Skip to main content

The Sunday Salon

A slightly chilly Sunday here; the temperature is down in the 40s, though it’s been up in the 60s here recently and it’s likely to stay that way in the near future. It’s kind of frustrating; all I want to do is pull out a warm, chunky sweater to wear, and I can’t do that! This weekend my sister and her boyfriend are in town; right now they’re down in Center City watching a friend race in the Philadelphia Marathon.

This past week has been a slightly busier week than normal; every Thursday we had a weekly meeting in my department where the fellows go over their research projects; this week, we held the meeting at our office in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, which is about a hour’s drive from Philly. The meeting, which started at 3, went until about 6:30; and then the rest of my coworkers wanted to go to Atlantic City to gamble. Since I had to go meet my parents and sister back in Center City, my boss gave me a ride to the train station. The long of the short of it was that I was so completely exhausted on Thursday night that it’s been good to just crash at home this weekend. Luckily with the upcoming holiday, we’ve got a shorter week coming up here, so it’ll be nice to have the break.

I’ve been reading some chunksters recently; I finished an ARC of The King’s Daughter, by Christie Dickason (not really a chunkster, but a long book nonetheless) for LTER, and then I read The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton. Kate Morton is one of the few authors I’ll buy in hardback, new, because I just love her writing. This one is no exception; it’s a big, thick, gothic-style novel that’s similar in tone to her previous two books.

My coworker introduced me to a secondhand bookstore near our office, and on Monday during my lunch break I found (and took home, haha) the three Barbara Pym novels I don’t own. Her books are so hard to find that when I find them, it’s always like finding treasure. So now I’m reading Some Tame Gazelle, Pym’s first novel, about two middle-aged spinsters in a country village. Pym has such a wicked sense of humor that reading one of her books is always a treat. I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish reading all of her books for the first time; reread?

Comments

Joanne said…
I haven't heard of Barbara Pym...I'll have to look into her books. I discovered Susanna Kearsley and Barbara Erskine this year and their books are not readily available here in the US, so I know how you feel when you find those elusive used book treasures.
Oooh--I'm adding the Kate Morton to my TBR list. I didn't know about this one.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…