Well, the Gardeners’ World programme started on Friday for 2022. So nice to have it back just as maybe the March lion is giving way to the lamb. Longer days, loads of flowers starting to bloom or promising to, a bit warmer (and slightly less windy). I planted some sunflower seeds (tall and short ones). Will see how that plays out. My neighbours planted hugely tall ones last year and they were amazing. Both cheerful and a bit mad given how big they were.

Put on Le Labo Ylang 49 this morning as 1) it feels in-between the heavy hitter cold weather perfumes and the lighter warmer weather ones and 2) because it’s on the desk (having never made it into the box last autumn). It’s actually just right for today: heavy floral but not too heavy, interesting enough to be distracting; works with our in-between weather. I think something like Serge Lutens Arabie would be too much today.

I read for a living. I also read for relaxation and just because I love reading. I don’t have anything perfume this week so we’re going to talk books.

Because what I read for work is extremely serious (especially right now) most of the stuff I read otherwise is fairly light-weight (my German teacher has suggested the book on Purdue pharma, but I just can’t get my head round the idea right now).

And I follow some series as each new book comes out.

Anyway, the recent and right now reading.

I finished the most recent instalments of two of my favourite series, forensic archeologist Dr Ruth Galloway (Elly Griffiths; crime, bones and magic) and Inspector McLean (James Oswald; Edinburgh and protective cats). The former was very good and promises interesting things for the next book; the latter I’m not sure about. It’s a bit magical realism but there wasn’t enough magic in this segment.

I finished Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal about illness, aging and end of life. It’s pretty harrowing, but it’s also beautifully written (so, compelling, not just scary). Very worthwhile though don’t read it late at night.

I paused my newest series, Longmire (Wyoming sheriff and so much more) for Being Mortal and am now back to that, though I’m reading it upside down (I started fairly far in and am now reading the first book).

And I’ll probably pause that for the next iteration in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch which comes out in April.

If you haven’t had a look at RoL, I highly recommend. Particularly if you have visited London and loved it or are hoping to visit in the future. More magical realism but it’s central to the narrative so it’s always there (vs Inspector McLean).

Another thing I’m waiting for is the next Charlie Parker book (John Connolly) in August. Somewhere in there I’ll probably start the first Merlin book (The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart) which March commented on a ways back.

And, finally, I’m dipping in and out of Dark Age Ahead (Jane Jacobs) which was published in 2004 and is completely prescient about current times. This is urban development, planning and politics, the mistakes that have been made and how they might play out longer term (she is right much of the time which makes me wonder about who read this when it came out – probably not the people who should have). My son is studying urban planning and human development at university and I had originally thought it could be something I’d pass along to him. Not sure now given how dark it is.

So, how about you? What are you reading? What are you doing in your downtime? What would you prefer to be reading or doing in your downtime?

  • Maggiecat says:

    I re-read Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile recently like many of you here, I’ve been reading to ease stress – and now I want to read or re-read read more Christie. BTW, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is a very good book, and if you have not yet read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles you MUST.

    • cinnamon says:

      I have never managed to read anything Agatha Christie. Not sure what that says about me.

  • Tom says:

    Hmm- my comments were marked as spam, which I bitterly protest! so let’s try this again: I just re-read Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, Stephen Rebello’s dishy book on the making of “Valley of the Dolls” and am going to start the autobiography of Harvey Fierstein. I wish I could write that it was something more esoteric or high-minded, but these days thinking is just a bit too much to ask..

    • cinnamon says:

      The spam thing happens to me too sometimes. Went to high school with Ira Levin’s kid.

  • Musette says:

    Omgosh. I envy you your flowers, even as I know my own will start pushing up – eventually. After a binge I’ve been having the toughest time reading these past few weeks. However, I have been dipping into Mary Oliver’s prose as well as the definitive monograph of Paula Rego (Portuguese figurative painter). I branched out from Shelly Laurenston’s wicked-funny shifter books to my first Lynsay Sands (Immortals/vampire)… and that caused me to skitter right the hell back to the trunk of that tree. Not THE worst thing I’ve ever read but … well, I finished it. So there’s that. Currently reading ‘The Scientists’ by John Gribbin. I’m surprised to be immersing myself in non-fiction, especially in these trying times, but there ya have it!


    • cinnamon says:

      I need to mix it up — fiction and non. But mostly it’s fiction and there’s an awful lot of magic in it. Even the current Longmire has magic (Native American). I wonder what that says about me? You’ve mentioned the Laurenston before. I’m staying away from vamps at the moment.

  • Alityke says:

    Thank you for those recommendations Cinnamon. Having worked in Clinical Research for so long, where reading, writing & critical thinking play a large part of the job, I was looking forward to reading purely for leisure & pleasure. The pandemic put paid to that as the habit of a lifetime meant I found myself reading papers on C-19 & developments around it.
    I love a good detective series but at the moment I’m reading biographies of the women of the Gilded Age & a series about those who should have been monarchs but were usurped or ousted. I’m also rereading Perfumes: The Guide 2018

    • cinnamon says:

      Gah, does that reading material make you paranoid? Give you hope? I have the Guide somewhere. Never managed to look at the second one. I guess I should…

      • Alityke says:

        I don’t think it made me more paranoid than is/was needed. It’s vastly impressive how medical science kicked into gear to provide not only vaccines but to investigate what old drugs might help to treat it & to develop new ones to prevent severe disease.
        I think what made people paranoid were the naysayers, the snake oil merchants & the foolish. Bleach lung rinse anyone?
        Having set up trials pending the emergence of a pandemic I know the medical profession & epidemiologists had been expecting it. The frustration being that the bean counters running the NHS had “saved money” winding down the readiness & not implementing plans.
        My paranoia was the loss of life & needless lack of readiness

  • March says:

    I read a lot, but it’s mostly fluff right now and not something I’d proudly list here. I don’t have it in me to read anything too anxiety-provoking or gloomy; I’ll save that for brighter days. Thus I find myself rereading books since I already know how everything works out. I hope you enjoy The Crystal Cave, one of my old escapist stand-bys, but I won’t be offended if you don’t!

    • cinnamon says:

      Yup, fluff, but well written and with a social conscience. Very curious about the Crystal Cave.

  • Portia says:

    Hi Cinnamon,
    Reading was my favourite pastime for decades but in the last few years I can’t even finish a page without zoning out and needing to reread it a few times to even understand what it’s saying.
    So now I TV.
    Hopefully one day my mind will let me get back to it.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      Ya, know, I tossed the 10 year telly when the building work started and I moved into the rental. Ever since I only watch stuff on laptop — and not much of it. I am so glad Gardeners’ World has returned for this year. Zoning out … not surprising in our world as it currently stands.

      • Portia says:

        When Jin moved in 10+ years ago I didn’t have a TV but he’s a sports lover. So we have a cinematic size curved thing. It’s fab.

  • Tara C says:

    Reading is a lifelong passion. Right now I’m reading a lot of buddhist philosophy, nature stuff, and travel writing. Being Mortal was a great book, I need to re-read it as my parents are in the last few years of their lives and it is pertinent.

    • cinnamon says:

      Interesting mix. What sort of nature and travel stuff (afraid philosophy is beyond me right now)?

  • carole says:

    I love reading, too. It calms my mind. I have spent too many hours in front of screens lately, so I chose to have a reading weekend. I dove back into John Banville’s The Untouchable, which I’ve read since 1997. I love his use of words, I love the subject matter, and it worked: my mind feels as smooth as a pebble. I have other books by the same author and I think I’ll dive into those again. I could also re read all of Ellena Ferrante’s books. I resisted the My Brilliant Friend books for so long because I didn’t like the cover. Then one day I got one from the library, opened at a random page and started to read. And I could not stop to go back to the beginning-it was so good I just kept on from the middle. And it still made sense. I did eventually read the start, too 🙂

    I hope you have a great week, Cinnamon, in spite of the ghastly world events.

    • filomena813 says:

      I have re-read all of the Ellena Ferrante books, especially My Brilliant Friend and the three that followed. I could re-read them a third time as well as I loved that series.

      • carole says:

        Aren’t they amazing books? Not sure any other author I;ve read describes female friendships so well 🙂

    • cinnamon says:

      Need to look up Ellena Ferrante. Yes, reading pulls me out of myself and slows my breathing.

  • Shiva-woman says:

    I hope if it’s not too personal I may ask how do you read for a living? I’m an English teacher and “thought I’d be reading for a living”–but it’s not quite the same thing…sigh. Right now I’m testing the Francesca Bianchi series and am in love with all her scents, particularly “Tyger Tyger.” That’s as far as I’m going into “literature” today as I’m off to clean garden beds!

    • cinnamon says:

      Financial editing. Worked in research departments of investment banks. Now freelance — mostly European clients. Reading a lot about Ukraine currently.