Tuesday 27 February 2007

Saturday Finishes

Finished off a few books on Saturday. Mike was out for most of the day and at the autoshow in the evening, so I even finished off an audiobook while I did needlework.

A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read
This was an unabridged audiobook on 9 CDs, 11 hours. It was read by Hillary Huber.
Madeline Dare comes from an upper crust family background, which her parents opted out from for the most part. She lives in Syracuse with her husband Dean, a welder who travels a lot for work, and writes puff pieces for a local paper. She is a bit mouthy and knows how to use a gun. When her father-in-law gives her a set of dog tags found near a decades old unsolved double murder, she is drawn in. The dog tags belong to her favourite cousin and she can't believe he is involved in murder. The search for the truth leads her back to the state fair, to the ex-cop who originally had the case, and to her cousin. Her best friend Ellis tags along, and they get into plenty of interesting situations. Thoroughly enjoyable.

By The Time You Read This by Giles Blunt
This is a Detective John Cardinal mystery, set in Algonquin Bay, a small city in Ontario. While John's wife Catherine has battled depression for years, even being hospitalized a couple of times, it comes as a complete shock to him when she kills herself. He can't believe she would actually do it, but everyone else does. As he looks deeper into her motivation, he finds some things that don't make sense to him. He also gets hateful notes in the mail about Catherine's death and begins to suspect someone else may be behind her death as an act of revenge. Meanwhile a big case involving child pornography is keeping his colleague Lisa Delorme busy as well.
I was completely drawn into this story. John's emotions are brought to the fore and your heart goes out to him.

Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster by Allen & Linda Anderson
This books looks at the situation of animal victims in disasters in the United States and while giving first-hand stories of real situations, also gives suggestions for changes to make future disasters less hard for animals.
As an animal lover I found some of the stories difficult, but the overall tone of the book is one of hope for the future. The authors discuss the nature of the bond between humans and animals and talk about situations where people have refused to leave without their animals, and how animals were taken from people who had already lost everything. As they say, there is not only the importance of saving animals lives, but also a morality in the saving of lives as it affects both the humans and the animals. They give information on a lot of volunteer organizations active in this area for more information.

Saturday 24 February 2007

Busy week

Didn't get too much finished this week as it was busy. I did a non-fiction book talk on Thursday, and spent a fair bit of time preparing for that.

Finished Feb 23
Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand by Fred Vargas
Vargas comes through again with a winner. Adamsberg reappears in this one, dealing with a spectre from his past, the Trident. A chance glimpse brings this figure back to his life and gets him on the track that he abandoned years ago. Others are sceptical of his theories. His group at work makes a trek to Quebec and the spectre appears to be tracking him there as well. Does Adamsberg obsession lead him to commit a similar crime. Who is on his side? There are lots of twists and turns and interesting characters.

Finished Feb 20
An Alphabetical Life by Wendy Werris
From bookstore to publishing sales this memoir focuses on a life surrounded by books. Wendy also looks at her childhood in a Hollywood family and how that influenced her personality and choices. There are bad decisions and good, and she is honest throughout, not hiding any of her idiosyncrasies. She also mentions her favourite books from different eras, and I found that of interest.

Monday 19 February 2007

Latest reading

Finished Feb 18th
Causeway: A Passage from Innocence by Linden MacIntyre
This memoir of boyhood years in Cape Breton by the cohost of CBC's fifth estate is a strong story of a boy's relationship with his father and his community. Linden was a boy always interested in the world, both the world of the adults in his own community and the world beyond Cape Breton. He became friendly with a Hungarian man, Old John, who ran the temporary camp for the causeway workers, and with a young Korean engineer, Ted. He listened to the conversations around him, and made his own sense of them. He gives his impressions of his father and the life his father had to live to support the family. His book includes references to the idea of home and the roots that we all have. As someone who grew up moving often and without a real sense of a physical place as home, I can relate to his comments on this.

Finished Feb 16th
Undercurrent by Anne Metikosh
A mystery set in Northern Ontario with the main character Charlie Meikle, a conservation officer, suspicious about the circumstances surrounding the death of a friend of hers. The story travels to Toronto and back again, and includes bear poaching, environmental damage, abandoned mines and alcohol. Charlie, despite being a woman, is not to be taken lightly and she involves others in the story as her suspicions grow.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Finished yesterday

Over the Moat: Love Among the Ruins of Imperial Vietnam
by James Sullivan
A memoir by a young American man who made a bicycle trip through Vietnam with a college friend in the late 1990s and became entranced by a young Vietnamese woman he met in Hue. He returns to court her and struggles with cultural differences, other suitors, and the government bureaucracy.

Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat
by Sara Swan Miller, illustrated by True Kelley
A beginner chapter book that has stories for young readers to enjoy. The Rainy Day, The Yummy Bug, and The Happy Day are stories about a black and white cat. I like books about cats and I like to read books that I may want to give my nieces and nephews.

Sunday 11 February 2007

2 More Finished today

I finished another couple of those ones on the go.

The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea
by Mark Haddon
A book of poetry with a definite twist to it. The poems all flow beautifully, but you really have to read carefully and think hard to determine the meaning of some of them. Some of them are very dark, and I like the others better.

Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey into the Heart of Iran
by Marcello Di Cintio
By a writer from Calgary who makes two trips to Iran to investigate the links between poetry and wrestling. He really does his homework ahead of time about the different types of traditional wrestling and Irani poets and takes tutoring to learn Farsi. He takes you meet a variety of ordinary Iranians and gives you a look at a variety of places in the country, including both cities and villages. He visits traditional wrestling houses and poet memorials across the country and is welcomed into the homes of many people. A heartening story of this country.

Saturday 10 February 2007

Reading this week

I have a lot of books on the go right now, but only finished two this week.

Finished today, Saturday, Feb 10th
Children of My Heart by Gabrielle Roy
I decided to read this book, a Canadian classic that I never got around to reading, because it was one of the choices for CBC's Canada Reads.
It was a great read. The book is in 3 parts, with each part set in a different school. They are all from the point of view of a young teacher, and discuss her relationship with her students. The first on is in a town school and the other two are in villages. The stories are emotional and read very true. I really enjoyed the book.

Finished February 6th
Murder in the Museum by Simon Brett
This book is part of the Fethering series, set in the area of the town Fethering. Carole Seddon is on the board of a home of a renowned poet Esmund Chadleigh. When a body is discovered by gardeners on the site, Carole happens to be present. She grows interested and involves her friend Jude who knows another of the people involved through her volunteer work. The politics on the board grow more evident, and Jude is visited by an old lover, who becomes involved from an academic point of view. All in all, lots of possibilities and a great story.

Sunday 4 February 2007

Sunday, February 4th

Finished February 4th
Organizing for the Creative Person by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping
This is another book I had long meant to take a look at. I have a passion for organizing, but am also a saver and thus have a lot to organize. I am always looking for tips and tricks for doing it better. Lately I have also been falling way behind on putting things "away". This book had a lot of ideas that work with those more right-brained people. Just the idea of using something like literature sorters is a good one. I have a desk that I seldom use, partly because of its location, and I have some ideas now of changes that I can make to make working at home a more inviting prospect.

Saturday 3 February 2007

Musings on Saturday and more books read

I took a book out of the library called The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books. 125 leading American and British authors were asked to provide "a list, ranked, in order, of what you consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time--novels, story collections, plays, or poems." A few also picked some non-fiction works. The books were given points based on their ranking and an overall ranked list was created. The choices of each author are also given, book summaries are included and other short commentaries. I was fascinated and decided I must have my own copy, so have ordered one.

I was also at the OLA conference this week and got the Dewey Divas Spring list and was pleased to see that I'd already identified some of their chosen books as ones I wanted to read. I also got some more to add to an already long list of reads!

Finished February 2nd
Cockeyed by Ryan Knighton
This memoir by a Langley, B.C. man who began going blind in his teens due to a degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa. He talks about his experience from before he knew what was happening to him to the present day. It is a fascinating look at the inner thoughts of someone going blind as well as seeing how his interactions with the world change.
This is on the short list for the Evergreen Book Award.

Finished January 29th
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I listened to this unabridged book on e-audio (my first foray into this format) and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is one of those classics that I always meant to read, but had never got around to actually reading. I can see why it is a classic. It is a book about relationships, with ourselves and with others, and still applicable today. I also enjoyed the format and will definitely use more of these.