Bike rides and new books

I went on a lovely 76-mile ride today. The weather was perfect, in the 70s, clear and dry, and I headed up north into the countryside to enjoy seeing some hills and fields and horses. I used to live in the area I rode through today, and although I love my current town, I do miss the quieter more solitary place I left behind. With the exception of a few hills near the end that made me grumpy, I felt strong and content to sit on the bike for the approximately 5 hours it took to cover those miles. As I neared home I felt as though I could have kept going, if I’d had the time; perhaps when I do my long ride next weekend I will keep going and do a century. At this rate, I’ll be ready to do this century on October 13th with no trouble whatsoever, and I’ll get to ride with racing friend Fendergal! (She should be warned, though, that I’m not particularly fast …)

Okay, now I have or will soon have some new books to tell you about; I’ve been on a Book Mooch binge, using up lots of my points. Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger. A book personally recommended by Litlove — how could I not get a copy of this? I really liked Lively’s novel The Photograph, and so am eager to try something else.
  • William Maxwell’s The Chateau. Also personally recommended by Litlove.
  • Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women. I’m in need of a book that’s sure to be a delight — perhaps I should begin this one? I’m certain I’ll like it.
  • Elizabeth Hardwick’s Seduction and Betrayal. I’ve read so many rave reviews of this book that I snapped it up.
  • Ursula Le Guin’s Dispossessed. Stefanie and Emily both recommended this, and after thoroughly enjoying The Left Hand of Darkness, I felt I had to have another Le Guin.
  • Heather Lewis’s House Rules. Recommended by Jenny D. (You see how seriously I take blogger recommendations?)
  • Georgette Heyer’s Lady of Quality. Another Jenny D. recommendation. This looks like a fun regency romance.

And I got two books recently from Amazon, Dale Spender’s Mothers of the Novel, to learn a little more about 18C women novelists, and Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood, for the Outmoded Authors challenge. There’s lots of good reading here, don’t you think?


Filed under Books, Cycling

15 responses to “Bike rides and new books

  1. Dorothy, your blog makes me think back to… decades ago, when I would put my disassembled bike in the trunk of the car and drive out to Lumsden [Saskatchewan, as in… Canada] and then take it out and bike around all day, in utter solitude. There was a cafe on the main street, I’d stop in there for a drink.
    I was not as vigorous as you, 76 miles? I would die.
    But… my lovely 7.6 miles in Lumsden…. up and down the hills…. ahhh… you make me remember.


  2. It looks like you’ve got some wonderful books lined up to read. Spender’s “Mothers of the Novel” and Barnes’ “Nightwood” are both favourites of mine.

    And how funny to find Cipriano chatting about Lumsden on your blog! I’ve spent many happy weeks over the course of several summers at a writing retreat just outside of Lumsden, and have doubtless had a drink in that very cafe.


  3. hepzibah

    wow — what wonderful purchases!! I haven’t bought books in awhile, which is a very good thing, though there happened to be free books sitting outside of the english dept the other day– and I took a bunch of them….but buying books has a way of making me happy and I don’t really know why.


  4. Cipriano — that sounds wonderful! I love leisurely bike rides. Believe me, I would have died after 76 miles if I hadn’t done much training!

    Ah, Kate, good to know about Spender and Barnes both; I’m eager to get to them. What a lovely connection between you and Cip!

    Hepzibah — buying books makes me happy too 🙂


  5. It sounds as though you are getting back to normal with your cycling–that must feel much better! When you do your longer rides, do you stop and take little breaks? You did get lots of good stuff on Bookmooch. I really loved the Pym novel–I hope you will like it too–she is really very witty and I am looking forward to reading more. I may have to do some browsing on Bookmooch soon–are these wishlist books or were you just looking for the odd title?


  6. Ah, the title is complete: so far and had only seen “Of Books”, but today “and Bikes” falls into place. Congrats on the ride and the book buys.

    I was reminded of my short time in Wilmington, DE. I loved riding around the Piedmonts – down into valleys around streams under the canopy of soft leaves.


  7. Hope you enjoy Heather Lewis. I read “Notice” last year — and her writing is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Thought I could read “House Rules” this year, just couldn’t find the time.


  8. Danielle — I’m pretty much back to normal, thank heavens! I take short breaks, as short as possible because I don’t like letting my muscles get cold. I stopped twice to eat and buy water on this ride.

    Bikkuri — I don’t write about bikes nearly as much as about books — I don’t have as much to say about bikes, really. But once a week or every other week, whenever I have a story to tell …

    Jenny D. — thanks for your recommendations!

    Orpheus — I’m glad you like Lewis’s writing; that makes me eager to get to it.


  9. yay for your long ride! And what great books too! I think you will like the Pym very much and I hope you like the Le Guin too!


  10. Eva

    omg-I love, love, love Moon Tiger. For senior AP English, our summer reading was to pick a book off the Booker Prize list and read it. Being me, I read about ten of them, but this was the one I chose to talk about. So good!

    I am in awe of anyone who can ride a bike for 76 miles. And then describe it as lovely. Wow.


  11. Oh, by the way, I meant to tell you that if your cycling takes you up to Washington, you need to stop off at the GW and have a Hobgoblin Witch Wood Ale on tap. It’s a seasonal offering, so you have to do it soon, and it’s delicious. Hope you did start Excellent Women. I love that book.


  12. Stefanie — I’ve read one chapter of the Pym and I can tell I’m going to like it.

    Eva — I’m so glad to hear you love Moon Tiger so much — it makes me eager to get to it.

    Emily — that sounds great!


  13. Thanks for the shoutout. I am looking forward to the ride. It will be fun, and not that fast! And there will be food stops, too. All good stuff. I’ve had my head wrapped up in a new BF, which is why I’ve dropped off the blogging radar. (He rides a little, which is good at keeping me slow!)


  14. Oh, good — I don’t want to make you impatient with my slowness. I usually do centuries (hilly ones) on my own at about 15 mph, although my best was 17 mph when I was with a group part of the way. With a new BF, I don’t blame you for neglecting the blog a bit 🙂

    It looks like Hobgoblin won’t be joining us, which is a bummer — he’s had back issues that have kept him from training.


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