Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Happy holidays! (and a holiday blog break)

I wasn't actually planning to do this quite so soon, but things have got away from me a bit. Andy and I are gearing up for our biennial international trip and time has run out for me doing a couple of posts I was planning to get to. As a result, the blog will be inactive until after the new year. But just a few things to tell you about before then.

First and foremost, I hope you all have exactly the kind of holidays that best suit you—lively and social with friends and/or family, filled with travel, stuffed with good food, or pleasantly lazy with good books. Ours will certainly include the first three, with perhaps even a bit of time here and there for the last.

Next, the trip, which I don't think I've mentioned here before. We are off in a few days for a three week excursion to the Philippines, with a side trip of several days to Siem Reap in Cambodia! Woohoo!

Andy spent his early childhood in the Philippines and makes a return visit every few years, but this will be my first time accompanying him. It's the first time in a long time that he's making the trip at Christmas, and several of his siblings will be there as well, so we'll have a chance to see lots of family and enjoy the holidays with them. It will not only be my first time in the Philippines, but my first time in Asia—or, for that matter, any other continent besides Europe and North America—so I'm excited to experience something quite different from our usual European vacations. Sadly, however, it means that, barring a major climatological anomaly, it will not be a white Christmas—temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s.

We've been planning this trip for over a year, but I'm very glad that my world traveller boss suggested at one point that we look into doing a short jaunt somewhere else in Asia. As it turns out, the flight from Manila to Siem Reap is only about three hours. The temple complex at Angkor Wat (see here if you're unfamiliar with it) is a bucket list item indeed, and an appropriately Asian variation on my obsession with medieval British and European churches and cathedrals. But have no fear—historic churches will still figure on our trip: the Intramuros neighborhood of Manila boasts, among many other things, the church of San Augustin, which dates back to the early 1600s.

On a slightly less cultural level, the trip will also include my first experience of ziplining. Good heavens!

We'll be back home after New Year's, just a day or two before the new Furrowed Middlebrow titles from Dean Street Press are officially released. If you missed the original announcements, see here and here for details. I've now read both the Alexander McCall Smith intro for the D. E. Stevenson books and the one by Elizabeth Crawford for the Elizabeth Eliot books, and they're both a treat. I'm very grateful to both and I hope you'll enjoy them as well.

And finally, I am very much hoping to find enough time before we leave to prepare the 2018 Furrowed Middlebrow Dozen. If I succeed, I'll schedule it to be posted just before New Year's. It will include a few titles I haven't managed to review yet, but reviews will follow in due course. Suffice it to say, what a year of reading it's been!

Have a wonderful few weeks, and I'll see you in January!

(This makes one fewer item on my to do list. Next up: what books to take on our trip???)


  1. Have a great trip, both of you, and a Happy Christmas and New Year. Looking forward to your Best Of List and of course the Furrowed Middlebrow publications due out Jan. 7, 2019.


  2. Have a wonderful trip! Love to you both - Ruth

  3. Have a wonderful, wonderful trip, you two. Will miss your postings, but look forward to perhaps some travel tid bits?
    Best wishes for Christmas the the start of the new year!

  4. Safe journeys and much love to you both! Am looking forward to all my new DES titles coming soon, and am loving all the new authors you're showing us. Be Safe!
    del from

  5. I hope you both have a wonderful trip. My daughter and I were in Winchester on Thursday and we met up with Ruth which brought back happy memories of our meeting there however many years ago it was - two perhaps? Or three?
    A joyous Christmas and a peaceful New Year to both of you

    1. Thanks, Gil! I think it was two years ago last October that we met up with you in Cambridge. Such a lovely time. I was fantasizing just today about living near Cambridge and getting to stroll to King's College Chapel now and then. Hope we'll make it back before too long!

  6. I hope you have a wonderful trip -- and zip lining is amazing! I thought I would be terrified but I loved it. Happy holidays!

    1. Oh Karen, tragically the ziplining got cancelled! I was sad, but we really are going to make it happen somewhere, even if not in the Philippines jungles!

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Scott. I hope you have a wonderful trip!


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