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On the Move

On the Move: Whiling the hours till spring with a good read or two

The unusually cold winter weather we’ve just endured has led me to cozy up in my recliner with books instead of traveling the state to meet new people to write about. My extensive reading has introduced me to writers new to me and one that I had loved in my teen years.

Little did my grandson know that I had laughed my way through P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories way back then. And, now, I’ve just spent more than a month laughing through said grandson’s Christmas gift of The Most of P.G. Wodehouse, which included stories about wonderful Jeeves and his boss, Bertie Wooster, as well as many other hilarious tales.

Wodehouse was an Englishman. His fiction is based in London, his characters upper crust young people in challenging situations. His gift is certainly thinking up the impossible situations that his characters will eventually find their ways out of while you shake your head in disbelief and wonder and laugh. It was a fun month for me.

My Down East Maine daughter introduced me to Louise Penney, a Canadian author who lives in southern Quebec in a small town between Montreal and the northern border of Vermont. She writes what I call light murders, the stories based in a fictional small town between Quebec city and the U.S. border. Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete de Quebec is the detective responsible for the solution of each homicide. Penney’s characters are intriguing and memorable. I’ve read five of her books, and there are more. She has been compared to Agatha Christie, a realistic comparison.

Hannaford supermarket has a bin of used paperbacks. Their customers are invited to donate a book they’ve finished and trade it for one from the bin. There are several places in Concord where we can avail ourselves of the generosity of people who are willing to share their books. In addition to Hannaford, Gibson’s book store has a used books section, and the public library sells used paperbacks for 50 cents and hard covers for a dollar. Our retirement communities have lending libraries at Havenwood, Heritage Heights and Horseshoe Pond Neighborhood.

A Hannaford book bin selection introduced me to David Gibbins and his Tiger Warrior. Gibbins is an underwater archeologist with a Ph.D. in Archeology. He, too, is Canadian. He has lectured on his subject in English universities and gave up academia to write full time. He has published eight adventure novels, thrillers based on his worldwide experience and countless articles for mostly scientific publications. His stories mix fact and fiction and take the reader to places and times she would never have expected to experience. I’m anxious to do more armchair travel with Dr. Gibbins.

Another fun read I would recommend is Glenn Currie’s Granite Grumblings, a collection of stories on Currie’s take on what it means to be a New Hampshirite. He lives in Concord. Many of his tales are set in places familiar to us all. Readers hang out with him at Phil and Larry’s store opposite the high school, paddle a shabby old canoe down the Merrimack to Sewalls Falls, empathize with his struggles to coach his daughters’ Little League team and laugh and sigh with him at family holiday gatherings. I’ve read the book twice. Some of the stories have appeared in the Concord Monitor and New Hampshire magazine.

Due to some of the inconveniences I blame on the number of my years, I have had to put aside cross-country and alpine skiing and have turned down invitations to walk in the sunshine when the temperatures were in the single numbers this year, excepting for one day when I rebelled and took my snowshoes from their perch in the garage and headed for White Park. I parked in a handicapped spot and hung the little blue card on the car’s mirror. I buckled on my snowshoes and tromped around the park for about half an hour, then returned to the car. One snowshoe was easily removed; the other buckle when tackled with frozen fingers wouldn’t budge. I finally gave up and pulled my foot out of the boot and drove home, chagrined, in a stockinged foot. Guess I should stick with books.

Two large, loud trucks are laboring up my street as I write, removing mountains of snow that have piled up all winter to great heights. My friend, Betsey, came with a large bunch of forsythia branches. I put them in water in a tall blue glass vase and set them in a bay window that faces south. They’re covered with tiny yellow buds. Any day now, the buds will bloom and then I’ll know it really is spring.

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