Monday, September 02, 2019

Disappointment, delight, and still no definite diagnosis

Julie Speed: Eyes to see (image from here)
After much hospital to and fro, latterly to have a needle biopsy (don't ask!) which should bring a definitive answer this week or next, I am still stuck with my ascites, discomfort, exhaustion, not being able to eat much, and with intermittent sharp pain, and of course worry.  The thinking so far is that I have bowel cancer spread around to other organs, inoperable, and am to start chemotherapy as soon as they have pinned down exactly what's what so that they can put together the appropriate cocktail of drugs.
Usually someone who immediately starts thinking about possible solutions to any problem, I must admit myself to be somewhat stumped right now.  But although I cannot concentrate on art books, or serious study, I can at least read novels.
I decided to try Joanne Harris' quartet of Chocolat titles.  I had never read anything of hers, but had heard her speak on the radio.  Unfortunately I was disappointed.  I especially disliked The Lolipop Shoes which I found to be a horror story.  But then I also am not especially enamoured of chocolate.  They were a bit too sweet and sticky for me.  
That's also the downside of binge reading.  I stuck with the four titles, one after the other, when all the little things which irritate are exaggerated.  On the other hand, I have similarly been binge reading Ngaio Marsh, and have been thoroughly delighted.
Although the detective protagonist Chief Inspector Alleyn remains constant, his murder investigations are set in different places, even in different countries, or even on board ship.  Marsh is excellent at character, dialogue, and description as well as brilliant with story.  I dread running out of her novels because they provide me with such excellent distraction.
I have run out of Josephine Tey mysteries, but Nicola Upson has written a series of novels with Tey as the protagonist, and a new one is due out later this year.


  1. Well goodness, your condition is more dire than I imagined. Hoping the planned "cocktails" do the trick.

    Ahh - I've started with a promising author too only to find irritations, or characters I can't sympathize with, but hope the next book will be better. Why do we insist on giving these books continued chances to redeem themselves? I find it so hard to give up on something once I've started it, and occasionally I am rewarded for my persistence. I guess that's why I keep doing it!

    1. Sheila, I agree, it is interesting how we feel obliged to persist beyond enjoyment. I feel that it is my fault somehow if I give up on a book. I have abandoned relatively few books over the years. The one I did cast aside after two or three attempts, yet not getting past page 50 was Captain Corelli's Mandalin. I gave that to my father who loved it.

    2. And this may be why I hesitate to recommend books to people. We all have such different tastes, and what appeals to one will be a waste of time for another. And yet, I've gotten some good recommendations over the years, and hope the few times I've passed along a favorite title or author has resulted in someone being as enamored with it as I.

  2. Olga, I am so very sorry. What a difficult time to be going through. Stay strong. I will be thinking of you,

    Have you tried reading Tana French? Well written detective stories which I find I cannot put down. I have also been reading Amanda Craig in the last few months: they are not thrillers, but easy to read and again, wonderful stories that I keep wanting to read on and on.

  3. If you decide to give Tana French a go, In the Woods is a good one to start. I have also enjoyed reading Lissa Evans, recently. Old Baggage is a good one, and if you enjoy that, Crooked Heart is a follow-up of sorts. Again, not detective stories, but easy to read and stories that draw you in.

    1. Eirene, thank you for the reading suggestions. I shall certainly keep them in mind.

  4. I’m so very sorry, Olga, I’ve missed your recent posts with minor stitching preoccupations of my own and have not realised the trouble you have been going through. It must be a horrible time - and so difficult to cope with the fact that decisions and treatment are largely taken out of your hands.

    Reading can be such a great consolation and distraction, though I maybe have little useful to suggest right now as I’m currently binge-reading novels by French author Guillaume Musso in an effort to improve my French. They manage to hold my interest with their unexpected twists, but I haven’t read any in translation so I’m unable to comment on the quality of the writing. Perhaps I should try!

  5. So sorry to hear of your health problems. I am gaining a lot of comfort from Mary Oliver's poems.... she reminds me that I am not the only one that has down days in such an eloquent way! Thank you for your interesting posts...

  6. I have it ALL fired-up
    N figured-out, dear:
    Im a NDEr.
    Case closed.
    Follow us Upstairs:
    ♡ ♡