What books are we starting 2021 with?

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What books are we starting 2021 with?

jan 1, 11:41am

jan 1, 12:08pm

Lots of books on the go, which seems to be my pandemic reading strategy. Yesterday I started The Big Book of Espionage, which will probably require multiple renewals from the library (or multiple borrows) to get through it all. But the format makes it really good for that!

I've also had Bleeding Hearts, by Ian Rankin, nagging me to continue for the past day or so, so I will likely get back into that today.

jan 1, 2:50pm

I've just finished Christmas Shopaholic, my little guilty pleasure - it was fun, light, hilarious, and perfect for the season!

jan 2, 2:20am

That book on colour looks interesting. I'm reading Kafka on the Shore still, so that's carrying over, and I think I'll give Wayward Son another read as I read it this time last year. It's an emotional throat punch at times, but then I was in a super stressed state and in that way it may have helped as a dramatic distraction from what was some major life upheavals.

I think after those I'm going to take a crack at Brothers Karamazov again. Maybe it's the winter time, but it feels about right for another Russian novel. ;)

jan 2, 8:44am

I am reading A Better Man by Louise Penny right now and listening to Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks.

jan 2, 9:34am

I've finished The Ballad of the sad café by Carson McCulers; some of the stories are absolutely wonderful!

I've started Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala - very different! but already I'm enjoying the small, gossipy world of English communities in India.

Let me know how you liked A Better Man lamplight.. I'm usualy a big fan of Louise Penny, but this one felt stretched...

Redigeret: jan 2, 10:21am

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

jan 2, 3:38pm

Happy New Year everyone. Currently reading Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames by Lara Maiklem. I have a signed hardcopy of the UK edition, my 2019 Christmas gift from my sister, as Lara is a longtime friend of hers. Never had time to crack it open earlier, as I always had so many library books out. But now that I have my new puppy running me ragged all day long (note to self: never take on puppy raising when you live alone and during a pandemic) I've had to now whittling away at my stack of loaned, gifted, and purchased books until life hopefully becomes a bit more placid. Really enjoying this book, I've long followed Lara on FB and Instagram and love learning about the history behind all the objects she finds.

jan 2, 3:50pm

Managed to get my first read of the year in: The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin. It was mentioned in a quiz game I played last year and I'd never read it, so of course I got the question wrong! But now I'm prepared in case it comes up again.

jan 2, 8:35pm

I'm re-reading Last Night in Montreal, after recently loving The Glass Hotel, both by Emily St. John Mandel.

jan 4, 11:40am

I loved The Glass Hotel; don't you wish the hotel exists maybe it does)?

I'm finishing up Heat and Dust and have picked up a collection of short stories God's Spies, stories in defiance of oppression. It's an anthology by Alberto Manguel, one of my favourite anthologists (and Canadian!). I picked it up before the 2020 messes, and it seems like the climate is right for this type of read.

jan 4, 9:34pm

Just finished The Skeleton Road, by Val McDermid. Karen Pirie is my favourite of her series characters.

Not sure which of the many books I have on the go I'll flip to next. Maybe The Matter of Wales, by Jan Morris.

jan 4, 11:14pm

The Glass Hotel needs to go on my wishlist, or at least on my Libby "suggestions" tag. I can't always keep up with the books I want and can't afford to buy them all.

jan 5, 9:35am

>14 WeeTurtle:, I keep a wish list and circulate it to family around my birthday and Christmas. The year I retired, I look my severance pay and bought out the entire list, which at that time, had over 50 books on it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime treat! My local book store waited and collected all the books in one big box and delivered them.

jan 5, 11:07am

I've started Nuit sombre et sacrée by Michael Connelly (the translation of Dark Sacred Night). I usually read Connelly when I travel, but since I got this book from my Dad who travelled from France to Canada to visit for Christmas, it still counts as part of our little tradition :)

jan 6, 10:00am

I have finished 3 so far this year, and have 2 others on the go. I read A Better Man by Louise Penny, and have to admit some disappointment...maybe I am getting tired of the series. I listened to Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, and read a children's book Coyote Tales by Tomas King. I will to looking to read more Thomas King books this year, children, or adult. I am currently reading The Guest List by Lucy Foley and The Old Sucess by Martha Grimes. Somehow, out of all of these books, I finding Martha Grimes' writing the best. We'll see if I change my mind as I go on though...I'm only on chapter 2!

jan 6, 10:06am

>15 LynnB: Wow! What a fabulous idea. When I retired, I didn't get the bonus that a lot of teachers get. It had been taken out of the contract during my teaching time. Also, I retired with a reduced pension, because I didn't really teach all that many years, or at least...not full-time. But I discovered more money in my pocket, because I wasn't buying for my classroom all the time! It is amazing how much teachers can spend on their class: I bought books, art supplies, reward stickers, special pencils, and fancy paper to encourage writing. Now, I have a little extra to spend on me, and I have bought more books for me and my grandson over the past year than I did for myself in the last 10 years! Also, I signed up to the Overdrive and Libby apps from the computer, so I will never be without a book, or two, or three to read!

jan 6, 11:33am

>18 lamplight: are you Canadian? If so, are you aware that there is a tax deduction for teacher's who spend their own money on necessary supplies....unless it's been phased out in the past 2-3 years. Check it out.

jan 6, 2:52pm

I’ve been retired for 5 years so I think the tax deduction was after I retired and I seem to remember that it was limited. Not complaining. I have always been one to spend on others.

jan 6, 3:04pm

jan 6, 9:47pm

Barometer Rising / Hugh MacLennan
3.25 stars

It’s 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Penny (a woman working at the shipyard – very unusual for the time)’s love (and cousin) has been at war and he’s missing. They all think he’s dead. So, when Angus (much older than Penny) asks her to marry him, she accepts. Only days later, the Halifax Harbour goes up in an explosion.

The book only follows just over one week. It took longer than I liked to get to the explosion. Leading up to it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the explosion itself and the aftermath, but not long after, it concluded mostly with their regular lives again. If there had been more focus on the disaster, I would have enjoyed it more, I’m sure. There was an afterword by another “classic” Canadian author, Alistair Macleod – one of those that analyzes the book; one of the ones that should never be an introduction but often is (because it gives away the story)! Luckily, it was an afterword.

jan 6, 10:31pm

>22 LibraryCin: I vastly prefer afterwords to introductions for that reason, especially if it's a book where I'm not sure what to think about it. Sometimes reading the afterword helps clarify my thoughts.

Redigeret: jan 9, 4:56pm

I'm re-reading Shopgirl by Steve Martin.

jan 10, 3:48am

>19 LynnB: Might have been a fluke but when I was studying library children's services I bought some picture books at Indigo and made a comment about the fun of getting kids books for storytime reading, etc., and the clerk mentioned the discount for classroom materials and gave it to me. That was in 2019 I think. I was planning to do some storytime reading but Covid19 happened, and of course, it's a job that falls within the library union so it's not something I can just do. Thought I'd give it a shot on youtube or something but haven't quite figured that out.

Also, CBC radio released a 1 hour blurb on Bear, and its relevance to today's society. I might have to read it now. I didn't realize it had been reprinted in 2014, with new, less campy cover art.

jan 10, 10:56am

I just borrowed An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield on the library app. I gave my son a copy of this when it first came out and I kept meaning to borrow it from him. This seemed easier.

jan 10, 11:50am

Getting my plays reading off to an early start with Henry VI Part One, by William Shakespeare.

Redigeret: jan 10, 3:12pm

>26 lamplight: Have you read his kid's book The Darkest Dark. It is wonderful!

jan 11, 1:52pm

I'm re-reading The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.

jan 12, 10:18am

>28 mdoris: I will look it up. Thanks.

jan 12, 2:18pm

jan 13, 9:03am

jan 13, 7:15pm

I'm reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes which has been on my reading list forever. Because of the pandemic, I catch myself having weird thoughts, like: wow! renovating a house in Italy and jet setting to San Francisco... how indulgent!
Pretty soon, anything pre-2020 will feel like a completely different era!

jan 13, 8:20pm

>33 Cecilturtle: I get antsy watching movies with crowd scenes now. "Aagh! They're not social distancing!"

jan 15, 12:28pm

I'm reading Good Economics for Hard Times by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

jan 15, 9:17pm

I started 10% Happier, by Dan Harris, and it is excellent so far.

Redigeret: jan 16, 4:17pm

Regarding A Better Man by Louise Penny: It wasn’t my favourite. In fact, if it were the first I’d read in the series, I don’t think I would read any more.

Redigeret: jan 18, 6:15pm

I've started The Girl Who Made Them Pay, a fast-paced thriller written by a friend of mine Tikiri Herath

jan 18, 6:22pm

>36 rabbitprincess: I thought that book was wonderful!

jan 18, 8:47pm

>40 mdoris: It was so good! I ended up reading it because a colleague uses the Ten Percent Happier app. Now I'm going to investigate the app and she's going to investigate the book :D

jan 18, 8:48pm

A productive day today. Finished The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark, and started Life, the Universe and Everything, by Douglas Adams. Those books are clearly related...

Also planning to read Cold Earth, by Ann Cleeves.

jan 23, 4:32pm

I'm finishing Thirteen for Dinner which I mysteriously found in my library (so fitting for an Agatha Christie). I suspect it's from my late mother-in-law; the books was printed in the early 60s with a price tag of 45c!

jan 26, 8:43pm

This morning I started Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, by Christopher Brookmyre.

jan 27, 4:50pm

I'm reading O Pioneers by Willa Cather.

jan 27, 8:51pm

I've started Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan to get a head start on Black History Month. Loving it so far.

jan 28, 9:35am

>48 Cecilturtle:, I loved that book!

jan 29, 10:59pm

Akin / Emma Donoghue
3.5 stars

Noah is 79-years old and planning a trip to his home country, France – a country he had to leave at 4-years old due to the war. He has a set of photographs his mother took that had been in possession of his sister, who has since passed away, and Noah is hoping to find out more about them. A few days before the trip, he is contacted by social services. He has a great-nephew with no other family they are able to find/contact who needs a temporary guardian, as his father (Noah’s nephew) died, and his mother is in jail. Michael is 11-years old; he and Noah have never met.

It was good. Kept my interest, though it wasn’t terribly fast-moving. I sure did dislike the kid, though.

feb 6, 12:14pm

I've finished Notes from a Young Black Chef and Half-Blood Blues, both of which I loved.
I'm continuing my mini-challenge of reading black authors during Black History Month by picking up L'empreinte à Crusoé.
But also starting The Sad Cypress because who doesn't love Agatha Christie in the middle of winter?

feb 6, 12:24pm

feb 10, 12:02pm

I'm concluding the Calloway trilogy with Bright Precious Days by Jay McInerney

feb 14, 11:24am

I've been having a slow reading month, but I think I've got a little bit of a groove back. Just finished Air Bridge, by Hammond Innes, which is set during the Berlin airlift.

Next up, I'll head back in time from Air Bridge by a few years (and forward, and all points in between!) by re-reading Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughterhouse-Five.

feb 16, 1:59pm

I'm launching my Canada Reads binge with The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk.

feb 16, 8:29pm

I've finished Normal People by Sally Rooney... I really didn't understand the fuss: I thought it was dull and flat.
I also finished a lovely collection of poems which I'd gotten for my birthday last year The Language of Flowers edited by Jane Holloway

Redigeret: feb 18, 1:49am

Wow, so much great reading going on here! I've started 2021 with some great reading too, including these Canadian books:

Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice (First Nations, apocalypse)
The End of Her, by Shari Lapena (domestic thriller set in the US)
Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe's Grand Mountains, by Meredith Erickson (author is a Canadian who spends years hiking, skiing and eating her way through the Alps)

Currently I'm reading:
the Better Mother, Jen Sookfong Lee (Chinese-Canadian character as a child in the 50s and as an adult in Vancouver 1980s AIDs epidemic - this one ticks lots of boxes for "areas of interest")
There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - (Russian short stories)
The Weather Detective, Peter Wohlleben - non-fiction about weather, with connections to how to read weather signs in your garden (well, if your garden resembles his, which is in Germany)
Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - (coming of age in Nigeria in a prosperous family, but with an abusive and pious father )

feb 18, 1:50am

>45 LynnB: I'm reading The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens.

That was eye-opening for me

feb 18, 8:44am

>61 Nickelini:, it was for me, too. Including, in my opinion, a sad commentary on today's journalism. There didn't seem to be much investigative journalism going on.

I'm into the Canada Reads binge-read with Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi.

feb 18, 5:51pm

I finished three books today. This is less impressive than it seems: two of them had been on the go for a while, and the third was a comic book :)

To Forgive Design, by Henry Petroski - about failure in the engineering sense, very interesting
Spider-Gwen Vol. 0: Most Wanted?, by Jason Latour - I watched Into the Spider-Verse recently and really liked it, so I'm digging into some of the comics featuring the alternate Spidey-people.
The Inimitable Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse: I've been reading this on Serial Reader for the past few weeks over lunch.

Then today I started Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès, by Maurice Leblanc. I want to watch Lupin on Netflix but wanted to read at least one of the books first. This is one of several available on Faded Page: https://www.fadedpage.com/showbook.php?pid=20180242

Redigeret: feb 18, 11:56pm

I'm doing sooo little reading ever since getting my new puppy in late November. I did manage to finish Murdered Midas by Charlotte Gray and thought it was quite interesting, especially as I had never heard of Harry Oakes before, despite his having been rumoured to be one of the richest men in the British Empire at one time.

feb 19, 7:55pm

Today I'm planning to make The Celtic Twilight, by W. B. Yeats, my next Serial Reader read.

feb 22, 5:22pm

Need to get a Book Club read done, so I'm taking a break from the Canada Reads books. I'm reading a memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell.

feb 22, 6:49pm

Did Maggie O’Farrel really have 17 brushes with death? That’s a lot. Lol

feb 22, 7:37pm

>63 rabbitprincess: oooh - I grew up with Arsène Lupin and had such a crush on him (book nerd or what?). I was so disappointed he only fell in love with green-eyed blondes... come to think of it... I'm a green-eyed blonde now!

I finished this great espionage novel set during the War on terrorism, Katiba by Jean-Christophe Rufin.

feb 22, 8:01pm

>69 Cecilturtle: I had a crush on Frank Hardy when I was younger, so I think it perfectly reasonable to have a crush on Lupin ;)

Finished Falls the Shadow, by Sharon Kay Penman. Changing gears to non-fiction now with Think Like a Rocket Scientist, by Ozan Varol.

Redigeret: feb 23, 10:19am

as a pre-teen, my crush was on Johnny Quest!

In each of the first two chapters, Maggie O'Farrell does have a brush with death. I'm on the first page of Chapter 3, she is a child and has just become lost from her mother. And there are 17 chapters!

feb 24, 10:59am

I'm reading a book club selection, Indians on Vacation by Thomas King

feb 25, 3:53pm

I'm back to the Canada Reads finalists with Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

feb 26, 6:11pm

Switching to sci-fi now, with The Shadow in the Glass, by Justin Richards and Stephen Cole.

feb 28, 1:08pm

I'm concluding my Canada Reads finalists with Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead.

mar 1, 4:19pm

I'm reading an autobiography, Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law by Beverley McLachlin, our first female Chief Justice.

Redigeret: mar 3, 12:37pm

I really like the novels by Tana French. I just read her latest The Searcher, and while it's not my favourite of hers, it was still a pretty good read.

mar 4, 9:40am

I'm reading Balloon by Tim Wynveen. Loved his first novel; didn't like his third much. This is the tie-breaker!

mar 4, 7:57pm

Today may be the day I finish Midnight in Chernobyl, by Adam Higginbotham.

Redigeret: mar 5, 2:29pm

>79 rabbitprincess: Oh that one has been on my list for a long time. I must get to it soon.

mar 6, 8:14am

>80 mdoris: It was very well done!

mar 6, 8:14am

Today I'm reading Vertical Reference, by Kathy Calvert, which is about a mountain helicopter rescue pilot named Jim Davies.

mar 6, 1:29pm

I'm re-reading Timothy Findley's The Wars.

mar 6, 7:50pm

I've finished Les roses fauves by Carole Martinez, a gorgeous book in the magic realism style. Can't wait to pick a new read tonight.

mar 7, 7:10pm

I hadn't read a play in a while. Les élucubrations d'un homme soudain frappé par la grâce is hot off the press in February 2021 and was given to me as a birthday gift.

mar 8, 12:19pm

mar 8, 1:35pm

A bit disappointed in the latest from one of my favourite crime fiction authors-definitely not the best of his. A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

mar 11, 4:16pm

mar 12, 10:44am

Today I think I'll start Clanlands, by Sam Heughan and Graham MacTavish. I have zero interest in Outlander (either the books or the TV show), but this book looks like a lot of fun.

mar 13, 5:26pm

mar 16, 1:12pm

I'm reading Keep Sweet: Children of Polygamy by Debbie Palmer. Having just finished Balancing Bountiful: What I Learned About Feminism from my Polygamist Grandmothers by Ms. Palmer's niece, Mary Jayne Blackmore, I thought it would be interesting to read a different perspective on the same time and place.

mar 16, 5:41pm

I finished In the Company of Secrets by Judith Miller. It was a dud. Hoping for better luck with the next one!

mar 19, 1:59am

Another crime fiction novel finished, written by one of my favourite authors. The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

mar 19, 11:10pm

The Figgs / Ali Bryan
3.5 stars

June has just retired, but with her and Randy’s three adult children still living at home (though they’ve been trying to get rid of them for a while!), there’s not much time to relax. When she is trying to get her kids to help her clean the basement, her youngest son, Derek, gets a phone call. He needs to go to the hospital because Marissa is having her baby. Who is Marissa, June wonders, but they pile in the car to be there with Derek. Soon, Derek is home with a baby he’d only found out a week or so earlier that he was the father of. Daughter Vanessa seems to have a much older girlfriend – who new Vanessa was a lesbian!? Not June, nor Randy. Both June and Randy also have their own family issues going on at the same time…

This was a whirlwind! I liked it, but I’m sure happy to live alone. All that activity was crazy and would drive me insane! I like my quiet life. There was humour mixed in here and there, as well. This is a local author to me, so it’s always fun to read about places I know in my city.

mar 25, 3:13pm

Woman in the Mists / Farley Mowat
4.5 stars

Dian Fossey was chosen by Louis Leakey (the same man who sent Jane Goodall to study chimpanzees) to study gorillas. Dian did not have a degree in a related field, though she loved animals. She started in the 1960s until she was murdered in her cabin in 1986. She fell hard for some men (though she never married), but she also did not get along with a lot of people, including some of the students who came to work with her. There was a lot of friction as different people had different ideas about how Karisoke (where she ultimately ended up studying the gorillas in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda) should run.

The gorillas (and other animals there) were often targeted by poachers and the area also had farmers who allowed their cows into what was supposed to be a protected park area. Dian took it upon herself, in order to save the gorillas, to do (and train others to help… plus she used her own money to pay people since the park rangers didn’t appear to do anything to help) what she called “active conservation”. That is, destroying the snares/traps, rescuing as many animals caught in those traps and by poachers as possible, and catching the poachers. She didn’t agree with bringing tourists to visit the habituated gorillas, though she later relented as long as they were small groups, but she still wasn’t overly happy about it.

Farley Mowat took much of this book from Dian’s own journals/writings, and changes the font in the book to indicate when/where he is using Dian’s words. He fills in the rest. I read “Gorillas in the Mist” years ago. It focuses more on the gorillas themselves, whereas this (though it includes some of the gorillas) focuses more on Dian and the politics and relations with the various people involved. I also read a book by two of Dian’s former students who she didn’t get along with, but I don’t recall all the animosity (but it was so long ago, I may not be remembering, or maybe they left out some of the political issues). In any case, it would be a dream for me to study wild animals in the wild! So, I really enjoyed this. Frustrating at the people who weren’t helping Dian more with her “active” conservation, though I’m not sure I would be brave enough to confront poachers with guns and machetes, either!

mar 25, 5:05pm

I finished Going Wrong by Ruth Rendell, a great psychological thriller, and I've started Le pays des autres by Leïla Slimani about a French woman who marries a Moroccan and goes to live in an isolated farm - super so far

apr 3, 7:32pm

I finished Le pays des autres by Leïla Slimani, which I loved: a story set in Morocco just as nationalist movements were upsetting French colonialism. Slimani was extremely deft at showing the prevalent racism, mounting Islamic intolerance and love that both French and Moroccans have for this beautiful land.

I've also finished Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. While clearly preaching for a vegetarian (and preferably vegan) diet, I appreciated his willingness to give a voice to all perspectives.

apr 3, 9:14pm

I'm reading a bunch of books, and three of them are Canadian:

Bride of New France, historical fiction by Suzanne Desrochers. I used to love historical fiction and my tastes have changed so this has sat on my TBR for years. But so far it's pretty good and I'm happy to read it.

Beyond the Pale:Folklore, Family & the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes, by Emily Urquhart - Urquhart was teaching folklore at Memorial University in Newfoundland when she gave birth to a daughter with albinism. Her husband is a biologist. I'm really looking forward to this book about raising a daughter with physical challenges; challenges that are treated as angelic, demonic, or strangely in other parts of the world. The author is the daughter of novelist Jane Urquhart and painter Tony Urquhart.

Feminist City, by Leslie Kern. I heard her interviewed on CBC recently and it was fascinating. It's about how how cities are run is largely based on the needs of able-bodied men and not others. Haven't gone very far, but my daughter is studying urban planning at university so I thought we could both read it.

apr 4, 2:24pm

>103 Nickelini:, those look interesting!

Somehow, I've become a senior without ever reading or seeing The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, so I am rectifying that.

apr 5, 2:04pm

The Devil's Making / Sean Haldane
3 stars

Chad Hobbes went to law school in England, but never wrote the bar exam. In 1868, he has come to British Columbia, a British colony, but not yet part of Canada (which was just recently formed in the east), but without having written the bar, he cannot practice as a lawyer, so he gets a job as a constable in Victoria. When an American “alienist” (psychiatrist - I had to look it up!) is found murdered in a very gruesome way, everyone assumes it’s the First Nations people who are closeby who killed him. One is arrested and it is assumed he will soon hang for it. Hobbes, though, doesn’t think he (nor any of the other natives) did it, and he sets out to find who really did it. In the meantime, Hobbes finds himself attracted to the sister of the man who was arrested.

Be warned: this was quite gruesome in the details. Also, there was a lot of investigation into sexual things. There is definite racism here, primarily against native people. Overall, I’m rating this ok. There were parts that just didn’t interest me, so I kind of tuned out, but other parts were fine and I followed without an issue. I’m thinking maybe the writing style? The odd thing is that I love historical fiction, I also like mysteries (though some types more than others), but oddly, more often than not, historical mysteries don’t interest me as much. I have no idea why.

I did like the Canadian background in this, though. I’ve been to Victoria a couple of times, so I could picture some of the places mentioned. There was an odd (I thought) twist and I felt like the end was a bit too much all tied up – except for one thing. That one thing wasn’t a happy one (and it was apparently a real event). The brief afterword also explained that many of the people were real people.

apr 5, 4:13pm

Just finished Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike, by Charlotte Gray.

Next up is Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese.

apr 11, 10:14pm

Just finished The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham. The writing is a tad too romantic and heart tugging for my liking, but a very interesting topic indeed. It's estimated that 12% of Canada's current population are descendants of the British Home Children sent here.

apr 19, 2:27pm

I'm re-reading Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

apr 19, 10:34pm

In the Mood for Peace: The Story of the Izzy Doll / Phyllis Wheaton.
4 stars

The Izzy Doll is a small knitted/crocheted doll that Canadian peacekeepers have been giving out to kids in war-torn countries, or just poor kids in countries where they are posted. It started with Mark Isfeld, who died in Croatia in 1994 while serving a peacekeeping mission there. He was trying to clear landmines at the time. Previous to his death, though, he told his mom back in Canada how much he wanted to give these kids something to call their own. She started making these little dolls and shipping them to her son to hand out. This has since grown into a much much larger project, where people all over the country (and some in the US) help knit/crochet these little dolls to bring smiles to those kids’ faces.

The book is also a biography of Mark, and both his parents, and it also looks at peacekeeping and peacekeepers, as well as landmines and the attempt to rid the world of them, as they are so dangerous long after conflicts end. There is also some memoir added in as Phyllis travels and talks to various people she focuses on in the book (the Isfelds and others).

I had never heard of the Izzy Doll before Phyllis, the author of the book (and an acquaintance of mine!) gifted a copy of the book to me. As sad as it was for the soldier whose idea it was to have died not long after he started handing them out (and both his parents died within months of each other in 2007), it is absolutely an uplifting book. The book is also peppered with photos of the Isfelds and more.

apr 19, 11:06pm

Mexican Gothic / Silvia Moreno-Garcia
3.25 stars

Noemi has gone to see her recently-married cousin, Catalina, who married suddenly and is now living in a remote large house with her new husband’s family. Noemi’s father is worried about some letters Catalina has written, as it sounds like she is very ill, so he wanted Noemi to go see how Catalina is doing and see if she can help. Catalina’s husband, Virgil, and his entire family is very odd, to say the least… and it seems quite apparent that they don’t want Noemi there.

The book is slow moving. I listened to the audio, which was fine, but not a whole lot happened until about the last quarter of the book. It did pick up, but not enough for me to raise my rating very much (the extra .25 is for when it finally picked up). I’ve seen this compared to “Rebecca” as a Mexican Rebecca, and Rebecca also started very slow, but there was something about the atmosphere in Rebecca and the story that had me like it better, overall. The atmosphere was done well in this one, too, but one thing I didn’t like were the odd, kind of psychedelic, dreams Noemi was having. Those were just...weird. That did put me off some. Overall, 3 stars for me is ok, and I added the little extra for the pick up at the end.

apr 21, 5:05pm

Redigeret: apr 26, 7:58pm

I just finished Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. So good. So moving.

apr 30, 9:38am

maj 2, 4:51pm

I recently finished Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz. I really like his work-loved all his novels that I've read and his screenplays too, esp. the for Foyle's War TV series.

maj 2, 4:53pm

I recently finished Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz and really enjoyed it. I've liked everything so far by him-his novels that I've read and the screenplays he's done esp. for the Foyle's War TV series.

maj 5, 10:30pm

Vanishing and Other Stories / Deborah Willis
2.75 stars

A book of short stories… I’ve said it before – I’m not usually a fan of short stories, and I wasn’t here, either. There was one that I liked; there were a few more that were ok – I wouldn’t say I liked them, but at least they held my attention; the others, I just wasn’t interested in and didn’t even manage to follow.

I hate writing a bad review about a book by a Canadian author, but I’ve actually also met this author a couple of times (and my book is a signed copy). I did like that some of the stories were set, not only in Canada, but in my city (Calgary – where the author lives, or did the last I knew), and in another city I’ve visited a couple of times (Victoria), so it’s always nice to recognize the places mentioned/described.

Redigeret: maj 8, 9:27pm

I've been quietly reading in my corner:
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes which I ended up enjoying after finding it rather stereotypical
Sweetland by Canadian Michael Crummely, an excellent piece of fiction but much too glum for pandemic life
N'oublier jamais by Michel Bussi an over-the-top but enjoyable thriller

maj 9, 9:13am

I'm going to re-read one of my favourite books, A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart.

Redigeret: maj 14, 3:43pm

I'm reading my latest ER book, Seven, by Farzana Doctor.

maj 16, 10:27am

I've finished I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella; cute but not as funny as some of her other novels.

On to something much more serious Les oiseaux vont au Pérou pour mourir by Romain Gary; curiously reads a bit like a play.

maj 16, 3:25pm

Late Nights on Air / Elizabeth Hay
2 stars

This story revolves around people who work at a radio station in the mid-1970s in Yellowknife, NWT. Dido and Gina are fairly new to Yellowknife and the radio station. All the men seem to be attracted to Dido.

Wow, this was boring. There were a couple of mildly interesting things that happened – thee was debate on a new pipeline that a company wanted to put in and a woman disappeared in winter. But, overall, pretty slow and boring. And I didn’t see one likable thing about Dido, who seemed to just go back and forth between the men. In fact, I don’t think I really liked very many of the characters… maybe Gwen, but then I skimmed so much of the book in the end, so hard to say if she really was likable.

I’m not sure why I added it to the tbr… looking now, I see it was either nominated for or won the Giller Prize, which should have been a red flag waving me away, but if the story initially sounds interesting, I will still often try them. I see the GR description also says “Written in gorgeous prose…”, which should also be a warning to me.

maj 16, 8:41pm

>127 LibraryCin:
I really liked Late Nights on Air, but I spent 6 summers of my earlier life in the North -- in my case Whitehorse and far-northern BC. I thought she really captured the mood of the North, and the wide variety of people who find themselves there. I also thought it was great that when they got seriously lost on their hiking trip, they were saved by a lone Japanese tourist. I read it a couple of years after it was published, and it has stuck with me.

Different strokes and all, but I thought I'd speak up and say why one reader liked it.

maj 16, 9:10pm

>128 Nickelini: No worries! I'm glad you did speak up.

I did mention the Giller Prize and the "gorgeous prose"... which are appealing to many people. Just not so much to me. :-)

Redigeret: maj 17, 8:47am

Re Late Nights on Air: I, too, worked a lot in the North, although I didn't live there but would often travel to Whitehorse or Yellowknife and once to Iqaluit.

I liked the sparsely written style of the book. I was interested in the characters and how they turned out, but wasn't deeply affected by any of them -- even deaths and lost love lacked a sense of poignancy. I think the inordinate amount of overt foreshadowing dulled any sense of shock or surprise I might otherwise have felt. The background story of the real-life Berger Inquiry into northern development was well done and added a lot of context about attachments to place and to wanting to control your way of life.

maj 17, 12:11pm

maj 17, 2:21pm

Back to reading crime fiction: The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

maj 19, 1:43pm

maj 22, 4:55pm

I'm about to start my ER book, The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

maj 25, 8:01pm

>136 LynnB: Hi Lynn! I loved that one.

maj 27, 8:01pm

I just finished Famous Last Words by Timothy Findley: a book suggested by someone on here, I think. I've liked everything I've read by Findley and the fact that I had recently read Murdered Midas by Charlotte Gray made this novel all the more interesting to me.

maj 27, 9:25pm

>138 ted74ca: I'm still reading Famous Last Words! :) Glad you liked it! Still have to get to Murdered Midas as well.

maj 28, 3:57pm

I'm going to read The House at Riverton by Kate Morton next.

maj 31, 11:09pm

Herbert has Lots for a Buck / Elizabeth McLachlan
4 stars

This book looks at twelve small towns on the Canadian Prairies, four towns in each of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. These are towns that have reinvented themselves to come back from dying out completely. One chapter for each town tells us the history of the town and what they’ve done to keep the town alive.

I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan, so I found this really interesting. It might have helped that I know some of the towns (and I know about Rosebud, AB and Vulcan, AB and their “claims to fame,” so to speak); however, I really do think the stories of these towns could be interesting to anyone. The author really does write the stories of the towns very well. The book reminded me a bit of CBC’s “Still Standing”, except the book includes more town history, in addition to the current situations in the towns.

Favourites of mine were Craik, SK (now an eco-village) and Neubergthal, MB (done up as a historical Mennonite village). My Dad’s background is Mennonite, so that might also have helped with the interest there. Other towns (you can guess what Vulcan is famous for): Rosebud is for the dinner theatre in town; Warner, AB for a world-class women’s hockey program; Elbow, SK for their marina, Beacham, SK for the artists in town; Inglis, MB for their “elevator row” (historical grain elevators). The title really drew me to the book, as I have family in Herbert, SK. The author did not include Herbert as one of the essays, but she mentioned a bit about it (and the title) in the epilogue.

jun 1, 10:04am

Redigeret: jun 2, 2:59pm

>136 LynnB: Just read your review and so glad that you liked it and gave it a 5 star rating. I'm sure I gave it a five star too. I thought it was a wonderful book, very well written.

jun 3, 9:35am

>143 mdoris:: it was a great (but difficult) read...so well researched and well written. What an amazing group of people live in that area.

jun 3, 10:44am

>144 LynnB: Yes, tough and resilient people. Any books about or by Newfoundlanders I seem to really like and appreciate.

jun 4, 2:07pm

I too, just finished The Wake The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami by Linden MacIntyre and loved it. I learned so much too. Every book I've read based in small town/outpost Newfoundland has made me realize I wouldn't have survived that sort of life-what a strong and resolute people they are/were.

jun 6, 3:35pm

I'm about to start My Daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons by Glen Canning. I met Rehtaeh when she was a toddler; her aunt was one of my best friends at University. This might be a difficult read for me, but I want to pay tribute to the work her parents have done since their great loss.

jun 8, 11:07am

jun 10, 1:11pm

Back to crime fiction reading for me: The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths. Very enjoyable read.

Redigeret: jun 10, 5:20pm

I've been traveling (right?!) and am now in quarantine which has afforded with reading time.
I've finished: Les oiseaux vont au Pérou pour mourir by Roman Gary
Un peu de soleil dans l'eau froide by Françoise Sagan
F-bomb: dispatches from the war against feminism by Lauren McKeon
Nous les dieux by Bernard Werber

I've started
One Summer by David Baldacci

jun 10, 5:39pm

>151 Cecilturtle:, I have F-bomb on my wish list...did you like it?

jun 12, 11:25am

>152 LynnB: lukewarm - on the one hand, it's an important conversation to continue to question the "alt" right discourse, inequalities that came out of the pandemic and 2020 riots, not to mention the new Texan law re: abortion (McKeon has just published a new book Women of the Pandemic) - I also liked the Canadian angle. On the other hand, McKeon speaks to a convinced audience, mostly white middle class, although she acknowledges BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

My main criticism is that she doesn't actually advance the conversation to include men and the role of men in feminism. There's a passage where she quotes Friedan and Beauvoir where the two didn't understand each other. Friedan was pushing women's equality based on men's standards; Beauvoir was hinting - hey! maybe we should have an altogether different standard where women and men are equal. McKeon's framework is outdated and - for me - frustrating.

jun 12, 7:04pm

>153 Cecilturtle: thank you! I think I'll read it, and I also think I will share your frustrations!

jun 13, 3:39pm

I'm reading my LTER book, The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam

jun 13, 3:46pm

Just finished The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, by Nancy Springer.

jun 13, 9:54pm

I think Helen Humphreys is one of my very favourite writers. I just finished Machine Without Horses and totally loved it. Her insight into human nature, her delicate prose-all never fail to amaze me.

Redigeret: jun 14, 1:34am

I've got Rabbit Foot Bill waiting for me at the library so it will be my next read. I really like Helen Humphreys books too!

jun 16, 3:04pm

I'm reading The Erratics, a memoir by Vicki Laveau-Harvie.

jun 19, 10:28am

I'm reading Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks for a book club.

jun 19, 7:31pm

Rabbit Foot Bill was a winner. I didn't want it to end.

jun 20, 8:25am

I've finished The Stud by Jackie Collins which I surprisingly really liked,
Ottawa Rewind 2 by Andrew King which was a great way to learn more about the city I live in (definitely tempted to read the first volume)
The Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs which was a great thriller

jun 20, 2:55pm

Wow! I don't know who recommended this novel to me, but I just finished it and thought it was wonderfully written. Poetic and moving and engaging, although depicting very grim lives and events in the Nova Scotian black community in the WWII era. George and Rue by George Elliott Clarke

jun 21, 9:27am

>163 ted74ca:, Oh! I loved that book, too.

jun 21, 4:36pm

jun 23, 9:07pm

The Queen's Gambit was great. Now I'm not sure what to read next...

jun 24, 9:30am

>167 rabbitprincess:: I noticed that book in the drugstore after I'd watched the Netflix series...did you see it? How do they compare? I think this may be a rare case where the book came after the film???

jun 24, 11:17am

>168 LynnB: It was first published in 1983, so definitely before the Netflix series ;) I haven't watched the series yet but plan to soon. Also thinking of getting Anya Taylor Joy's bob haircut whenever I'm able to book a hair appointment again!

My parents did watch the series and then my mum read the book, and she really liked both. Not sure if they made any changes when adapting it to the screen.

jun 24, 3:15pm

I just finished The Channel Shore that felt like an impressive Canadian classic about rural Nova Scotia. It has been sitting on my home shelves for a very long time. I loved it!

jun 27, 2:53pm

I'm re-reading The Beacon by Susan Hill

jul 1, 4:38pm

jul 1, 7:34pm

Started and finished A Perfect Likeness: Two Novellas, by Richard Wagamese.

Redigeret: jul 2, 11:48am

I just finished Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and found it very interesting. Based on a true story.

jul 2, 8:37pm

I've finished reading The Rough Guide to Classic Novels, a good little resource
Crapoussin et Niguedouille, which could have been fun but was a little pretentious, and I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane - which has aged poorly in content but well in form.

I'm enjoying The Comforters by Muriel Spark

jul 5, 4:26pm

jul 10, 3:10pm

>178 LynnB: That was a good one!

jul 12, 9:44am

I'm reading Spring by Ali Smith

jul 14, 9:30am

I'm reading The Guest List by Lucy Foley

jul 14, 11:16pm

The Midnight Bargain / C.L. Polk
3.5 stars

Beatrice wants to spend her life learning magic, doing magic, and becoming a mage. With this, she wants to help her merchant father. Unfortunately, society (and her father) have other plans for her: marriage and children. And as soon as a woman is married, on goes the collar to stifle all magic because it might hurt any forthcoming children. So, women don’t get to do magic (only men) until they are beyond childbearing years.

In a bookstore, as Beatrice hunts for grimoires (textbooks) to help her learn magic, she runs into a brother and sister from a wealthy family who could have an influence on her father’s business. The sister, Ysbeta, wants the same grimoire Beatirce has her hands on. Playing peacemaker, Ysbeta’s brother suggests Beatrice and Ysbeta learn together, but Ysbeta buys the book and walks out without providing an invitation/calling card for Beatrice to meet her to study. In the meantime, it is bargaining season when the eligible men come to woo the eligible daughters and/or bargain with their fathers.

This was good. Fantasy can be hit or miss for me, depending on the type of fantasy. This was urban fantasy, so more my “thing”. There is also a romance mixed in, but not too much romance for my liking, either. Overall, I liked it.

jul 14, 11:48pm

The Sun Down Motel / Simone St. James
4 stars

In 1982, Viv arrives in Fell, New York, and starts working the night shift at the Sun Down Motel. It’s not long before she learns of the visitors (some alive, some not) to the motel. As she learns more about the murders (and deaths) that happened in the previous few years, she does some investigating and comes up with a theory about what happened. But, not long after, Viv herself disappears.

In 2017, Viv’s niece Carly arrives in Fell. Carly has a fascination with true crime, and with her mother (Viv’s sister) recently passed away, Carly feels like she can investigate what happened to Viv. Following in her aunt’s footsteps, Carly also starts working at the Sun Down Motel… only to discover some of those same visitors to the motel.

I listened to the audio. There were two different voices for each of the main characters. It didn’t hold my attention 100%, but I was interested enough that plenty of times, I “rewound” to hear what I’d missed. There was some good atmosphere, with some creepy happenings.

jul 15, 9:16am

>184 LibraryCin:, I'm not a fantasy fan either, but I did enjoy Midnight Bargain. Kind of Jane Austen with witches.

jul 15, 8:39pm

>186 LynnB: Yes! That's a really good description!

jul 16, 8:05pm

I just finished The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne-absolutely loved it.

jul 17, 10:13am

>188 ted74ca: I loved that one, too

jul 18, 9:33am

I'm going to start my LTER book, A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano.

jul 20, 1:12pm

Another good read finished this week, historical fiction this time. The Cape Doctor by E.J. Levy. Very thoughtful depiction of gender roles, sexual identity, the purpose of a life, and love.

jul 21, 9:45am

I'm re-reading Underground by June Hutton which I last read in 2014.

jul 21, 9:46am

>191 ted74ca:, I've added The Cape Doctor to my wish last.

jul 23, 9:28am

I'm reading Snap by Belinda Bauer for a book club.

jul 26, 7:35pm

>195 LynnB: I started that and ran out of time, because there were a few hundred holds on it at the library! I've re-requested it though so hopefully I'll be able to finish it on the second go-round.

jul 26, 7:36pm

Just finished The Lost Books of the Odyssey, by Zachary Mason, so I'll follow it up with a crime novel: The Cat Saw Murder, by Dolores Hitchens.

jul 29, 6:37pm

Back to crime fiction, only genre I can manage in our current heat wave! Just finished the first in a series new to me: Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham

jul 30, 5:22pm

The Marrow Thieves / Cherie Dimaline
3.5 stars

It’s sometime in the future, and Indigenous people are being hunted by non-Indigenous for their bone marrow, as there is something in it that helps people dream, and Indigenous are the only ones who are now able to dream. Frenchie, a 16-year old(?) Metis boy, has lost both his parents and his older brother, so he’s on his own until he comes across a group of Indigenous people travelling north.

This was good. I had a bit of trouble getting into it at the very start, but it only took a couple of chapters. I didn’t like one of the decisions Frenchie made near the end of the book, but that ended up working out better than I’d expected. I also thought the very end was unrealistic, but it was good up to that point. It’s a pretty fast read.

jul 31, 8:48am

My most active book at the moment is Vultures in the Sky, by Todd Downing. Glad the library bought this at my request! A mystery set on a train between Texas and Mexico, which is not a place I visit very often in fiction.

jul 31, 11:00pm

More crime fiction: The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

aug 2, 2:50pm

The Most Precious Substance on Earth / Shashi Bhat
3.5 stars

Nina is an East Indian girl, growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is mostly vignettes of her life, starting in grade 9 in the 1990s and continuing through high school and beyond, as she becomes a teacher and navigates online dating.

I thought this was good. I liked Nina’s parents, and I liked many of the pop culture references. I was a bit confused that there was something at the beginning that never seemed to be tied up, though. I kept wondering if it would resurface later in the book, but it didn’t – unless I missed it.

aug 4, 2:39pm

I'm reading The Speed of Mercy by Christy Ann Conlin. It's quite a moving story about family secrets that won't stay silent.

It has some structure traits that I don't particularly like. Namely, jumping between time periods every chapter, but that seems to be the current trend in literature, so it's hard to find a book without that gimmick.

aug 6, 1:58pm

Redigeret: aug 8, 12:39am

Just reading Anne Perry's 21 Days as well as Little Women. Just finished another in the Lane Winslow series by Iona Whishaw. Well worthwhile Canadian mystery series. I also enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club. Quirky mystery set in a seniors' upscale estate. And lastly, I wanted to recommend Alan Doyle's All Together Now, A Newfoundlander's Light Tales for Heavy Times. Thoroughly enjoyable. Listen to it if you can. The e-audiobook is read by Doyle, the author and frontman for Great Big Sea.

aug 10, 8:44am

I've finished a few books since I last logged on
The Comforters by Muriel Spark
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden both of which I loved
The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer, at a friend's recommendation

I've now started Rien ne s'oppose à la nuit by Delphine de Vigan, at my daughter's recommendation

aug 10, 1:13pm

>208 Cecilturtle: Orenda was fantastic - I've read a few of his and haven't been disappointed yet.

I'm working my way through the Booker longlist and in the middle of The Promise by Galgut. Just finished An Island. Both are short and quite good.

aug 12, 10:22am

I'm reading my ER book, The Day After by Shani Roffeh.

aug 12, 7:38pm

Today I finally managed to finish Henry VI, Part 2, by William Shakespeare, after only 5 months ;)

Not sure what I'll settle on next... I am of course drawn by all the library books that DON'T have looming due dates. I might go with The Decagon House Murders, by Yukito Ayatsuji, translated by Ho-Ling Wong.

aug 13, 11:35pm

I generally like historical fiction, and am interested in 20th century England, but this book was just plain boring. Didn't enjoy Abdication by Juliet Nicolson and won't be rushing to read any more novels by this writer.

aug 14, 11:09am

After zipping through The Decagon House Murders in one day, I'm switching gears by picking up Monkey Beach, by Eden Robinson. (It's due back at the library in 3 days and I can't renew.)

aug 14, 6:20pm

The Horseman's Graves / Jacqueline Baker
2.5 stars

This is set near the Sand Hills in Saskatchewan near the Alberta border. It starts in 1909, but quickly moves on to the next generation. I wouldn’t have known it from the story, but the majority of the farmers living nearby are German immigrants, (I think) via Russia.

All these things should have been more interesting to me with a German (via Russia) family background, and I grew up in Southern Sask and have been to the Sand Hills.

I feel like 2.5 might even be a bit generous. There was one storyline that was (somewhat) interesting, but mostly this was boring. I wasn’t all that interested, and I was confused by who some of the characters were and how they related to the story. Well, they were all in the same town/area, but otherwise… Drove me nuts the one character was simply called “the boy”. Seriously? He doesn’t have a name? Come on!

Redigeret: aug 15, 3:41pm

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir / Samra Habib
3.5 stars

Samra Habib was still a girl when her entire family came to Canada from Pakistan. They were a part of a minority group of Muslims who were discriminated against in their own country. As she grew up, she knew she didn’t see things the same as her parents and she did not want to marry her cousin in the arranged marriage that had been planned. In fact, she wasn’t interested in men at all, and thought she may be asexual. As an adult, she came to realize that she was, in fact, queer. And she learned how to reconcile that with her Muslim faith.

This was good. It did move quickly and it felt like it skipped forward fast in some cases. It was interesting to read about, though. Have to admit (though that wasn’t the entire purpose of the book!), I found the first half more interesting - the parts that focused on her trying to fit in after she immigrated.

aug 15, 8:56am

>215 LibraryCin:, I read that, too. I'm glad I did because it showed me a side of Islam that I was not familiar with. We hear so much about the violent, fanatical sides of Islam that I was happy to learn about a positive aspect of many of that faith.

That said, I found the book a little dull. The author is a trained journalist and I think she has written about her life more as an observer than as the main character in her own story. I don't feel I know her even after learning about her struggles with faith and sexuality. It wasn't a bad book....just not nearly as interesting as I'd expected.

Redigeret: aug 15, 3:42pm

>216 LynnB: Yes, you're right about the other side (also the minority group of Muslims, though I can't recall what they are called).

I did add a bit more to my paltry review just now (on the book page), so I'm going to edit it here, too >215 LibraryCin:. I just wanted to add that I did find the first half more interesting with her trying to fit in as a teenager when she first moved to Canada.

Good point - it was a bit detached, as well.

aug 16, 7:41am

I'm reading If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha for a book club.

Redigeret: aug 17, 5:13pm

I'm reading Wine Girl, the story of a sommelier, by Victoria James

aug 20, 3:37pm

Another crime fiction read, by Sophie Hannah who is continuing the Hercule Poirot character of Agatha Christie. Mildly enjoyable, plot definitely not as good as Christie's were: The Killings at Kingfisher Hill

aug 22, 12:57pm

aug 23, 11:22pm

The Donnelly Album / Ray Fazakas
3.5 stars

The Donnelly family was an Irish family who immigrated to Canada in the mid-1800s. They set up in the township of Biddulph, Ontario. They were rough – they got into fights, they drank, they vandalized neighbours’ barns (including arson), sabotaged competing business… The father, James, was even convicted of murder and spent time in jail. But the entire area was rough and others did these things, too. James and Johanna had seven sons and one daughter. After decades of the violence, locals got tired of it and took things into their own hands. In the end, four of the family were murdered and burned in one house, and one of the sons murdered in another.

I’ve read a couple other books on the Donnellys, so the entire story was not new to me, but I think this book had a lot more detail and more episodes of things happening. There was a LOT of detail. In addition, there were photos – of the people, the places, letters and other primary documents that the author used in his research. There was a LOT of research that went into this, but it was also a bit dry to read at times. I wanted to give it 4 stars for the extensive research, but I’ve kept my rating just under that. 3.5 stars is still good for me.

aug 24, 4:48pm

aug 25, 1:10am

>223 LynnB: Oh I liked that book!

aug 26, 10:22pm

Chop Suey Nation / Ann Hui
3.5 stars

Ann Hui grew up in Vancouver, and later moved to Toronto where she became a journalist. In 2016, she decided to do a cross-Canada road trip with her partner while stopping at Western Chinese (aka “Chop Suey Chinese”) restaurants and talking to and learning about their owners and the history of the Chop Suey Chinese restaurants in Canada and North America. This is as she learns that her parents had run a Chinese food restaurant before she was born that she never knew about. She weaves in her father’s story, as he immigrated from China (years after his father and sisters came to Canada), grew up, married, worked in and ran restaurants, and had children.

I listened to the audio, read by the author herself, and quite enjoyed this. I was particularly interested in the chat with the owner of the Silver Inn Restaurant in Calgary (where I live), as I was only there for the first time a couple of years ago. This s where “ginger beef” was invented. (I also hadn’t realized that ginger beef is specifically a Western Canadian dish!) But, there were other interesting stories, too. I have to admit it took a while to get “into” her father’s story – I found it more interesting after he arrived in Canada. Ann Hui did a good job of reading the book. She did stumble over words occasionally, but it didn’t detract from the story,

aug 27, 11:44am

>225 LibraryCin: that one sounds interesting. I've been on the fence about picking up a copy but you've convinced me to find one

aug 27, 1:44pm

>226 Nickelini:: for what it's worth, I also enjoyed it a great deal.

aug 27, 3:51pm

I also liked >225 LibraryCin: :)

Redigeret: aug 28, 2:41pm

I'm starting Two-Gun & Sun by June Hutton, having loved her first book, Underground both times I've read it.

aug 31, 1:11pm

I've just started The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

sep 3, 10:52pm

Crow Lake / Mary Lawson
4 stars

When Kate is only 7-years old, tragedy hits her family in Northern Ontario. She and her baby sister, Bo, end up being raised by their older brothers, Luke (19-years old) and Matt (17-years old). Luke gives up his future so they can stay together, and also so Matt can finish school and continue to university (he was always the smarter one, anyway – the one expected to go to university). Kate and Matt have a bond.

Grown-up Kate, a professor in Toronto, never thought she’d fall in love, but she has. But she also has a hard time opening up to Daniel about her past and her family, even though they’ve been together for more than a year. Daniel still hasn’t even met her family.

I really liked this. It was slow-moving, but I found even the biology bits interesting. There was tension in Kate’s family, though she didn’t understand much of it when she was a kid. And the neighbours had some drama (this may be putting it lightly) going on at their place, as well. I actually read this over a decade ago, but only remembered siblings and a lake (actually it was a pond). I really didn’t remember much at all, but it was chosen as a book club book, and I’m really glad I reread it.

sep 4, 10:51am

sep 11, 7:55pm

>230 LynnB: I loved that one!

I've been away for a bit, which means I've caught up in my reading!

Rien ne s'oppose à la nuit by Delphine de Vigan, an almost stream of consciousness memoir about her bipolar mother.

Help Me! by Marianne Power, a memoir into the world of self-help which brings out the author's vulnerabilities in an almost painful way

Love your Life by Sophie Kinsella, a novel that has all the Kinsella charm and humour

Le mystère des dieux by Bernard Werber, the final of a trilogy about Greek mythology, which disappointed me: it finishes with an unsatisfying slight-of-hand

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, a collection of short stories, each of which is an absolute gem

sep 12, 9:30am

>233 Cecilturtle:: The Paris Wife made me incredibly sad. So glad I've read several Hemingway novels in the past....I won't be doing so again for quite a while.

sep 12, 2:04pm

I'm reading See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, a novel about Lizzy Borden.

sep 12, 8:52pm

My current Canadian read is All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. It's been on my shelf for years and she's one of my favouite authors, but for some reason it was never the right time. I am absolutely loving it! So many dog-earred corners to go back and reread.

sep 15, 12:03pm

sep 16, 8:55am

I've put aside Dying Light in order to read F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism by Lauren McKeon. We're having a group discussion of F Bomb on Tuesday.

sep 20, 5:41pm

>238 LynnB: What did you think of F Bomb Lynn? I found that the discourse was little old-fashioned... it could definitely be refreshed.

sep 20, 5:43pm

I finished On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, a fun light read and
Ottawa Road Trips by Laura Byrne Paquet; this will be staying with me in car for impromptu drives and ideas!

sep 20, 5:51pm

>240 Cecilturtle: Yay, that's my friend Laura! She's great! Glad you liked her book :)

sep 20, 5:51pm

I've finally, after much nagging from friends, started The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell.

sep 20, 6:01pm

>241 rabbitprincess: Small world! Yes, there are all sorts of fun nuggets in there!

sep 23, 4:36pm

I've been away in Nova Scotia, visiting my "newish" granddaughter for the 1st time, so didn't get a lot of reading done. I did bring my e reader along, so managed to finish a few books in my weeks away-mostly crime fiction, as usual:
1. Skinner's Rules by Quintin Jardine
2. The Blooding by Joseph Wambaugh (true crime and quite interesting)
3. Salt Lane by William Shaw

I går, 4:13pm

I'm re-reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer for a book club. I first read it in 2009 for a different book club.

Bliv medlem af gruppen, hvis du vil skrive et indlæg