Sunday, 26 June 2011

Missed You All

I have been gone from here much longer than I expected, my dear Gentle Blogging friends.  I thought I was handling this year quite well, coping with my knee injury and the death of my friend David.  Then my son was hospitalized at the end of April for a skin infection, and I found myself doing what I always do when I am under severe stress:  I start reading voraciously.  I plunged headlong into so many good books over the past two months, and slowly, as it always does with me, all the emotions I was putting off feeling, started to surface.  I'm not sure why it works this way with me, I have just always been so very glad that I can read, and have this outlet. I think reading has kept me sane for many, many times through my life, and this was one more added to the tally.  Thank you, books!

So I have been busy reading.  I've also been busy in my garden, a tremendous relief and another healing sanctuary for me.  I love growing flowers, and spend many happy hours in my garden in our growing months up here in Canada.  I was tremendously worried with my torn knee cartilage if I would get in the  garden at all this year, and I am thrilled to say I can.  It's not always graceful since I can't kneel yet, but I can sort of half lower myself closer to the ground so I can dig holes for planting, and weed. So between my garden and my books, and my family, I am starting to feel much less overwhelmed with everything. 
A fairy in my garden. 

I was really unable to do anything for about two months, and looking back, I see what a shock it was to me to suddenly be so helpless.  I don't do helpless very well.  I like being independent and not needing any help, and it was so hard to only be able to go to work and come home by car.  No bus. No shopping for groceries or anything else we needed.  It forced me to really feel shut in and shut down while I waited for my knee to heal. 

What I did find was that I suddenly wanted to read all the good books I'd been saving, now.  No more waiting and doling them out to myself once in a while.  I decided to read all the latest by my favourite authors, if I had the books already.  And since I've been able to take the bus again, since the end of May, a month now, I've been on one long book-buying spree.  Every week I've been picking up books.  I love it!  I feel set free!  I can't carry very much, and my knee is nothing like strong enough yet, but it is getting better.  I can even do my walks again, and am up to a mile and a half every morning.  I love being in nature, and hearing the morning sounds and seeing the green light of day and just being where it's quiet and me alone, is tremendously powerful and healing for me.  In every way I can, I've been taking care of me during this horribly long spring, and my family have been wonderful and helping, even the kids, to pick up their belongings since I can't really get to the floor all the time.

I've missed you all.  I want to thank you for waiting so patiently for me to come back here.  I really want to thank you for all the books you talk about on your blogs, because over the past three months, I've either read or picked up books because you read them first and loved them:

Bybee, because of your post last year - OMG, I just checked, it was 3 years ago!! - because of your post three years ago about this book, I finally, finally found a copy just this week, and picked it up:  my very own copy of The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson.  ***It helped that there was a little blurb that Stephen King named him one of his important influences on him. ****It does look really good.

Mariel,(***I think it's you.) because you said once that I should check out this series: Alison Croggan's The Books of Pellinor Series, I now have all four books, having found the last two earlier this week.  ***just discovered that Andi at Andilit has read the first one, here.

Kay at Home Girl's Book Blog:  because you said that Louise Penny's The Brutal Telling was better than The Murder Stone, for my birthday I read The Brutal Telling.  You were right.  It was far better than The Murder Stone.  Dark, really dark and disturbing and mournful mystery.  Thank you!

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, thank you for talking about Peter Temple.  I read The Broken Shore last week, and it was amazing.  I ran out and bought the sequel, The Truth, halfway through reading The Broken Shore.  I also have to thank you for talking about The Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey last year, because of that post I have started reading the Peter Diamond series from the beginning.  I really enjoy this series. I just bought Skeleton Hill, which I think I will have to read out of sequence since I can only get two books in the middle from the library. 

I will be reviewing these and others read over the past 7 weeks of silence from me. Someone read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi  - Nymeth? why do I think it's you? here, or Bybee, here, or Chris, here -  in the past year or so ****2008!  three years ago!  See?  mention books, and sooner or later we find them..... and maybe all of you convinced me I could try it, and I finally did during this month of awesome books I read.  It was.  Awesome.  It made me cry, and laugh, and look at my Turkish and Iranian neighbors in a new light.  A Companion To Wolves (amazing! brilliant! and I've felt like a wolf ever since), The Janus Stone (creepy, why does Ruth keep going to the site at dusk and putting herself in danger?  love that she's unwed and pregnant), and so many others.

I'm not quite at my count for 50 books half-way through this year, but I'm close - at 45, and trying to convince myself I can read a book a day over the next week so I can catch up.  I am going to get to 100 books this year!

Here's hoping that all of your springs has been good to you.  I will be coming to visit many of you over the next few weeks to catch up, and say hi.  It's good to be back, and talking with you about books.


Anonymous said...

Susan! I've wondering where you'd gotten off to, but many of us tend to take some breaks from blogging, scheduled or unscheduled. I'm glad to hear that you have been reading a lot. Also glad that you're able to enjoy your garden again. I totally understand what you mean about reading being a comfort, an escape, a solace. It is for me too and it's amazing how much I need it at certain times of my life. Glad you are feeling better and here's a virtaul hug for you {--}! Take care.

Chrisbookarama said...

It's good to see you back! I hope your knee stays healed and everyone keeps healthy. It must have been great to have an excuse to read though (wish it was for happier reasons).

animewookie said...

Welcome back :D We all need to take a step back once and a while. Glad everything is getting back on track for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure immersing yourself on good books helped not a little. I'm glad you were able to take pleasure during a difficult time. Welcome back!

Kathleen said...

Good to see you back and to hear that you are doing better. I'm jealous of all of the reading you have been doing. It sounds like you've discovered some great reads.

Eva said...

I was just wondering if you were ok! Sorry to hear about your son, but I'm glad you've been reading and gardening. :)

mariel said...

Glad to hear you are doing better Susan. Hope that knee heals up soon so you can get back to attacking the garden with vigour! (I'm working on mu first veg patch and its a bit overwhelming sometimes!)

I did indeed recommend the Books of Pellinor for some great fantasy escapism with really wonderful characters. I do hope you love them too. And Persepolis is a truly unique and moving read...enjoy!

All the best xx

Susan said...

Kay: Thanks for the hug! Yes, it is amazing how much we need reading sometimes, isn't it?

Chris: Thank you :-) Oh yes, it has been great to read and no one is complaining about nothing getting done! lol My husband is great and really stepped up, I'm very lucky. He gets mad when I do too much because my knee always gives me away.

animewookie: thank you so much! So am I, it's such a relief to have some things getting to normal again.

StephanieD: Thanks! wait until you see the list of books I read! I hope to tempt you with some of them :-D

Kathleen: Usually I'm the one jealous of others for their reading, so it's a change to hear this said to me! I'm sad it took a knee injury to get me to read so much (and not watch movies etc instead), and I plan on keeping it up. It's been wonderful to read so much. And like with Stephanie, I hope to tempt you.....

Eva: we were lucky with Graham, he had cellulitis and we caught it before it developed into something worse. I've been taking some time to recover, though as you know I have checked in once in a while. Thanks for wondering about me!

Susan said...

Mariel: oh yes, since we had record rainfall on Friday, and such a wet spring, weeding is a constant. I love my garden and i hope you enjoy the results of your veg patch! what are you growing?

I'll let you know as I start reading the Pellinor books, they do look very good. I would never have found them without you! Persepolis was amazing, I'm so glad I read it.

Chris said...

Susan!! I was just worrying about you a couple of days ago. It's so good to hear from you!! I'm so sorry to hear about all of the mess that's happened :( Hope your son is doing well now. Oh I'm so with you on books and gardening just being total solace. I'm SO in love with your little fairy girl!!! I want one!!! *hugs*

Cath said...

It's so nice to see you back, Susan. You've had a rough year of it but it's good that you've been able to find solace in books and now your garden. I hope the worst is now behind you and you can set about enoying the summer in your garden... and lots of books of course! LOL.

Lots of good recs in your post so I'll be looking those up either this morning or when we get back from our short break later this week. (Wonder how many books I'll come back with. ;-))

Emily Barton said...

I love the fairy in your garden. It almost inspires me to rethink my aversion to gardening. So glad you're on this side of all the darkness and that you're healing well. I'm like you: when the going gets rough, I retreat into books. I loved Persepolis (all her books I've read, actually) and glad you so enjoyed that one. I'm not at my goal of 50 books halfway through the year, either, but I'm working on that 100 for the year nonetheless.

Stay well and enjoy all the reading.

Gavin said...

I'm so glad your back! Sometimes things happen, life overwhelms a bit and we need a break. Can't wait to read about some of the books you've read!

Daphne said...

So nice to "see" you again! What fun to be going through all those books at a good pace. It's nice to have a reward after all you've been through. I hope you continue to heal well. Sending hugs.

Susan said...

Chris: Hello to you too, my friend! I know you've been in a slump too. I love reading about your garden too. Now that I know you all love my fairy, I'll post some more pictures of who is in my garden :-)

Cath: you haven't seen my reccs yet! I have like 20 of them! lol Yes, it's been good to get into my garden, so good that I could do some work in it. I still can't kneel, but just being in the plants helps. where are you going for your break? I'll have to check and see.....

Emily: lol! a reason to get into garden, so you can have fairies in it! You always find a way to make me laugh. Persepolis was amazing, wasn't it? and yes, I'm working to that 100 books read total too. Have you still kept to your promise to take the summer off?

Gavin: How was Neil Gaiman? never mind me, I want to hear how his reading went! lol Thank you, and I'm glad to be back too.

Daphne: thank you so much. It has been nice to do all that reading - better than nice, I have a really satisfied and contented feeling now! lol

Molly said...

Hello dear Susan!

I have been out of the blogosphere for quite some time as well, so I apologize that I had no idea of your knee surgery or your son's hospitalization. I am glad that everyone has pulled through however, and I hope that we can both keep in touch throughout the summer.

I wish that I could handle stress by reading books. Unfortunately, I tend to turn inward and just churn over events in my mind until I am numb. I think I am over that hump, though, and plan to start reading again before school starts.

Susan said...

Oh Molly, I'm just glad to see you around here, you have had such a hard year with your mother passing. I wish I could do more than send you a virtual hug!