Spring Sprung Titles

What to say about April? I ran my fastest 10k while ill (go figure). I met two new runners and may have convinced someone to at least try. I don’t know where this acceptance to run with others is coming from. To share a conversation I had with someone: I asked where she runs. She replied she doesn’t have my pace, “nowhere near it” were her exact words. I answered I don’t have that pace all the time either. Me & my pace visit from time to time but we don’t make it a thing. She laughed and I saw myself ten years ago talking to someone who face-times with friends while running. I worried about her relationship with pace. But, this blog is turning into a thing different from reading.

So, without further ado, here are the finished books:


  • Diplomatic Lover by Elsie Lee – read in one day
  • Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez – read in two days
  • Celibate Season by Carol Shields and Blanche Howard – read in four days (this book annoyed me and I kept having to put it down)


  • Lost Upland: stories of the Dordogne Region by W.S. Merwin – confessional: DNF (bored, bored, bored)
  • Coming into the Country by John McPhee
  • Henry James: the Untried Years by Leon Edel
  • Another Part of the Wood by Kenneth Clark – this was cheeky!

Series continuations:

  • “F” is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton (I’m calling this a continuation even though I read “A” a long time ago.)
  • Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (AB + print so I could finish on time – today!)
  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves – another quick read (finished in four days)

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul

Henry James: the untried years

Edel, Leon. Henry James: the Untried Years 1843 – 1870 (Volume 1). Philadelphia: J B Lippincott, 1953.

Reason read: to honor the birth month of Henry James, born April 15th, 1843.

Henry James: the Untried Years is, for lack of a more appropriate description, the beginning of Henry James. It chronographs the James family origins (briefly) and covers the first twenty seven years of the writer’s life. Several pieces of trivia I picked up from this volume were of interest. I did not know the writings of young Henry James’s and those of his father’s were often confused, especially when they wrote for the same publication. It irked the younger James so much so that after his father’s passing he made sure everyone knew he was dropping the “junior” part of his name. But, by the same token James Sr had misgivings about artists in general which was  a shame considering one son wanted to be a writer while another thought his true vocation was one of an artist.
Edel also does a great job giving the reader a sense of place. Young James was a well traveled youth, but the Hudson area of New York was not only a place of family roots but it gave young James his first important hero. Newport, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts are two other very influential American geographic locations. When James finally starts “trying” his years Italy and France become major influences as well.

As an aside, James’s description of George Eliot made me think of my father-in-law. Surely, “magnificently ugly”, “deliciously hideous” and “monstrously beautiful” all have a similar ring? Two were from James and one was from Jim.

Author fact: One of the most fascinating things about Leon Edel is that he had already mapped out how the James biography was to be written practically in its entirety before he wrote a single sentence. He stated that “his [James] was a large life and it requires a large canvas” (p 10). Another interesting fact is that had Edel lived just four more days he would have made it to 90 years old.

Book trivia: Volume 1 contains eight illustrations. What is nice about Edel’s edition is that he takes the time to give more information about these illustrations. For example, the photographs on page 193: Edel includes an explanation of when the photo was taken, what James was writing at the time & even James’s opinion of the photograph.

Nancy said: Nancy said if you want to learn the most about James then you can’t do better than Edel. She called his five-volume set “magnificent” (p 144).

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Literary Lives: The Americans” (p 144).

April Snow Job

As we move into April I am not confident we won’t get another 26″ snow storm. If we ever joked in the past about not being able to predict the weather, now it is impossible. It’s no laughing matter. My rose bushes, right now struggling under the weight of frozen water, could tell you that. But never mind the weather. Let’s talk about the month of April. April is another 10k for cancer. I’m hoping to break the hour time since I was five seconds away in March. April is also Easter. April is my sister’s birth month. April is also books, books and more books…of course:


  • ‘F’ is For Fugitive by Sue Grafton ~ in honor of Grafton’s birth month. Technically, I should have read all the “alphabet” books by Grafton one right after the other, but I didn’t have that system when I read “A” is for Alibi. I think it goes without saying I do now.
  • The Diplomatic Lover by Elsie Lee ~ in honor of Lee’s birth month. I am not looking forward to this one even though it looks like a quick read.
  • A Celibate Season by Carol Shields ~ in honor of April being Letter Writing Month. This is so short I should be able to read it in one sitting.


  • Henry James: the Untried Years (1843 – 1870) by Leon Edel ~ in honor of James’s birth month. This first volume chronicles James’s childhood and youth.
  • Coming into the Country by John McPhee ~ in honor of the Alaska trip I’m taking in August.

Series continuations:

  • The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons ~ this is to finish the series started in January, in honor of Science Fiction month. I liked Endymion the best so I have high hopes for The Rise of Endymion. I am listening to this on audio and reading the print because I know I will never finish the 575+ pages by April 30th.
  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves ~ this is to finish the series started in January, in honor of Shetland’s fire festival, Up Helly Aa. This is another one I should be able to finish in a day or two.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul

Extra (for fun):

  • Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara- ~ my sister sent this in my belated birthday package. Whatever she recommends I usually end up liking whether it be music or books. For those of you who really know me – I know what you’re thinking. Yes, my birthday was in February. I got the birthday package over a month later. It’s what we do.

If there is time (since three books are really, really short):

  • Another Part of the Wood by Kenneth Clark ~ in honor of National Library Week
  • The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez ~ in honor of April’s Mathematics, Science and Technology Week
  • Lost Upland by WS Merwin ~ in honor of well, you know the song…April in Paris. Cheesy, I know.