Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Books to help me recover

             I received a phone call three weeks ago. "Your date for surgery is Feb 14," the secretary said.  Feb 14!  Ever since then, I've been feeling anxiety build. I've been reading much less, and cleaning more.  Cleaning!  The floors are sparkling, the windows are clean (on the one warm weekend day we had since New Year's), and tonight the stove top is shining.  I wish I could settle and read, but I'm not able to.   It's gall bladder surgery, so not super serious, but still - any abdominal surgery is a frightening prospect.

    I haven't bought many books, surprisingly, for my recovery.  I still have a stack of mysteries, biographies, and assorted science fiction and fantasy to read - a huge towering pile, to be honest.  So I didn't want to buy a lot.  However, there was absolutely no way I was facing surgery without something  sparkling and brand new to cheer me up when I get home from the hospital.  With any luck it will be day surgery only, and I will be in and out the same day.  I will be on pain meds for the first several days after, and not able to do much.  What better than to have a stack of dvds ready to hand, and, even better, new books to read that are so new that I am still at the  'picking up and admiring that they are mine ' stage still?


Reading the Pre-Raphaelites by Tim Barringer was a splurge at the National Gallery of Art, the first book bought to cheer me up,  two weeks ago.  It has some lovely paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites that I have never seen before.  Along with that, I found to my wondering gaze that our Art Gallery also had a book on the Tate paintings, Introducing the Pre-Raphaelites by Jason Rosenfeld. 

This has larger pictures of paintings, plus houses, photographs, and a bit on the lives of the Pre-Raphaelites.  I have been hard-pressed to not sneak more than a glance at these books since they came home, but I have promised myself they are for my recovery, so they are mostly unread still.  At the least, if I am very uncomfortable, I can just gaze at the art and forget where I am for a little while.
I also found at the Art Gallery a little book on the life of Charlotte Bronte for $6.99:  The British Library writer's lives: Charlotte Bronte, by Jane Sellars. 

 Again this is mostly a photograph book of places she lived and a brief history of her life. I love Yorkshire and miss it very much, and the pictures in this book will go a long way to soothing me and bring up memories for me.  I went to Haworth when I lived in England in 2000.  I loved seeing the village and the house where Charlotte and her sisters grew up and lived on and off as adults.  Seeing that bleak and wild beauty that Yorkshire is famous for, helped me understand how the sisters could write such wild passionate books. So even though not a big book, I think it will help soothe me over the coming days.
I did buy two other books last Friday, two mysteries.  I was out with one of my friends from work, and she was raving about a new-to-us series by a Canadian writer she had just found out about from another co-worker.           

 So I bought one of Ian Hamilton's books, The Water Rat of Wanchai, the first one in the Ava Lee series.  She is supposed to be a little like Lucy Liu, and is a forensic accountant.  It looks like great fun, and she gets to travel all over the world, so even though I will be house-bound for the first week or more, I can still go places in my books.

The other book I bought was one that I'd been thinking about for a couple of weeks:  Now You See Me, by S.J. Bolton.  I heard that S.J. Bolton's first Lacey Flint mystery features  a copycat killer to Jack the Ripper, and is very good according to Kay at Purple Sage and Scorpions, here.  Since her review of SJ Bolton, I have read Blood Harvest, and been looking and thinking about Now You See Me.

 I broke down and bought it, because so far every book I've read by Bolton has been intriguing, absorbing, a bit thrilling, mysterious, and with good characters.  I'm really looking forward to this in the next couple of weeks.

Jack the Ripper seems to be making a come back in the past few years - Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star is an eerie take on the history - I first mention it here., still have to do a review. (I feel very badly about this, the book is very good!). 'Ripper Street' on tv is a new show from the UK set in Whitechapel the year after Jack the Ripper killed his victims. I am enjoying it. 

So, there you have it.  I broke the Double Dare Challenge, as the surgery date was so unexpected.  I thought it would be much later in the year.  I do intend to keep to this challenge in the weeks around the surgery/recovery period, but for two weeks while I recover, I think that sparkly new books are just the thing this bookworm needs to recover.  Don't you?

Have you read any of these?  Can you recommend anything for the next few weeks?  I will let you know that all went well as soon as I can after Thursday.


Arabella said...

Wishing you all the best with the surgery, at least you have some great books for recovery. Love the Pre- Raphaelite ones. I Have Fiona MacCarthy's biog of Burne-Jones on the shelf awaiting my attention, I am sort of saving it up. I read her biog of Morris last year and absolutly loved it.
I know what you mean about Northern England, my favourite also, and the Brontes. Best wishes.
Arabella (@genteel arsenal)

Geranium Cat said...

We've just started watching Ripper Street last night - seems quite good, doesn't it?

I shall be thinking of you tomorrow, hoping everything goes well and you aren't too uncomfortable afterwards. Hope you enjoy all those books, what a good idea to stock up on nice things to help you recover. Love and hugs, Jodie

Anonymous said...

Susan, my hopes that your surgery goes well. I had this surgery almost 20 years ago now. You'll get through it. Remember, low fat afterwards. :-)

And, I can recommend the sequel to NOW YOU SEE ME. It's called DEAD SCARED. Just sayin'....LOL.

Stefanie said...

I hope your surgery goes well Susan and your recovery quick and uncomplicated!

Cath said...

I have Reading the Pre-Raphaelites on my wish list at the moment. Also have a book by S.J. Bolton which I think I may have got from one of Kay's book draws. Not sure of the title now but I must read it this year if the author is *that* good.

Recommendations? Well, I'm currently reading Full Dark House, the first Bryant and May book by Christopher Fowler, and it really is very good indeed.

You take care.

Susan said...

Thank you everyone for your wishes and kind thoughts and hugs. Fingers crossed for tomorrow :-)

Arabella: Thanks so much! I've been eyeing the MacCarthy book too, it's on my wishlist. I've heard the MOrris is excellent as well. They are really thick books, so I won't be able to lift them for a week or so! lol But they do look good, don't they?

It's lovely to hear from you, by the way. I'm so glad you are around.....I just went an checked. When did you start the new blog??? You're back!!! hurray!

Geranium Cat: Ripper Street is fun. Different, dark, and an interesting mix of characters. The third episode is very good. I wondered if anyone there was watching it too :-)

Thank you. I am thinking ahead to when I'm home again, hopefully tomorrow early afternoon. Two weeks to read! lol :-)

Kay: So many people I know have had this surgery! I am as comfortable as one can be going into it, I think. Mostly I focus on coming home later tomorrow, and it being all over.

I know you read Dead Scared too and also really liked it :-) I was taking it one book at a time! lol

Stefanie: thanks so much :-) I hope the same thing, too!

Cath: ooh, do you? Well, if we ever get to finish Morville Hours (and I really want to soon) then maybe we could take a year to do Reading the Pre-Raphaelites together! lol You didn't get to the exhibit at the Tate this last fall, did you? It was awesome, or so some certain bloggers have written about. I really wish I could have seen it.

Full Dark House is fun! I read it two years ago, have book 2 and book 7 on that leaning tower of books. I quite enjoy the detectives and how they relate to each other.

Debi said...

I so hope the surgery and recovery go as smoothly as possible, Susan!!! I had mine out several years back, and believe me...if you've been having gall bladder attacks, you're going to be grateful just to have the darn thing out of there, despite the fact that it takes surgery to make it happen! :P Enjoy the down days to relax, and do take care of yourself, dear lady!!! *hugs*

Susan said...

Debi: Thank you so much. I'm on day 3 of recovery, and starting to feel better. No one ever tells you that after the surgery, it will be so uncomfortable....and yet am very glad it is all over and out of me. Thank you for the hugs too :-) and I am starting to be able to read again! so resting as much as I can. *hugs* back.

Cath said...

No, I didn't get to the exhibition at the Tate, we don't find London that easy to visit these days, sadly. But we're off to Cardiff again next month and plan to revisit the museum there where they have several Pre-Raphaelites and other wonderful paintings for me to enjoy.

I wasn't surprised that you'd already read Full, Dark House. I need to be more aware that our tastes are so similar it's quite likely anything I read you've already read, or have on your tbr pile. LOL.

Kailana said...

Enjoy your books!

Susan said...

Cath: LOL! You are so right, we do have much of the same taste in books! It would be fun to visit each other's libraries/houses (and each other too!) one and compare what we have in them :-) and borrow of course! lol

I hope you have another lovely trip to Cardiff, you know we get to benefit from the photos you post! :-) Which Pre-Raphaelites do they have there?

Kailana: I am! I haven't read any of them yet, I've been reading others, some surprising me, though I'm treating myself to whatever catches my fancy each day :-)

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