Sunday Bulletin – November 16

desert

This week I attended the Arizona Library Association conference just outside of the Phoenix area, at a conference center out in the desert. As soon as I drove out of the city and entered the tangle of brush, cacti and jagged mountains I felt my soul exhale. It felt so good to be out of the concrete, out of the strip malls, out of the endless traffic. It reminded me that I really need to journey away from the city more often, into the beautiful places in Arizona that are so refreshing and stimulating to the brain and the body. I can’t have roses like Elizabeth in her German garden, but saguaros, prickly pear cacti and mesquite trees will do just fine.

Books finished this week:

One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes – This painterly, beautiful novel documents the life of one family on one summer’s day in 1946. Laura Marshall, her husband Stephen and daughter Victoria are uncomfortably adjusting to life after the war. Their servants are gone, rationing is a challenge, and their family dynamics are still unsettled since Stephen’s return. Starting at breakfast and going through to evening, we mostly follow Laura as she engages in her domestic chores and ruminates about their changed lives. It is an absorbing portrait of the ways in which English society shifted after the devastation of WWII. Panter-Downes writes so well about human nature and I love her vivid descriptions of people, buildings and the landscape. The world she creates is so real and so fascinating. I just adore her writing and wish that her other novels were as available as this one. It looks like I’m going to have to submit a few interlibrary loan requests.

Hope your Sunday is wonderful!

15 comments / Add your comment below

  1. We have the opposite gardening problem – we can only grow things that can withstand sea spray and an occasional dousing with salt water when tides are at their highest and the wind is blowing hard in a particular direction.

    Mollie Panter-Downes reissues would be lovely, as the Cornish library service only have the short stories that Persephone has in print.

    1. I never thought about having to garden around salt water and wind – such a different challenge!

      I wish Persephone would reprint the rest of her novels. They would go along nicely with her short stories.

  2. It sounds like a lovely trip. I get the same feeling driving south toward the coast. Getting out of the urban sprawl, the land flattens out into the bayous and the sky feels so much bigger. I really wish I could live down there, but it would be a 50-mile commute to work.

    I loved One Fine Day, and you’ve reminded me that I need put in a pre-order for the reprint of her London War Notes – I except it will sell like the proverbial hotcakes.

    1. It would be so nice to live outside of the city, but I agree that a long commute is not ideal. My sister lives about an hour away from town and she dislikes having to come in every day.
      I am super excited about the London War Notes – I must pre-order mine too.

    1. I adore New Mexico – it is one of my favorite places on earth. Arizona is nice too, but NM has a truly magical feel, especially northern NM. Road trips through the Southwest are fantastic – I hope you get to do it.

  3. There is something very special about getting out into the countryside. It’s obviously different here, but I expect the feeling is similar. One Fine Day sounds really good.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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