Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 354-360

I’m afraid to say this out loud (or to type it), but it feels like spring is coming. As is typical, we’ve had all the weather in the past few days. Well, maybe not all. We didn’t have snow. Or hurricanes. Luckily, the weather report is showing more sun than rain the next week, so fingers crossed that winter will soon be behind us.

In other good news looking ahead, I found out that I’ll be eligible to get the vaccines no later than March 29th! Of course, being eligible and actually getting the vaccine are two different things. But, I’ve been trying to get myself on all the lists I can so that, if the stars align just perfectly, I can get my first dose before the kids go back to school.

As usual, our lives are still pretty quiet under quarantine. The one big thing that did happen was that my daughter finally grew her hair long enough to donate! This is the second time she has done it and while she like to be able to help children who are going through treatments, she thinks she’s going to take a little break before growing her hair out again. She’s ready to have short (or at least shorter) hair for a while.

Onto this week’s books! As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

Last week, I finished:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
(4 stars, Goodreads Review)

And so begins my journey with Agatha Christie…

I’ve decided to read all of her books–not necessarily in order, but starting with her first (as well as the first Hercule Poirot book) seemed like a good thing. As this is my first of her books to read, the only thing I had to compare it to is the Poirot TV series, which my husband adores.

In measuring this against the TV show, this one wins. Poirot is much more fun here than the more staid rendition in the show. Hastings is more of an idiot, but it works here. Honestly, I’d probably despise his character on his own, but he works well with Poirot.

This book, as can be surmised from the title, is a British Manor House mystery and, I believe, the first of them. Christie was nice enough to even give us a map of the house, making things easier to understand!

As for the mystery itself, it was a strong one. There were still some jumps in logic that might be a bit hard to buy, but I know from my encounters with the television Poirot that this is not uncommon in Christie novels. I won’t go into the plot other than to say that my guesses were wrong.

So far a strong start to my Christie journey. I can’t wait to start my next one in the somewhat near future (I’m coming for you, Tommy and Tuppence!)

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
(3 stars, no Goodreads review)

To me, this is a novel of regret. I’m not speaking so much about regret in the story (although there is some there), but my own regret that I didn’t read this in college. I think this is a book that would be so much fun to dig into in an academic way. However, I’m just not interested in doing that now. I want to read for pleasure and, honestly, this book didn’t bring me much pleasure.

It was very readable (which was a nice change after Middlemarch) and it brought late 19th-century Louisiana to life. I will go out and say that I think this is a very good book in many respects–I just didn’t especially enjoy it.

My biggest problem was that I just didn’t like Edna. I’m all for female empowerment, but Edna just seemed like an overgrown spoiled brat. I didn’t question that she was in an unhappy marriage and that her husband was definitely on the unfeeling side, but it was just so hard to scrounge up any sympathy for her at all.

So, there is that. Now I can say that I’ve read it.

Last week, I started:

A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2) by Louise Penny

I’m really enjoying this series. I know, I know…it’s hardly news to anyone that these books are good and I realize that I’m late to the party with it. I just love everything about this: the character of Gamache, the citizens of Three Pines, the mysteries. As I’m writing this, I’m fairly far into this one. I have a feeling that I know who the culprit is, but I wouldn’t be surprised to be surprised. I’m also starting to see a story line that is going to develop through multiple books, which is intriguing.

I’m getting these from the library, but I almost wish that I had purchased them. They are worthy of a place on my keeper shelf (which means I may start searching for these at used bookstores and library sales once the world re-opens!)

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

This is a retelling of Norse Mythology. It is also incredibly weird. That shouldn’t be surprising because Norse Mythology is definitely, ahem, unique. Also, the main character is married to Loki.

But, it is also an incredibly beautiful story and the writing is top notch. I’m having a really hard time putting this one down. I was a little wary at first, simply because things were so bizarre. But once I just started to accept them as they came along, this book came alive. I can’t wait to finish it and tell you all about it next week.

I’m still reading:

Monument by Natasha Trethewey
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
Persepolis, Volume I by Marjane Satrapi

12 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 354-360

  1. Oh that’s good news about the vaccine! I hope you’re able to get it more or less on schedule.

    I’ve heard good things about the Gamache series. And ooh The Affair at styles looks great. Love the cover. So many of those have that sorta cozy mystery look haha even though I know they’re not cozies. And a map of the house? I love a good manor mystery- I really need to get this.


    1. Oh, I highly recommend The Mysterious Affair at Styles! Last night, my husband and I dug up the Poirot treatment of it (which was in season 3, strange since it is his first mystery) and it just didn’t hold a candle to the book!


  2. That’s so sweet that she donates her hair! She looks so cute with it long and short!!
    Great book choices this week! I hope you enjoy all of your current and upcoming reads!


  3. Nice assortment of books. I read the first Gamache book but haven’t had a chance to read more. Come see my week here. Happy reading!


    1. I’m really enjoying the series. In fact, I’ve put off starting some other series so I can catch up on this one and a couple of other ones I have going.


  4. How lovely of your daughter to donate her hair. My 16yo son has twice shaved his head and facial hair as part of the Leukaemia Shave for a Cure fundraiser effort. It was cancelled last year due to Covid, and his hair is past his shoulders right now. I might suggest this time he grows it long enough to donate 🙂

    Wishing you a great reading week


    1. How cool that your son has participated in the Leukemia Shave for a Cure! If he decides to donate next time, I do know that men’s hair is in high demand as most of the donations come from girls and women. Of course, it is quite an investment to grow hair that long!


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About Melinda