Laughter on the Stairs by Beverley Nichols
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The second of the Merry Hall series, Laughter on the Stairs has a bit more narrative flow than the first volume, the eponymous "Merry Hall," (whew--look at those vocabulary chops! Eponymous. . . step back!) but it still possesses the scatterbrained, amiable "I'm just telling you a few fun stories" approach that makes these books perfect reading material for a busy, cold, stressful April. I could read it a bit, put it down, pick it up again to distract myself from school thoughts, chuckle a bit, and then neglect it for a few days--no harm done. Like the Angela Thirkell books, Beverley Nichols's books are peculiar to a certain type of taste--and at this point, they match mine.
I have heard BN's name, often from British writers, so I've been interested in him for a bit, and finding these three books at a book sale was a perfect stroke of luck, as my $3 investment has been well returned. In this outing, it's interesting to see Nichols's progress in redoing Merry Hall (I do wish there were photos in this re-released edition), and also to see his personality and opinions about his neighbors, his "frenemies," and, especially, the entrance of "Miss Mint," one neighbor whom he truly seems to respect and admire. Seeing how he casts her as opposed to the other women whom he satirizes quite acidly at times is fascinating, and made me like Miss Mint even more because she was clearly unique in the esteem she evoked!
One more book in this series left. . . and I may not rush it, but leave it for another "I need some downtime" stretch. We'll see.
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Well. Long long last: it's sunny, due to hit 50, and it actually *just rained* for two days, so the snow banks have receded in a big way. We still have no gardens and no lawn, but beyond the trees the grass is beginning to show up and the melt water is substantial. Last night Andy and I watched the Sox play, our minds still challenged by the blanket of white we could see outside the windows every time we got up from our chairs, but clearly things are warming up and moving toward spring.
Last weekend was a blur of Nate being home, prepping for his trip to Hungary and the Czech Republic, prepping for the Easter sunrise b'fast, prepping for our Easter celebrations, and doing some schoolwork to boot. This weekend is a little less fraught, with a tad more time in between, and certainly nicer weather. One week till April vacation. We can do this, right?