This Is the Strangest Feeling Spring Break Ever

Hi friends! I’ve decided to write something and reach out to my blog friends even if the bookish content is lower than usual. I am home today because this week is my son’s Spring Break; we had planned a staycation because we had planned a trip for later in the year. But things are changing so quickly I have no idea if this staycation will turn into a very long one for us or not. I just got a text saying that my son’s school is closed through March 31. I have no idea if our other trip will go on as scheduled or not, as it was planned for the end of the school year. As of today my library system is still open but we have closed all programs and public meetings for the next eight weeks. I am hopeful we will close to the public altogether, as many library systems across the US are doing. The situation is very fluid, as I imagine it is where you are.

What a time, huh? I hardly know how to process it. An introvert at heart, I have no problem practicing the advocated social distancing. I mean I might feel differently weeks from now, but for now I enjoy being home and puttering and doing Yoga With Adriene videos and taking a walk around the neighborhood. Other than work and groceries, we are not going out.

Are you able to read? I confess that my reading concentration is poor. But I’m still reading, slowly. And that’s okay. We don’t need to turn this weird time into “let’s be as productive as we can” time like we do with the rest of our lives. I am almost finished with my Classics Club book for March, Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner. It’s a good read for right now because it’s very soothing. Lots of nature, interpersonal relationships, beautiful writing. If I get a chapter or two read a day I consider that a win! Maybe if I could make myself turn off Twitter or The New York Times app, I’d be able to focus more on reading. I should set a time limit and stick to a “checking news” schedule. Yep, starting that now.

I mentioned daffodils and gardening in my last post. I took a picture of my daffodils the other day but they’re already starting to wither. They still look pretty though, so I’m sharing a picture. And another one of some beautiful trees in my neighborhood in bloom. We put some new dirt and turned over old dirt in my garden bed yesterday. I want to putter in my yard as much as I can the next few weeks. I’m so grateful we have a yard, a safe neighborhood in which to walk, and a park minutes away. So many people don’t enjoy those blessings.

Oh, have you started following Yo-Yo Ma on Instagram yet? I saw his post from Adriene (of Yoga With Adriene fame.) He’s highlighting what he calls Songs of Comfort in his stories and people from all over the world are playing their instruments beautifully. It’s refreshing for the spirit and lovely to see so many people joining in. And now I’ve discovered how much I like listening to Yo-Yo Ma!

Also, another soothing form of entertainment in the recent days is the British reality show The Repair Shop on Netflix. It’s half an hour long, and it’s relaxing and adorable. People bring in great-grandma Doris’s broken clock or vase or whatever and these funny, charming British people restore it. That’s it. It’s about as low-stakes as you can get and it’s completely delightful. I highly recommend it for soothing frayed nerves. Also, the Masterclass episodes of Great British Baking Show with Paul and Mary teaching how they make stuff also hits the soothing tv spot.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to for comfort the past few days? I gladly take all suggestions!

I’ll try to blog hop today and catch up. I hope you are all safe and able to stay home as much as you can. Sending love from Tennessee!

 

 

 

 

Sunday Afternoon Bookish Ramblings

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Big Reading Life Manor, and I think Spring is finally on its way. We’ve had a few sunny days here and there, enough to matter, and daffodils are blooming. On my walk in the park earlier today I noticed blossoms on the trees (don’t ask me what kind of trees, I don’t know) and that made me happy. I will seek out and clutch any tiny happy thing I can find these days, and being outside, blue skies, and new life blooming will definitely fit the bill. And as I’m writing this the ice cream truck just went past our house! That’s DEFINITELY a sign of Spring!

I got my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds yesterday. As usual I’ve purchased way more seeds than I have space in my yard for. But seeds are cheap and dreams are big, and who knows how crazy with planting I’ll get this year? It’s still about a month too soon to plant anything really, except maybe the peas (Tom Thumb, which are supposed to grow easily in pots) and the arugula (which I’ve never tried to grow.) I’m such a haphazard gardener but I’m a Master Yard Putterer.

What have I been reading lately? Well, I just finished Agatha Christie’s The Moving Finger, which is the fourth Miss Marple Book. Jackie @ Death By Tsundoku asked me a few weeks ago if I planned on reading ALL of the Agatha Christie novels, and until she asked me I don’t exactly think I had a plan to. But I was like, “Yeah, I think I DO want to read all of her novels!” And another reading goal is born. It will take me years, but that’s fine with me. There’s nothing like an Agatha Christie for fun escapism, if murder mysteries are your thing. The Moving Finger was good, about smutty anonymous letters being sent to virtually everyone in a small town, and the perilous aftermath of that. Miss Marple doesn’t even show up until 2/3 of the way through and that’s was fine with me, because I enjoyed the narrator, Jerry Burton, so much as a character. The thing a modern reader has to watch out for with Christie is that sometimes she’ll slide in a racist or homophobic line or two here and there, and it sort of jars you for a minute. I note them, think, “Yikes!” and move on, remembering that in 1942 things were different. On the plus side, it confirms how far we’ve come, right?

I listened to Colton Whitehead’s poker memoir The Noble Hustle through my library’s Libby app, and that was fun. He reads it himself and I liked his voice very much. A magazine paid him to enter the World Series of Poker and write about it. I’m not very interested or knowledgeable about poker, so the interest in this for me was mostly in learning more about one of my favorite authors. He’s funny! Darkly, cynically funny, and his main target is himself. I can see now why his fiction feels so cerebral sometimes… he freely admits to being someone who is “anhedonic,” unable to feel pleasure. Which is one reason he has such a good poker face – he’s “half dead inside!” This is the kind of sardonic humor Whitehead uses throughout the book. You get the impression that his glass is perpetually half empty but you can’t help but like him anyway. If you’re interested in this memoir I highly recommend listening to the audiobook.

Currently I’m reading Wallace Stegner’s 1987 novel Crossing to Safety for my Classics Club and Buddy Read with Rebecca and Smithereens. I’m about 40% through. I LOVE IT. That’s all I’ll say for now.

What’s up next? I’ve got a stack a mile high, as I’ve been going nuts putting library books on hold lately. It’s nice to have a lot to choose from, isn’t it? Besides the above stack I’ve got Ta-Nehisi Coates’s memoir The Beautiful Struggle, Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season, Ian Rankin’s The Hanging Garden, Claire Fuller’s Swimming Lessons, and my own purchased copy of Jenny Offill’s latest book Weather. I hardly know what to pick up next! Well, perhaps I should start with one of the Irish books seeing as how this is Reading Ireland Month and I haven’t even started, whoops!

How is everyone? Are we able to read with all the political news and coronavirus stuff going on? I know my concentration has been crap the past few weeks because of it. I hope you all are staying well and have a good tall stack of books to keep you company even if you aren’t. I hope to catch up on reading all of your blog posts soon. Be well and hold on – Spring is coming!