Hello, friends. Zelda and I were on the beach early this morning to watch the sun rise. We may have some rain later, but I'd say the day is off to a beautiful start!
Finished last week//
Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope
Two thirds - we're making progress! Audrey and I have been slowly reading Trollope's Palliser series, and this is book 4 of 6. It was much more exciting than Phineas Finn (book 2), thanks in part to a murder trial, but not quite as enjoyable as Can You Forgive Her? or The Eustace Diamonds. At this point, my preference is for the ecclesiastical Barsetshire novels. Perhaps, given the current state of affairs in the US, I'm not appreciating politics in fiction as much as I might during normal times. We'll see where the next two novels take us.
I approached Phineas Redus as a read/listen combination, as usual - listening for an hour or so on my morning walk, then reading the ebook in the evening. Simon Vance has become the voice of classic British Literature for me. The Prime Minister is next... maybe sometime this spring/summer?
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
It was not an easy decision to bail on my First Book of the Year. I chose to begin 2018 with the book I most regret not reading in 2017. The writing was wonderful and the story was instantly engaging... until it wasn't. I hadn't fully invested in Cyril, so as the narrative shifted away from Catherine, his mother, I found my interest waning. After 200 + pages, I looked to twitter for advice and my blogging friends came through. Ultimately, I would have finished a book of 'normal' length, but wasn't able to justify reading another 400 pages of this chunkster. Most readers loved The Heart's Invisible Furies and many named it their favorite book of 2017, so I wouldn't cross it off your list based on my experience.
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
I tend to enjoy a good "man against the elements" story and this one is fascinating, in terms of both survivors' experiences and the history. The book was brought to my attention during Nonfiction November a couple of years ago. I picked up the ebook as a daily deal shortly afterward, then grabbed the audiobook (narrated by Patrick Lawlor) a couple months ago during an audible 2-for-1 sale. Hope to finish this week.
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
I loved this book when I read it many years ago and was excited to hear about John Banville's new sequel - of course I would read it! As I began to think about James' novel, my recollection of plot details were fuzzy at best... should I reread it in order to really appreciate Mrs. Osmond? My decision was made, then Bellezza posted this photo on Instagram. As other readers began commenting on her photo, a readalong was born.
As is my habit for long classics, this will be a read/listen combination. I've selected Juliet Stevenson's narration - there are so many! The audiobook is nearly 27 hours and I think the book must be over 600 pages. We plan to read at our own pace and discuss at the end of February. Would you like to join us?
Beyond the books//
It was nice all week, so I got in a beach walk or bike ride every day. Yesterday we hiked at the local wildlife refuge.
My FIL and SIL are joining us for dinner today. I'll be serving Roast Chicken Provençal, a family favorite from the NY Times.
The Post is still selling out daily at the small island cinema, so we haven't seen it yet. We could buy tickets a day in advance, but never seem to think about it that far ahead.
We're looking forward to Thursday when our daughters arrive for a long weekend.
How was your week? What are you reading?