Diana Athill recently died a the fabulous age of a hundred and one! In 1952 she established a publishing house and worked with authors who are now considered masters of their craft, Margaret Atwood, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, just to name a few, she remained in publishing for fifty years. Diana published her first book, the one I am reading, in 1962.
I had never heard of Diana Athill, until one day I was listening to a radio program called Last Word on BBC 4. Each week the program focuses on the lives of three or four influential individuals who have very recently died. Diana Athill sounded so interesting, so I used my library APP and found one of her books, put it on hold, and a week or so later am reading and enjoying it much.
I enjoy short story collections, there is something about the format of a short story, it has to be concise, the reader has to meet and understand the characters and whatever dilemma they are experiencing all within a few pages, and most importantly feel fully satisfied at the end. Diana Athill does this expertly.
Last week I ordered a used copy of Thornyhold, written by Mary Stewart. I paid $4.99 for my copy and that included shipping, what a deal. I have read this book several times over the years, it is a well written, entertaining story, and a nice little bit of escapism, something I need once in awhile. Another book I enjoy by Mary Stewart is Wildfire at Midnight, the copy I have is from 1977, I have read it countless times over the years. It is a love story and a murder mystery and takes place in the Isle of Skye. Mary Stewart is so good at setting a scene and describing the landscape that you almost feel as if you too have taken a trip the wilds of Scotland.
I plan to read Thornyhold in the next few weeks as I am t really ready for some escapism, a bit of a mind vacation for. I think the reason I like this book so much is because the setting seems like a sanctuary, a place I would love to go to, a place to restore and recharge myself. Or maybe it is mid-February and I am impatient for fair weather and more outdoor activities and am suffering from a little cabin fever.
My next book to read is a book of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy, Feminine Gospels, I heard about this book from a radio program where it was spoken highly of and sounded interesting, I have only read the first poem, but will get into the rest of the book once I have finished my current book. Poetry is a genre I have little experience with, but I plan to change this.
Every so often I peruse my bookshelves and decide that a few books have to go. This week I did just that, and selected about a dozen books that I either had no need for, or would not read again. Luckily the handful of people I work with all like to read and I take books that need new homes to the office, put them in the break room with a sign, "Free Books" and wait a few days, most find new homes to go to, and those that remain get donated to the Goodwill. I cleaned out the children's book shelf in my family room this week, putting very damaged, worn out books in the recycling bin, and sorting out age appropriate books to send home with grandchildren. The book shelf now looks tidy and organized again.
Well that is all,