The dreaded lurgy…

Uggh. This headcold was tough. But finally, it seems to be leaving the building.

I did grade finals while in bed on Saturday. And I stayed in pajamas on Sunday because all the men in my house took a trip to the coast to help brother in law who recently had a hernia repair and needed a bit of a hand with some car repairs, etc.

So, tomorrow it will be back to work, and I think the throat and the head will be able to cope.

It has been nice to have some down-time. Made me think a bit and I found a couple of themes kept coming back to me.

CHANGE

2010 already seems to be the year of CHANGE – we have changed houses, I have changed from being a sister to an only child, my boss will retire this year leaving staff fearful of what the change in command may hold, our old house will be burned soon, which will change our landscape, our eldest will take drivers ed and that will prompt changes….even our local library has shut, and reopened last week in a new and beautiful building which I am sure I will love, but which represents change.

I took my small boys there for storytime and summer reading programs and loved the old space. I could walk in with tired children, help them pick books, and in under 5 minutes find enough books for me because I knew so well where all my favorite authors lived. We can have books for 3 weeks at a time, and I always have a huge pile because I read to fall asleep. During the summer I can read more serious material, often education related, but in the school year I need light and cheerful reading that helps me unwind and get to sleep.

The old library was shutting doors in early December, but we could keep the books extra long since they would not open again until January. I have yet to go to the new branch, but hope to next weekend, as by then I will be ready to turn in the books I picked for my winter holiday reading.

2 Miss Julia books, by Ann B. Ross – written by a North Carolina author, and enjoyable reading. This time I read Miss Julia Delivers the Goods, and reread  Miss Julia Strikes Back.

2 Miss Read books – At Home in Thrush Green and Farewell to Fairacre. I can never get enough Miss Read and have many of her books in my own collection, and have them all memorized.. but they are the best books for taking me completely away from all my thoughts and issues swirling in my head. And, they always help me get through tough times.

Joanna Fluke mystery: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder – again, I have read all of hers and cannot wait until the library gets in her new one. I think a theme in all the books I like to read is that I just want to know what the characters have been up to. I want to catch up on the gossip. No matter how mundane. And reading the recipes doesn’t hurt either.

Sarah Strohmeyer is a new author to me. Last go around I read The Cinderella Pact and this time I read The Sleeping Beauty Proposal. This is chic lit with a bit more intelligence and wit about it, and I enjoyed both.

And finally, Angela Thirkell. I like her novels, but they are slower for me to read (Same with Elizabeth Goudge. So usually, I save them for holiday time or summer. )Which is not a bad thing, but I have to be in a slower frame of mind to check them out. This time I am reading Headmistress. Again, it is all about keeping up with the characters.. her books interweave characters from her world… and I love going back in time. This book takes place during WWII, and in fact was published in 1945 with this promise on the front cover: “This book has been produced in full compliance with all government regulations for the conservation of paper, metal, and other essential materials.”

So, feeling well enough today I did my exercise routine and then in the winter sun that finally showed up took a bath to soak the old muscles in epsom salts and hopefully steam out the final crud from my chest, and read my Thirkell book. So wonderfully indulgent.. just loved it.

And here is a little excerpt I share with you, because I so wish I had been there with those women. Partly because I can find knitting groups just like that today. I go back and read these books because most of them are about real people, living real ordinary lives, (although continuing to find dead bodies is not so real, thankfully) and it just goes to show, the more things change, the more they stay the same. That is comforting.

Setting:  The women have all gathered at a war work party where knitting is the primary goal.

From page 61:

“As it was now half-past three, the working party was in full swing. Mrs. Perry’s comfortable and slightly over furnished drawing room looking out on the cedar was boiling over with nine or ten ladies, some winding wool on the back of a chair or on a friend’s hands, some not being quite exactly sure how one did that other casting-on stitch, not the one where you go on knitting with two needles, my dear, but the one where you measure off ever so much more than you want and twist it round your left hand like this – no, like this – and keep on making a stitch with one needle, but I haven’t quite exactly got it, don’t look at me for a moment and I’m sure it will come back. Others again were knitting with such frenzied speed that, being also  much occupied in conversation, they overshot their mark and had to take off all the stitches and unravel back to where they ought to have begun increasing and pick up all the stitches again except the one that always managed to escape, turning up sometimes as the end of a long ladder. And Mrs. Updike, a tall, fair, thin woman looking ridiculously young for the mother of four children between 15 and 25, was sitting with her legs crossed, examining her knitting with an expression of bewildered friendliness.”

So, what are you reading right now? And why? Which books bring you comfort?

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One thought on “The dreaded lurgy…

  1. I do like the sound of Mrs Updike.

    I’ve just finished The Other Queen, by Philippa Gregory, and prior to that The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver. Not sure what’s next. I definitely seem to be on a historical novel kick these last few years, which is a new thing for me.

    I think Tracy Chevalier is possibly my favourite author – her new book ‘Remarkable Creatures’ is marvellous; I highly recommend it.

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