Sunday 22 December 2013

Book talk on an icy, powerless Sunday morning

The power has been going off and on since about 6:30 this morning, for stretches anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours, due to the ice storm we had last night.  As I was deciding when to get out of bed, I was thinking of all the things I would not be able to do with no power.  I couldn’t make tea, or cook, or make Date Bread, and the only kind of oatmeal I could make for breakfast would be the instant kind with hot tap water (too disgusting to contemplate!).  I knew I also could not access the internet, but since I write a draft of my post in a word document first, I could work on my post.  Hurray!  And, without power, I could still read, if that is what I chose to do.  So this has served to remind me of the wonder and simplicity of the printed book – no electricity or batteries required, I don’t have to charge it before I use it, and it can offer me endless hours of cheap entertainment.  At least, during one of the brief periods when the power was on, I made tea, so it is steeping even as I write, and I will enjoy a cup or two soon (I was not looking forward to anything I could concoct using a tea bag and hot tap water!)

I am a third of the way through Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, and I’m really enjoying it.  I hope to finish it by Christmas Day, at which time I plan to move on to my next book club selection, Annabel by Kathleen Winter.  The Atkinson book features Jackson Brodie once again, as a not-quite private investigator, but more of a soft-touch when it comes to women in need.  This time, he is travelling around England and Wales (I think he is avoiding Scotland due to some past negative experiences there) visiting old church ruins and abbeys, when he saves a dog from an abusive owner and takes on a case involving the search for the birth parents of a woman now living in New Zealand, a woman who is a friend of a friend of an acquaintance of Brodie’s former girlfriend, Julia.  In a parallel story, Tracy Waterhouse, a retired police detective who is now head of security at a shopping centre, makes an impulsive purchase that changes her life.  Somehow, Brodie’s case and Tracy’s situation are connected, through those six degrees of separation that apparently link us all to one another.  The story is jumping around quite a bit, and I’m not sure I would be enjoying it or even understanding it at all if I wasn’t familiar with the first three books featuring Brodie, as the same characters pop up, and situations from previous books are mentioned liberally throughout this novel.  What I find amazing about Atkinson’s books is that they cross genres seamlessly.  They can appeal to mystery lovers because they present complex mysteries that involve not only the present case, but unsolved mysteries from decades before that somehow shed light on the current event.  They would also appeal to those who enjoy general fiction titles that explore the human condition.  Her books feature characters that are both complex and sad, yet they ultimately confirm life’s purpose and lift the reader’s spirit.  I have not read her other general fiction titles, including Behind the Scenes at the Museum and her current bestseller, Life After Life, but I would highly recommend the books in the Jackson Brodie series.  If you haven’t read any of them yet, I recommend you start with the first one, Case Histories, in order to get full value out of the later ones.  Be prepared for some quirky characters and some life-affirming events.

I would write more, but because there is no power, there is no heat on in the house, so I’m going back to snuggle under the covers with my book and my cup of tea until things get back to normal.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas! 

Bye for now…

PS It's now 12 hours later, and the power just came back on.  I didn't get any reading done this afternoon, unfortunately, but I'm so very thankful for electricity and heat!!  Happy Holidays, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro!!

1 comment:

  1. Close friends just left us after visiting for a few delightful hours.. She left me a book to help while away the hours should we have another 35 hour "power blackout".. Simply I could not wait and started reading NOW.. Maybe you will do a review ..its entitled "OLD CITY HALL" by Robert Rotenberg .. Your book reviews I find so informative and helpful especially prior to purchase...
    Keep up the good work.
    Bob n Heather