In which Jólabókaflóðið arrives a month early

New books.

In anticipation of shipping delays and supply issues, my husband suggested converting my wishlist into a few carts sooner rather than later. I like his thinking.

Since my last annotated list, I have read:

Glass Houses
Kingdom of the Blind
Two more mysteries by Louise Penny.

Cymbeline
All’s Well That Ends Well
Only three works remain in my quest to reread all of Shakespeare’s plays this year.

Oedipus Trilogy: New Versions of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone (Trans. Bryan Doerries; 2021. Drama.)
I celebrated the publication of this collection by reading along with the three related Theater of War events.

The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene; 1940. Fiction.)
For the Cardiff BookTalk.

Franci’s War: A Woman’s Story of Survival (Franci Rabinek Epstein; 2020. Non-fiction.)
For a Gross Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies Home program.

The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy; 1886. Fiction.)
With the folks behind the fabulous The Readers Karamazov podcast.

Faust (Goethe (trans. Margaret Kirby; 2015); 1808. Drama.)
My fall book group concluded last weekend.

The Inferno of Dante (Dante Alighieri (trans. Robert Pinsky; 1995); 1320. Poetry.)
With 100 Days of Dante.

What Happened to Paula: On the Death of an American Girl (Katherine Dykstra; 2021. Non-fiction.)
Related article here.

Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (Linda Lear; 2007. Non-fiction.)
This excellent biography satisfies one of my reading challenges.

Antique

Toy story.

It had been about two years since we had prowled the seemingly unending corridors of the antique mall, so we were comforted this weekend by how mostly unchanged its mood is, despite some vendor changes and a few empty stalls. While we sought treasure, a light snow fell — November on the prairie.

Briefly

Before I head to bed tonight, I will have reshelved Louis Menand’s The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War (2021) — review here. It moved up in my TBR stack when I registered for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Book Breaks event featuring the author. What an education — the book, of course, and the lecture. I am nearly through another Chief Inspector Gamache title (Louise Penny) and am keeping pace with the Tolstoy Together and 100 Days of Dante groups.

Other books I’ve recently read:

The Complete Tales (Beatrix Potter; 2002 edition. Fiction.)
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Kurt Vonnegut; 1965. Fiction.)
Two of my reading challenges were unmet in August: art and Vonnegut. Now only the Potter biography remains to complete the art category.

The Two Noble Kinsmen
Henry VIII
Pericles
Only five remain in my quest to reread all Shakespeare’s plays this year.

The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed (Wendy Lower; 2021. Non-fiction.)
Read prior to attending a virtual event at the Gross Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.

The Long Way Home (Louise Penny; 2014. Fiction.)
The Nature of the Beast (Louise Penny; 2015. Fiction.)
The Great Reckoning (Louise Penny; 2016. Fiction.)
These are not perfect books, but the world Penny has created and the people with whom she has populated it both interest and engage me.

The Push (Ashley Audrain; 2021. Fiction.)
Selected on a whim. Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011) covers the same territory far more compellingly.

The Optician of Lampedusa (Emma-Jane Kirby; 2016. Fiction.)
For a Cardiff Book Talk program.

Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert; 1857 (trans. Lydia Davis; 2010). Fiction.)
With my daughter prior to listening to the terrific podcast by The Readers Karamazov.

p. 77
But a woman is continually thwarted. Inert and pliant at the same time, she will struggle against both the softness of her flesh and subjection to the law. Her will, like the veil tied to her hat by a string, flutters with every breeze; there is always some desire luring her on, some convention holding her back.

Thursday, dark and rainy

New books.

It is the sort of dark, rainy morning that makes me want to ditch my routines and curl beneath a warm blanket with a mystery novel or true crime selection and a bowl of pretzels. I will, instead, finish my workout and practice my music.

And then curl beneath a warm blanket with a book.

Autumn

Image captured on Saturday’s walk at a conservation district.

The juncos have returned, and when my husband and I depart each weekday morning, only streetlights illuminate the sidewalks for the first mile of our walk. Autumn has arrived — as has rain, which, so sorely needed all summer, has greened the lawn for dormancy and duped the dying begonias into rebirth, even as the oaks bury everything in yellow and brown leaves.

Punctuated by long nights and scented by benign smoke and wet leaves, the period between first frost and December is my favorite part of the year. The furnace is pressed into service by 5 a.m., and I, now be-sweatered and -socked from rising until bedtime, begin yawning before 6:45 p.m., but the rest is a sort of everyday magic, from the perfect circles bored into the pumpkins by what I imagine to be a stout but agreeable-enough nocturnal animal to the prehistoric trumpeting of the sandhill cranes as they gather in ever-widening circles over our home before beginning their journey away from the prairie; from the slant of the afternoon sun on the living room floor to the color of the sky when I collect the mail; from best-of booklists to seasonal menus… I adore autumn.

What is your favorite season? Why?