off of work and she has a brilliant idea to visit her four friends from long ago and re-connect. This involves quite a lot of traveling as they live around the USA and in England. Along the way, at the request of her father, she searches for the ideal tree to plant. I enjoyed this book and give it 4 stars. I just put "House of Trelawney" by Hannah Rothschild on request at the library, a story of an eccentric English aristocratic family, their crumbling home, and the ties of family and love. Hey, does that sound good? Others I want to read are "Ordinary Grace" and "The Church of Small Things." How about you and your reading?

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Dog in my cat clubhouse, Teapot with Blue Lights, Peacock , Social Isolation

 



Above is Bounce tasting the catnip in the clearly signed Cat Clubhouse. He is a rebel and rule breaker, like me. Below is Princess Fluffy enjoying her clubhouse.

Just for fun, here is my new electric teapot. It is glass which I like, glass is so inert, which is healthy to boil water in. The entertaining part of the teapot is its blue lights and how they dance when the water boils.


This photo below shows the teapot when I have just turned it on.


Just some light hearted things from around my home, with the aim of bringing smiles during this difficult time of pandemic.

Here is my blue metal peacock, which my younger son assembled and installed in my garden. Some readers asked to see the peacock when in my garden.

 




Occasionally I invite a friend to come over and sit on my patio, six feet apart, while we enjoy a coffee. Now that colder weather is on its way, I will miss those outdoor chats. Perhaps we will meet indoors, I have a sitting area in my living room where chairs are 10 feet apart. That is a big decision. How are you handling social isolation? I read today that Florida schools opened a month ago and there is NO SPIKE in virus cases. In particular, no increase in Florida in school age children getting ill, that is good news. New York City has opened its schools to its 500,000 students. This social isolation is hard on children. A family friend is eager to have his children, here in California, return to school; he says they are being damaged by this isolation. These are hard choices for all of us, and especially for parents.

Oh and I am praying for quick and full healing for our President and our First Lady. These are difficult times indeed. Best of health to them both.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

3 books I ordered, Carol and I at the Yacht Harbor

 Our local bookstore needed help; they sent customers an email saying if they are to stay in business we need to do our Christmas shopping now! I debated going in the store but decided to use their online site, found three great sounding books, ordered them online, and they will contact me when I can drive there and pick them up curbside. So no going in the store. Much as I miss browsing in the store, I am a senior and am glad I can help the store in this safe way.

I haven't received these books so am not actually recommending them, though they sound wonderful.


"I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life" by Maria Shriver. This book has wonderful reviews including "wildly gorgeous, inclusive and accessible."


"Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life" by Melanie Shankle. I am attracted by this cover and have been wanting to buy this, so, voila. 


"House of Trelawney: A Novel" by Hannah Rothschild. This novel was published this year and sounds charming. An eccentric English aristocratic family tries to save their family home which is crumbling around them. The author writes sly humor and has been compared to Austen and Dickens. I haven't read it, so that is what reviewers are saying. 

Just for fun here is a photo of my friend, Carol, and me on our walk around the local yacht harbor. We wore masks but took them off for the photo. We also ate lunch harbor side at an outdoor dining venue, her treat. I had fabulous crab cake, real crab, and coffee. I am on the left, the photo is rather dark. We stopped on the deck of the yacht club and the manager, her friend, took our photo.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Books: India in 1922 mystery and my garden peacock

 

The Sutapur Moonstone is written by Sujata Massey. I find India in 1922 to be fascinating, and add to that time and place Perveen Mistry, one of India’s first female lawyers, a ten year old Maharaja someone is trying to murder, the two fiercely competing Maharinis (his grandmother and mother) who live in purdah isolated from men, in two palaces, and you have all the ingredients for a book of adventures. Who can Perveen trust? Is there a love interest for her? Palanquins, the tiny enclosed seats carried by four men, feature prominently in the story, as do tigers lurking in the jungle near the palaces, and Perveen as a woman who works for rights for other women. 


 

I recommend you read the first book in the series, The Widows of Malabar Hill, as it shows us Perveen’s first assignment, visiting widows in danger who are living in purdah. I think The Sutapur Moonstone would make a good movie, with its beautiful settings in the old palaces, the hunting lodge in the forest, the beautiful clothing and jewels, a poisoner in the palaces, and the 10 year old maharajah in danger.

The author, Sujata Massey, has an interesting background. I belong to a group that reads British books and she is hard to classify as to her nationality as an author. Born in England to parents from India and Germany she grew up in Minnesota and lives in Maryland. So is she a British author? I would think British since she was born in England, unless she has changed her citizenship. Just an interesting question, not too important in the grand scheme of things. But in the group where we read books by British authors, sometimes it is hard to classify an author. I cataloged books at a university for many years and this point is of interest in determining how to catalog an author. I think of Bill Bryson as an American author, although he lives in the U.K. and recently got British citizenship. Artists too can be hard to classify as they move from country to country. Think of El Greco or Picasso. One question in my librarian job I occasionally faced was when an author changed his or her citizenship.

On a fun note, related to this theme of India, look what I ordered today for my garden, a metal gorgeous peacock. I will put it in my garden next to my patio, where I can see it easily. It has solar light in it so will look pretty at night. What do you think?