I'm wondering where this snow and enforced sitting by the fire might have taken your reading?
I've tried to look on it as a meteorological gift of time and not to be shovelled out of the way too fast and for me there's only been one reading place to go when it's officially colder than the South Pole outside and a troika would be just the ticket.
Russia...and it all began with Jim the Postie trudging through with a barrow-load of post including a registered parcel of books from Impress Books, a small Exeter-based publisher which felt like a gift from the gods and I'm very grateful to Jim for delivering it and Impress for sending it.
All as welcome as the sight of our gas lorry would be too, anyone seen it?
In that Impress parcel a fine selection including The Russian Countess - Escaping Revolutionary Russia by Edith Sollohub, the only prompt I needed pending that thaw to head eastward.
Edith Natalie de Martens was born in 1886 in Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg and into the comfortable upper echelons of Imperial Russia, the daughter of a high-ranking diplomat and a girl whose destiny was to join the social and intellectual elite had not the 1917 Revolution put a swift end to that. By this time married to Count Alexander Sollohub and with three children these memoirs are an account of how Edith faced up to the loss of her husband and separation from her children as frontiers closed, surviving eventually to make a new life for herself and her sons in Western Europe.
I don't know how yet because I'm still reveling with young Edith in the summer holidays at the family's country home Waldensee.
'Summer was really on the threshold and when the huge suitcases and travelling baskets appeared in our nurseries and playroom - then no learning could penetrate my head anymore. The maid was packing, I was pushing my own treausures in between layers of clothing and only concerned myself with the packing of my violin, my gun, my tennis racquet and riding kit. Books went in large wooden boxes...'
Note the cover picture, Edith no slouch with a gun and perhaps a skill that was to be her salvation, we'll see.
The book which launched me on all things Russian a few years ago was also a memoir, The House by the Dvina A Russian Childhood by Eugenie Fraser. I moved swiftly on to Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figes and all things Romanov which has all made that return to reading Russia a real treat every so often.
Last weekend, happily thinking Russia here I come again, I also reached for Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and only stopped myself in the nick of time.
What on earth was I thinking?
I was about thirty pages in and oblivious to anything else around me when I suddenly realised that another 800 page book, as well as the 800 page Mystery Trollope for The Reader magazine with a deadline of this Friday to submit my thoughts and my rating, and then the 732 pages of Ulysses in progress, well it was not a good idea this week.
I don't quite know how I tore myself away and perhaps I'll settle for some short stories from Chekhov or Pushkin instead, but Anna Karenina is still calling, I'm hankering after it, could someone please talk me out of it ...