Skip to main content

2011 Reading Challenge~~Book #17

I'm glad I read the dedication* of John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps or I might have given up in disgust by the third chapter. Since I had been warned to expect the improbable and even the nearly impossible, I was amused rather than dismayed at the long pile-up of unlikely events throughout the story. Our hero, Richard Hannay, has the uncanniest luck I have ever seen and is more than once saved from certain demise by the unlikeliest of rescuers. Hannay is unwittingly drawn into international political intrigue when a stranger shows up on his doorstep and ends up dead a few days later, leaving behind a little black notebook full of coded clues and a trail that leads his enemies straight to Hannay. A chase across Scotland and back to London ensues. Set in 1914 just before the start of World War I, this book is an early example of the spy novel. I'm not a huge fan of the genre, but it was interesting to read an early specimen.

The Thirty-Nine Steps was a fun-enough, easy read, a good choice after my rather serious Lenten reading. There are four more Richard Hannay novels, which I may or may not read, but I'm glad I've read this one after hearing so much about the author over the years. The Thirty-Nine Steps has been made into a movie several times. We own the Hitchcock version, so I will have to dig it out now and see what I think.

I must apologize that this review is late. We were out-of-town this weekend, and it turns out we had no internet access. Once the withdrawal symptoms ceased, we found we didn't really mind (except I couldn't post my review!).


My dear Tommy,
You and I have long cherished an affection for that elementary type of tale which Americans call the "dime novel" and which we know as the "shocker"--the romance where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible. During an illnes last winter I exhausted my store of those aids to cheerfulness, and was driven to write one for myslef. This little volume is the result, and I should like to put your name on it in memory of our long friendship, in the days when the wildest fictions are so much less improbable than the facts.



  1. I remember reading this as a freshman (or maybe a sophomore, but I think it was a freshman!) in high school, and I absolutely loved it. I have not read it again since then, but I did watch the new Masterpiece Theatre movie adaptation (starring Rupert Penry-Jones of the 2007 "Persuasion") several weeks ago. I highly recommend it! I can't speak to how faithful an adaptation it is, but it was well-made and an enjoyable interpretation of a far-fetched, fun story. You would enjoy it!

    Loving your blog! =)

  2. Thanks, Jenna! I'm heading over to Netflix to add it to my queue!

  3. Absolutely! I'd love to see your review, once you have a chance to watch it! =)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Auntie Leila's Linky Party

Auntie Leila of Like Mother, Like Daughter (one of my favorite blogs!) is having a linky party about kitchen sinks! I thought I'd join in and show you mine.

First is a picture of my kitchen sink area in its entirety:

It's a small room~~just 13' x 8'~~but I've decided I don't really mind because everything is only a step or two away. Leila has been talking about making the kitchen work for you instead of you working against it, and that's really quite easy to accomplish when the space is so small. In fact, reading her post about her kitchen made me laugh because our kitchen set-up is almost identical!

The windows up close:

I like to put these "gingerbread" Christmas decorations in the kitchen. Girl of the House made the paperbag gingerbread boy when she was four. Isn't he cute? The little red gingham bag was made by the director of the preschool where I used to teach and is over 20 years old. The felt ornaments were made by my grandmother, t…

The Growlery

We've just about wrapped up another room and I wanted to show you pictures. This room is off the kitchen and is intended to be a TV room, I'm sure, but since we don't have a TV, we repurposed it. We call it the growlery (begin at about 6:30 for the reference). In days of yore, the growlery was a room where the men retired after dinner to sip brandy, smoke cigars, and talk politics. We were stumped as to what to call this room, but Dave hit upon "the growlery" and it has stuck. We all knew right away that that was the perfect name! It inspired me to take a more masculine tack in paint, furniture, and decor. See what you think!

The view as you enter from the kitchen:

We bought the chairs brand new. We hardly ever buy new furniture, but we'd used up most of what we already had in other rooms, so we splurged. I'd love to move the exercise bike if we can find a more propitious place for it.

The view from the door that leads to the back patio:

And the view…

A "Reasonably Clean" Welcome

Like Mother, Like Daughter is having a linky party similar to their "Pretty over the Kitchen Sink" from last December. This time we are focusing on entryways. Leila of LMLD has written a series of helpful posts on the Reasonably Clean House, which you can find in the LMLD's sidebar; hence the "Reasonably Clean" Welcome!

As I may have mentioned once or twice *wink*, we moved in mid-June, and I've been swept up in a flurry of nesting ever since. I don't mind because I enjoy nesting, but the focus of said nesting has not been on any of the three entryways this house is blessed with. In fact, one of them is still downright dismal as the room it opens on awaits paint, furniture, and general unpacking. Unfortunately, that seems to be the one lots of people use. But I'm not showing you that one . . . yet. I put my energies into the front entry, the one I *wish* people would use more often and the one that had the least to do to pretty it up a bit. F…