Friday, 31 July 2020

Quick post on a lovely summer morning...

It’s still morning for a little bit longer, and I’ve been busy for the past couple of hours getting a number of chores and errands done before the start of the long weekend.  I’m now settling down with a cup of steaming chai and a delicious Date Bar to write a short post, as I still have so many things to do.  In the audiobook I’m listening to right now, one of the characters says that her mom always called May the “Friday of summer”.  Maybe that’s the case for the British school system, but it got me thinking about our summer holidays, and I would say that May is like a Thursday, when you are anticipating the weekend that is so close it feels as if it’s already begun.  June is the Friday of summer, when there are still things to be done but the partying has begun.  July is the Saturday of summer, when you feel like you’ve got so much time, and you try to pack in as much as possible, letting go of your weekday schedule, sleeping in, rushing around, getting things done, and staying up too late.  But August, which is right around the corner for us, is the Sunday of summer, when you already start thinking about going back to work or school the next day, and there is pressure to both get the rest of your chores and errands done and also to rest and relax before the busy-ness of the work-week begins.  *Sigh*... as you can probably guess, I’m feeling some pressure as July comes to a close.  But I think the “dog days of summer” are also over, as that term refers to the hottest days of the season, and this is something for which I’m very thankful.
Speaking of pressure, I’m feeling alot of book or reading pressure.  I have ten books checked out from the library and I haven’t read a single one yet.  I have thirteen books that I brought home from my school library with the intention of reading at least three, but as yet I haven’t read a single one.  I also ordered books for school and I have two that I wanted to read before I went back to work and added them to my collection, but they, too, sit unread.  I have 75 pages left in the book we are discussing for my next book club meeting in ten days, and I want to finish it today.  I also have two books sitting on my coffee table that I took off my own bookshelves because I want to read them.  And since I have subscribed to The New Quarterly magazine, which features new Canadian writing and is delivered, as you might guess, quarterly, I just received the newest edition… but I haven’t read the other three yet!  That was going to be another of my summer projects.  I don’t know where to begin, or how to whittle down the piles.
But enough of my whining.  I want to quickly tell you about an audiobooks I just finished listening to that was so outside my usual reading style that I’m amazed at how much I enjoyed it.  Alone in the Wild by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong is the fifth book in the “Rockton” series.  You may be familiar with her name from her “Otherworld” series, but she’s also written some children’s and Young Adult novels.  This series is set in Rockton, a small community in the Yukon wilderness, a community that no one knows exists and is made up of fugitives and criminals.  Outside of this isolated community are two Settlements, and beyond these are the Hostiles, or Wild People.  Since I’ve not read any others in this series, I don’t have the backstories of the town or the residents, but I could still follow the plot fairly easily.  When Homicide Detective Casey Duncan and Town Sheriff Eric Dalton go wilderness camping on a much-needed break from fighting crime in their town, the last thing they expect to find is a baby, but when Casey hears the unmistakable cry, she knows that this is no wild animal.  The cries lead her to a dead woman buried in the snow, and a baby tucked inside her jacket, still breathing and crying, but very, very young.  Their weekend away cut short, Eric and Casey bring the baby back to town, where they try to gather the supplies they will need to care for her until the mother is found.  Oh, I forgot to mention that no one under the age of eighteen is allowed to live in Rockton, so this poses a bit of a problem, but, being the resourceful people that they must be, living so far North and isolated from everything, the residents all rally together to help care for this infant.  Thus begins the investigation into the woman’s death and the search for the baby’s parents, which leads Casey and Eric further and further into the wilderness around their town.  There they learn about the inhabitants of the Settlements, as well as some of the practices of the Hostiles, all useful information, but will it be enough to solve the murder and find the parents?  I don’t want to get into any more details of this complex plot for fear of giving anything away, but I have to say that it was the type of audiobook that kept me walking a little bit further each day just so I could find out what happens next.  I can’t really classify this:  it was a thriller, a murder mystery, a bit of a western and a wilderness tale of pioneering and survival.  Casey was also a real-life fictional superhero, so we can throw in “superhero fiction” as a genre, too.  I know this sounds strange, and you might be thinking that it’s too far-fetched to be good, but Armstrong, somewhat of a writing superhero herself, manages to pull it off beautifully.  The narrator, Thérèse Plummer, really brought this story to life, and I wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much if I was reading the print version.  I’m curious enough about this series that I placed the first book on hold at the library (yes, another library book, and more reading pressure!), and will give that a try when it comes in.
That’s all for today.  It’s now officially afternoon, on the last day of July, on the Friday of a long weekend, and you’d think this would be a time to relax or at least do something fun, but there’s still so much I want to get done today… I guess I will make a list and tackle one or two of my tasks today, then a couple more on another day, and eventually they will all get done.  The first thing, though, is to finish my book!  Take care, stay safe and enjoy the long weekend!
Bye for now…
Julie

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