Tuesday, 15 April 2014

New Books!!!

       At long last our winter is wearing away.  We have had several days above zero, and the snow was melting, melting away.....though we are due for some snow/sleet/freezing rain over night and tomorrow again.  The only way I've gotten through these last two weeks is by hunkering down and waiting out winter.     In case you think I am exaggerating, this is the picture of our park near my house, taken yesterday while out for my walk:
The river is slowly coming free of ice, though the shore line is still all iced up, as you can see in the distance behind the trees - that's the beach and river, still snow covered.  There are crocuses out, though that and some songbirds are the only real signs spring is coming. 

   I discovered one day a few weeks ago  while looking through a shelf, that I had a gift certificate from a local independent bookstore, Perfect Books, from Christmas that I hadn't used yet!  So I decided, in true book-lover fashion, that it was time to cheer myself up and use it.  My husband, who gave me the certificate, was shocked that I hadn't used it yet.  I had to remind him that for two months I didn't leave the house unless it was for work, we had so many viruses and illnesses and winter cold blahs - and if I am honest here, I was learning how to hibernate.  So I wasn't resenting being at home, I was learning how to slow down for winter time.

Tonight, after a lovely hour wandering the shelves, I bought three books using the gift certificate:  2123 by Kim Stanley Robinson, Wild Rice Dreams by Vera Wabegijig, and The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane.  Two weeks ago on a rare date night with my husband, I had bought the other three books included in the picture below:  The Reckoning by Jane Casey, Dying in the Wool by Frances Brady, and Written in Red by Anne Bishop.   Unpictured is a book I forgot to include in the picture:  Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman.

                                           

It was so lovely to be in Perfect Books  (link to their online site, in case you are curious) again.  I hadn't been in since before Christmas.  I really did hibernate all winter.  It is surprising how much I hid away, and how much I did enjoy it. I got plenty of reading done, not that you would know by my lack of book reviews here.  They will come!!  I am exited about my new books, and happy to be able to get out for walks again.  I love walking, and I especially love walking in nature.  Of all the books I  bought today, I am especially delighted by The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane.  I never dreamed I would find the book over here, and I've already peeked and loved it. 

     Sprinkled in the pages of The Old Ways are some of the thoughts of other walkers who were also creative writers, thinkers, artists.  History and quotes from books that talk about subject or history in the landscape that MacFarlane is wondering about, so this is like a long travelogue, a conversation we are having with (a very learned conversation!) him while he is out walking. 

 I have often thought and felt to myself that the best way, and the only way to really know a place, is to walk it, many times, over and from all sides, and in all light.  Slowly a place, the river, the houses, the trees, the light, reveals the spirit of the place that I am living in at that time.  I am forced to slow down, to breathe it in, to feel it with all my senses, and become part of it. MacFarlane writes about what he sees while walking these ancient pathways in the UK, with this kind of idea in mind, "the ideas and journeys which inspire and inhabit our imaginations" (from the quote on the back of the book).

 I also find that walking frees me up so that I often find lines of my poems coming to me, or thoughts I want to follow and think about. Sometimes I find myself looking at the landscape of Ottawa and wondering what it was like when it was all covered with huge pine trees, and only the Algonquin and Odawa peoples coming to mingle in the trading parties in the summer at their camps.  How wild this must have been then!  Somewhere underneath all the politics that goes with being a capital city, far below that artificial level, lies the spirit of the wilderness and the river that rushes by.
 MacFarlane decides to walk the old ways, the hidden roads and paths of the UK, and this book is how the landscape he saw moved him and showed him what our ancestors knew about walking the old ways.  It looks like a beautiful book and I look forward to getting to know the ancient paths of England through his eyes and imagination.

See?  Books really do cheer me up.

12 comments:

Alex said...

Have you read Jane Casey's earlier books? If not, I would recommend trying to get hold of them and reading them in order. As is so often the case, her main character grows with the series and you may want to follow her progress chronologically.

Kailana said...

It was 20 degrees here yesterday! I am so happy to finally have nice weather!

Susan said...

Alex: I've read one of her earlier books, the first one in the series. If there is a second one, I haven't seen it here, isn't this the second one?? I hope it is....Even Amazon isn't helping me with discovering the order of the series!

By the way, I read the Harry Bingham mystery Talking to the Dead last month, and have to review it - I really enjoyed it. Very different! And good.

Kailana: I know we got to 26 c yesterday! Now it's plummeted to well below zero, and snow on the ground :-( not much though.

Literary Feline said...

I have been hearing stories of winter making way for spring only to come back again. The temperatures here have been so up and down--but at least it's been spring-like through and through. But then, winter never really did settle in here.

How exciting to discover a gift certificate you'd forgotten about! It sounds like you chose very well. I hope you enjoy your new books!

The Old Ways sounds like a wonderful book.

raidergirl3 said...

I had the same 'spring' feeling today as the snow is finally melting and I saw crocuses today! It was glorious.

Enjoy your new books.

Librarything is a great place to check for order of series. Do you use librarything?

Cath said...

Love the sound of The Old Ways. Will go and investigate that one.

Having reading withdrawal at the moment as our grand-daughter is here staying and not much time to read. No matter, enjoying lots of book talk with her.

Enjoy your lovely new books.

Vintage Reading said...

Lovely post and how nice to find an unexpected book token!

anotherliz said...


Here’s the list of Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan titles and link to her page on Fantastic Fiction. I find that Fantastic Fiction is a great source for series information. Happy Spring! Liz

Maeve Kerrigan
0.5. Left For Dead (2013)
1. The Burning (2010)
2. The Reckoning (2011)
3. The Last Girl (2012)
4. The Stranger you Know (2013)
5. The Kill (2014)

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/jane-casey/

JaneGS said...

I'm a walker too, and I really enjoyed The Old Ways, although like you, I found I had to read it slowly in order to really appreciate it. I would love to do some of the walks described therein...on the bucket list for sure!

I also like to imagine the landscape I walk through as it was centuries ago--there's nothing like walking to make you feel connected to the earth and to the past.

Jane's Fame is also very good and a much quicker read than The Old Ways.

In a way, it's nice to save a gift certificate from Xmas for the spring when you really need some cheering up after a long winter!

Happy Earth Day :)

Susan said...

Literary Feline: I have been enjoying seeing you and Mouse play in the sun all winter long there! lol much sunnier and warmer than here, of course. We finally have little bits of green appearing on bushes and in the ground, so maybe, just maybe, spring is edging in now.

raidergirl3: We have crocuses here too! I love them, and always think I'll remember to plant them in the fall, and then forget. Such lovely purple and yellow colours, so bright after the snow!

I don't use librarything, I do try to use Goodreads when I remember about it. Is Librarything easy to join?

Cath: It is an interesting book. Sadly I've been unable to read much this month, a real reading slump. I'm not sure why, just can't get into anything. I hope you had a good Easter visit with your granddaughter, and how lovely you can talk books with her now!

Vintage Reading: It is a fun surprise! lol and I enjoyed spending it! :-)

anotherliz: Thank you! I sometimes use Fantastic fiction to find how series run, so thanks for this link to Jane Casey's books. I'm glad to see I did pick up number 3 which follows from the book I started with, The Burning. I'm not sure number 1 got here to Canada. Have you read the series?

Jane: I was delighted to find you are a walker too. I haven't started with a bucket list yet, mostly because my knee that I hurt three years ago is still very wobbly and they both have osteoarthritis, so I'm not able to do all the walking I want to do. I'd love to do the walk outside Whitby in Yorkshire, it's only 7 miles long. I like The Old Ways because he's trying to follow the ancient pathways, which you already know from reading it. Has it inspired you to go walking anywhere in the UK?

I am really looking forward to reading Jane's Fame. Sadly I have fallen into a reading slump, not sure why, since I have piles of books i want to get to! I just can't settle this month into anything.

Happy Earth Day to you too! It was pouring rain here all day, so I didn't get out for a walk though I did love the sound of the rain at last, after our long winter.

Alex said...

Susan the website you need is one called Fantastic Fiction. It gives you a list or just about every writer's books in publication order. I find it completely invaluable.

Susan said...

Alex: I occasionally remember to look at this site! If I can't find the book list on the writer's own website. I should just bookmark it, right? lol