Friday, June 8, 2012

Reading up a Storm

There are good things about being stuck in a chair for six weeks. One is that I can look out of the window and see interesting things--like the heron that flew over the other day, or this little scene that went on right below my window:

The other good thing is that I've had time to read. I don't usually read fiction when I'm writing a book because I tend to pick up the other author's voice. However six weeks with nothing else to do was too tempting. I found that I felt like nostalgia, safety, comfort food reading. So far I've read Kate Morton's The House at Riverton (having LOVED the Forgotten Garden), The House at Tyneford --I'm obviously going through my House AT phase--which I also enjoyed, Jacqueline Winspear's Elegy for Eddie (terrific), and I've just finished Nancy Mitford's Don't Tell Alfred. Nancy Mitford's first person voice is so perfect for when I'm writing the Lady Georgie books. She IS the British upper class in the 1930s. She reminds me of women who were friends of my aunt, teachers at my school whose voices are now fading in my memory.

I have other books waiting to be read but you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to re-read The Lord of the Rings, something I haven't done for probably twenty years. When I was young I re-read that book every six months. I knew it by heart. When I took my daughter Clare around Europe we played non-stop LOTR trivia games, waking each other in train carriages to ask, "What was the name of the Ent who...." 

So now I need to revisit it with fresh eyes. To see how much I remember. Have you ever had one book that has been part of your life like that?


  1. I love the photo of the deer! Like you, I was a LOTR fan(atic) in my youth, and like you, I reread it twice a year for... probably 15 years at least. But I haven't read it in some years now; it's time to get back to it. I'm going to start with "The Hobbit", since the first movie is coming out in December. (Actually, I'll probably listen to the Rob Inglis recording, since we have a long road trip planned this summer.)

  2. I have three books that I frequently re-read: Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier; The Queen & I, by Sue Townsend, and The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham. I love listening to them on tape, as well as reading them in book form.

  3. Lord of the Rings was like that for me when I was younger. Now I read and re-read the Dorothy Dunnet series, House of Lymond. I can pick up any of those books, turn to any of the pages and start enjoying myself.

  4. I love the deer. When I worked at a library in Minnesota, there was a family of deer that would return to gambol in a clearing between the library building and a nearby pond every spring. There were always new little ones...

    My literary 'rinse and repeats' include "The Secret Garden", and of course "Pride and Prejudice", "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion", plus all of the Sayers novels that include both Peter and Harriet. I'm also a fan of the continuation of that duo n Jill Paton Walsh's homages to the same...

  5. The book I always come back to is the Iliad, not a very common choice, but the one I always feel resonating. I loved the photo of mama deer and her fawns. I'm afraid I have to make do with lizard battles and mourning doves as my wildlife entertainment out my window.

  6. The 2 books that I've literally read to bits and had to replace are Little Women and Pride and Prejudice. I'm a big re-reader. Some of my friends just don't get it. I love revisiting old friends and so often the first time I read a book I go full tilt. When I re-read I can savor and find new things to admire or groan over.