Monday, March 1, 2010

Some British reading, and a whiff of Spring

I wish I could post smells on this blog, to give you all a whiff of the jasmine that is blooming in my back yard. It almost overwhelms me when I walk out onto my back deck. I know my friends on the east coast could use a little of the beginnings of spring we are experiencing here in Los Angeles...

I won't blame the spring-like blooming (though it could be my allergies...), but for some reason I haven't been in the mood to read anything heavy lately. I've been testing the heft of Wolf Hall before I dive in, and I think it might need a little leavening, so I used up the last of my holiday gift cards to buy a couple of other English books, but in a lighter vein.

The lovely Litlove recently posted about Gervase Phinn's The Other Side of the Dale, and it sounded interesting to me, because I almost always like stories about British country or village life, and because Litlove said it was a "delightful and soothing sort of book", soothing being something I look for when I'm not in the mood for heavy. Phinn was a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales, so he's called (on the front cover) "the James Herriott of schools"--and since I have such fond memories of reading James Herriott's books when I was a child, this sounds like it's right up my alley.

Another lovely blogger, The Indextrious Reader, posted about an English novel called Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942, by Joyce Dennys, a re-issue done by the Bloomsbury Group, which sounded intriguing. It wasn't available until later in the month, so I picked out another of their reissues--one with a whimsical title: The Brontes Went to Woolworths, by Rachel Ferguson. It's about three sisters growing up in London in the 1930s, and that's about all I know about it, except that I like the purple cover, so I'll let you know if I actually like the book or not.

There are several other British books I've been meaning to get to, like Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked, Muriel Spark's Loitering with Intent, and Penelope Fitzgerald's The Blue Flower. More for the list!

One more photo for you, of the view from our front balcony, at sunrise:


Ti said...

It's been gorgeous in California and my jasmine is blooming too. I thought it died in the frost but it seems to be coming back to life.

I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to read Wolf Hall. I know that I am not up to it right now. I'm doing a lot of reading but my tastes are all over the place right now.

Jonita said...

I have to say that as a Northerner from Canada I am jealous of your signs of spring. We keep getting dumped on with snow up here, and when we're not getting dumped on it's melting all over the place and muddy-ing up my driveway (and of course, my kids, LOL)!

Parmer said...

Nice post! very interesting topic. You have not a bad mind your think is great....I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to read Wolf Hall. I know that I am not up to it right now.

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Hannah Stoneham said...

What an amazing view to have from your balcony. Here in France, we are getting over dreadful winds so the view from our house is mainly fallen down trees and ruined shutters right now!
Your list of books sounds great and I hope that you enjoy reading some of them alongside signs of spring. Wolf Hall is extremely good when you are in the mood for heft!
Happy reading!

litlove said...

Oh your jasmine looks beautiful - if only it were like that over here!

I really do hope you enjoy the Phinn - it was sweet and gently funny. I've been wanting to read those new Bloomsbury books with the pretty pastel covers - they are fiction candy, I think! And I keep picking up Wolf Hall and putting it down again (because my wrists hurt). Its time will come, I'm sure. :-)

Gentle Reader said...

Ti--I know, I was all revved up to read Wolf Hall, and then the actual prospect of opening it has been daunting!

Jonita--Hi, Santa buddy! Sounds like it's cold up there in the north these days--but at least you have real seasons. My kids have been managing to track in the mud also, because the yard is so wet. Oh well, every season has its drawbacks! I'm already starting to sneeze with the hayfever :)

Parmer--I agree, Wolf Hall is a little daunting at the moment!

Hannah--Sorry about the wind! We get Santa Ana winds here (warm winds like the sirocco) that blow down tree branches and are really a pain in the neck, so I understand!

litlove--I'm looking forward to the Phinn, as I need something fluffy and sweet right now--so thanks for your post! At some point I'll work up enough brain strength (and arm strength) to attempt Wolf Hall :)

Anonymous said...

I can almost smell those lovely flowers; spring, I am ready for you!

Dorothy W. said...

What a lovely bit of spring to see on your blog! Thank you for keeping my hope alive that spring is actually on the way. It's supposed to snow a little tonight, so I really need it.

Literary Feline said...

I love the smell of jasmine. I don't have any growing in my yard though unfortunately. It is raining as I type this, which is a welcome sight. Especially on the weekend when I can be home to enjoy it.

Light British fair seems perfect for the spring-like weather. I hope you enjoy your reading.

Gentle Reader said...

StephanieD--They smell heavenly, I wish I could bottle the scent!

Dorothy--Hope the snow, if it comes, is beautiful, and not a nuisance!

Wendy--I'm not a great gardener, but I did plant this jasmine, just for the smell! I'm enjoying both the rain and the light British reading :)