I've heard a rumor that fall has officially arrived. Is that true? You wouldn't know it by the weather we've been having, which is almost more akin to early August than late September. It might even be a stretch to call it Indian Summer. Even the nonstop rain we've had for the last few days (drenched once, sprinkled on several times and my umbrella is well and truly kaput) doesn't make it feel fall-like--too humid for that. I shouldn't be complaining as I know what it will be like in the winter months, but I am ready to for long sleeves, maybe a light sweater (dare I say even a little bit of flannel . . .), curling up on my rocking chair under a blanket with a cup of coffee next to me and something pumpkin-y to snack on and most importantly with a book in hand.
I may not be able to do anything about the weather, but it is going to be a quiet weekend for me, and I hope to get in a little extra reading time. I know I say that every weekend, but usually it is only wishful thinking. It just might come true this weekend if I make a plan for myself. I've even started doing laundry early in anticipation of holing up in my bedroom for a little peace and quiet.
On the reading agenda? I think I might just finish Andrea Japp's Lady Agnes Mystery--volume one to be precise, which is subtitled "The Season of the Beast and the Breath of the Rose". It is a hefty book with more than 500 pages and a setting of 14th century France. I want to tell you all about it, but I think I will wait and do it properly next week. The kind folks at Gallic Books passed this one on to me and it was a lovely favor as I have thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I already have (again, thanks to Gallic Books) volume two at the ready. I do think I will take a small break between books and read something short and quick for a little variety before returning to Medieval France. Who would have thought such a massive literary mystery could be so very engaging?
I can't promise I will (finally) finish The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, but I am down to those last hundred pages. I still don't quite know how I feel about it all except I am once again thinking Gilbert Osmond is a loathsome man. Isabel is such an interesting character. So many suitors, and here she said she would remain independent yet she marries Gilbert. I am not giving anything away by telling you that the marriage has not been particularly happy and not much of a success. And now Isabel is trying to convince her stepdaughter to marry the man her father selects despite not being in love with him. He has a title and more money. But maybe she has more up her sleeve since the man Pansy really does love has asked for Isabel's help in trying to make a match and he has agreed to do what she can. I'm not entirely sure where it is all going, but I have so far stopped myself from reading those last few pages as I am beginning to get anxious about it all.
So I have tentatively decided my next mystery will be the next book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie King (though I reserve the right to change my mind at the last minute). Now that the end is in sight with Henry James, which classic will I pick next? I have been leaning heavily towards something by Ivan Turgenev. Maybe I should pick something 20th century? Maybe something along the lines of Barbara Pym or Rose Macaulay? So, technically they are not exactly "Classic" authors in the sense that Turgenev is, but . . . Or I could pick up a John Galsworthy novel--a long time ago I had started reading the Forsyte Saga and am ready for the second book. Or maybe something by Willa Cather as she is always good. Or, maybe, Virginia Woolf's Orlando? Or completely different--I have a YA novel by Maud Hart Lovelace sitting on one of my book piles. Perhaps I am getting a little ahead of myself and will attend to Isabel's problems first.
I think Edgar Allen Poe will figure in my ghost/short story reading this weekend. I have a couple of stories picked out and ready to go. I have a little catching up to do with my New Yorker reading, though I am not too far behind. I have been reading the stories but not writing about them. Sometimes they are hard to write about and sometimes I wonder if anyone even has an interest in them and I should even bother to continue mentioning them here--unless something strikes me as being unusual or especially wonderful.
It's always a question with me whether to spend lots of time with just one or two books or to dip into several and spend a while with three or four. I have a feeling I will want to have a little variety in my reading, so I will likely spend some time with my current RIP read, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, which has an interesting premise--a serial killer who can time travel and commits his crimes before going back and forth through time. It is a slowish start though I have high expectations since the blurbs were all so praiseworthy.
For a little heavier and more serious read I have been reading My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege. Teege's mother is German and her father Nigerian, but she was given up for adoption as a small child. She is stunned when she happens upon a book written by her biological mother trying to reconcile the fact that her father was one of the most notorious Nazis during the war and her mother his mistress. So Teege is thrown into a state of depression as she discovers her grandfather would have had no qualms killing her as she is of mixed parentage--not only a black woman but having lived in Israel she speaks Hebrew. It is fascinating reading, but some of the anecdotes she shares are really quite painful.
I'm hoping to spend lots of time this weekend with these books and will be writing about at least one of them more fully next week.
What will you be reading this weekend?