Wednesday, January 25, 2023

WWW Wednesday – January 25, 2023

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

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
Dr. Livingstone, I presume?
Currently Reading

When I visited the Royal Geographic Society Library and Archives in June, my class was given a wonderful tour by its principal librarian, Eugene Rae. He is a wonderful storyteller and I was mesmerized by the items he showed us from their collection; in particular, the hats that Henry Stanley and David Livingstone were wearing at their famous meeting in 1871.
He was particularly eloquent about how hard life was for the wives of explorers, often left for years, sometimes in financial distress, and how some of them fought successfully for expeditions to find out what had happened to those who did not return.  He recommended Widows of the Ice: The Women that Scott’s Antarctic Expedition Left Behind by Anne Fletcher (he must have read a review copy because I don’t think it came out until later in the summer). I am enjoying it and plan to recommend it to my professor for this year’s class.

Recently Finished
Have you read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman?  I enjoyed it in 2020 and finally got around to the sequel, The Man Who Died Twice, as an audiobook. I liked it even more than the first one (which ended very confusingly). What wonderful characters! However, I wonder if I would find it quite so funny if I were in my 80s?

I got Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals from the library because several of the delicious things my sister Andrea makes originate from her NYT column. The pictures make everything look easy and delicious (a likely story). I like the look of Cheesy Baked Pasta with Tomato, Sausage and Ricotta and Parmesan White Beans and Kale. Well, not sure I want that much Kale in my life, to be truthful. Alas, the book is due and can’t be renewed so I need to take one last look to see if worth photocopying a recipe or two.
Read Christie 2023 was doing Sad Cypress in January, so I joined in.

Up Next

When I was in junior high, I went through a phase of reading light romantic suspense novels by Emilie Loring (1866-1951). Over thirty-seven million copies of her books have been sold, in more than a dozen languages. She was also a local author from Wellesley, MA so my libraries were full of them but because she wasn’t in any reference books, I didn’t realize that after she died, her sons had 20 books ghost-written (allegedly) from notes she had left behind.* 
I liked her gallant and intelligent brunette heroines and read them all. I was interested to learn recently that Patti Bender, an educator who, like me, read Loring’s books at a young age, began a labor of love after her teaching career to write a book about Emily Loring. Happy Landings: Emilie Loring’s Life, Writing, and Wisdom will be published in March 2023. Patti was kind enough to send me a review copy, which I am looking forward to reading next month, but I decided I wanted to reread one or two books first.

In Times Like These, published by Little, Brown in 1968, is one of the books written after her death but is fairly typical. Vance Cooper is trying to stop a security link at an electronics company that threatens national security. Page Wilburn, down on her luck after her father’s death, pretends to be his girlfriend to provide cover. Unexpected danger brings them closer together. I didn’t remember this book specifically until I got to a page where a new character appeared and I thought, “Oh, yes, I remember, the villain in this book is a Dartmouth football player!”
Vance’s Aunt Jane is an active member of the League of Women Voters and perhaps Emilie Loring herself belonged to the same chapter as my friend Marlene:
“I believe every woman should be an informed citizen as well as be trained to handle money and earn it,” Aunt Jane said. “Women struggled hard to get the vote, to have equality with men. Now they ought to make sure they understand the issues, know about their candidates, and carry out their duties as citizens.”
Not bad from an author born just after the Civil War!  Except that she didn't write this book, her ghostwriter did!  We'll see what Patti has to say about that whole process.  

* When I worked at Bantam Books, there were many jokes about the manuscripts that Louis L’Amour’s family kept “finding” in the attic years after his death but no one asked too many questions and we went on publishing them.


Jennier said...

I have never met anyone else who has read Emilie Loring! I read them as a teenager too.

Helen said...

Widows of the Ice sounds interesting! I've never read anything by Emilie Loring, but I know a lot of her books have recently been reissued as ebooks by Lume Books so maybe I'll try one.

TracyK said...

Widows of the Ice sounds very good. I usually like to read about people actually living in Antarctica, but this should be a good look at why people went their and how it affected others.

I read and loved all the Thursday Murder Club books, and I am 75, so I think anyone older would find the books especially fun and interesting. And poignant in some ways. My only reservation would be how many people can live in such a lovely environment at that time in life? Not me for sure.

CLM said...

Widows of the Ice is very good, particularly because the author recognizes the different strengths of the wives - the internationally known sculptor approaches life (and her marriage) very differently from the wife from a small town in Wales. I am glad I remembered this recommendation and found it online!

Jennifer and Helen, I did enjoy Emilie Loring, but they are so dated and bland I would not recommend rereading them or trying for the first time when there are so many other books waiting for us! If there were an elderly relative who wanted tame fiction, that would be different. However, I am sure I will enjoy the book about Loring herself. The book I remember best was one called Swift Water where the heroine was considered very fast (although it was mostly gossip). All her friends are raving about the handsome new minister in their town. She bets her car she would never go to church for a man! He meets her elswhere becomes smitten but she fights her feelings until the end. When he sees her friend driving heroine's car and sees her at church, they get their HEA . . .

Tracy, I think I will get my mother the first Thursday Murder Club from the library and see what she thinks. Oddly enough, her book group and mine are reading the same book this month - Horse by Geraldine Brooks. When she finishes it, I will trade her copy.

TracyK said...

I would love to hear what your mother thinks of The Thursday Murder Club, if she reads it.

I had not heard of Horse by Geraldine Brooks, although I realize now that I should be familiar with the author, since she won the Pulitzer Prize. Anyway, Horse sounds very good, I look forward to hearing how you liked it.

CLM said...

There are so many good books to read and I repeatedly ask my group not to pick brand new books that will have a long wait period at the library. However, those who only read one book a month (!) don't mind buying them, either hardcover or Kindle, whereas I buy a fair number of books but prefer not to purchase the ones I don't think I'd want to keep forever. We used to have a rule that the book group hostess got to pick the book for the following month but sometimes the hostess was so busy preparing that she forgot.

My group has read several books by Brooks - her best known is March, which is written from the perspective of Louisa May Alcott's father.

Deb said...

I found out about Emilie from Ethel, fellow NewBetsy, and have read a fair number of them.

Loved Brooks' book about the plague village, though I can't remember the name right now.