Hey there, Kazen here, and welcome back to Always Doing. [♪♪] Today’s three on a theme is going to be a bit different
from the ones I’ve done before. Previously I’ve done three books that
all fit within a particular genre kind of thing, but today I have three
different ways to get through a literary rainy day. And for me a “literary rainy
day” is completely different from a slump. In a slump nothing you read is
working for you, anything you pick up you want to put it back down again, just
nothing is going. On the other hand a literary rainy day is where all of the
books you’ve been reading aren’t doing it for you. You’re completing them, but
they’re not meeting expectations, they’re worse than you thought. It’s just a run
of bad reading. In that kind of situation what I find I need is a sure thing, a
book that I know will lift my mood, something that will just make me feel
better about reading again. I find myself in this situation every now and then so
I have three ways to get through it. And right to start, one way that I won’t
be talking about is rereading because I’m not a big rereader. But if that works
for you, awesome. Fourth way, bonus! The first way that I beat a literary
rainy day is to read a cozy HISTORICAL mystery. This is really important for me
personally, maybe for other people any cozy will work, but I need to be taken
out of my reality. I need to go somewhere that’s completely separate from my own
life. If I read a contemporary cozy something might happen in the book that
could happen to me, and I don’t want to get that close in this kind of mood. I
want to be completely escapist. I’ve talked about the Peter Wimsey series
before, that is one of my faves, as is the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King. The
first book is The Beekeepers Apprentice and it revolves around Mary Russell who,
as a rather young woman, stumbles across a retired Sherlock Holmes who has, you
know, gone to the downs and is keeping bees and is doing his very own thing,
thank you very much. Together they start solving mysteries and things go on from
there. It’s a quite long series. I’m still in the first few books but I’m
really liking it. What I like especially is King’s writing. Just something that’s
very smart yet homey about it. As well as the characters. You really get to know
Mary, you really get to know Holmes, and it’s like going home to meet this whole
cast of characters again. Obviously I like some of the mysteries better than
others, but it’s always a go-to when my reading isn’t going well. The second way
that I combat a literary rainy day is to dig into an author’s backlist. This
might be an author that I recently discovered that has a lot of books that
came out previously, or one of my old favorites that still has some things
that were published years ago that I haven’t gotten to yet. One author I’m
doing this with right now is Beverly Jenkins. I’ve been reading her for years but she’s been writing way longer than I’ve
been reading her, so there’s lots of books back there for me to check out. One
of the books I have in my Pile of Possibilities for #readingblackout this
month is Indigo, and there’s a lot more back there I could get into. If there’s a
classic author maybe you haven’t read all of their stuff. Like, I love John
Steinbeck but I haven’t read everything of his yet so those are on my
long-term TBR, as well as my all-time favorite author Tiffany Reisz. Her
Original Sinners series, I actually save the main books for my “planned rainy days” [laughs]
which are when I take a trans-Pacific flight back home. It takes 12 hours or 14
hours one way, depending which direction you’re going. So yeah, I need a book I
know I’m gonna love, and I know I’m gonna love those Original Sinners books so I
save them for it specifically. And the third way to combat a literary rainy day
is to read something that you know will make you smile. And you may learn about
this book as a recommendation from a friend, or if you read a review. And so I
have one of these books to tell you about that I loved and I think would
help sunny up… sunny up? clear up? brighten up? any literary rainy day. And that’s The
Farm in the Green Mountains by Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer. It’s translated by
Carol and Ida Washington. In the 1940s Alice and her husband Carl, with their
two children, immigrated to the United States because Carl had written some
works that had gone afoul of the Nazi Party.
And so they had to flee. And when they came to the US they tried living in Los
Angeles – didn’t care for it, tried living in New York – didn’t care for it, but they
took a chance visit to Vermont and absolutely fell in love. So they ended up
living in an old farmhouse in basically in the middle of nowhere in Vermont and
this is her chronicling her life there. In Europe they had servants
and, you know, they lived in a townhouse in the city, so this was a
completely new experience for them. If I remember correctly their nearest
neighbor is over a mile away, they have to be careful to keep a fire going at night
or else their pipes will freeze, and they keep chickens and ducks and all manner
of animals and take care of pretty much a working farm. Alice’s descriptions of the
farm are delightful. Things like the chickens and ducks being absolutely
ridiculous and stupid and getting themselves in the craziest situations
and her having to help them out of it so they don’t injure themselves.
She has these great descriptions of her fights with, for example, rats.
“In those rat eyes I found a kind of consciousness, a knowledge of their undertakings and
deeds, that lifted them out of the level of vermin and into that of a proper
enemy.” It made me laugh out loud more than once.
In addition Alice talks about the immigration experience – what it’s like to
completely start over, and how it’s almost like a second childhood. That you
have to relearn how to do so many things from scratch. Even going to the post
office is a completely different experience in a different country. If you
are American I think you’ll find this extra heartwarming because she talks
about how much she loves America, and what it stands for, and how people
interact, in Vermont especially. There’s one section where it’s the, I
believe it’s the FDA? or some, one of the government agencies that
deals with agriculture, and you can send away for brochures. And she’s amazed that
they’ll send you brochures for free on how to make sure that your chickens
don’t get sick, or how to best make a coop for your hens, or whatever.
She, Carl, and her children, they all fall deeply in love with the Vermont
landscape and while they can’t stay there forever they feel like it’s their
home. And there’s one section where Carl quotes a book that he read that says,
“Every man loves his native land whether he was born there or not.” And that really
sums up the whole experience of the book. It’s heartwarming, it’s funny, so if you
need a lift from a run of bad reading, if you’re not sure what to go to next, I
recommended this. So there we have it, three ways to lift yourself out of a
literary rainy day. Is this a concept that resonates with you? Am I the only
person who does this sort of thing? And do you have any ways to help you through
this situation? Let me know down in the comments below. Thank you for watching,
subscribe if you’re new, and I’ll see you in the next video. Bye! [♪♪]
Thanks for watching! For this video I read up on captioning conventions –
I use * for fixing mistakes, so what for emphasis? After the internet ALL CAPS feels wrong, but I guess it
works? And it’s probably better than ☆★this★☆ 😂