Oh, I do apologize for the "click-bait" title. Oh course, I did not mean getting rich in the usual sense of the word. Not big piles of money rich, or huge killing on the stock market kind of rich. Not even enormous piles of hoarded, priceless treasure like Bilbo found in Smaug's cave kind of rich. Although that last kind, being wholly fictional, and referring, of course, to J.R.R. Tolkein's classic book The Hobbit, is closer to the sort of rich I meant.
I was thinking about this after a phone call to my mum on Saturday. We chatted about this and that and eventually made our way around to what we were reading, one of our favourite topics of conversation. If you read my blog regularly, you'll know that my mum is in her eighties and still lives on her own on the farm down east where I grew up. And you'll also know that she is a great reader, having inherited that passion from her mum and, thankfully, passed it on to me. (I wrote a post on our shared love of reading last year. You can read it here if you want.)
Anyway... Mum was in fine form on Saturday. Feeling cheerful, as she had just finished her housework, had made a pot of tea and had five new books to read. Five. "Well," I enthused, "it doesn't get much better than that!" And then we proceeded to muse on what the devil people did with their time if they didn't read. Another favourite topic. And what a gaping, big hole there would be in our lives if we didn't read.
Just these past two weeks, for instance, I've been transported to Scotland, Afganistan, and Italy by these wonderful books.
I just finished reading Denise Mina's book Gods and Beasts, set in gritty, modern Glasgow. Mina is one of my favourite Scottish crime writers. I read and loved Khaled Hosseini's second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, a short time ago for one of my book clubs. It's a very moving story, although perhaps not as brilliant as his third book, And the Mountains Echoed. In both books, Hosseini makes wartime Afghanistan come alive for the reader. And this week, I'm discovering how much I like Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries that are set in Venice. (Thanks Mater for the suggestion.) I particularly love Leon's vivid setting detail, and all the descriptions of food and wine and coffee. Lots of coffee. Reading that book reminds me of when I was little and Mum read Heidi to me at bedtime. Sometimes Spry's descriptions of the sweet goat's milk and the cheese bubbling on bread toasted over the Grandfather's fire meant that Mum and I both decamped to the kitchen for a snack.
And not too long ago I finished this Penelope Lively book.
This is Penelope Lively and her husband and four of their grandchildren in 1995. Lovely shot, isn't it?
Which brings me to this little gem. Thanks to reader Susan T who, following my Barbara Pym post, suggested that I might like E.M. Delafield, I ordered The Diary of a Provincial Lady from our library. And after I picked it up a few days later, I made myself a pot of tea ( I drink entirely too much tea) and curled up on the sofa in the sun room with the book. And I was transported to 1930's upper class England, drafty old houses, domestic disasters, bank overdrafts, even litters of contraband kittens in the cupboard. I was lost... for hours. Let's just say that it's lucky that there were no children or helpless animals that needed to be fed or cared for... and that Hubby is well able to make dinner for both of us. Otherwise there might have been a real life domestic disaster right here on the Rideau.
I loved this book. It's gentle and filled with humour, and at times I laughed out loud. The obnoxious wealthy neighbour Lady B, the loquacious Vicar's wife, old Mrs. Blenkinshop swathed in her shawls and dispensing advice...so many delightful characters. And the diary style, clipped and complete with abbreviations, is perfect. I wondered throughout if Helen Fielding had read Diary of a Provincial Lady before she wrote Bridget Jones. Hmmm.
When I finished the book, I promptly ordered the only other E.M. Delafield that our library has. note: Am now on quest to acquire all E.M. Delafield books. As Penguin Classics are said to be reissuing, am reasonably confident of success.
But, you know, I think I need a bit of a break before I read the next one. The style is pretty infectious and Hubby said I was starting to talk funny.
That's E.M. Delafield below, looking very Barbara Pym-ish if you ask me.
I'm so glad that I inherited that reading gene. My inherited wealth. Thanks Mum.
What about you? Has reading made you "richer?"
Linking up this week with All About You and Thursday Blog Hop.