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I was grumpy at the beginning of this week, for reasons too boring and frivolous to go into. But my mood has lifted! So I can write to you at last without needlessly and unexpectedly bringing you down, like that Dan Fogelberg song about meeting an old lover in the grocery store, toasting lost innocence, and not knowing how to reach beyond the emptiness.

We’re not going in that direction! We’re thinking happy thoughts. I have this nice news, for example: Last Friday I finished a full draft of the middle-grade novel I’ve been working on since June. Now I just have to polish it and send it to my agent (here’s looking at you, Rosemary!). Fingers crossed she’ll love it, and forward it along to editors who will love it, and it will sweep the nation. Or at least find a couple of young fans.

Also, it’s holiday time, aka prime reading weeks! If you’re in the mood to read book after book after book, take a look at these wonderful lists from Modern Mrs. Darcy: “20 Short Novels You Can Read In One Day,” and “20 Life-Changing Nonfiction Books You can Finish in a Day.” I’ve already tried Alan Bennett’s THE UNCOMMON READER from the list of short novels and loved, loved, loved it.

I might sink into something ridiculously long over the holidays, though. Like Andrew Roberts’s new biography, CHURCHILL: WALKING WITH DESTINY. The New York Times calls it “[t]he best single-volume biography of Churchill yet written.” This might be because they cheated by binding it all into one volume. It’s very long! And very heavy. And who am I kidding? I’m not going to be able to hold this thing up for more than 10 pages at a stretch. I might need to re-think. I’ll keep you posted. And please let me know what you decide to read, especially if you like it.

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