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reading in 2002

 reading and life in 2002

Early spring 2002 started very badly when Robert had a heart attack.  After six weeks of recuperation, he was able to slowly rejoin me at work, and we got a lot of gardening done that year, as you can see in the 2002 gardening posts starting here.

Here are the books of 2002 (you can click on the screenshots to embiggen the covers):

I continued to read all of Gladys Taber’s memoirs (and I intend to reread them in order someday).  Below: Mrs. Daffodil is her novel with is a fictionalized version of her life at Stillmeadow.  A member of a Gladys Taber group that I joined so kindly sent me some old copies of that and other Taber books.

I read another Agatha Raisin book, so badly written and yet so deliciously addictive.

The View from Morningside: One Family’s New York has also slipped my memory.  Research tells me that Constance, Glady’s daughter, knew Stillmeadow as a child, and later wrote her own memoir about her life in New York. In 2001, Glady’s granddaughter was living at Stillmeadow.

The Lavender Menace is a memoir of the Gay Liberation movement. The Thin Woman is an unremembered mystery.

Above: Colour for Adventurous Gardeners is groundbreaking advice from the famous and witty  Christopher Lloyd.

I was a big fan of Ground Force, a British garden-makeover-in-two-days show. Unlike more recent garden makeover shows, the Ground Force crew, Alan Titchmarsh, “Tommy Two Days”, and Charlie Dimmock created interesting gardens with good plants.  Mr. MacGregor is a light gardening mystery by Mr. Titchmarsh.  I know he wrote more books and I want to find all of them.

Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge is a collection of correspondence between Gladys Taber and her friend Barbara Webster.  After Gladys’ longtime partner, Jill died, she eventually spent time in a house on Cape Cod.  My Own Cape Cod is about those years.

I really must see what Taber books are in my collection so that I can begin to seek the missing ones before they go even further into obscure unavailability.

Below:  I had a new Anne Perry, and a new feminist nonfiction, Misconceptions, “demythologizing motherhood”  by Naomi The Beauty Myth Wolf.

I’m Too Young to Have a Heart Attack was the only book I read for medical and emotional advice while Robert was recovering.  Instead, I turned to the internet and got much support from a Seattle-based email list to which I had belonged since mid-2000.

The books are in reverse order in each screen shot.  I reread The Blue Hills by an old favourite sweet and old-fashioned author, Elizabeth Goudge, after reading The Little White Horse. I thought it was my first time to read the latter, but as I read it, I realized that it contained images of a lovely dream that I had over and over, of going through a narrow passageway between hills and finding a hidden valley.  Way back in Junior High school, someone, probably my great seventh grade English teacher, Ellen “Mother” Sherlock, had recommended Goudge’s perfect Linnets and Valerians, and back then I had read most of her books.

I was entertained by Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and was inspired to read many more books about restaurant life.  Now I hold him in complete contempt because of this loathsome exchange that he had with the repugnant T. Nugent.  Disgusting creatures, both of them.  I stopped reading his books and stopped watching his shows, but not for a few years till after I saw that interview.

Above: I was catching up on Anne Perry still, and I had the delight of a new Ruth Rendell.  I am sure Bourdain and Nugent would respond with nothing but mean jokes and bullying to Bountiful Women: Large Women’s Secrets for Living the Life They Desire.  The only way I was ever thin was during the years in my late 20s and early 30s when I exercised compulsively, by which I mean lifting weights for an hour, then taking one or two aerobics classes in a row, followed by either an hour on the Stairmaster or a run around Greenlake (2.8 miles).  Other than paying my mortgage and getting into romantic entanglements, I accomplished nothing during those years other than reading some books, taking some photos, and being thin.

The Widower’s House by John Bayley is his third memoir about the life and death of his wife, Iris Murdoch, my best beloved writer.

Below:  I read Gladys Taber’s two memoirs about her cat, and one about her dogs.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by In America is a classic on living on mininum wage and probably started me on reading more political books.

I was desperate for help with my domestic problem and started to read books about alcoholism.  I did NOT like what I read about AA and twelve stepping.  SOS was a secular approach that would be more useful in my life….if I could get my partner to desire a change.  (He was not a reader, and yet while he was recuperating from his heart attack, he picked up a Ruth Rendell and began to read book after book by her.)

Below,  bottom right: I continued on a reading binge about boozing. Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism is excellent.  My partner did read most of it and agreed that it was good. That gave me hope.

I am so glad that I have no need to put any of those books about booze on my reread list.

I had a new Tony Hillerman and a new Ian McEwan, two favourites.  I still read Lemony Snicket but with less pleasure than at the beginning.  I discovered Donna Tartt and will read anything she wrote.  The Nanny Diaries was fun.  I discovered David Sedaris, not an obscure writer.  A friend, Kathleen (not Our Kathleen) recommended him to me.  Despite my skepticism,  he immediately won me over.

Fast Food Nation was pretty good.  Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a classic and humorous garden memoir by a new gardener and voracious reader.

Below: (From the bottom right) I found a new memoir, A Breath from Elsewhere,  by Mirabel (A Gentle Plea for Chaos) Osler.  A few days ago I ordered all three of her memoirs to read again.

My memory of When She Was Gone is gone.  It did not get the best reviews.  Tommy’s Tale is a gay novel by British actor Alan Cumming (he who introduces Masterpiece Theatre these days).  I must have liked Nicola Griffith’s mysteries because I read two of them close together, Stay and The Blue Place, bracketing another David Sedaris.

I had a new Sue Grafton, always a reading highlight.  However, I am sure I read P and O in previous years and forgot to write them on my list, so here they are.  I can’t imagine having waited this long to read them.

Elizabeth Jane Howard is a writer I liked every since reading Odd Girl Out in the early 70s.  Falling was new to me.

I ended the year with Connie Willis’s humorous science fiction novel, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and was smart or well informed enough to read the original British novel Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), on which hers is based, first.

Because of assorted chaos, this was a low reading year.

I stopped it too early, so the last few books of 2002 are at the beginning of the 2003 reading post.

books to reread:

  • All of Gladys Taber
  • The Lavender Menace by Karla Jay
  • Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf

book to read:

  • More Alan Titchmarsh

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