Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

Title: The Silver Chair
Author: C.S. Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
Publication: Puffin, paperback, originally published in 1953
Genre: Juvenile Fantasy/Series
Setting: Narnia
Description: Eustace Scrubb, cousin of the better-known Pevensie children from the earlier Narnia books, was introduced in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eustace attends a progressive co-ed boarding school (clearly despised by Lewis, although it is hard to tell which horrifies him more, coeducation or progressive education; maybe it’s a tie) with Jill Pole.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Jeannie's War by Carol MacLean

Title: Jeannie’s War
Author: Carol MacLean
Publication: Hera Books, ebook, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: WWII Scotland
Description: It is 1939 and the country is now at war with Germany. Jeannie Dougal lives with her widowed mother and siblings on Kiltie Street in the Glasgow tenements. Her younger brother and sister have been evacuated to the countryside with other children while 15-year-old Kathy yearns to be grown up and is cruising for a bruising.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Ash Grove, a Welsh folk tune

At Mass this morning, I noticed in the hymnal that the recessional, “Let All Things Now Living,” uses the tune of “The Ash Grove,” a Welsh folk tune, which made me start thinking about the Wales Readathon sponsored by Paula at Book Jotter.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Literary Trails, British Writers in Their Landscapes by Christina Hardyment

Title: Literary Trails
Author: Christina Hardyment
Publication: The National Trust/Harry N. Abrams, hardcover, 2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardyment is a British writer who more than shares my love of literary pilgrimages. This oversized, illustrated book contains eight chapters of essays, pictures, vignettes about particular authors, timelines, maps, and more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

WWW Wednesday – March 23

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
After seeing a New York Times review, my sister Andrea recommended The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk, a mystery set in the rare books department of a large university.

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Case of the Dotty Dowager by Cathy Ace – Reading Wales 2022

Title: The Case of the Dotty Dowager
Author: Cathy Ace
Publication: Severn House, hardcover, 2015
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Present-day Wales
Description: The Dowager Duchess of Chellingworth claims she found a dead body in her dining room in the middle of the night but when her son arrived to check it out, the room was empty.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

Title: They Came to Baghdad
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication: Pan paperback, originally published in 1951
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Iraq
Description: After Victoria Jones loses an office job she did not much like in the first place, she is contemplating her prospects when she encounters Edward, a handsome young man about to take up a new position in Baghdad.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Hotel Portofino by J.P. O'Connell, coming on PBS

Title: Hotel Portofino
Author: J.P. O’Connell
Publication: Blackstone Publishing, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Italian Riviera, 1926
Description: Bella Ainsworth set her heart on opening an upscale hotel in Italy – she thinks the change of scenery will solve all family’s troubles –so has coaxed them all to Portofino: her caddish husband, Cecil, who married her for her money; their son Lucian, who nearly died in the Great War, and has still not fully recovered; their spiteful daughter Alice, widowed in the war; and Alice’s daughter, Lottie.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan: for Reading Ireland Month

Title: The Good Turn
Author: Dervla McTiernan
Publication: Blackstone Publishing, trade paperback, 2021
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Setting: Present-day Ireland
Description: Three separate storylines are deftly brought together in the most recent book by Dervla McTiernan, an Irish writer who now lives in Australia. The story begins with Anna and her suddenly mute 9-year-old, clearly in trouble.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Kate Hardy by D.E. Stevenson – an unexpected look at class

Title: Kate Hardy
Author: D.E. Stevenson
Publication: Dean Street Press, paperback, 2022 (originally 1947)
Genre: Fiction
Setting: English countryside
Description: Richard Morven is surprised when someone buys the Dower House he has put on the market sight-unseen and everyone in the village of Old Quinings is agog to see Kate Hardy when she moves in. When he calls on his new neighbor, Richard is immediately captivated by the outgoing woman he guesses to be about 30.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden – based on the author's WWII evacuation to Wales

Title: Carrie’s War
Author: Nina Bawden
Publication: J.B. Lippincott Company, hardcover, 1973
Genre: Children’s Historical Fiction
Setting: WWII Wales
US cover
Description: Like many other London children in 1939, Carrie and Nick Willow were evacuated from war-torn London for safety with a case each, gas masks slung over their shoulders, and their names on cards around their neck like labels.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from The End of the Affair to Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up.   This month’s starting point is The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951), who was one of my grandmother’s favorite writers.  

Thursday, March 3, 2022

My February 2022 Reads

Seven of my nineteen February books were rereads, a much higher percentage than usual; indicating some comfort reading, I suppose. Sometimes with Elizabeth Cadell and D.E. Stevenson, one can’t tell if it was read before until halfway through as both were prolific and the titles sometimes sound interchangeable even when the stories are distinctive.  But my favorite new-to-me read was Dead Wake by Erik Larson, the story of the Lusitania’s last voyage, which I highly recommend.

King Cake

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Author: C.S. Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
Publication: Puffin paperback; originally published in 1952
Genre: Children’s fantasy
Setting: Narnia
Description: When Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are forced to spend the summer holidays with their dreaded cousin, Eustace Scrubb, they try to avoid him by hiding out in Lucy’s room and talking about Narnia, the country they have visited twice.