Inspired by Liz’s super post last week, I am indulging myself this weekend because it is Mothering Sunday.
I have decided I am not going to write.
I am going to be reading.
But hang on, is reading an indulgence or a necessity?
We all need time off to recharge our batteries, refill the well, get our head together — whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it can be a good walk, or a browse around a museum, or just hanging out with friends.
Or reading a good book
So, this weekend I am going to indulge myself with books. Lots of them. I shall dip in and out, look at old favourites and rearrange my teetering TBR pile. (Okay, I confess, the picture on the right is NOT my TBR books, but I’d love it to be! This is Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness, a treasure trove for anyone who loves browsing books.)
Later I shall also be asking you to recommend new ones to make that TBR pile teeter even more perilously!
I am currently enjoying a lovely cosy crime mystery by Kate Johnson. Death Comes to Cornwall.
When I am in the middle of writing a romance, my reading time is limited and so is my concentration span.
Also, I have to read something from another genre, and this one fits the bill very nicely. It has an enjoyable romance, gorgeous setting and enough mystery to keep me guessing without addling my poor cold-befuddled brain. (No, it’s not befuddled with that virus. Just an ordinary common-or-garden cold.)
Another cosy crime author whose books are always adding to my TBR pile is Lesley Cookman. Her Libby Sarjeant series is a constant delight. I love the Kentish village setting and quirky characters.
I shall also be pulling books from my “keeper’s shelf” and reminding myself how much I enjoyed them. Like P D James’ thrillers – always absorbing but a little unsettling, too. Her talent for acute observation always makes me a bit uncomfortable, possibly because of what I fear she might have observed in me, had we ever met!
And then there is the Shetland Series by Ann Cleeves.
I discovered these wonderful books after watching the first television series, and I devoured the lot, almost back to back. Perhaps it was because we were already thinking of moving to Scotland but I fell in love with the island setting.
Her characters, too, are so well drawn. And so much better, if I dare say so, than the tv version, although that, too is very good.
Illness or bad news can be so dispiriting, can’t it?
That’s when I find myself reaching for my comfort reads.
My poor Georgette Heyer paperbacks are beginning to fall apart now, but they still do the trick. These are the covers of my copies: I considered putting up pictures of the latest, glossy covers but heck, these are much-loved books. So here they are in all their, er, glory!
There are others, of course, mainly contemporary romances, that I reach for when I need to escape the world. My early Katie Fforde books are very well thumbed, and a few years ago I discovered another author to add to my favourites: Milly Johnson.
Milly’s new books never linger on the TBR pile very long!
If you can have such a thing as no nonsense comedy then Milly delivers it. Her situations are very real, the characters complex but there are always plenty of laughs and a satisfying ending.
What more can I ask for in a feel-good read?
And as I begin to recover – from my cold 😉 – I find I start thinking of all those things I have missed while curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a box of tissues. Like cooking a new recipe. So I like to browse through recipe books, ones with nice glossy pictures that can inspire me to put on an apron and slave over a hot stove.
Like these three beauties: Delia, James Martin, Nigella.
Now, did I mention Scotland earlier?
Scotland – and specifically the Highlands – is my new passion. (Look out for a kilted Highlander later in the year!) I just cannot get enough of the place.
At Christmas I was given a perfectly delightful coffee table book, Highland Retreats.
When I need to rest my eyes from all those printed pages, I can browse through pictures of the sumptuously romantic castles of the north of Scotland. It is the perfect book to have to hand when the weather is too foul to venture out of doors.
I can take a virtual tour of the Highlands, marvel at the fairy-tale turrets of Dunrobin Castle and Ardverikie. (That’s the Scots Baronial hunting lodge used as Glen Bogle in “Monarch of the Glen” — remember that series? Based on the books of Compton Mackenzie).
I can browse through pictures of the sumptuous interiors, imagine the gatherings, parties, balls taking place in the baronial halls, drinking hot toddies before a blazing fire. Best to keep these ideas as dreams? I suspect the reality was long draughty corridors and smoking chimneys!
I admit there is very little in the book that is of use to me, since my historicals are mainly set pre-Victorian times. But as I said at the beginning, this is a weekend of indulgence. No pressure to research or learn anything, just to sit and enjoy.
Now it’s your turn
So, dear guest, what are YOU reading? I have had my say. Now it is over to you to tell me what you will be reading/browsing this weekend — or into the week, if you have time to spare.
Whatever it is, I hope it takes you away to somewhere magical, even if only for a while!