Bcteagirl's 1111

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Bcteagirl's 1111

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Editado: Ene 28, 2011, 12:31pm

Thanks to Mareofthesea for pointing me in this direction! I am going to give this a shot. Will come back and fancy this up later (Maybe) just posting now before I change my categories for the 11th time :P

Here goes nothing! Hoping for 11 books in each category.

1) Classics (Surprise surprise :P)
2) Dystopian and post apocalyptic
3) Non-Fiction
4) Homesteading/Pioneering and survival: Including fiction, memoirs and how-to.
5) Canadian authors, not set in one particular province
(I am in the read across Canada challenge, which means my books without a particular setting are piling up! They go here).
6) Food related (Foodie, cookbooks, slow food, food biographies, etc).
7) Humour
8) Plays (Never really been that big into plays, but hoping to change that this year. Some will be a book that is a collection of plays rather than each play separate).
9) Around the world- 11 different countries! (Hopefully).
10) Mysteries
11) Kindle!! I got a Kindle for Christmas!! Want to make sure I use it and it does not turn into the well-intentioned paperweight my ipod did :P So AT LEAST 11 books of my kindle, and probably some from the other categories as well.

Dic 27, 2010, 10:47am

Glad to see you here! I had a Canadian authors category for my 1010 challenge and I'm going to include one for my 1111 challenge too. (I haven't got my thread set up yet ... waiting to finish my 1010 challenge first!) I'll be eager to see what you end up including in yours.

Your categories look interesting, especially the food one. I just finished My Life in France by Julia Child and loved it.

Dic 27, 2010, 10:54am

I have a Dystopia and post-apocalyptic category too. It's the only category I'm afraid I might run a little short on, so I'll be interested to see what you fill yours with.

Dic 27, 2010, 12:12pm

Yay! Welcome, teagirl! I'll be interested in your Canadian category, as I have one too, and am always looking for new ideas.

Dic 27, 2010, 1:22pm

Janice, it is great to see you here! I will be stalking your Canadian authors with great interest - I am always on the lookout for more that I can add to my TBR pile ;-) - along with everything else you might be reading!

Dic 27, 2010, 3:59pm

Thank you for the warm welcome everyone!! I will be starting this in January, trying to finish up a few books until then :P

Dic 27, 2010, 10:21pm

Looking forward to several of your categories. I've always loved homesteading/pioneering stories. Then you've got a food category. I read lots of those as well. I'm in the Canadian challenge too, but I'm not doing too well in completing it. I do have a Nova Scotia book lined up to read soon in one of my categories. I couldn't make that one fit my 1010 categories. I love mysteries. I'm also interested in seeing what you read on your Kindle and how well you like it. I have the Kindle app on my iPhone and use it a little bit, but not a great deal.

Dic 28, 2010, 6:17am

I enjoy distopian and pioneering categories so will be watching yours with interest.

Welcome to the group this is my first year too :)

Dic 29, 2010, 6:57pm

Thanks guys! There are some great ideas for dystopian books as well in the dystopian discussion area:

Some of the books in the earliest dystopian book discussion I found for free as a download in the gutenberg library.

It is a great librarything discussion group to join if you are interested!

Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 12:16pm

Category 1: Classics:
1) Adam Bede Completed in February*
2) To Kill a Mockingbird Completed in January*
3) The metamorphosis - Completed in February*
4) Letters to a Young Poet - Completed in February
5) Anne of Green Gables - Completed in March*
6) Meditations - Completed in May*
7) Watership Down - Completed in May
8) To The Lighthouse - Completed in July*
9) The Kreutzer Sonata - Completed in September*
10) Anne of Avonlea - Completed in November*
11) A Christmas Carol - Completed in December


* = This book was read at least partially on my Kindle.

Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 12:16pm

Category 2: Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic:
1) The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood Completed in January*
2) 1984 Completed in January*
3) Alas Babylon Completed in June*
4) The Day After Tomorrow Completed in July
5) Extinction Completed in July
6) Fast-Tracked Completed in August*
7) Verita Completed in August*
8) Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow Completed in September*
9) The Road Completed in September
10) Fire (Elements of The Undead) (Volume 1) Completed in November*
11) The KunstlerCast: Conversations with James Howard Kunstler Completed in December


*= This book was read at least partially on my Kindle.

Editado: Dic 17, 2011, 12:25pm

Category 4: Homesteading/Pioneering and Survival:
1) Wilderness Living Completed in March
2) Wilderness Survival Completed in March
3) Champagne & Polar Bears Completed in April
4) How to Store Your Garden Produce: The key to self-sufficiency Completed in October
5) Cold Storage for Fruits & Vegetables: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-87 Completed in October
6) How to Build an Indian Canoe Completed in November


Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 12:16pm

Category 5: Canadian without a specific province or set outside Canada:
1) Stone Diaries Completed in March
2) The Educated Imagination Completed in April
3) Homemade fun : games & pastimes of the early Prairies Completed in May
4) Remember Me: A Search for Refuge in Wartime Britain Completed in June
5) Forty Cords for Warmth Completed in June
6) Corked Completed in July
7) How to be a Canadian Completed in July
8) Investing for Canadians for Dummies Completed in July
9) A trail of broken dreams : the gold rush diary of Harriet Palmer Completed in September
10) Spin Completed in September
11) Why I Hate Canadians Completed in September


Editado: Dic 31, 2011, 10:54am

Category 6: Food Related
1) Toast completed in April
2) Hostess with the Mostess: A Galaxy of Retro Recipes Completed in April
3) Foods that will win the war, and how to cook them Completed in June*
4) Great Rhubarb Recipes: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-123 Completed in July
5) The Tea Lovers Treasury Completed in October
6) Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair Completed in October
7) Making the Best Apple Cider Completed in December
8) Making Cheese, Butter & Yogurt Completed in December
9) Circle of Friends Cookbook 25 Meatloaf Recipes - Completed in December*
10) The amazing legume : cooking with lentils, dry beans & dry peas Completed in December
11) Simple essentials : pasta, rice and noodles Completed in December


* = This book was read at least partially on my Kindle.

Editado: Dic 27, 2011, 11:18am

Category 7: Humour
1)Something Missing - Completed in February
2) Strip Tease - Completed in March
3) Stuff White People Like - Completed in March
4) Sick Puppy - Completed in July
5) Little Lulu. Lulu in the doghouse - Completed in September
6) A Modest Proposal Completed in November*
7) The paranoid's pocket guide Completed in November
8) Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town Completed in December*
9) Winnowed Wisdom Completed in December*
10) Screw Calm and get Angry Completed in December
11) Keep Calm And Have A Cupcake Completed in December


* = This book was read at least partially on my Kindle.

Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 12:16pm

Category 8: Plays
1) The Cherry Orchard Read in April*
2) The Bear Read in April*
3) The Proposal Read in April*
4) The Jubilee Read in April*
5) Uncle Vanya Read in May*
6) Waiting for Godot Read in May
7) The Seagull by Chekhov Read in June*
8) Ivanov by Chekhov Read in June*
9) Three Sisters Chekhov Read in June*
10) Thirteen Hands Completed in June
11) The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi Completed in November


Editado: Dic 16, 2011, 1:20am

Category 9: Around the World: 11 Different Countries:
1) The Birth House - Canada - Completed in January
2) Oranges are not the only Fruit- England- Completed in January
3) The Poisonwood Bible - Congo - Completed in May *
4) Suite Francaise - France - Completed in May
5) The Cellist of Sarajevo - Bosnia-Herzegovina- Completed in May
6) The Kite Runner - Afghanistan- Completed in September
7) Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia - Croatia- Completed in December


* = This book was read at least partially on my Kindle.

Editado: Dic 19, 2011, 8:43am

Category 10: Mysteries
1) Lost in a Good Book Completed in February
2)The Well of Lost Plots - Completed in February
3) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Completed in May
4) Three Bags Full - Completed in August
5) Atonement - Completed in August
6) The Full Cupboard of Life - Completed in August
7) Something Rotten - Completed in September
8) In the Company of Cheerful Ladies- Completed in November
9) The secret of the forgotten city- Completed in December
10) Murder in the Calais Coach- Completed in December*
11) The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Completed in December*

** Complete!**

* = This book was read at least partially on my kindle.

Editado: Sep 3, 2011, 11:12pm

Category 11: Kindle!

Editado: Ene 1, 2011, 9:17pm

Ok, so I have started listing out my categories in long form. I have a couple leftover books from last year that I am finishing, so am putting them into their respective categories for this challenge. I was not sure where to put The Handmaid's Tale since it is dystopian, Canadian, and I am currently reading it on my kindle. *twitch* I remembered that some were interested in hearing about more dystopian books, so I am putting it in that category for now. If I fill up some categories I may move books around if they fit in more than one category :P

I am liking The Handmaid's Tale so far. It is sort of written from a feminist perspective. You know that something has changed significantly (You are not sure what yet) and that fertility is low. Feminism has gone back about 200 years with women having very few rights (especially in the lower classes) but more protected ('Freedom from rather than freedom to'). Interesting read so far.

Ene 2, 2011, 12:02am

I keep waffling between picking up The Handmaid's Tale. I am not a big dystopian fan, only because I don't wade into that territory/genre with a focused purpose of doing so, but I keep hearing great things about this one - hence the waffling ;-) I will be curious to learn what your overall impressions of the book are when you are finished.

Ene 2, 2011, 1:14am

I was blown away by The Handmaid's Tale was one of those books that leave you unable to pick up another for days after you finish.

Ene 2, 2011, 7:53pm

Thanks for stopping by my thread! you have some great categories and I look forward to seeing how you populate them through the year.

Ene 2, 2011, 9:38pm

Hello teagirl!
I am sitting here, drinking a lovely cup of tea, checking out your interesting challenge thread (and everyone else's), when I should be reading my next book...and laughing a lot at that, and the fact I now feel quite at home with you all doing the same (and feeling as much trepidation) as me! Or me as you...

I liked The Handmaid's Tale; it was my first Atwood. Not that it was an enjoyable subject, but it stayed in my head even as I needed a break from the chill it filled me with. Then I just had to read more to find out more; I came to it in total ignorance. Quite prophetic too - sadly.

Ene 2, 2011, 11:55pm

To the best of my recollection this is my first Atwood too, although I have been putting together quite the collection of her books. I know a bit about what is going on, but not much so also going in a bit 'blind'. I am finding I do not go back to it everyday.. Adam Bede is a nice nice in-between book as it is a much lighter topic.

ps- What type of tea?

Ene 6, 2011, 12:44am

It is an 'afternoon' blend I get from my local tea shop of large and small leaf black tea from India and Sri Lanka, quote "mediumly robust and full of flavour; takes milk well' - all to which I concur and I do like a cup in the afternoon. :) They also have a 'morning' blend I really like too - for the morning. On the weekends I make a huge pot, but during the week I have my one-cup pot.

I drink much more tea than coffee. If I don't have a nice cup of tea to start my day; then I don't have a nice day! I do enjoy a coffee mid-morning but otherwise it is tea, tea, tea.

Ermm...after that huge digression, back to books... I hope to read Silas Marner out of my tiny George Eliot lot.

Editado: Ene 6, 2011, 1:29am

Tea and books go together though, so it is all good. Always feel free to discuss tea here :) I like tea mixes as well, but for some reason not the Sri Lanka tea quite so much. I prefer stronger Assam type teas :)

I am about halfway through The Handmaids tale and I have to agree with others that it is a powerful sort of book. Not disturbing in a 'why oh why did I choose to read this' sort of way but more in a way that makes you stop and think, and take a closer look at what is going on around you. And that is not a bad thing. Still pairing it off with Adam Bede to lighten the tone. I was trying to keep up the pace roughly equally between the two, but I seem to have gotten well ahead in The Handmaids Tale. I was flying home today so I had a lot of time to read on the plane. And because apparently two great books could not hold my attention I started reading a few pages into 1984.. this is also a bookclub read so will more than likely be my next dystopian book.

ps- On a tea and book related theme, I am thinking a nice smoky Lapsang Souchon probably goes with dystopian books non?

Ene 11, 2011, 9:44pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Editado: Ene 11, 2011, 10:21pm

Ok I have finished reading The Handmaid's Tale and am working on posting a review in a few minutes.

I have started 1984 as my second Dystopian novel. This is the book that coined the phrases 'Big brother is watching you', and my new favourite phrase 'doubleplusgood'. I am really enjoying this book so far. I will admit it lends an ominous tone to the 'If you see something say something' government messages looping at walmarts (Or so I am told).

I have also started NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children as my first non-fiction book. I won this in a contest last year and it is high time I started it.

I have listed a few of the upcoming books in my various categories. I was hesitant to do so at first because the ideas of what I want to read may change. What I did in the end was limit myself to the books I know for certain I want to read in 2011. I hope you find some books you like! I will be back shortly with my review.

Editado: Ene 12, 2011, 12:59pm

I finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale at least a few days ago, but I wanted to wait a little bit to let it sink in before I wrote my review. It was my first completed book in 2011, and it was a very powerful book.

This book can be read as a dystopian book, or it can be read as a political warning (almost a satire, but a little dark for that even). I will try to avoid spoilers. Some events has happened that has lead to war, and has also lead women to lose virtually all of their rights. They are however protected from being attacked. (Freedom from rather than freedom to). The story is told from the point of view of one ‘Handmaid’ during the middle of her experience. Therefore we find out bits of what happened to cause this situation in retrospect which helps to soften it a bit, at least for me. There are various classes of women, she is a Handmaid, or a woman who is still fertile, and is essentially shuttled between married couples who cannot have children (for mating purposes). With virtually no rights (Reading, socializing etc) boredom is a very large part of her life, and she takes pleasure in the smallest of details.

I was initially worried that this book would be to dark for me. Despite having a dystopian category, I am somewhat of a wuss. (Therefore having this category forces me to read through these books!). While this novel is dystopian it is not gritty in a sort of ‘rip the flesh of your bones’ zombie sort of a way. I also appreciated that it was broken up into manageable pieces. By that I mean that there are short sections on various parts of the past, short sections on the present, on her thoughts, etc. This means that it is not a depressing read, but it is a very powerful one.

Parts of the novel were even quite funny. The scrabble part made me laugh out loud in the middle of the airport. Several passer-by’s probably think I am insane. Oh well. It’s a free country.

What makes this novel stick with me so much is not only how ludicrous it appears, but also how realistic. You could very easily see *some* of these things happening. When you consider the ban the American army has on reading sections of the New York times, banning some reading is not implausible etc. What I am saying is that this books makes you want to play closer attention to things politically and not take freedoms for granted. The restrictions came suddenly after a shooting at congress. I finished this book a few days before the shooting took place on the weekend… it is really making me take a closer look at how politicians etc can use fear. If you are not generally a dystopian fan I think you would still very much enjoy this book if you are at all interested in politics or feminism. FIVE STARS.

Ene 11, 2011, 10:19pm

Excellent review!

Ene 12, 2011, 12:38am

Ditto from me!

Ene 12, 2011, 3:03pm

Nice review. I tend to avoid dystopia as a genre (I find reality can be dystopic enough and I don't enjoy the creepy feeling I sometimes get reading dystopic literature), but I read and liked the Handmaid's Tale and it stuck with me for years afterward.

Ene 12, 2011, 3:23pm

Handmaid's Tale and 1984 at the same time? You may never recover. ;)

Ene 12, 2011, 8:04pm

35: I know I know! Doubleplusgood to read them together. (Don't tell anyone I was reading ok?).

Ene 13, 2011, 7:26am

I'll also be watching your Canadian Author's category, Dystopian and Around the World categories. Good luck with the challenge, looks like you've already started/read some great books.

Ene 13, 2011, 10:13am

Hi TeaGirl... thanks for putting me on to the dystopian thread I had a blast reading through it all. One combination that I found quite staggering (though not a reading combo) was watching Fahrenheit 451 on TV which was then followed by Soylent Green (unless it came from a book... I have never tried to find out). Incidentally Books and Company is one of my favorite bookstores too and hubby and I make a habit of it everytime we are in P.G. to make it our last thing to do before going home, a couple of hours perusing the stacks and a soy capuccino on the way out.

Ene 13, 2011, 10:54am

@35 - AND the road ! can I suggest you go the whole hog and read on the beach by Nevil Shute too....

Ene 13, 2011, 12:12pm

Psutto: I do have a copy of On the Beach! I hadn't decided whether I will get to it this year or not, but will move it up higher on the list. Hopefully I can find time to fit it in. I also have a copy of Fahrenheit 451.
re: Books and company: Small world! Whenever I get the chance to go in I grab a lemon tart. Those are a must have in my book. Mmmm...

32,33,34,35,37: Thank you for the welcome and interest! :)

Editado: Ene 16, 2011, 10:51pm

I seem to be on a roll, I finished reading 1984 tonight. On the surface a dystopian tale about a society where government control is absolute (they are always watching), poverty is rampant, and war is continuous. There are telescreens in each room (Like a large radio that also feeds your video to the government) playing slogans, news, etc and they can never be turned off (criticism of television anyone?). When the book opens they are preparing for the annual 'hate week'. It is not unusual for people to disappear. Privacy is a thing of the past.

This book is really a book in three parts: The introduction which is actually quite fun to read (not too dark, at least for my tastes), the part pertaining to The Ministry of Love, and a last section which like The Handmaid's Tale seems to be a retrospective analysis of sorts. This is a fantastic book although the second section was a bit difficult to read.

*possible light spoilers beyond this point*

I loved the first part of the section in which we are introduced to Oceana. You get to see day to day how people live and cope in these conditions, and there is a sense of hope, of some sort of potential. There is also humour. The scene in the square where suddenly Eastasia is replaced with Eurasia was so hilarious I had to read it three times over to make certain I had not missed some small detail. The sections describing how the children were trained as spies for the government, taught to report their parents, and even given little uniforms were chilling. However I couldn't help picturing them in cute little Girl Scout uniforms.

What I found especially interesting in this book what the treatment of language and history. Winston works in The Ministry of Truth, which is all about lies and propaganda. If some government prediction is shown to be wrong, it is his job to edit out all proof that they were wrong, and in fact to edit past documents so that it looks like they were correct in the first place. History is updated daily, and there is nothing left to challenge their version. You could see this even from a Colonialism perspective: Who is allowed to write history, and whose versions are left out?

Newspeak is a new language being put into use... It is essentially a dumbed down version of English, with words that could be used to form arguments against the government removed. Language is very powerful and I found this particularly troubling. From 'freedom fries' to calling journalists 'terrorists' words are being used or misused for political reasons daily. It is important that we notice when these changes or misuses come about rather than simply turning a blind eye.

Aside from the complete lack of any strong female characters in 1984 I really liked this book, again both from a dystopian and political point of view. I think the next few books I read in this challenge will be from a different category, just for a change of pace ;)

On side note, I noticed that a few of my touchstones were linking to the wrong book, which has since been fixed.

Ene 15, 2011, 12:02am

Nice review on 1984. I wish I knew more about the Spanish Civil War because I'm sure it was an experience that changed his writing. & Orwell would approve of the cute, girl scout uniforms!

Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite books. It feels post-apocalyptic to me, but it really isn't.

Ene 15, 2011, 5:00am

I think 1984 is the only book that I remember the first line- It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen- and the famous, chilling, four-word last one. I read Nothing to Envy last year. While reading it I wondered if 1984 would make an appearance. It did.

Ene 15, 2011, 10:36pm

I stopped reading your posting of 1984 when I hit your possible spoilers warning as I am embarrassed to admit that is one book that I haven't gotten around to reading. Your summary of the book before that point is good and I am considering moving 1984 up the TBR pile!

Ene 16, 2011, 2:46am

Ah, I am glad the warning helped! I try to only do 'light spoilers' (e.g. not ruining any possible plot twists), but I know some people prefer none :) I do recommend that you move it up your list! :)

Ene 16, 2011, 6:10am

Great reviews on both Handmaid's tale and 1984! A keen analysis, an eye for social context and a personal tone on top of that. I'm starring this thread.

Hmm, might be time for a reread of Orwell's book. Must be fifteen years since I read it.

Ene 16, 2011, 7:52am

Nice reviews of The Handmaid's Tale and 1984! I love both as well and have reread them both at least once.

Editado: Ene 16, 2011, 10:00am

I'm very much enjoying following your dystopian/post apocalyptic category. It's certainly one of my favorite genres.

My favorites of the last year or two:
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller ***** (I reread this one every few years)
A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier ****½
The Day of the Triffids **** and The Chrysalids ****, both by John Wyndham
The Road by Cormac McCarthy ****
Genesis by Bernard Beckett ****
The Night of the Triffids by Simon Clark **** (sequel to Wyndham's book by a different author)

I gave On the Beach three stars but did enjoy both it and the movie with Gregory Peck. They're very, very similar, unlike so many films made from books these days. I don't recall reading Orwell, at least since high school. Just the thought of 1984 gives me the willies. Same thing with The Handmaid's Tale, which I did read. I should probably give Atwood another chance, but that story freaked me out.

This year I'm hoping to read at least the following:
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Down to a Sunless Sea by David Graham
Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick
The Postman by David Brin
Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
The Morning Star by Andre Schwarz-Bart
The Wall at the Edge of the World by Jim Aikin
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America by Robert Charles Wilson
Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman by Walter Miller

Editado: Ene 17, 2011, 2:50pm

46,47: Thank you for the very kind compliments!


We share some of the same interests! I read Day of the Triffids and The Chyrsalids in 2009, then didn't do much dystopian in 2010. Perhaps that is why I am so keen on it this year? I *loved* The day of the triffids
I have many of the books you mention, including A Canticle for Leibowitz (Received just last week actually!) and On the Beach.

Let me know when you are thinking of reading Alas Babylon, we should coordinate! No rush as I have 3 books on the go right now :P

Ene 17, 2011, 5:10am

Yep great reviews. 1984 isn't an easy book to review either.

Ene 17, 2011, 7:32am

great review of 1984 Orwell was one of those authors that when I read one of his books I had to read all the others (and remains one of my favourite authors to this day) - I'd say that animal farm, down and out in london and paris as well as the Spanish civil war book homage to catalonia are required reading and his other books are good too

Ene 17, 2011, 8:45am

My favorite Orwell is Keep the Apidistra Flying.

Ene 17, 2011, 2:58pm

51,52: Thank you for the recommendations! I have read Animal Farm, it is one of my favourite books of all time :) It appears that Animal Farm and 1984 are the only Orwells in my library, I will have to keep my eyes open for more!

Ene 17, 2011, 3:57pm

Bcteagirl> The other Orwell books mentioned should be in the nonfiction section. Maybe your library hid them from you? The Spanish Civil War and his involvement in it, and Latin American politics in general, have made a huge impact on dystopian fiction, but the average American thinks it's all about the Russians. ;)

Ene 17, 2011, 4:06pm

Heehee! I should have been more specific.. I mean the library I own (although it is nearly comparative in size now!). That is a good point, next time I head down to my local library I will have to check it out! :)

Ene 17, 2011, 8:07pm

LOL! I should've figured that out. I was feeling sorry for you, having such an impoverished public library!

Ene 17, 2011, 8:39pm

heheheh. Well there are only the two in town (One public, one university). So yeah... I do have to build my own ;)

But still better than none! :)

Ene 18, 2011, 8:40am

I am also a fan of Orwell and I recommend The Road to Wigan Pier as well as A Clergyman's Daughter plus any books with his essays in it as well. Such an opinionated chap... I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when he met H.G.Wells... they had quite a scrap and I would love to know what they had said to each other!

Editado: Ene 19, 2011, 4:25am

Just came by to say hi to you on your thread! What a lineup of books!!! I confess I don't especially enjoy dystopian books! You are brave! I'm trying to thing what dystopian books I have read in the past. Hmmm ... 1984 by George Orwell, Farenheit 451 - I can't even remember if that was dystopian or not, Cool Hand Luke, The Animal Farm and and Lord of the Flies. I read all of them back in high school English - I guess my teachers' loved dystopian literature. If you need advice on mysteries..... just ask! ;)

Ene 19, 2011, 1:25pm

Hey Deb, thanks for stopping by! I may come bug you about mysteries later! :) Still participating in the Cross-Canada challenge as well.. as soon as I finish To Kill a Mockingbird I am hoping to figure out where I put The Birth House and start on that for the CBC reads debates. I may count that as the Canadian book in my cross country category here for now, just so I have a category to fit it in. Heh.

Ene 21, 2011, 9:55pm

I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird a few nights ago. To Kill a Mockingbird looks at the issue of prejudice in the south from the point of view of a young girl, over a period of several years. In that way it is also a sort of ‘coming of age’ story. To me it seemed to feel similar to Catcher in the Rye, but without what some people describe as whining (I liked that book fine as well).

While the main issue tackled is not surprisingly prejudice against African Americans, the book also touches on prejudice against the mentally ill, and what was happening in Germany at the beginning of WWII.

I found this book to be an easy and relatively comfortable read.. The girl’s father is assigned to defend a ‘coloured’ man who has been falsely accused of a crime… the type of things you would expect to happen generally do. Frankly I expected it to be worse than it was (For the family). What will stick with me is the comparison between the reactions of others to what was happening in Germany (As a travesty, Hitler as crazy etc, it was just wrong to treat people differently) to their opinion of what was happening to the ‘Negroes’ in their own hometown. Jem is one of only a few who notice this discrepancy; it simply seems not to cross the minds of anybody else that they are a similar sort of thing.

In conclusion, this is not a book you need to be nervous about reading. I will admit I was a bit nervous when tackling this book as those sort of issues tend to get to me, but it was very well presented. Easy to read and worth your while. FOUR STARS

Editado: Ene 22, 2011, 12:05am

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites. Glad to see you liked it. Time for a re-read.

Ene 22, 2011, 2:57pm

Great review!

Ene 22, 2011, 5:19pm

I'll be re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird this year and though I remember it as a favorite I don't really remember the WWII references. I'm sure your review will highlight them for me. Glad you enjoyed it!

Ene 22, 2011, 5:20pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Ene 23, 2011, 9:54am

I listened to To Kill a Mockingbird last year, read by Sissy Spacek, whose slow, Southern accent worked beautifully and made me slow down and understand a book I'd read a dozen times in a new way.

The WWII references reminded me of a school in Alabama or Tennessee who put together an ambitious project to help their students understand the holocaust. There was much mention made of how these children could not understand the way the Jews were treated and I kept wondering why they didn't go for a lesson so much closer to home. We seem to have a huge blind spot here in the South about how really wretched slavery was and how recent the Civil Rights movement was. There are so many people here who have direct experience of the Jim Crow laws and how destructive they were.

Ene 23, 2011, 1:23pm

66> Sadly, plenty of people don't want to look so close to home. You're right though. It would make more sense to the kids if we said "it's like some people think of blacks" or "it's like some people think of Latinos."

Ene 23, 2011, 1:51pm

It makes people very uncomfortable to look at horrible things that have happened so close to home. Many feel it reflects on them, or at least their communities. This makes them less willing to take a closer look. Frankly it is *why* they should take a closer look.

I can see that a bit here in Northern Canada, where I see some racial awareness campaigns that discus immigration, the underground railroad, and how everyone is equal etc, but make no or very little mention of First Nations populations. More of a 'don't look behind the curtain' type of a deal sometimes.

Ene 23, 2011, 9:47pm

68> I'm beginning to think every country has something behind the curtain.

Editado: Ene 24, 2011, 12:07pm

I was reading the third chapter in Nutureshock: New thinking about children for my nonfiction category yesterday, and it talks about current research in childrens' concepts of race and some of the issues we were talking about in To kill a Mockingbird. Yay for overlapping themes!

In one study asked for volunteers who were willing discuss race and equality with their children. The idea was they sent them home with a children's video that included a lot of visible minorities, either with or without a discussion from their parents. The discussion was to be explicit (People come in all colours including X, Y, Z. X,Y, Z are just as likely to be as nice as anyone else, it is just as good to be a friend of X,Y,Z as anyone else. There was also a control group who would only have the discussion.

While the video did not work, the other results were more interesting. Parents in the control group, despite responding to an add for a study where they would discuss race with their children dropped out left,right and centre, many stating that it was because they were uncomfortable having discussions that specifically pointed out race.

Of the parents who showed the video and then had the discussion, most did not follow the script they agreed to, but instead reverted to statements like 'everyone is equal' that did not discuss race specifically. This was why the video did not work. When they went back and reanalyzed the data for this, parents who did follow the script had children who showed greatly improved impressions of other races after the experiment.

What this means is that PC or dumbed down equality messages in school that are afraid to mention race are not going to be effective.

The new 'PC' way to raise children is apparently to raise them colourblind, e.g. never to discuss race at all, just make sure they are around kids of all races and they will work it out. 75% of Caucasian parents simply choose not to discuss it at all. Children naturally develop in-group favouritism (Favouring people 'like me') based on whatever is most evident to them. The fact that race is not highlighted to them does not somehow render them colourblind. Children as young as 3 when asked to pick possible friends from photographs will show a preference for same race friends.

Studies that look at interventions in children (With the result being who they actually play with at recess/after school etc) have shown that in the first grade attitudes and behaviours are fairly easy to change. However by the third grade they are resistant to change, these children do not show changes in attitudes or behaviour towards children of other races.

What this means is that 1) Race needs to be discussed or children will develop in group favouritism on their own 2) The discussion needs to give concrete examples; 'Everyone is equal/ the same on the inside' does not help in the least. 3) These discussions need to occur Gr.1 or earlier - far earlier than most parents feel comfortable discussing race.

So the good news is that young childrens' behaviour is amenable to change, the bad new is it is exactly the type of discussion most parents and teachers try not to touch with a 10 foot pole.


Ene 24, 2011, 3:39pm

My son's kindergarten class drew pictures of themselves and described their color. Some were what you'd expect; peach or chocolate and some were original, but it did put skin color right out there. I do think it's better to acknowledge that skin color is part of who we are. Describing someone using every other descriptor, but not race can lead to missed connections and the inference that there's something wrong with it.

Ene 24, 2011, 3:57pm

I read Nurture Shock last year and also found that chapter interesting. I grew up in an almost exclusively white neighborhood and school and don't remember talking about race at all. This is not something I want for my child and am happy that we live in an area (DC) where there are TONS of different races and nationalities. I will admit that I have thought that having him in this environment will just naturally expose him to the knowledge that there isn't a "better" in terms of race. Reading this article made me think that we will also do some talking about it while he's young. I feel lucky, though, that unlike the place I was raised, we won't have to ONLY talk about it. He will also get to grow up surrounded by different races and cultures and hopefully experience for himself friendships with people who don't look exactly like him. I think there is more to that than this article gives room for.

I also think (after reading Pink Brain, Blue Brain that some of the "sorting" of races that goes on in young kids isn't necessarily based on racism, but on a child's natural tendency to sort everything (boy/girl is another example) and to not think in subtleties at those young ages. For example, girls and boys are strongest in their assertions that "girls wear pink dresses" and "boys play with trucks" at these ages. As they get older and can think in less absolute ideas, they open up and can see the "grey areas" in life.

Ene 24, 2011, 4:13pm

I'm thinking though, that like gender assumptions, race assumptions start at an astonishingly early time, and it isn't as simple as "he looks like me." It will start to include the baggage even at daycare because people still do that he's asian, so he'll be quiet, he's black so I better watch him close, he's Mexican so he'll have trouble reading... etc

Talking about race specifically makes sense. I remember using a World Book encyclopedia to look up someone like Medgar Evers and being very confused because they never mentioned his race. I knew he was probably African-American, but I never found anything in the World Book to confirm that. Now if someone is known for fighting for rights for their race, why is it impolite to mention their race?

Ene 24, 2011, 4:50pm

It feels rude, though, doesn't it, to mention someone in terms of skin color or heritage? We've spent so much time with the idea of a color-blind society.

Editado: Ene 24, 2011, 7:32pm

That's the thing, we are so PC that it feels rude to discuss it, but if you don't children fill in the blanks themselves.

Recently the NDP choose a new interim leader in BC (They are a political party here in Canada). I remember being interested because according to their own in party rule, they would have to choose a female. Somehow, there are three positions and they have a rule made that one of the positions must be filled by a female. So unless someone resigned or they changed the rules, the new leader would have to be female. I was at a bookstore (Surprise!) when I overheard a new story about the new interim leader they had chosen. Despite listening to the story about the new candidates background, views, etc there was nothing at all about gender. The whole story had been very carefully (and sometimes strangely) written to avoid the use of he or she anywhere in the story. In some places it came across as awkward. I remember thinking it was so strange that someone would go to such effort, but perhaps it is also just a form of political correctness... you can't mention a person's gender now?

Ene 24, 2011, 9:50pm

There is no gender. There is no race.

Gender is everything. Race is everything.

My thinking is there has to be a lot of ground between the two camps. It's tricky and ever-shifting but I do think progress has been made in many areas. Communicating online is misunderstood often enough with the visual cues, tone, and body language removed for even the most mundane of subjects. When ethnicity and gender are tossed into online communication it's nearly impossible to post things without misunderstandings from poster to reader.

That said, let's see if I can get into trouble. "Overall, 68 percent of mysteries are purchased by women" is a recent stat released by some group or other. Plausible? Accurate? Is there a reason for that? For me, it says little new. There are other studies out there that state- at this particular point in time in the Western world women purchase 70% of all books sold and they read 70% of all the books that get read. Does this indicate anything meaningful about gender and reading? Ok, here's where the battles will start- the interpretation of such numbers. See, I knew I'd get in trouble. Well, Bcteagirl did ask for thoughts on the subject. :)
*Tiptoes off the minefield*

Ene 24, 2011, 10:05pm

Heehee Thoughts are always welcome!

I remember when I first got here, someone or other (Was it you ghost?) had posted about a book that discussed how publishers in general leaned towards female readers even if it meant pushing male readers away with some of their content? I could not find the link again, but wanted to try to find that book at some point. The idea has stuck with me.

72: I think I read your review of pink brain, blue brain and it sounds just like the type of book I should be reading for when I teach developmental psychology.

Ene 24, 2011, 10:32pm

Odd, because I was in a ya fiction writing class where they said there was a study showing that girls would read books with either a male or a female protagonist, but boys want there books to have a male protag, so when in doubt, use a male protagonist for marketability. That was after the push for more vibrant female protagonists, so I'm not talking about a class that was in the pre-feminist days.

What I've seen in the schools "sort of" backs this up. Boys tend to chose male protags, but when forced to read books with girl protags, they do get into them. Which has brought us to the trend of having both a male & female protag.

As for race, I work in a school that is very diverse but when we're describing a kid, we don't often say African-American, but we will say Mexican, "from El Salvador" or Somali. We describe hair and skin tones.

Ene 24, 2011, 10:35pm

Another thought on the gender issue: At the school level, both boys and girls have to read to meet their class requirements. Many of the books are bought for the kids, though, by teachers (a profession where the majority are female) or parents (often mom.) So the YA statistics might be quite different from the adult stats.

Ene 24, 2011, 10:37pm

Thanks so much for those thoughts cammykitty, I hadn't even thought of it from a YA/teaching perspective. Those are good points!

Ene 28, 2011, 1:03pm

I just found your thread and all the interesting conversation I've missed out on! I'm excited to follow your dystopian reading this year. I took a course on dystopian lit a few years ago. In three months, I read 1984, Animal Farm, Darkness at Noon, Bend Sinister, Homage to Catalonia and Lord of the Flies for class. During the same period, on my own I also read The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451 and The Trial. And I started all of this a month after my mom died! After I finished with these, I read only happy books for quiet a while! I love dystopian lit though so I'm really interested to see what you read.

(Of the books I've listed that you haven't read yet, I recommend Bend Sinister, by Nabokov. When I first read it I thought it was pretentious garbage, but I had to write on it and on second reading I found it brilliant.)

Ene 28, 2011, 3:28pm

Welcome to the thread Nickelini!

I am very jealous to hear that you were able to take an entire class on Dystopian literature! :) I am also glad to hear that they included The Handmaid's Tale. It sounds like you must have had quite a semester altogether, I can't begin to imagine the strange dreams :P

I have read Animal Farm, it is one of my favourites, and one of the books that 'returned me to reading' after an absence (Doctoral examinations). Lord of the Flies is a book I read in high school, but should revisit at some point.

Those all seem like interesting books that I will have to watch out for, thank you for bringing them to my attention! :)

Editado: Ene 30, 2011, 10:27pm

I finished reading The Birth House a few days ago for a Canadian book in my International section. I would rate this book as 'fair'. The premise is what you would expect: Mean doctor moves into town and tries to threaten the local midwife out of business. Then something bad happens to a patient... and things go from there. It is a window into a different time and location (Nova Scotia). When it comes to sexuality, the writing is quite bold. However many of the characters could have been developed more,and one or two seemed more like caricatures. However there were characters that I liked and could identify with.

If I was rating this out of ten I would give this book a solid 7, possibly a 7.5

Ene 30, 2011, 11:20pm

Hi Janice - interesting review of The Birth House. I have waffled on picking up this book. I may get to it this year, but definitely not in time for Canada Reads!

Ene 31, 2011, 1:17am

I waffled for a long time on this one too. My main concern was that it would be a very heavy/heady book (I have times when I can be whimpy about reading lol). I needn't have worried about that. So if that is what is holding you back as well, don't worry it is a book you can have fun with. :)

I finished Nurtureshock tonight which makes 5 books completed for this challenge in January (9 books read overall, but not all of them fit).

I discussed Nurtureshock some in the posts above. What I really enjoyed about this book is that is backed up with well thought out research (Rather than theories, or half research, or pseudopychology) and explains some of the newer counter-intuitive findings. Given the title Nurtureshock and the cover (An egg with a bandaid on it) I was expected more of a dicussion of over-protection, over-parenting and helicopter parenting and how this is having a negative effect on children today. I didn't really see that covered at all.

That said, I am holding on to this book. Due to space limitations I try to get rid of most of the books I read. This book however has useful references and examples for teaching Developmental Psychology so I will be hanging on to it.

A very useful and approachable read for people of all backgrounds.

4 stars

I have started Oranges are Not the Only Fruit for the second book in my International book section (England). I am also reading it for the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge (Book #16).

Ene 31, 2011, 7:42am

Hey!Found your thread!!
Hmmm I could give you my ideas on the racial thing -but I'll save it for a later.

The Birth House - loved it! Easy accesible read. As for the mean doctor - it kind of resonated with me. Back when I was born -that twilight sleep was still used. I know my mom had it. What bothers me about that is that the mom suffers the pain -but has no memory of it. I am not a home birth advocate - in part because I would have lost both of my sons had I not a skilled OB at my side - or perhaps not my side per se!;) Off to read your review. I'm in 75 books in 2011.

Editado: Feb 3, 2011, 10:38pm

I finished reading Oranges are Not the Only Fruit tonight for my England book in my International category.

Oranges starts as the story of a young girl growing up alone but confident in a family with a religiously zealous mother. I felt sorry for her being ostracized at public school and never winning any prizes for her 'you are all going to hell' themed embroidery and dioramas, she seemed quite honestly puzzled as to why her teachers did not like them. When I was reading about how her church group formed a competing band to the Salvation Army (they were not holy enough) and had dueling Christmas Carols on the corner, I just could not stop laughing. It certainly put her in a difficult position when she fell in love with another woman. This book is written with an innocent, fun and philosophical tone. Her 'unnatural attractions' (as described by her church) are discussed much more on a philosophical level than a physical one.

What I also enjoyed about this book is the act of having the main character play the role of a storyteller as well. Stories within stories.. she makes up fairytales and Lancelot tales to try to make sense of her situation (I want to read more of these stories!). Her thoughts on philosophy and history were also very interesting.. she discusses history as a 'story', history as being quite relative.

An easy read (also a small book). Recommended reading.

Feb 3, 2011, 5:58am

Sounds like an interesting book, Janice! I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for it! I sure wish touchstones were working! Oh well!

Feb 3, 2011, 6:33am

This one is going on my wishlist too!

Feb 3, 2011, 9:25pm

Hi Janice - nice review of Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. On the list it goes!

Feb 3, 2011, 10:37pm

Wohoo you got the touchstones to work! Thanks! :)

Feb 4, 2011, 3:59am

Jeanette Winterson's later books leave me cold and uninterested, but I remember her early works with fondness. Hmm, perhaps it's time for a re-read.

Editado: Feb 5, 2011, 8:07am

Thought I would pop by and say hi!! Just finished Silence of the Grave by by Arnaldur Indriðason , my second in the series of my Icelandic books. I really loved it!! Much more character development and great insight into domestic abuse in that mystery from Iceland. I had intended to read something by a different author- but I am so enthralled by the author - I am beginning his next book - Voices.

I have no particular them for any month . I plan to read more Canadian authors, as well as explore my various Scandanavian mystery authors. In the 75 books for 2011 there are Take It or Leave It Challenges - TIOLI -and I enter those if my book fits the bill...I am enjoying crime in Sweden and Iceland -and picked up book by a Norwegian author today.

Feb 5, 2011, 8:11am

Ohh you have some wonderful books slated for yourself, Janice! The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favourites -and I don't have a lot of favourites!!!And Maeve Binchy's Victoria Line, Central Line is so Irish, homey and cosy -you will have a wonderful escapist read there... Enjoy!

Feb 5, 2011, 2:07pm

Thanks for stopping by Deb! Interesting to read about the Scandinavian Authors, they seem to be quite a trend lately!

Thanks for the kind words about The Poisonwood Bible and Victoria Line, Central Line. The Poisonwood Bible is one of those books I want to read but keep putting off for some reason I can't put my finger on... (Same thing that happened with The Birth House.).

Feb 5, 2011, 5:03pm

Hi! I'm reading The Poisonwood Bible right now. It's been sitting on my shelf forever but now I'm tearing through it and really enjoying it. I'd give it a try - it has really sucked me in!

Feb 5, 2011, 11:18pm

The Poisonwood Bible has also been sitting on my TBR shelves for several years. I think this might be the year I get to it.

Feb 6, 2011, 8:46am

Loved your thoughts on The Handmaid's Tale. I still think about it and I really liked what you had to say - about it making you stop and think and look around. And that it's not that unrealistic is it?

I love dystopian/apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic also - I haven't used it as a category in these challenges because I always read a bunch of these anyway. And of course that means I enjoyed your thoughts on 1984 as well.

One to consider for that category is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; it's one of the best dystopian novels I've read in recent years. I recently found it had been made into a movie; the author was a co-producer, and it was a very good treatment of the book. And actually after I saw it, I felt like I shouldn't have watched it because it is a disturbing book and the movie gave me that feeling as well.

Thanks for the neat discussion you started with your review of NurtureShock.

Feb 6, 2011, 1:06pm

Welcome Lisa and thank you for the kind comments!

I am interested in hearing more about Never Let Me Go, the description makes it sound like a boarding school tale.. in what way is it Dystopian?

Feb 6, 2011, 4:26pm

I agree with the recommendation of Never Let Me Go. BCTeaGirl--saying how it's dystopian puts me at risk of spoiling the book. Let's just say that their world isn't quite the same as the one we live in and the boarding school they are at is not your usual boarding school. And that's all I think I can say.

Feb 6, 2011, 4:54pm

Good answer Nickelini! Bcteagirl, it's one of those books that you need to just let take you where and how it wants to take you. You learn soon enough about its world and part of what makes the book so good is how the truth of this world unfolds.

Feb 6, 2011, 7:07pm

I just want to add my recommendation for Never Let Me Go to the others. You might also like The Unit.

Feb 6, 2011, 7:58pm

Oooohhhh - adding my recommendation that you give The Unit a read. I don't generally gravitate toward dystopian books but I found this one to be a fascinating page-turner!

Feb 6, 2011, 8:45pm

Bcteagirl, they may not have convinced you about Never Let Me Go, but I just put it on my wishlist.

Editado: Feb 6, 2011, 11:13pm

I must admit, I am curious now! I like the description of The Unit, I added that to my wishlist right away. When I read that it is often compared to Never Let me Go I added it to my wishlist as well :) Thanks guys!

Feb 7, 2011, 4:20am

Great review of the Handmaids Tale, Janice!!

Feb 7, 2011, 1:11pm

Since that review I read in another thread that Atwood set a rule for herself that in The Handmaid's Tale she would not include anything that had not already been done to women in real life at some point... which increases the creepiness level of the book 100 fold for me.

Feb 7, 2011, 3:20pm

I just finished reading Never Let Me Go and watching the movie. Both are great (although I did have to nitpick the movie!). It definitely falls under your dystopian category and I think you will like it.

I also just started watching the BBC version of Day of the Triffids and it's really good so far. It's weird watching something and knowing how it ends. :)

Feb 7, 2011, 4:12pm

Hi Teagirl!

Thanks for the review of The Handmaid's Tale. I'm planning to pick it up when I go to the library after work.

Btw, what are your favorite teas? Right now I love Celestial's Sleepytime Green with honey (first thing I need to have when I wake up!), Teavana's Chai blend and also their Blueberry/Lemon-lime blend.

Feb 7, 2011, 4:52pm

Welcmoe Aygs! I hope you like The Handmaid's Tale, you will have to let me know what your impressions are.

My favourite teas... Hmmm.. I love Darjeeling (Especially the Margret's Hope estate), Assam (Strong black tea from India), Ginger black tea and Rhubarb
black the best. Those are probably my mainstays. I also love coconut black tea and gunpowder green tea. The only insistance I have with tea is that it must have actual tea in it (Be it black, white, green oolong or pu-erh). Not a huge fan of herbal infusions :)

Feb 8, 2011, 11:08pm

I finished Adam Bede a few days ago, for my classics category. The book is set in 1799 and gives a good description/feeling of what it was like to live/work in a small town in the country at the time. If you like books with lots of description, etc then you will love this. If you are easily bored with description and place/time setting I suggest you avoid it. I enjoyed this book, even though it was rather slow to get moving. It also involves a lot of 'protestant work ethic' (Methodist actually), etc. THe main character Adam Bede is presented as the ideal man, very hard working, working class, intelligent, and yet willing not to question the church (Just as happy to have some questions unanswered). He falls in love with a vain woman named Hetty (rather than the more suitable Methodist woman) and things go from there. This is a long book, but a very comfortable read.

I recently started The Metamorphosis as another read for my classics section. It is also part of my What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge, and happened to be handy on my Kindle when I ran into some free time up at the university today.

Feb 8, 2011, 11:14pm

By Kafka?

If so, I enjoyed that one, although I hate what he turns into...

Editado: Feb 9, 2011, 12:58pm

Yes The Metamorphosis by Kafka, touchstones were being finicky for some reason. I am only a little ways into it, but am finding it hilarious so far. Who wakes up to find themselves transformed into a giant bug only to think 'Great, its raining AND I'm late for work!'. Probably won't get a chance to read more of it until Friday now, but it is not a long book.

I just finished reading Something Missing. Based on the tags associated with it, I was reading it for my Mystery category, but have now moved it into my 'Humour' category.

I did really love this book. One characteristic I think many librarythingers have in common is a touch of OCD, liking to keep track of their books, applying categories to them, etc. This book centers around Martin, who is a minor sort of thief, and an OCD one at that. He closely monitors peoples lives, and only steals items that he knows they will not miss. When taken at the right time, no one will notice a can of missing vegetables, a third of a container of laundry detergent, or wedding presents that have never been used (To be put on ebay under a fake name). He carefully takes items from the same couples over an extended period (years). He thinks of the people he steals from as 'clients' and feels this method is full-proof.
"The secret behind Martin's success was that the possibility of a thief operating in his client's homes never entered their minds. As long as the notion of theft didn't occur to a client, he would never be caught. This was achieved by choosing all of his clients with great care."

The detailed method by which he chooses and tracks clients and intake (Excel anyone?) was beyond hilarious to me. It also makes you think about just how much you have around the house that you would not notice if it went missing... and if so, do you really need it?

At some point Martin feels compelled to try to help one or two of his clients, and hi-jinks occur from there.

A hilarious book, the only quibble I have is with the ending (Won't spoil it). If anyone gets my feed (Books entered, rated etc) they would have been frustrated with me this evening as I kept changing the rating for this book. I would rate the first half of this book a 5/5 and the second half a 4/5. The ending, 3/5. That is the best I can do!

Feb 9, 2011, 2:35am

I am so glad you enjoyed Something Missing! Martin's OCD behaviour had me in stitches I was laughing so hard - I can still vividly remember the toothbrush incident.

Feb 9, 2011, 5:52am

Looks like I'll have to add Something Missing to the wishlist. Thanks for your review.

Editado: Feb 9, 2011, 10:16am

Poor Gregor Samsa... & I was reading a short story by Charlie Stross. One of the characters was named Gregor, and yes, he was a cockroach.

P.S. Thanks for the tea recs. I've got a cold and a nice cup would do me some good.

Feb 9, 2011, 10:31am

Glad you're enjoying Gregor the bug. I thought that was brilliant too. And Something Missing is going on the wishlist. Thanks!

Editado: Feb 10, 2011, 8:22am

Something Missing added to my wishlist as well. I greatly enjoyed Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr books way back when (and a little research shows new* books in that series)... I guess I'm just a frustrated burglar at heart ;-)

and I've eyed Metamorphosis a time or two in the past, may take a swipe at it also.

*further research ~ not new but newer than written in the 80's (which is when I read the first Rhodenbarr books)

Feb 11, 2011, 11:11pm

Hi there Janice! No surprise here - I've started on my fourth in the Icelandic series, The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason. Each book keeps getting better and better with greater character development, and insight into the main character and his dysfuntional grown children. They are bleak, but fascinating! I'm making big progress in my TBR pile! I've just read a wonderful review of Crime and Punishment - have a look in hot reviews - and once I've had my fill of Detective Erlandur, perhaps I will give that a go. It's on my bookshelves.

Would you belive me if I told you my family eats a chicken stir fry nearly every night - kind of like when I get started with a series - - well , don't change a winning game!;)

I wish we had such wonderful 2nd bookstores nearby!

Feb 12, 2011, 7:04pm

113 I'm also finding a lot of humor in Kafka! But there seem to a lot of people who don't. I've always found his books to much easier reads (although complex) than they are usually given credit for. The fact that all his main characters are whiny bastards is just something you need to accept :)

Feb 12, 2011, 10:42pm

120> I agree! He has a sort of biting, absurdist humor.

Feb 15, 2011, 2:59am

95- I put off reading Poisonwood Bible for more than a decade. My nice shiny trade paperback copy that I bought new actually had the pages starting to yellow from sitting for so long. I did like it though.

Editado: Feb 20, 2011, 7:44pm

122: Good to know I am not alone!

This is an update for a few books. I had company from out of town for a week, which meant less reading, and even less time to actually review the books!

I did finish reading The Metamorphosis by Kafka for my Classics section. Quite the odd little book! Fun/interesting, but odd. A travelling salesman wakes up at home transformed into a large bug. Rather than being upset he seems to take it quite in stride (He has so many feet to stride with) while his family panics. They lock him in his room, he listens at the wall to make sure they are ok. He starts to become more bug like in his thinking, and you see his family turning against him. What really struck me was just the passivity of Gregor the bug. All the things he finds out when they think he can no longer understand them, things that would make normal people very angry he figures 'are for the best' and he always seems to be 'nodding in agreement'. Well worth the read, it is a short book and available free online from Gutenberg.

I also completed Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke for my Non-Fiction section. I did not enjoy this one. Despite being one the the shortest books I read this year, it seemed to drag. It is composed of letters written by a famous poet to an inspiring poet. Sort of a 'how-to', mostly telling him to look inside himself and seek solitude. Although it is written in a lovely format, it is the type of writing that seems to loose itself. By that I mean you can read a page, all the sentences seem to run together, and you have no idea what you just read. If you are interrupted you will not be able to find the place you left off at. If it wasn't divided into separate letters I would say it is one run on sentence. Beautifully written but hard to read much of at once. You only get to see the responses sent to the aspiring poet, never the original letters themselves which make it even more difficult to follow.

Lastly, I finally finished the first book for my Mystery category: Lost in a Good Book. This is the second in the Fforde series (The Eyre Affair being the first) and I had such a fun time reading it. If you have not read this series, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Eyre Affair at the library to start. You don't need to have read Jayne Eyre first, I had not when I read it. These books are very fun/funny mysteries set in an alternate history where books are of the utmost importance. There is a whole police force dedicated to protect books, inside and out. Everybody seems very well read, and new forgeries of famous writers seem to pop up daily. It is a hilarious book. Lost in a Good Book is the second in the series and involves more books jumping (Actually going inside a book) and gives you a look at what the characters in a book do between 'reading their lines'. It was just the light read that I needed after the Poets book. I have a bookcrossing copy of the third book (The Well of Lost Plots) which I may jump into right away, both for fun and because I have had this book since 2010 and I shouldn't hang on to it forever :P

Feb 20, 2011, 2:32pm

I haven't read anything by Fforde, but I picked up his The Big Over Easy. Now I wish I'd picked up The Eyre Affair too. Maybe for Mystery March.

Feb 20, 2011, 2:45pm

Definitely a fun read! :)

Feb 20, 2011, 7:07pm

Kafka's Metamorphosis sounds really interesting - I will definitely put that on my list!

Feb 20, 2011, 7:51pm

I really liked Letters to a Young Poet when I read it, but I was a young poet at the time. I can't really see anyone but a young poet liking it much though, unless you were a Rilke scholar.

& yes, poor Gregor. ;)

Feb 22, 2011, 7:47pm

Try the novel 'The Y Chromosome' by Leona Gom. It's Canadian and it's a good sci-fi story in which male births have all but disappeared.

Feb 22, 2011, 7:55pm

Sounds interesting, added it to my wishlist, thank you! :)

Feb 27, 2011, 6:49am

Thought I'd pop by to say hi! Finally finished Arctic Chillby Arnaldur Indriason. I enjoyed it very much - 4 stars. I'm uncertain as to what I want to read next from my TBR pile. At least I have lots of choice. Looks like you've been reading quite a few interesting books!!

I tell you, Janice, once you get your nose into The Poisonwood Bible you'll never get it out until the end! :)

Feb 27, 2011, 10:22am

I'll second that recommendation. TPB was awesome!

Feb 27, 2011, 6:44pm

Something Missing sounds fun. I've wanted to read The Metamorphosis for a while now too. I picked up Kafka's The Castle at a library sale last year... haven't gotten to it yet, though.

Feb 27, 2011, 7:05pm

I have heard that The Trial is very good, that will probably be the next Kafka I read. You will have to let me know what you think of The Castle when you get a chance to read it. :)

Feb 27, 2011, 7:07pm

130-131: Hiya! Duly noted! :)

Editado: Feb 28, 2011, 5:19pm

I did finish reading The Well of Lost Plots this month! It is the third book in the Thursday Next series by Fforde. Alternative history in which books are very very important. In this book we find out they are also very much alive. Thursday needs some time to recuperate, so she goes into an unpublished book (A horrible cape cove detective novel not likely to be published anytime soon) for what she thinks will be a quiet time. She is also continuing her training in jurisfication (The within book police force). She runs across Boldewiesers (sp?) who enter books and attempt to remove all the obscenities (Stories from Cantebury Tales keep disappearing) and learns more about how books are formed in the first place in the well of lost plots. Soon there will be an upgrade to the book creation system that promises great improvement (Music, more plots, etc). But why are the members of jurisfication who tested out this new system being killed? And could Thursday be next?

I had a fun time reading this book. I needed some lighter reads (Hence adding Anne of Green Gables to my Classics list) and this fit the bill without being Chick Litty :P I think that Lost in a Good Book was a little bit better, but both books were tons of fun. Now that I am reading more books I am also getting a lot more of the inside jokes within the books. Draw me a sheep!

Feb 28, 2011, 3:59pm

Well, Anne is a classic!!! That fits.

Mar 6, 2011, 8:12pm

Hi Janice! Just stopping by! Glad you enjoyed Anne of Green Gables! I wondered if it would be as enjoyable of a read as an adult. As a teen I think I read just about every book by Lucy Montgomery. I really loved them! My mom had read them as a child too -so she was keen to get them for me. Just finished The Good Man of Nanking- the diaries of German man in China during the Rape of Nanking. A little dry - but very intriguing too.

I'm just about 100 pages or so into a debut historical fiction novel - Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers. It's written by a Canadian, and takes place in the late 1600's - when the poor and unfortunate were shipped from Paris by order of the King to Ville- Marie - now Montreal. The protaganist is on her way to an arranged marriage. An interesting part of history that I knew nothing about .

Mar 6, 2011, 8:20pm

Say on the topic of gender, race etc - as in some of your earlier posts - what do you think of Christy Clark as our new Premier Designate. Ugh! Unless she's changed dramaticallly, I don't think I'll be keen to keep her on as Premier. Mike Farnworth - there is someone I think I could feel okay about as Premier.

Editado: Mar 6, 2011, 9:25pm

Glad you enjoyed Anne of Green Gables! I wondered if it would be as enjoyable of a read as an adult. As a teen I think I read just about every book by Lucy Montgomery.

I read Anne of Green Gables as an adult. You can find my review at post #81 of this thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/29181

So funny that you read LM Montgomery when you were a teen, Deb. When I was a teen I was busy reading The Boston Strangler, Looking for Mr Goodbar and the complete works of Harold Robbins (smut!). I also managed to read Rebecca and Gone with the Wind, but in general my reading steered heavily toward sex and drugs and rock & roll.

Editado: Mar 6, 2011, 9:40pm

Bride of New France sounds like an interesting story, you will have to come back and let me know if you think I should add it to my wishlist! :)

I did enjoy Anne of Green Gables, it was just what I needed at the time (After a lot of dystopian and non-fiction to start the year lol).

I need to get a little more up to date on Christy Clark... I will admit I am not a fan of her attack style of running for office. What else should I be aware of? I think they chose her as a 'Outside the party Liberal' to try to gain more credibility. Frankly it would be hilarious if she lost her upcoming by-election, I wonder what they would do then? :P

Editado: Mar 13, 2011, 8:27am

Well, Christy Clark was the Minister of Education , when Gordon Campbell first got in, and very much disliked by the BC Teacher's Association. She was then moved to the Ministry of Children, I think it was, and left it in bad shape if memory serves. I think she was also deputy Premier for Glen Campbell -but then she up and quit for the sake of family, or so she said. Really , most think she could not bear to not be top dog. She is really scrappy and not a negotiator. However, perhaps as the years have passed, she has matured? I am hoping so.

Mar 7, 2011, 7:04am

I'm about to start reading Anne of Green Gables, and I can't remember if I read it as a child or not. Either way it should be a good read. It's interesting to see a few others also reading the book about the same time.

Mar 7, 2011, 10:32pm

I read Anne as an adult too. A 12-year-old I work with read them recently and loved them, but she's also been lying about reading things like Moby Dick. Anne is so quiet compared to much of what is out there for teens now. I think they find it a nice change of pace.

Mar 14, 2011, 11:23pm

Yes, indeed, add Bride of New France to your wishlist! It was an excellent read - I even created a bit of a review. I'm really enjoying The Stone Diaries , which is most unexpected on my part! Nearly finished -but as you know - I only read one book at a time. That's all my small brain can handle! ;)

Mar 15, 2011, 11:27am

I am enjoying The Stone Diaries as well! I am about halfway through.

I have hit a busy patch so I am not getting as much reading done right now. I have finished Wilderness Living and am working on Wilderness Survival, and will write their reviews together when I am through both :P

Mar 15, 2011, 11:51am

Deb - why are you so surprised that you're liking The Stone Diaries? Have you read Shields before and disliked her?

Editado: Mar 15, 2011, 6:59pm

Somewhere along the line I've read the Margaret's at least once, and I may have mistaken Carol Shield's for one of the Margaret's, whom I dislike as writer's. I have Unless and it's been sitting in the TBR shelf, and really not caught my interest. So -I am surprised that I actually like - very much like The Stone Diaries. That said, I'm not sure if I will want to read Larry's Party etc..but I'm only a few pages from the end and I will give the Stone Diaries 4. 5 stars and I've very much enjoyed it. I don't agree that Daisy lived an ordinary life, really. I did not expect as much to happen in the book, nor did I expect to like the many characters. Janice - sorry for using your thread to chat with Joyce!:) Off to walk the dog!

Mar 15, 2011, 10:56pm

Ah yes, the other stone book whose name escapes me. (the one with the dead horse). I remember! The Stone Angel. I read that in high school and was wondering if it would be that book too.

ps- I *love* chat in my thread, so please feel free! :) Would be happy to have people chat here :)

Editado: Mar 15, 2011, 11:30pm

Well, thanks for the invitation, Janice. I'll just make myself comfortable then. I've brought refreshments--enough for everyone. Help yourself.

Okay, what about that other Canlit stone book -- Stone Carvers, by Jane Urquhart? I actually have read all three of those authors but none of the books. Jane Urquhart is also a wonderful writer, but not for everyone. There's something icy and glassy about her stories.

Carol Shields-- I went on a huge Shield reading jag around 2002. I really loved everything she wrote. Unless was my favourite. Somehow I didn't make it to The Stone Diaries before I got distracted with other reading. I own it and will get to it yet--but I have to agree with Deb that it doesn't look all that appealing. In fact, the cover of my edition looks a lot like We Were the Mulvaneys--a book that I have also owned forever and have had no interest in . . . but I'm currently reading it and having a great time.

The Margarets- oh, Deb . . . I really think you need to give them another chance. Especially since you don't seem to have read much of them, and can't remember what you read.

Margaret Lawrence - I've only read The Diviners which was very good, but didn't really make me want to read more. But I will (I do own The Stone Angel, after all).

Margaret Atwood -- I can't believe you don't love her! She is the deserved queen of Canlit! Margaret is a goddess! When I first read her (Oryx and Crake), I thought it was good. But then I found it stuck with me and I recommended it to a bunch of people. My husband and I refer to that book often (he's not a huge reader, but he read that one). With every book of hers, I like her better and better. I'm not much of a fan of poetry, but I recently read some of hers, and it was great. I'm now reading Good Bones and Simple Murders which is a little collection of bits of . . . I'm not sure what, but so much of it is brilliant! I really think you need to read more of her before you dismiss her once and for all. Her dystopian works are of course wonderful, so I'd recommend The Handmaid's Tale, but my favourites are Alias Grace (historical fiction) and The Robber Bride (contemporary lit). Please consider giving her another try!

Janice -- what do YOU think?

Editado: Mar 16, 2011, 5:23am

What I remember about reading what I think was one or two of the Margaret's novels was this

whoever wrote the book was really big on how wonderful women were, and how badly they were treated by men. It's was a really depressing thing written by what I would have called a man -hater kind of a woman. It may have been one of those life is but nothing existential sort of books - and I may have had to read more than one. Surfacing? The Diviners? Both? I can't remember. But I think the theme of men being so dreadful to women really turned me off. It's not one I can identify with. I had grandma that went back to work f/t when her husband died of a stroke back when she was about 38 or 40. She never remarried and was very happy working. Her sister played woman's hockey back in the 1920's or so, in Winnipeg. I've seen the photo of her as a part of the team. My own dad encouraged me to be a commercial airline pilot like he was, or an MD. So - the material was very foreign to me. I remember disliking the depressing Man against Man theme that was so prevelant at that time. And remember, I also took 1 st year English at UBC. All I know is I much preferred Dickens, Shakespeare - you name it -but not the Canadian Lit. In grade 12 I had to read a lot of TS Eliot - like We are the Strawman, and maybe The Lovelife of Edward J Prufrock. I'm just going on memory right now.

When I took a couple of English course at Kwantlen College in my late 30's I recall reading the Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins? and stuff by Kate Chopin. The instructor was really a big feminist. I liked her as a person, and I did well in the course, but that feminist stuff was just not my thing.

I think it's like growing up on the West Coast like I have I had to learn so much about pemmican, the different First Nation tribes - in grade 3 even - I don't even like totem poles anymore.

I don't think that I've read anything by Jane Urquhart. Bear in mind that I graduated from high school in 1979 and got into my second year before sucummbing to - okay - here you are - panic disorder and depression. I got so ill I had to leave and never went back. I considered going back to UBC after I got married at 22 - but then - 9 months later I was pregant with our first son, so I worked full time until his birth, and then p/t after -so no time for thoughts of school! So there you have it in nutshell.

And oh forgive me - but I read all of the dystopian lit I ever want to read in highschool!! I am not even sure if it's considered dystopian, but I remember The Lord of the Flies, - interesting, but not something I would chose, 1984, Catch 22, Waiting for Godot, Farenheit 451. I cannot abide Sci Fi. That is my confession tonight...... :)
Surfacing , The Diviners seem to come to mind for me. I am not sure!

Mar 16, 2011, 5:21am

See message to poor old long suffering Janice who had heard my shameful literary confessions before...post 59 in this thread!:)

Mar 16, 2011, 7:45am

You know, good as The Stone Diaries is, my favorite Carol Shields is Larry's Party. It's a bit like Olive Kitteridge in the structure of interlocked stories and each story is perfect on its own and together it's just lovely.

While I can understand feeling uncomfortable with the angry feminism of the 1970s, surely you can see disparities in the way men and women are treated? I'm beginning to get a little angry myself now that my daughter is about to enter adolescence and I see that we seem to be going backwards, in attitude at least.

Mar 16, 2011, 10:18am

If Surfacing is the only Atwood you've read, you definitely owe her another read!

Mar 16, 2011, 10:20am

Hi, teagirl, what a great thread! I am over on the 50 Books Challenge, but I lurk around the 11 in 11 since the discussions and book selections tend to be more in-depth. I have NurtureShock on my list for this year, and don't even get me started on discussing dystopian books:). I wanted to mention The Trouble with Boys, which was excellent. The author was a long-time education reporter for Newsweek and has won a Pulitzer. She discusses how boys now score significantly worse than girls in all general subjects from kindergarten through the 12th grade. And the percentage of males versus females attending college is getting lower and lower. She treads very carefully because of feminist issues and directly addresses those concerns. But her arguments were quite convincing. Strongly recommended for educators or parents of boys.

Mar 16, 2011, 11:15am

154: Welcome and thank you for the kind words! It sounds like we have a lot of reading topics in common! (Louise Penny as well!).

I did touch on some of that research briefly when teaching Developmental Psychology, but would like to have spent more time on the subject. So on my wishlist that one goes! You do have to be careful about some issues, but so long as your present the research to back it up, it should all be good :)

Come back again and we will have to discuss Dystopian books as well ;) I am also a Wyndham fan!

150: I can understand your confession! A few years ago I wrote my doctoral exam (And passed, yay me!) and afterwards I was so burned out that I could not bring myself to do any real reading for nearly 6 months.

I don't really remember much of my high school reading (I know we did The Stone Angel, Anna Karenina and assorted Shakespeare). I don't remember reading much beyond YA books in my free time. So right now I am basically playing catchup on 200 years of reading (And CanLit reading).

Which means I have read one Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)), I don't think any Munro, maybe one YA Margret Lawrence, my only Carol Shields is The Stone Diaries which I am currently reading. If you look at my library you will see that I now own a lot of these books (And Mowat! Lots and lots of Mowat!). So I am playing catchup :P Leacock as well. And Moodie. Etc. I don't think I have any Atwood poetry, but plenty of novels and a couple books of short stories.

I just need to be snowed in for a couple months (With groceries, electricity,and ideally a fire place) so I can catch up! I am glad I took the opportunity to read The Stone Diaries with the 11 in 11 crowd, so far it is a really good book! I do love the language etc. Since it jumps from time to time it is a book you can read a bit at a time among other books.

Mar 16, 2011, 12:51pm

I don't really remember much of my high school reading (I know we did The Stone Angel, Anna Karenina and assorted Shakespeare).

You were assigned Anna Karenina? Egads! Gadzooks! I can't imagine anymore than 1% of high school students would have any interest in that. I loved it when I read it a few years ago, but I wouldn't have as a teen.

Mar 16, 2011, 7:49pm

Don't fall over, Nickelini - but I read Anna Karenina for pleasure in my very early 20's - maybe when I was 22 or so. And I enjoyed it very much! One of my brother's is an English Lit major -and I chuckle to think back to his early 20's and I would propose a book or two to purchase for his birthday -and he would pleasantly say - Too Popular." So I recall once saying - what do you want - "War and Peace" - to which he replied - that would be perfect! He lives in Ontario now, I'll have to check up on what he reads now. I only know his exhausted every book on the Antarctica, as he flew there several times as part of his job.

Well, Janice, you've got lots of chat on your thread now! :)

I've got to get the dog out and go grocery shopping.

Oh Joyce - I owe those Margaret's nothing -they should pay me!;)

Oh Janice!!!! Congragulations , DR Janice!!!!!!

Mar 16, 2011, 8:25pm

Deb -- I wouldn't be surprised at a high school student reading Anna Karenina--but a whole class, as an assigned book? That's a totally different thing. I have several friends who teach high school English, and to get students to read at all is challenging--let alone a 700 page Russian novel about an affair (with digressions about 19th century farm management).

You're right, you don't owe the Margarets anything--but you're missing out on some fabulous reading if you dismiss Atwood. She is a fabulous writer, a brilliant thinker, and a terrific wit. My life is so much richer because of her. She is a goddess.

Mar 16, 2011, 11:31pm

Ohhh the pressure on this thread! I was out grocery shopping and picked up the Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I'm going to pressure you, Joyce, into reading my depressing Arnardular Indriason bleak Icelandic mysteries, and next thing, I'll find myself liking dystopian books, as well as Sci Fi! Some people! ;)

You people do know I have quite a sense of humour. And a slight, tiny contrary streak.

Alias Grace looks to be a gothic bodice ripper.!!! ;) I look forward to reading it.;P

Editado: Mar 16, 2011, 11:40pm

I would love to read Arnardular Indriason! I just have come across any in my book store browsing. Am I looking in the wrong section? Or do you order yours online?

If you bought Alias Grace while grocery shopping, I'm guessing that you were in Save On Foods. I'm so lucky that I don't have one of those close to me--too dangerous! (well, I do, but it's a mini one without the book section). Their book section is pretty awesome for a grocery store, isn't it!

Anyway, hope you like Alias Grace when you get around to it. I'd describe it as pretty much historical fiction, but with a bit of a twist.

Mar 17, 2011, 12:58am

158: It was an advanced English class (Gr.11). Laugh if you must, but I remember the 'digressions about 19th century farm management' being the only interesting part. No way you could tell I was born in Saskatchewan eh?

Alias Grace is at Saveonfoods? I will have to keep my eyes open. That is one of the few Atwoods I don't have buried in Mount TBR right now. I need to make more use of the library though, before all my books fall into the apt. below me.

Let me know how you like it Deb! Who knew you were so prone to peer pressure. You know what all the cool bookworms are doing these days? Mailing me tea. No pressure, just saying ;)

I am off to try to read more of The Stone Diaries before bed :)

Editado: Mar 17, 2011, 1:13am

I liked the digressions on farm management too! My grandfather was a farmer in Russia before the Russian Revolution, so I found it fascinating. I'm a city girl, but I really think that farm stuff stays in the blood for a few generations (parents both grew up on Saskatchewan farms).

I have some skookum tea for you. Do I send it to BCTeaGirl, c/o PG, BC?

Editado: Mar 17, 2011, 1:22am

You guys crack me up!!! Actually - the Save - On Foods that I shop at is right across the street from Chapters! :) I plan my grocery shopping around that fact!;)

I do order quite a few of my books from Amazon ca - but I did get most of my Arnadular Indriason books from the Chapter's near me. I think I may be keeping them and Amazon ca in business.

You know, I do drink one cup of tea a day, Bctea Girl... I always drink Stash Christmas Morning Tea, every day, all year round. That's my caffeine for the day. I don't care for coffee, and it's only in the past couple of years I began to drink hot drinks at all. I'd mail you up some tea - but you'd have to tell me what was good / exotic etc. My evening tea - if I drink it - is Lemon Zinger by Celestial Seasonings. So pedestrian of me!

I need to use the library more myself, or else I will go broke!

Joyce - I can find Arnadurlar Indriason in the mystery section. One day I hope get up the courage to try out the book depository.

I must admit that Alias Grace looks to be very readable. I'm just finishing up a short book by Penelope Fitzgerald - The Bookshop . She wrote the introduction to my copy of Stone Diaries - so since I had the book out of the library I thought I'd read it. It's an interesting book. I'm still deciding exactly what is about, below the obvious surface story.

You guys may have spoiled me for popular reading!! I looked at the The Weird Sisters but I chose the Atwood over that.

I did purchase the Blind Assasin from Save On Foods - but it's just gathering dust on my bookshelf. Sad to say, my Save On Foods is changing over to the small book section. But, Chapters is directly across the street.

Editado: Mar 17, 2011, 1:19am

Sorry - double post.

Mar 17, 2011, 1:47am

One day I hope get up the courage to try out the book depository.

That's so weird--just because at first I was hesitant to order from them too--I have no idea why! But once I started, oh, watch out! I still check Amazon.ca first, because Book Depository isn't always cheaper (especially with the more obscure CanLit). But they have no minimum (unlike Amazon and Indigo--I refuse to pay for shipping, so I always order something else to just top up my order and then, ka-ching! $50 later . . . ). No lie--I've placed an order for a $2 book from BD, and that's what I paid. I LOVE them. I like to shop in Canada, but I don't mind my money going to the UK. And the books come almost as quickly as Amazon (except when there was a volcano in Iceland). I also once ordered two copies by mistake, and they shipped them right away so I couldn't stop the order, and there was zero hassle in returning the extra copy. The only reason NOT to use book depository is if you don't want to buy books.

Mar 17, 2011, 7:26am

Vancouverdeb - I just finished Alias Grace last night, it was a fantastic read. I'll be interested in what you think of the ending, well more so the last paragraph. The ending was bit meh for me, as it wrapped up, but the last paragraph - sentence even kinda threw me I think the word would be. But it is a good book, I hope you enjoy it.

I read the bookshop by Fitzgerald last year, and enjoyed it, it's a great book for any book lover.

Mar 17, 2011, 10:07am

Hi Jules! Thanks for letting me know about the ending - I had read a bit about that already. I found the ending of Stone Diaries to be kind of meh too. Maybe the authors just don't know what to do at the end of the book? At least some of them.

Mar 17, 2011, 10:09am

Joyce - does the book depository send by surface mail from the UK? That would take forever then, would it not?

Mar 17, 2011, 10:32am

It's regular mail, but no, it doesn't take forever. Mail between Canada and Europe actually isn't that bad--I once had a card from Paris arrive in 3 days. For BD, I'd say around 2 weeks . . . I order a lot of books, both from them and from Amazon, and overall it works out to about the same--the difference is that BD has them in stock and ships right away, and Amazon sometimes takes longer to get stuff in the mail. So, yeah, if you need it NOW, it's not the best, but if you can wait a couple of weeks, you won't even notice.

Mar 17, 2011, 10:38am

The other thing I like about BD is that sometimes they offer different editions, so I have more choices. I'm really picky about the aesthetics of a book--I just love beautiful books. So sometimes I can get more attractive copies that aren't available in Canada otherwise.

Mar 17, 2011, 10:42am

Well, I've ordered stamps and such from the UK, and it's often faster than getting stuff airmail from the US. But a friend of mine sends stuff over to the UK for family gifts -and she sends it surface mail - and it takes ??? 6 weeks or so to get to the UK.

Amazon is pretty quick. They ship by United Parcel Service and it usually takes about? 5 business days to get here - and that's the free shipping. I'll have to give The Book Depository a whirl sometime.

Mar 18, 2011, 1:39am

Re: Wilderness Reading and Other Likesame Books

(Hmmm... is likesame a real word? Checking around it doesn't really seem to be, and I want it to be.)

The Wilderness Society has a LT account that I have on my watched libraries list. They have some interesting books.


Mar 22, 2011, 5:42am

Hi Janice! I see you have finished up the The Stone Diaries and rated it 4 .5 stars! I glad you enjoyed it too! Thanks for visiting me on your thread. I'll have to dig up The Stone Diaries and then I'll better be able to tell you how or where I thought the ending just kind did not do the book justice - or somehow just petered out.

I've just finished Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason - my Icelandic crime series. Love it! Now I am starting After River By Donna Milner - a BC author. I've read another book by her, and the name of it escapes me, but I really loved it - so I expect to enjoy this book too. Oh - I think her other book was called The Promise of Rain. Yes it was!!

Mar 25, 2011, 2:14pm

This is my first free day in a while, so I should try to catch up on some of my reviews!

This month I read the first two books in my Homesteading/Survival section, Wilderness Survival and Wilderness Living both by the same author. I was requesting one from a new Bookmooch member and saw the other so requested both :P There is overlap between the books, you don't really need both. I think the books are useful as an introduction. I see he also teaches classes, and I think the books are likely better as an adjunct to the class than on their own. They do seem to assume you have prior knowledge. 'So just go ahead and lash those together using X knot'. Which? Still there was a lot of useful information such as how to prioritize what is important if you are lost in the wilderness, starting fires, cleaning water, etc. The book does assume that you will have some tools with you, which if you are prepared I suppose you should. I don't own a pocketknife but if I am going camping I should buy one. The book missed what I think is an important point. It spends a lot of time on how to set up deadfalls etc (Where one picture really can't tell you all you need to know). I was always told if you are lost in the wildnerness in Canada and starving your best bet is to eat grubs under rocks etc. Chances of me catching a squirrel = small. Find a grub = higher. Still worth reading, I would suggest the survival book over the living book.

Review for my next March book coming up!

Mar 25, 2011, 2:17pm

This month I also read The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. It is also a group read. I really enjoyed the language in this book. At some times poetic, at some times humourous.

I see two 'main characters' in this book. One is loneliness, and one is the tug of war between how temporary life is and our attempts to make something permanent. Daisy's mother being described as 'elephantine' and yet dying in childbirth. The attempt to build the stone monolith, only to have it decay. The very short period of time in which you feel strong connection to your children and short marriages. The collection of flowers which were not well enough preserved to be sold. Her husband's death, and father in laws long long life. And her metaphorical transformation into stone in the last chapter. It seems to me that part of the loneliness were the attempts at hanging on to the past. Some clung to the past, while others tried to escape.

I know there were many who did not enjoy the ending, so I am glad to see that I am not the only one who did enjoy it.

Abr 1, 2011, 7:46pm

just found your thread Janice. There are some good books on here. I have to recommend Burmese Days by Orwell. It is one of my fav's by him. My Wife put me onto The Poisonwood Bible but told me I was not allowed to read it until I had read other Kingsolvers. I would have to say that The Poisonwood Bible is one of the best books I have read. Barbara Kingsolver is always biologically accurate which I do have a hangup about. Her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a great non-fiction read that could go in at least 3 of your categories.

For anyone that needs another recommendation to The Book Depository I can give it. I love it! I try to get most things second hand but somethings are tough to find that way in this country and The Book Depository has never let me down. The fastest I have received something is 6 days after putting the order in but 2 weeks is usually what it takes.

Abr 2, 2011, 11:39am

Getting caught up on all the group threads. Love your observations regarding The Stone Diaries. Sorry to hear things have been so busy for you lately. I just made it through an unusually crazy busy month at work and hope April will be a less frantic **fingers crossed**. I look forward to following your further reading!

Abr 3, 2011, 7:03pm

176: Thank you for the kind recommendations! I do plan on reading The Poisonwood Bible soon.. I keep saying that but I really do :P The fact that it is accurate does help :) I actually managed to snag an autographed copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at the Value Village up here if you can believe that. Yay for used book finds! :) I am going to check out Burmese Days as you suggest, I think our local library should have a copy. I picked up a nice Folio Society of Animal Farm for a song and plan to re-read it at some point this year (One of my favourite books).

177: Thanks for the warm wishes! I am sorry that you have had a busy month as well. I hope April will be slower for both of us (Allowing for more fun reading :)).

Abr 3, 2011, 7:08pm

For my fourth book in non-fiction I read a book I received through ER to review: The Squeaky Wheel by Guy Winch.

This book offers helpful advice and anecdotes illustrating how to complain effectively vs. ineffectively. Most of the advice given was rather general (Say something positive first, remember that you are asking somebody for a favour) but serves a good reminder on how to handle stressful situations with grace. My favourite parts of the book were the parts that drew of psychological research in the area. I would have loved to see more of the research and less of the anecdotes. One thing I found frustrating about this book was that many of the stories were started, but never finished (e.g. this family came in with the complaining father who was driving his son away, I limited his number of complaints to X times a day, then we never hear about I again; or hear is a mother who was complaining about the amount of homework her children were receiving, again no follow up). If you are looking for a good common sense guideline about how to handle complaints well that is well written and fun then this is a good book for you. If you are looking for a book based more heavily on the research in the area you may have to do a primary literature search yourself. Three and a half stars.

Abr 3, 2011, 8:11pm

Hi again Janice! What a fabulous thread, LOL ... we've got the Margarets, dystopia, Russian farm management, book retailers, women's hockey, grocery stores ... I love it! Somewhere I read about Never Let Me Go; this is one I read in Jan or Feb -- fabulous read which will work for your 11 in 11.

Abr 4, 2011, 10:49am

Wow that is a great Value Village find!

Abr 4, 2011, 11:16am

Never Let me go is buried in mount TBR but does fit in my categories! :) Hopefully I will get to it, last month was a slow month for books.

Abr 21, 2011, 4:57am

I've finally found your thread instead of just seeing posts from you in other groups and liking them. I'll try not to lose you - I'm going to add Nurtureshock to my wishlist now. The race discussion is so interesting. I'm European (sounds weird to me to call it that!) and my husband is Chinese, and we are both New Zealanders. So it's much more obvious for us to talk about race than it is for lots of families - we do talk a bit about how come my skin is white and Dad's is darker and where Dad's ancestors came from etc, but that's about it so far. Our kids are in grade 1 and preschool.

Argh, I was going to comment on some of your other books but the aforementioned kids are playing up - back later!!

Abr 22, 2011, 7:14am

Janice, what a thoughtful, interesting interpretation of The Stone Diaries. I appreciate that. I've been reading a number of different books -but I just finished Long Song by Andrea Levy. I'd seen that book in the stores, and in the library -but for some reason the cover and book never grabbed me. Imagine my surprise when it went paperback and got a different cover - and so I looked at it more closely -and just finished reading it - 4.5 Stars. A fascinating account of slavery and emancipation - or attempts at that in Jamaica many years ago. The author manages to write on a very serious topic -and yet not get to bogged down in sorrow. I loved it so much I've borrowed from the library another of Andrea Levy's books - an Orange Prize winner, Small Island. I think I may start that next... Not quite certain as of yet.

Abr 22, 2011, 7:30pm

@175 Janice, love your remarks about The Stone Diaries. It's sitting in my PILE on the dining room table. I've been debating when to pull it out ... really mixed reviews. But I've just moved it up one ... two! Thanks for that : ).

Abr 25, 2011, 1:45pm

Thanks for the kind comments everyone! I managed to grab some extra teaching hours at the university, so I am now well behind on my reviews :P Will try to catch up today.

I will start with a book I received through the early reviewers program, one that has received quite mixed reviews. I will be reviewing And I Shall Find Some Peace Here the story of a woman who worked from Martha Stewart company and quit in her 50s to go live at her cottage (A short distance fro civilization).

9997196::And I Shall Have some Peace Here is a comfortable read about one woman’s transition from living in the corporate world for others and living in her cottage. It is neither a ‘back to the land’ memoir nor a philosophical memoir. It is not a back to the land memoir, as aside from brief discussions of the flowers in her garden and the idea that she does freeze some food there is little discussion of being self sufficient/giving up any technology. It is not a philosophical memoir aside from some teenagereese existential angst. What I did enjoy about the book was the fairly cozy writing style, and her honesty.

The main struggle taking place is this book is letting go of an overly materialistic and hectic lifestyle. They are set out as the struggles of the affluent as almost a year in she she ‘starts’ to have to dip into her savings. This is not a book that will show anyone without a lot of money how to make a transition.

While I did enjoy the informal tone with which she writes, other aspects of the writing did grate on me. Largely I think it was the teenagery existential angst/idea that their life is somehow profoundly important in comparison to others. At a very expensive spa a guru paid her a specific compliment (She has a meditative mind, I don’t remember the exact term). These people are paid to compliment the affluent. Oblivious to this she then repeats the phrase several times in each chapter as though profound until you really want to find this Guru and tell him to stop telling people things like that! The idea that everything in her environs is also now a sign directed at her was also extremely grating. Every passing animal (and in some cases animal dung) is analyzed as a sign to her path. The storms were sent for her, as were the frogs, foxes, snakes etc. The navel gazing continues as she tries to make up a grand myth to represent her life. In the end she still appears unsatisfied (Has not yet discovered how profoundly important she is) and rushed. While there are some fun parts to this book, overall it is not a book I would recommend unless you find yourself in very similar circumstances.

Abr 25, 2011, 1:56pm

>186 Bcteagirl: Janice - I also received And I SHall HAve Some Peace There as an ER book and had some of the same problems with it that you describe. I barely finished it - had to skim to the end - and was VERY excited to be done with it. Your points about her feelings of self-importance are spot on.

Abr 25, 2011, 2:03pm

Thanks Katie! I will admit when the reviews started coming in I was glad to find I was not alone! This may also be why I put off writing the review for so long. Usually the reviews are written the day after I finish reading the book. This one I put off a few weeks.

Editado: Abr 25, 2011, 3:15pm

Champagne and Polar Bears: Romance in the High Arctic

This is the third book in my homesteading/survival/pioneering section. This is a book that had been on my wishlist for a long time, so when I found that the local library had a copy I grabbed it.

This is a non-fiction book about the adventures of a woman named Marie who spent a year ‘overwintering’ in the high artic. Recently divorced and making a living running odd errands and sewing in a small northern town (In Norway? Sweden?) she is approached by a handsome researcher who has received permission to overwinter in a northern research station to do research on life in sea ice. The catch is that he will not be allowed to overwinter alone. On the spur of the moment she decides to join him, and winds up being the only woman (in written history) to overwinter that far north. They spend one year alone in a norther research facility.

The story is written in a sort of diary format starting shortly before she met Sven, chronicling their preparations (how much food to bring? Apparently a lot of wine, bacon and tea was very necessary). How will she pass the winter aside from assisting him? (she packs books, sewing, needlework that she has never had time to start before).

It took me a little while to get used to the writing style of the book. As far as I can tell this is her first and only book. The writing style is informal a bit more detailed than necessary. However, being a detail oriented person, I very much enjoyed it. The descriptions of the town she was working in, her trip up north, the long very dark winters, the sunrises, early spring flowers, the sounds the ice makes etc were quite fun to read. The stories of their adventures with polar bears and the joy of getting mail three times a year were also hilarious. If your library has a copy of this book I recommend it. :)

Abr 25, 2011, 4:31pm

Toast by Nigel Slater

I bought this cute little hardcover second hand at a thrift shop, and it has been sitting on my shelf calling out to me intermittently since then. I read this book for my first Food/Foodie category book. I would have predicted that would be the first category to start filling up rather than non-fiction and classics. Go figure!

This is a fun book that would make a great summer read, or emergency read. It is broken up into short manageable snippets for reading on the go. Basically it is the story of the British chef Nigel Slater told through the story of various foods, starting with his childhood foods (His mother served burnt toast every morning of his childhood, and never go the hang of it). Certain foods (e.g. ketchup) were considered low class and not allowed in the house. His mother passed away when he was 9, leading to many changes including the type of foods served. His father remarried a woman who (although they did not get along) was a good cook. Stories of these transitions are told through the lens of the types of food served, prepared, and the politics associated with them. A good read in general, a great read if you like food!

Abr 25, 2011, 5:01pm

I re-read The Cherry Orchard for my first Play in my Plays category this year. I remembered this play from high school. It is a short play set in Russia during the Industrial Revolution. An upper class family is in financial trouble, and having trouble making payments on their mansion. They may loose their home. Rather than taking any of the advice given to them (All of which involve progress) they keep sitting around hope that 'someone will save them'. They have a large cherry orchard but no one even picks/sells the cherries anymore. A sad play, but very funny in places.

Oh, and I finally started The Poisonwood Bible! Thanks to all those who kept on me to stop putting it off, I am loving it so far! :)

Abr 25, 2011, 7:18pm

Oh I'm so delighted that you started the Poisonwood Bible! You will just love it!! I'm enjoying your reviews!!!
I finished up The Long Song and it was such a wonderful read - I've moved on to Andrea Levy's Orange Prize winner, Small Island. Ohh and I'm loving it too!!! A wonderful author and two great reads! I must go check out that Toast of yours . In my 75 books for 2011 - they are having a Murder and Mayhem month -so maybe I'll have to read a crime/mystery novel of two!!:)

Abr 25, 2011, 8:27pm

Those two sound interesting! Be sure to let me know what sort of crime novel you wind up picking!

For me part of the fun of Toast is that it is set in Britain. I am always interested in the day to day food of different regions (I actually visited a grocery store when I travelled to the southern US, friends thought that was insane lol) so it was lots of fun.

Abr 26, 2011, 1:59pm

I've put in a request for Toast on BM after reading your review - sound really interesting!

That's one of my favorite things to do when I travel, go hunting at the local grocery stores. My favorite was Israel where I could just spend hours trying to figure out what things were (my hebrew isn't that great). My local friends got a little bit sick of me spending so much time at Rami-Levy - to them it was just a store, not a site of mysterious exploration - so they tended to just leave me there and go home! :)

Abr 27, 2011, 12:00am

I've heard that Chekhov's plays are even more funny if you know Russia well. He mixes the tragic and ludicrous so nicely. I got to see a live production of The Cherry Orchard, which I really loved. If I remember correctly, if you read that play, there are all sorts of acting directions that involve swatting mosquitoes. Mosquitoes don't show up nearly enough in literature!

Abr 27, 2011, 10:53am

194: I am glad I am not alone then! Foodies and food snoops unite! :P

195: I do seem to love his writing. Apparently I have yet to see one of his plays performed! I will have to try to fix that as soon as I can :P

For my second book in the Food Category (very very behind!!) I picked up Hostess with the Mostess: A Galaxy of Retro Recipes almost entirely for the fun retro pictures. This book is divided into different sections (Coffee morning, BBQ, Children's birthdays, Cocktail party). It is a fun little book with lots of great retro images. The recipes themselves are nothing that really stands out if you have other good cookbooks. So a good one to get from the library for fun, but not to order. If you don't have other cookbooks this would be a fun one to have, none of the recipes are 'too' retro for use (e.g. gross jello meat).

Abr 28, 2011, 2:35am

Oh yes!!! Broiled spam, or wonder bread flattened with a rolling pin and then coated with pimento spread and deviled ham. Lots of radish rosettes though?

Abr 29, 2011, 12:09pm

Thats the thing, the recipe were fun etc, but not very many were stereotypically retro. Cornmeal muffins,coffee cake, fried chicken etc. The section on appetizers was good :)

Abr 30, 2011, 3:27pm

Toast does sound fun. One more for the wishlist...

Abr 30, 2011, 6:19pm

Trying to finish off a few books before the month is out, will see how I do.

For my second book in the ‘Canadian but not set in a specific province’ category I choose to read The Educated Imagination by Northrop Frye. I also read this book for the What is Stephen Harper Reading? Challenge (Book 20).

This short book is a literary criticism of sorts. It is written in a very informal/lecture type tone which means that people who like to read but are not english majors (like me!) can easily read it. It is broken down into six short ‘lectures’. Frye starts by discussing three uses of language (general, information (scientific) and imaginative (literature). He follows up by discussing how there are only a few major forms of narrative (going back to Homer) and that all other books are to some extent based on these mythologies and themes. The last chapter discusses why education in literature is important for society at large (Hence the title ‘The Educated Imagination’) I found this to be a great little book, and it makes me want to read more about literary criticism.

“All themes and narratives that you encounter belong to one interlocking family. You can see how true this is if you think of such words as tragedy or comedy or satire or romance: certain typical ways in which stories are told… I mentioned that all these stories go back to a single mythical story… which we can reconstruct from the myths and legends we have” The book tells us that a story called The White Goddess attempted to do just that. I think I will have to seek out this book at some point. Has anybody read it?

**4 stars**

Editado: Abr 30, 2011, 10:54pm

I managed to finish another one! For my non-fiction category I just finished House Thinking: A room by room look at how we live by Winifred Gasllagher. This makes my 5th non-fiction for this challenge!

I picked this book up years ago but for some reason it just sat on my shelf calling out to me. Finally I answered back. I am glad that I did. House Thinking takes a room by room look at what makes a house a home to us. How have homes changed over the years? (From multifamily dwellings with a grand hall and less privacy to our ultra-privacy houses centered around computers and TV's). How can you change your home to suit you better (I don't mean by adding yuppie stuff, but rather how to make the best use of light, etc). The book discusses a lot of very interesting research on the subject, including houses set up by environmental psychologists to see what makes a house 'click' or feel like home to people.

The author also traces some changes in rooms to the social history of the time. The kitchen improvements can be linked back to 1) improved affluence 2) an increase in women's rights 3) that higher class women were short staffed during the industrial revolution and had to *gasp* set foot in their kitchens. Similar changes occurred for social reasons in other rooms and I found it a very interesting read. There are many things I had not thought of when it came to how houses are set up.

A very good read! I gave this one 5/5 stars and am keeping it. So far I have kept my new years resolution to get rid of 65-70% of the books I read, so I am fussy about what I will hang onto.

Abr 30, 2011, 11:05pm

Congrats on finishing another book for April! You actually hit me with a book bullet for a non-fiction work. House Thinking is a book I could enjoy reading. I am always on the lookout for home decor ideas. I just scored six oil paintings for the living room at the local auctioneers this past week. They are now hung on the walls and it is amazing how some new pictures hanging on the wall can give a whole new feel to a room!

Abr 30, 2011, 11:45pm

Heehee... My first official 'book bullet' thanks! I loved the book. I loved the fact that aside from some general style tips it talks a lot about the 'science' of what makes a room work. I am keeping an eye out for more book on 'environmental psychology' now. :)

Mayo 1, 2011, 12:58am

Ok, I went back to my book of Chekhov plays, having read The Cherry Orchard earlier. I read through three more of the shorter plays, The Bear, A Jubilee and The Proposal. All were surprising hilarious, like an early version of slapstick humour. Satire I suppose ;) You have to keep in mind the time in which they were written or you will be annoyed at how women are portrayed. Very short, very funny. Counting them as three plays in my play category. :)

Mayo 1, 2011, 4:50am

Popping by to say hi -and tell you that both of your non- fiction books sound really intriguing.. I'm not much for home decorating, sad to say!;) but the ideas behind why we have the rooms that we do and how things have changed over time is very interesting! Your other book by Northrop Frye sound fascinating too!

I've just finished up Small Island which I gave 5 stars too -and wrote up a bit of a review. Andrea Levy certainly is a wonderful author, in my opinion. I loved her other book- Long Song. I'm partway through a book of short stories - Mennonite's Don't Dance - no touchstones work for it yet - and I can hardly put it down. But - I think I'd best go to bed....

Mayo 1, 2011, 11:20am

Thanks for stopping by Deb! Mennonites Don't Dance sounds great, I might have to add that to the wishlist :P

Mayo 1, 2011, 3:53pm

Chekhov gets funnier and funnier, doesn't he. Very odd sense of humor. I remember reading Northrup Frye in college. I'm curious about that book. We read something comparing post-modernism or something to punk music, & I think it was his. Sound possible?

Mayo 4, 2011, 3:53am

Hey there girl! I answered your question about what is next on my thread! ;) But I'll tell you that I finished up Mennonite's Don't Dance, gave it 4.5 stars - excellent read -and wrote a short review about it because there are no other reviews. It's an excellent book by a Canada author - which was short listed for the Commonwealth Regional Prize. This was her debut book of short stories. I think that she will be an author to watch for in the future. She studied writing with Sandra Birdsell a prominent writer on the Canadain scene -as I'm sure you know . Sandra Birdsell really writes on the back cover of the the book " Darcie Hossack's stories reverberate with what has been left unsaid, the silence between people the speaks of betrayal, forgiveness, and the power of love to prevail This is a fine debut by a very promising writer." You can read my short review - but I'm sure Sandra Birdsell can it better than me! ;)

Now, I"m onto 84 Charing Cross which I got from the Book Depostitory that so many here on LT recommended . I'm just beginning it -but it looks to a charming , humourous read. It's actually a biography , done by correspondance.

Then - I'm going to join the Murder and Mayhem challenge in my 75 books in 2011 thread. I think I'm spoiled for choices when it comes to mysteries!

Mayo 4, 2011, 4:00am

Hey - I noticed in that you got Why People Believe Weird Things. Sounds interesting! I've a book in my TBR pile called Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril Willful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan. Perhaps they are in a similar vein. And I can see that touchstones are not working for that book. I guess it's too new for LT- sigh!

Mayo 8, 2011, 6:07pm

Why we Ignore the Obvious sounds like a great book! :) As does the Mennonite book :) I will have to keep my eyes out for both of them.

I read 84 Charing Cross Road last year and enjoyed it as a light/fun read.

I completed The Poisonwood Bible on a flight to Saskatchewan yesterday! I am giving it 5 stars. I will have to wait a few days to write a proper review.

Editado: Mayo 8, 2011, 6:33pm

Glad to hear that you liked the Poisonwood Bible! It's really is something, isn't it!!! I just loved the book - so glad you did too!:) I'm in the midst of The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum now. She is a Norwegian who writes psychological mysteries. I'm enjoying it - but it's not quite dark enough for me! ;) In the 75 books for 2011 we are having a Murder and Mayhem month - so I thought I'd try out a new author.

Mayo 9, 2011, 2:17pm

210 I loved The Poisonwood Bible too, Janice. Look forward to your review.

Mayo 16, 2011, 11:38pm

Just popping by to say hi! I've been busy reading Orange Prize books - just finished reading The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna. It was a 4.75 star read! ;) I've read Annabel - another short listed bok for the Orange Prize and now I'm onto Grace Williams Says it Loud as my third of the six Orange finalists.

Hope you having a wonderful time in Regina!

I'll have to go and have a peek and see if I can find your review on the Poisonwood Bible.

Editado: Mayo 24, 2011, 4:24pm

I am still catching up on reviews!

I read The Cellist of Sarajevo for my round the world category. It is the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, previously known as Bosnia and was the site of a very long seige in the 1990's that I didn't know much about.

I finished reading The Cellist of Sarajevo last night. A very powerful book but not a dark and depressing book as I expected. It is broken into many short sections from a few people's point of view. One is the story of a gentleman who has to travel across town avoiding the snipers to get water for his family. One of another man whose family made it out before the siege who is going across town to where he works in a bakery for bread. Another story is of a young woman who has been working as a sniper to try to shoot the men in the hills who keep shelling the town. The title comes from another story of a Cellist who after witnessing a bread line being attacked vows to play a certain song in the pit where the shell exploded, once a day for each person who died during the attack. In the end it is actually more a story of strength and how people retain their humanity in the most trying of circumstances. Because it switched between many short segments of their stories it avoided becoming too dark or difficult to read (I admit I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to tough reading). I put off reading this one last year but I needn't have. It is a lovely book and at times written quite poetically. I read this book surprisingly quickly.

I still need to write reviews for The Poisonwood Bible, Suite Francaise and also Watership Down which I finished on a trip within Saskatchewan this weekend.

Mayo 26, 2011, 6:31am

Just popping by to say hi!! I look forward to eventually reading The Cellist of Sarajevo . It's been recommended to me countless times but your comments will help push it up the list. That's an area and a seige I don't know much about either.

Glad you had enjoyable long weekend, and got a trip to SK ! Maybe you saw some sun!;) Not much here!

I'm just finishing up Room. It's a fine read -but I don't think it lives up to the hype it's recieved - or maybe that's the problem!!!So much hype I expected more from Room. I'm not quite finished -but I think it will just get 3.5 stars from me. I've read better written psychologically based thriller/ mysteries!! Gasp!

Mayo 26, 2011, 7:10am

Also popping in to say hi. I loved The Cellist of Sarajevo, one of my favourite reads. I've also read Suite Francasie, and thought it was a lovely book, I'll keep an eye out for your review.

I'm working on Annabel by Kathleen Winter and Cold Mountain for my reading.

Have a good week

Mayo 26, 2011, 1:39pm

Hello back! I enjoyed Annabel when I had a chance to read it. I will probably not get caught up on reviews until next week. I came back because I wanted to add in a quote from The Cellist of Sarajevo before I bookcross the book on a trip to Saskatoon this weekend (I am travelling all over!).

'He knows the lie he will tell himself. The city he lives in is full of people who will someday go back to treating each other like humans. The war will end, and when it's looked back upon it will be with regret, not fond memories of faded glory. In the meantime, he will continue to walk the streets. Streets that will not have dead and discarded bodies lying in them. He will behave now as he hopes everyone will someday behave. Because civilization isn't a thing that you build and then there it is, you have it forever. It needs to be built constantly, recreated daily. It vanishes far more quickly that he would ever have thought possible. And if he wishes to live, he must do what he can to prevent the world he loves from fading away. As long as there's war, life is a preventative measure.

Dragan makes up his mind. He is going to cross. He's not going to let the men in the hills stop him. These are his streets, and he'll walk them as he sees fit.'

Jun 8, 2011, 1:01pm

I know I am behind on my reviews.. and waiting to write them makes it harder to write them. :P I hope to catch up this weekend. I just finished reading another book for my non-fiction category, so am writing a short review now while it is still fresh on my mind:

How to invest $50-$5,000 : the small investor's step-by-step plan
This book is a good starting place for the small investor who does not know where to start. While most books assume you have thousands to invest, this book offers tips for those starting with much less. As you increase the amount you have to invest you will want to read other books, but this is a good starting point for the small investor. For example although I have saved up my three months emergency money (finally!) I had not considered putting it in a mutual fund to earn more interest, as I did not know that these are very liquid (You can write cheques to most of them if you do need to access your money in case of emergency) and the difference in interest rates is large. Or a money market account which is similar with high interest. If you don't know where to start, start there. I am reading some investing for dummies books at the moment as well.

Jun 9, 2011, 6:59am

Enjoying your reviews! BTW, I'm also a BookCrosser and I'm saving up some of my books for the Canada release challenge at the end of the month.

Editado: Jun 19, 2011, 5:56pm

Ok, time to start getting caught up on my reviews! I let myself fall too far behind.

I think the earliest review that I need to write is for The Poisonwood Bible. I read The Poisonwood Bible for my Around the World category.

This was a book that had intimidated me for a year before I began to read it. I was intimidated by its size and what seemed like a heavy topic. I could not have been more wrong. It was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

The Poisonwood Bible is the story of a family that travels from the USA to what was then called the Congo to do missionary work in a small isolated village. Their father is somewhat unstable, in fact he had to pretty much bully his way into the position, they did not want to send him.

The story is broken up into short snippets and told from the point of view of the mother and each of the daughters as they grow up in the Congo. When I started reading this book it was the first phrase in the second section that really caught my attention and drew me into this book:

“We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle”. One theme I see in this book is just how unprepared they were, how ready they were to believe that their way of life could be transplanted to the jungle. They were there to save the blind/lost, but time and time again the community had to save them as they were simply so unprepared. Unprepared and unwilling (able?) to adapt. There is the story of how the father packed a hammer to bring with him, only to find that nothing in their village was built using nails. Trying to insist on baptizing children in alligator infested waters is another example. Told from largely the point of view of the daughters you can see both the humour and hubris in the situation.

Then there was a revolution in the Congo (After the US government assassinated their elected leader) and the missionaries were asked to return to the USA. Their father refused to let them return. We see his decline as well as the decline of the country.

I loved the tone of this book. Being told from the point of view of the children kept it from being to dark. It was also a very personal tone. If you have read The Book of Negroes and have been looking for a book with a similar tone I highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible.

It is the type of book that sticks with you. If you have had the experience of completing a book and yet going back a few weeks later to read the first few chapters again simply to re-immerse yourself in / get the feel of the book again then you know what I mean. It is that kind of book. No need to be intimidated. Highly recommended. 5 stars.

Jun 19, 2011, 3:29pm

I read Suite Francais for my Around the World category and also as a 11 in 111 group-read. I had received a copy through bookcrossing and passed it on to a friend during my travels this summer.

Suite Francais is the first three chapters in what would have been a much larger book (or perhaps a series of books). What caught my attention on the inside flap was the story about how this story survived. The writer was a Jewish author who had fled Germany with her two young daughters. After she was taken to Auschwitz her daughters were hidden with friends/nuns etc and they hung onto sheets of tiny writing they thought were a journal. It was not until 40 years later when they could bear to read it that they realized it was an unpublished book. Already this book is a secret treasure that somehow managed to survive despite the odds.

This book starts with the mass exodus from Paris as ‘The Germans are coming’!. I found this to be the most interesting part of the book. Those with lots of money are frantically stuffing their cars full of figurines and furniture (!) not realizing that they may run out of gas. Those without money find that the trains are not working and are heading out of town on foot. The book then follows their journey from town to town looking for shelter.

The rest of the book focuses on the German occupation. It was very surprising to me given the authors treatment by the Germans just how ‘benign’ the occupying Germans are in this story. Many of them are ‘billeted’ or put up by the French (Who were simply told that they soldiers were staying with them now) and despite being disliked the soldiers remain polite and eventually win them over, at least somewhat. It was sort of a ‘cozy’ story. From the authors notes included at the end of the book it appears that she meant for things to go ‘downhill from there’ but the book was never completed for obvious reasons.

I enjoyed the book, especially the first chapter which described people trying to get out of the city. It gives you a feel for what it must have been like at the time. It is more of a ‘cozy’ book than a depressing read.

Editado: Jun 19, 2011, 3:47pm

I read The Meditations by Marcus Aerilus for the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge where a group of us are endevering to read through the books that Yan Martel sent to Prime Minister Harper.

The Meditations was written by a Roman ruler and is essentially his thoughts on living a good/pious life. It is worth the read but long and somewhat repetitive. Main points as I see it are:
1) Don’t strive for fame, even the most famous person will only be remembered for about 1,000 years and then disappear
2) Keep remembering how temporary you are
3) Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t hate others
4) Don’t blame others when they are bad, it is likely because they don’t know any better
5) Keep yourself pure in thought/mind/deed
6) Work at what you are best at

I put this in my Classics category which is filling up quickly. It could just have easily gone in my Non-Fiction category or even my Kindle category (free from Gutenberg) so I may move it if some sections actually get filled up.

Editado: Jun 19, 2011, 7:59pm

Watership Down was one of the books I had in storage in the family home in Saskatchewan, so I read it while I was there and then released it via bookcrossing. I am putting it in the Classics category.

I am surprised to say that I had not read this book before. Watership Down is the story of several rabbits who are forced to leave their warren due to incoming construction. They fight their way across various landscapes, and run into other warrens that are not run as nicely (dystopian bunnies?). It was fun to see how they were presented as interpreting things (differently from we do of course). Eventually they come to the conclusion that they may have made a tactical error in not bringing any females with them. Wups! So now they have to find females. A great chapter book.

For those who loved Watership Down and want to read another book of animal adventure (for adults!) I highly recommend Three Bags Full. I read it a few years ago for a bookclub and may re-read it soon. A flock of sheep discover that their shepherd has been murdered and decide they will have to solve the murder themselves. A great book.

Jun 19, 2011, 5:16pm

I also read Waiting for Godot as part of the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge, and it fits perfectly in my Plays category. My plays category has been filling up quickly with Chekhov plays, so it is good to introduce a bit more variety there.

Waiting for Godot is a tragicomedy, and quite ridiculous. If you like Kaffka I think you would enjoy this. It seems like it would be an inexpensive play to put on as the only setting is the countryside… with a tree (and a pair of boots!).

Two friends (By default) are waiting by the tree for a person named Godot who they think can help them. Why/ with what is never explained. The play is comprised almost entirely of them arguing, being bored, doing the same thing day after day, and discussing the possibility of hanging themselves from the tree tomorrow if Godot does not arrive soon.

Occasionally two other characters appear briefly, a sort of comical serf owner and his serf who he bridles like a horse and has carry his bags around. They talk about ridiculous things for a bit, he leaves, then comes back later, etc.

At the end of each day a messenger boy arrives from Godot saying that he will come tomorrow. Each day continues on like the next.

I think it is a very good play depending on your mood. If you were in just the right mood it would be utterly hilarious. If not, it would fall flat. (Reminds me of the old Adam West Batman episodes in that regard). If it was playing somewhere I would likely buy tickets as I am now curious to see it performed.

Editado: Jun 19, 2011, 5:32pm

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time for a local (in person!) bookclub and am including it here under mysteries.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is about a special needs teen (Autism) who discovers that the dog across the street has been murdered. He is quickly blamed, but no one seems to want to investigate the incident further. He takes it upon himself to investigate the murder.

This book does a good job of showing the world through the eyes of somebody who sees and interprets the world differently. Other than that, I did not see what the fuss was about. It is a decent book, don’t get me wrong. Just nothing earth-shattering. Don’t go in expecting a real mystery, or a book that you will remember a year or two from now. It is a light, quick and easy summer read. One member of our bookclub commented that she was able to read through the entire book in three hours. I did not find any of the characters particularly likeable. If you are looking for a fun beach read that includes some Autism/math by all means pick this up as it will fit the bill perfectly.

Editado: Jun 19, 2011, 5:55pm

Well that catches me up until the start of June! *whew*

I seem to be loosing some steam so will review one more book quickly and then go to Yoga.

Forty Cords for Warmth is a self pub book by the Creative Writing Society of UNBC (Univeristy of Northern British Columbia). I was given a couple copies for bookcrossing and thought I may as well read a copy before releasing it. I put it in my Canadian but not set in a specific province category.

Forty Cords for Warmth is composed mostly of short poems written by the Creative Writing Society of UNBC. I found some of the poems surprisingly good (Aside from a few that focused on teenage existential angst). I found particularly interesting the poetry concerning current First Nations issues (e.g drug use).

Included are a few short stories which were interesting as first works but not all that good. One issue I see is the focus on describing far too much detail. Is this an issue for beginning writers? If you are an aspiring writer, do you have to fight against the urge to spend a lot of time describing detail? Given that the stories were meant to be written at the university level (And by the English Department club) I found too many through/threw type of errors which put me off. I felt like I should correct the books before sending them off into the world. :P

Jun 19, 2011, 6:17pm

Three Bags Full sounds very interesting! ( I've already read Watership Down.)

Jun 19, 2011, 6:28pm

Great reviews, Janice. You've got me interested in Watership Down and I never thought that would happen! Suite Francais is a book I would like to get to as well. So glad you enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible. Interesting comments / review on A Spot of Bother . My sister has recommended it to me several times.

Jun 19, 2011, 7:23pm

Hi Janice, Welcome back! Thankfully I already own - and need to read - The Poisonwood Bible, Suite Francaise and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime so no book bullets but I have nudged The Poisonwood Bible up in my TBR pile for my Orange July reading!

Jun 19, 2011, 8:06pm

Thank you for the warm welcome back guys! Will try not to get that far behind again! (Still 2 reviews to do, whew!).

I highly recommend Three Bags Full it is one of my favourite books. I hope she writes more soon. :)
228: I am not sure I would have picked out Watership Down for myself had it not been on my shelf either, and I would have missed out on a great fun book. I recommend it for summer reading :)

229: Glad you donged the book bullets this time! Let me know how you like The Poisonwood Bible when read it :)

Jun 19, 2011, 8:23pm

>223 Bcteagirl: I read Three Bags Full when it came out. I enjoyed it. I also read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime when it came out several years back. It's one that will stick with me for a long time.

Jun 19, 2011, 8:29pm

I am glad that you enjoyed both of them :)

Jun 19, 2011, 9:14pm

There's a sequel to Three Bags Full just out in Germany. It's called Garou and I'm having relatives bring me a copy this July. Whoot!

Jun 19, 2011, 10:40pm

Ooooo! How I wish I had kept up my German! :)

Jun 19, 2011, 11:22pm

okay if you are going to put The book of negroes in the same sentence as The Poisonwood Bible I have to get a copy out from the library soon!

Jun 19, 2011, 11:51pm

I think you will have to! I have a friend who rarely reads any fiction, and she loved The Book of Negroes when I lent it to her. I was told she would only read 'similar' fiction, so I lent her The Poisonwood Bible when I was through with it.

Jun 20, 2011, 1:24am

Oh - I loved The Book of Negroes when I read it.... The Poisonwood Bible just went up another notch on my short list for Orange July (how I missed that reference is beyond me)!

Jun 20, 2011, 5:31am

aww I love Watership Down, have you seen the film? Oh and his Shardik is worth a look too.

Jun 20, 2011, 12:00pm

You've been reading some wonderful books, Janice! I too was reluctant to read The Poisonwood Bible, until my daughter insisted I was going to like it -- and I did. And you've encouraged me to get to The Cellist of Sarajevo and The Book of Negroes / Someone Knows My Name, both of which have been sitting on my tbr stack for far too long!

Jun 20, 2011, 12:57pm

238: I have not watched the movie, thanks for the tip! Shardik looks like it might be right up my alley, I had not heard of it. Thanks!

239: Glad I could help :) Good to see I am not the only one who takes a while to get to some books :P

Editado: Jun 20, 2011, 3:02pm

Ok, just a few more reviews to go to catch up, so here I go with another before I head out.

I read Remember Me: A Search for Refuge in Wartime Britain for my Canadian but not set in a specific province category. In fact, this book is by in large set in London (And Wales). The author is Canadian.

This young adult book looks at the life of a 11 year old Jewish girl who flees Germany to England on one of the first Kindertransports. As we watch her struggling to learn English and fit in with a cold family (who is nice enough but was expecting an older girl do housekeeping) she discovers that they are being evacuated one again, this time to Wales. How will her mother find her? And where is her father? This time the family she is set up with is really really odd. A fun short book that I would recommend for any child, or for adults who like wartime books or kindertransport books. While it does discuss the Germans coming into her home in Germany and trashing the place, it is not so dark that a younger child could not read it.

I received this book to set free through bookcrossing and decided to read it first. 4 Stars.

Jun 21, 2011, 2:19pm

Remember Me: a Search for Refuge in Wartime Britain is going onto my wishlist, sounds like a perfect fit with my War and the Homefront Category.

Editado: Jun 21, 2011, 9:58pm

242: I hope you like it!

Another book I recently read for my Canadian but not set in a specific province category is Thirteen Hands which is a play by Carol Shields. Yes, the same Carol Shields who wrote The Stone Diaries we enjoyed for our group read. I was unaware that she had written plays as well.

This is a short play focusing on the interactions of various women playing bridge. I have only a cursory knowledge of bridge but that did not detract from reading the play. In her introduction she states that she had become very interested in women, 'particularly those whose lives have gone unrecorded'. One group she felt had been 'consistently overlooked', those caught between movements. 'I am reluctant to believe that their lives are wasted or lost'

The play jumps back and forth between various generations of women playing bridge, all sharing similar fear and hopes. It illustrates how the human condition remains similar throughout generations.

At one point a granddaughter of one of the members comes in as castigates them for being such wastes as to sit around playing bridge every Wednesday evening. "Pardon me. Pardon me? It's none of my business, but, I wonder, has it ever occurred to you that you could have been doing ... x,y,z the four of you? Did you ever stop to think of that? But no, there you were, playing hand after hand every Tuesday night. You could have saved lives. Yes you could have. You could have been..... Useful.

At least you could have talked about something interesting.?.. Russian novels? Medieval art?... You could have been learning a foreign language on those Tuesday nights...."

I see this related not only to how some women view some as more 'valuable' or 'worthy' than others, but also are own internal dialogue. Why waste time socializing when you can be 'useful'?

A short play worth checking out if your library has a copy.

Jun 22, 2011, 6:04am

Interesting book - Thirteen Hands. I'm not so keen on plays - though I'd certainly read this -but as for Bridge - I've only played with my grandparents in the past - but truly Bridge is complex game -and there are many books written on how to win at Bridge. That granddaughter ought to have sat down and tried her hand at few hands of bridge and she would have learned a thing or two... says the old Granny Deb - not that I have any grandchildren. :)

Jun 22, 2011, 2:55pm

Wow, you've done a lot of reading lately! I've had The Poisonwood Bible for a long time too. It sounds fantastic. I'll have to got it read this year.

Curious Incident, it's no mystery. It's a trip in the mind of a kid with autism. It's incredibly accurate depiction of some teens with autism. Some aren't like that at all. The fuss is about the characterization and the quirkiness of the narrator.

& I can't imagine reading Godot. It's so absurd!!! I loved it when I saw it live, but read? It would just be... weird.

Jun 23, 2011, 3:00pm

I liked your Godot review. I think you're right - in the right mood, it is hilarious. Otherwise, it would be annoying. Apparently I was in exactly the right mood to read it last night. I wish someone would stage it around here - with the right actors, it would be fantastic.

Jul 3, 2011, 5:47am

Just dropped in to check out your Kindle category! I've downloaded heaps of public domain freebies and after reading your review am off to find The Metamorphosis.

Jul 3, 2011, 7:05am

Just got caught up on your reviews. I'll be reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime for one of my book clubs this summer, and Waiting for Godot has been on my TBR shelf forever, so I appreciated seeing your thoughts on them.

Editado: Jul 12, 2011, 12:53pm

I finished To The Lighthouse for the classics category (And also the What is Stephen Harper Reading chalenge)!.

It is a stream of consciousness book that follows the point(s) of view of several family members and a few friends staying at a cottage. It is a meandering book. I have to say I found Mr. Ramsay a tiring and negative person, although I suppose they were trying to build up sympathy for him. I enjoyed the descriptions of time passing at the cottage with nobody there. It seems to be a 'look at how time passes along with or without us, and how are small worries are so insignificant' type of books. I enjoyed parts of this book but felt it could have been much shorter.

Jul 12, 2011, 1:01pm

Ok, catching up on reviews. I read Alas Babylon for my Dystopian category, and also as a group read.

I enjoyed this book. As far as dystopian books go, I think it would be a good introduction to the genre for the type of person who is interested in dystopian/post apocalyptic books, but is worried about them being to dark, gory, or full of man eating zombies. This book is none of the above. Skimmed over the first chapter which discusses how the Russians had been amassing weapons and were fighting over an area in the Mediterranean, and how his brother felt that a large scale attack on the US was coning soon. He sent his family to live with is brother in Florida.

Then it happened. Multiple nukes hit this US (Several in Florida) and they are cut off from the rest of the world. No incoming groceries, gas, etc. Electricity is gone. Radio stations are intermittent. Those requiring medications to live or who are frail don't seem to last long. Especially with just the one doctor in town. What follows is the story of how his neighbourhood pulls together to survive, to guard animals, get water, pool resources etc. There are criminals roving the highways to steal from people, and radioactive areas around, so they can't go far. How will they protect themselves when these gangs run out of gas and decide to move into town?

A bit simplistic and perhaps overly optimistic, but a fun post apocalyptic/survival read that I would recommend.

Editado: Jul 12, 2011, 1:12pm

I also read The Day After Tomorrow by Streiber for my Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian category. Strange changes and extreme weather are taking place and trapping people in the cities. It is global warming gone wrong, and the Northern half of the US is going to be buried under a glacier. How will people escape? Is it too late?

I want to preface this with the fact that the copy of the book I was given was the 'movie' book, so perhaps the original book was better. Although it was a fun read, it was somewhat disappointing and predictable. Really the first few chapters simply jumped between extreme weather (Look hurricanes!! Now to other characters, look giant hail!! Now someone you don't like... See him get hit with giant hail!!). Then the scientist who is roundly mocked/disbelieved by the government again and again despite the changes in the weather. His son goes on a trip. Who could have predicted that he would be caught in bad weather? (My hand goes up). They are trapped in a building, he tells others that it is dangerous to leave. Who would have thought that bad things would happen to those that leave? (My hand goes up). Now the heroic scientist goes to rescue his son. In between all of this I found the book extremely preachy. Preaching to the choir (I am not a disbeliever in global warming) but it seemed like you were being told off for wastefulness throughout the book.

I was hoping to get more details about the evacuation of areas (aka Suite Francaise) but the book seemed narrowly focused on a few characters I didn't care too much about (Most of which they villainized and then killed off in various ways).

If you want a quick beach read this would suit, if you want a depth of character or a story of survival you may be disappointed as well.

Jul 12, 2011, 4:17pm

Thought I'd pop by your thread and see what you are up to! I have to leave the house soon, but I thought I'd mention that the reason I did not like A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet wasn't really that it was long and tangential . I would say that was true for Cutting for Stone - and yet I loved it! A Thousand Autumns was just too kooky and filled with battles among other things!;) We had a fairly good discussion about A Thousand Autumns and I'd say as many people liked it as disliked it. I'll try to find you a link to the discussion later.
Oh I'm chuckling at your description of The Day After Tommorow. LOL!!! While I agree that there is definitely global warming - that book would never appeal to me. ;) Nice to know I can skip To the Lighthouse according to what I have read about it on your thread. Thanks for reading that book for me! As for post apocalyptic books/ Sci Fi/ fantasy - for some reason I just cannot get into those genres.

So Suite Francaise is another skip it read. I've wondered about that one too. I'm still reading One Good Turn and loving it! :)

I'm reading books for the Orange January / July Challenge so I had read another book by Kate Atkinson that was longlisted for the Orange Prize - that being Case Histories and one book led to another. I plan to read at least one other Orange Prize/ short listed/ long listed book for July - but I'm not certain which yet.

Catch up with you further later! Thanks so much for visiting my thread :P

Jul 12, 2011, 4:48pm

I liked Suite Francaise actually (Review somewhere above), what I meant was that while Suite Francaise gave you a good feeling for time/place in that it allowed you to feel as if you were there for the evacuation of Paris, you did not get that feel from The Day After Tomorrow.

Jul 12, 2011, 5:15pm

Nice to know I can skip To the Lighthouse according to what I have read about it on your thread.

No you can not! To the Lighthouse is a masterpiece, and it's intensely beautiful. One of my favourite books of all time. So there. Now you have to read it. (and in the interests of full disclosure, I will also say that Virginia Woolf is my favourite author ever. If I was stranded on an island and could have only the complete works of a single author, it would be her).

Jul 12, 2011, 6:01pm

Heheh... I think we just got told :P Is To The Lighthouse your favourite book by Virginia Woolf?

Jul 12, 2011, 8:43pm

Awww, Watership Down... I loved it when I read it like, oh, 35 years ago. I was reading it on vacation on a quiet island in Quebec, sitting at the dock, when I heard a terrible screeching near the cabin. I rushed up the 40 or so steps to find my cat with a baby bunny in her mouth. Let's just say the cat was lucky to survive the incident.

Jul 12, 2011, 11:41pm

255 - Nah, you didn't get told. I just spoke up with my opinion. I just think Deb should read her and decide on her own. To the Lighthouse is certainly one of my favourites, but I also loved Orlando. I also really liked The Waves, although it was very weird and I didn't understand it. But it was like looking at a fabulous painting--you may not understand what the artist is doing, but you can still see its beauty and have an emotional reaction. And I have a soft spot for Mrs Dalloway and Jacob's Room because I studied them at uni. And then there's her non-fiction and short stories, and a lot of that is fabulous . . . .yeah, they're all my favourite.

I've met several highly intelligent, educated people whose opinion I respect who hate Virginia Woolf, so I understand that she's not everyone's cup of tea. The first time I read her I hated her. But like fine wine and stinky cheese, sometimes those acquired tastes turn out to be our favourites.

Jul 13, 2011, 1:08am

Heh. I may try more of her books later. I didn't strongly dislike it, it just didn't click with me right away.. so we shall see :)

Jul 13, 2011, 8:07pm

I like her essays better, so far. Things like A Room of One's Own. But I still haven't read Mrs. Dalloway yet.

Editado: Jul 15, 2011, 8:03pm

Well, I'm not reading Virgina Woolf, but i'm reading Lullabies for Criminals. It's fabulous so far! Sad story , but a bright determined protaganst that never gets to stuck in sorrow - at least not so far!

Joyce - I may yet read Virgina Woolf - but shockingly I still don't like fine wine - or cheap wine for that matter, nor do I like stinky cheeses, so the chances may be slim!;) I don't drink - and I think most cheeses have far too much fat. I also figure if you have to aquire a taste for something -it's not worth it!;) Currrently I'm trying to develop a taste for flavoured yogurt that contains 3 x the normal calcium for the sake of my bones!;) Asana yogurt....

Jul 15, 2011, 9:16pm

I never would have considered reading Virginia Woolf but this discussion has placed it on my radar. Fine wine and stinky cheese are well worth spending the time getting to know. I have just found some 12 year old aged tea (Pu-erh) that I am enjoying greatly after being inspired by The Ancient Tea Horse Road. My mother-in-law has a yogurt obsession but for her it is about the protein, I always tell her to eat a good steak instead.

Jul 15, 2011, 10:18pm

Fine wine and stinky cheese are well worth spending the time getting to know.

There's definitely something to be said for acquired tastes. They often turn out to be my passions.

Jul 15, 2011, 10:38pm

Oh the discussions we get into! ;)

Jul 16, 2011, 6:05pm

Love these discussions!

261: I am very jealous of the aged Pu-Erh. I have some myself (Loose and in bowl shape) but it is more of a fall/winter drink for me. I like both Pu-Erh and Lapsang Souchon.

But not Earl Grey. Go figure :P

Jul 16, 2011, 7:30pm

Earl Gray has that yucky addition of Bergemot Oil.But maybe Pu-Erh does too. I just know that it's like a brick of tea. I think you either bergemot oil or you don't. I like Stash Christmas Morning Tea every morning and nothing else. I had to cut back on pop, coca cola - not that I had it for breakfast ;) so I subbed in tea. It's not bad. All to benefit my old bones.

Hmmmmm I think I'd like to know more about Joyce's passions..................;) Do tell, Joyce! ;)

Jul 16, 2011, 11:01pm

The Pu-Erh tea is easy to get as there is a store in Victoria that will send it your way. See (http://www.specialtea.com/product/CB-PT-050). It is only 12 years old and comes in Black and Green and I liked them both. This store and a little one they have in Sidney is where I get almost all of my tea, prices are good and the service is great. The Sidney store always gives me free stuff because I spend bucketloads every time I walk in the store. I still see nothing odd about leaving a store carrying 3kg of tea but other people don't see it this way. I think that Earl Grey tea is terrible. The only people I know who like it are coffee addicts so I figure they have no sense of taste anyhow.

265: If Stash Christmas Morning Tea of your thing I would not go to Pu Erh just yet. Perhaps try and track down some loose Buckingham Palace Garden Party which is a fun flavourful mix.

Jul 19, 2011, 9:48pm

When my kids were burning off steam at the park today I listened to my second BBC World Book Club podcast. This one was about the Poisonwood Bible and it was fantastic. You can find it here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009zkm9) or search for "World Book Club" on iTunes. I suggest having read the book first. I also listened to one about The Secret River the other day which was also amazing. I wish I had read more of the books they cover!

Jul 19, 2011, 9:53pm

I think that Earl Grey tea is terrible. The only people I know who like it are coffee addicts so I figure they have no sense of taste anyhow.

I have a passion for Earl Grey tea and have long had a reputation for having fabulous taste. I do like coffee, and I'm quite picky about it (don't like Starbucks burnt roast), but I wouldn't consider myself a coffee addict by any means. Go figure.

Editado: Jul 20, 2011, 1:30am

I have been to Special Tea in person and enjoy some of their teas! FYI, I found the lime green tea there unpalatable. But I loved some of their other teas :) My favourite tea places in Canada are Herbal Republic in Vancouver http://www.accountwizard.com/clients/shop.asp?web=herbalrepublic (Their fancy Genmiacha is great and has both peas and rice) and Capital Tea in Toronto (Just ordered over a hundred bucks worth of tea once the strike ended, so glad!). I love their darjeelings and assams, their ginger black tea is my go to in the morning tea. And I was out! http://capitaltea.com/

I agree about Early Grey and Bergamot. Yech! Not my cup of tea... I also have fabulous taste ;) (And don't even touch c*fff**).

Darjeeling is my favourite (Especially second flush Margaret's Hope), seconded by Ginger Black tea. :)

Christmas teas are hit and miss with me, I like some but not others. I did like the Stash pumpkin spice tea this year.

I will keep specialtea in mind as soon as I need more Pu-erh. Right now I am working through some unidentified Pu-Erh from Chinatown (Vancouver or SanFran? One of those).

Jul 20, 2011, 1:32am

Catching up on reviews again.

Finished How to Be Canadian for my comedy category.. it was a funny/light book. Not what I expected it to be.

If you get the book from the library skip the first couple chapters to avoid being put off by it. The first couple of chapters just seemed forced, like the author was trying way to hard to be 'cool' and not stereotypical. For example when listing negative terms people have for each other (e.g. Islanders vs. Non-Islanders) he stuck the word 'Nazi' in there for no reason and a few other strong words... They were not actual negative nicknames for the regions, he was just trying to look cool (Is my guess). Once or twice is funny, but every page gets to be a bit much.

After the first couple of chapters the authors stopped over-trying and it was a cute and funny book overall. Especially enjoyed the multiple digs at Toronto ;) And Earl Grey tea ;)

Jul 20, 2011, 11:24pm

268: I was fully expecting someone to call me on my dislike of coffee and no one has ever told me I have taste, class or style! I still really wonder about why I have yet to find a non coffee drinker who likes Earl Grey. My study on this is totally unscientific but I am going to stick with it for now.

269: I totally did not need to know about those tea stores. Now I might just have to order something.

Jul 20, 2011, 11:38pm

I've been told that I have fabulous taste, class and style so often I think my head will burst!;) And yet I simply do not like Earl Grey.

Hmmm - 271 - I have a close friend who really loves her Earl Grey -and she 's a non coffee drinker - so you are not alone!

Jul 21, 2011, 8:57am

Earl Grey is what the upper classes drink in Britain. There's a way of knowing a person's background based on their preferred tea. Turns out the tea I prefer (strong, bitter black tea with milk) places me firmly in the working class.

Jul 21, 2011, 11:00am

Ha! I always knew I was an aristocrat. Now if the man would just bring around the Rolls, I could get to my yacht and sail away from all of this . . . .

Editado: Jul 21, 2011, 1:27pm

Pshaw! *waves hand*

Editado: Jul 21, 2011, 5:28pm

Well, my Stash Christmas Tea, which defines me, has a quite a lot of black teas mixed together - but I'm not sure just where I stand - oh wait a minute - - James just brought the Jag to the door ... Ta ta, ladies! ;)

Jul 21, 2011, 9:22pm

Coffee makes me physically ill (no idea why but just one sip is enough) but I love tea. I will drink just about any kind except Earl Grey (tastes like tea with pepper added). What on earth does that say about me??

Jul 21, 2011, 9:34pm

It says that you are a sensitive and unique individual who doesn't fit into any stereotypical categories?

Jul 21, 2011, 9:38pm

Sounds good to me... I'll go with that :)

Ago 6, 2011, 7:01pm

The Golden Spruce : A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed is a Non-fiction book set in British Columbia, largely on the islands. I have to admit, being a prairie girl, I had not even heard of the Golden Spruce before reading this book. Apparently on the Island there was a golden spruce, with needles that were a brighter yellow colour rather than green, a yellow that reflected the light so that the tree itself appeared to glow. It was one of a kind in that others with this mutation do not flourish or grow to a large size like this one did. This tree played a large part in Haidi myth and culture and according to myth was a boy who was turned into a tree (For various reasons, as there are different versions of the myth).

The earliest parts of the book discuss how British Columbia appeared before the settlers arrived, and then covered the various stages of logging of British Columbia. Technology greatly sped of the pace of deforestation. Other chapters covered the Golden Spruce and they myth surrounding it. It was spared, and the albino crow that favoured the spruce were a tourist attraction.

This story also focuses on Grant Hadwin the forester and woodsman turned environmentalist. Due to mental illness he came to believe that he had a divine mission of some sort to save the forest and return humanity to small agrarian groups (led by women incidentally). Rather than holding a mythological view of the Golden Spruce, he viewed it as a ‘damaged’ tree, a mutation that normally would not survive. He felt it was hypocritical to be proud of allowing this tree to survive while every day many many trees fell to logging. So one night he snuck out and cut the tree half down so that it fell with the next wind. The Haidi community as well as the local community were incensed. The police were unsure how to charge someone with cutting down a tree. After his first trial he disappeared via kayak and was never seen again. Given that in the past he survived for weeks/months on end in the forest no one is quite sure if he perished, is hiding in the woods, or went on to live in Russia. A good read, especially if you are interested in BC history and/or First Nations history.

That makes 10 out of 11 books in my Non-fiction category finished! (And the 11th started). I may move one of them to the Classics category since I was lucky enough to snag another non-fiction in the July early reviewers :)

Ago 6, 2011, 7:05pm

267: Thank you fmgee! Will check out that podcast for sure :)

Ago 6, 2011, 7:13pm

I read Extinction by Ray Hammond for my Dystopian category. I enjoyed this much more than the previous book despite having similar themes :P

Extinction opens with a lawyer visiting a large group of people who are adrift in old tankers in the ocean. These people are now without homes as several countries (largely developing countries) have been submerged under the melting polar icecaps. No one has been willing to allow them refuge status to their country. They have been adrift for over 20 years. The lawyer hopes to successfully sue the corporations that were largely responsible for global warming in international court to get them some status/supplies.

Add to the problems of these refuges the fact that the global climate/weather patterns have become increasingly unstable recently. Larger more violent storms, more earthquakes/volcanic eruptions etc. Corporations have learned how to somewhat alter weather patterns by reflecting light extra light back from the sun. This means that countries that can afford to pay can be assured of predictable weather, sun at the beach, etc. Those who cannot such as developing countries and the refugees are left at the mercy of the strange weather. And it is getting worse, with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that seem to be unpredictable and that they are unable to control. Could this be tied to the changes in the weather?

I found this to be a great/fun dystopian book. If you enjoy reading about storms/earthquakes/survival then I highly recommend this book for you.

Ago 6, 2011, 7:17pm

I read Corked for my Canadian but not set in a specific province category. This book is a memoir of a daughter who travelled around France to various vineyards with her eccentric father. I did enjoy this book although it is not what I expected. Don't expect to learn a lot about France in this book. Nor will this book educate you about French wines (There is some of that, further into the book). Although there is a fair amount of wine discussion in the book, the focus is largely on the father/daughter relationship. Both are temperamental. Now they are going to be trapped in a car and drinking together. Does this sound like a good plan to you?

Editado: Ago 6, 2011, 9:26pm

Great to see you and your reviews! A few thumb ups on your reviews. I'd looked at Corked myself , but left it aside -and I'm glad that I did. I've heard of the book The Golden Spruce but I never knew much about it, nor looked at it. As BC girl, I've never heard of that myth either...Sounds interesting. Your Early Review Book - I forget the name, despite just thumbing the review sounds like a great read. Again ,I've seen it around but I don't think that the book cover caught my attention, but your review has done that - so I will look for it at my library.

Nice to "see" you! ;)

Editado: Ago 6, 2011, 9:34pm

Just added Westsiders Stories from old Corner Brook Newfoundland to my wishlist! Thanks for that!

Ago 7, 2011, 1:02am

Thanks Deb! I have been busy this summer, but trying to catch up around here too! :)

Ago 7, 2011, 1:06am

Both The Golden Spruce and Extinction sound good.

Ago 7, 2011, 1:10am

I did enjoy them! Golden Spruce is a heavier read than Extinction (To be expected with Golden Spruce being non-fiction I suppose :P)

Ago 7, 2011, 1:55am

Although some dystopias can get pretty heavy. Golden Spruce sounds tragic.

Ago 7, 2011, 2:20pm

True. And it was a fairly tragic book. It lightens up at points by discussing various myths etc. I did enjoy the air of mystery at the end. Actually the book puts they mystery right at the beginning where it discusses how sometime later they find a camp site that appears to be his, not not him. Parts of it reminded me of Late Nights on Air for some reason :P

Ago 8, 2011, 6:51am

Hey Janice, just popping by to say hi! Thanks for the reminder and link to CBC re the Giller Prize.

Ago 28, 2011, 11:24pm

I am now halfway done! Better late than never right? :P A bit behind on my reviews again, so going to try to catch up starting with the early reviewers and member giveaway books :)

Ago 28, 2011, 11:27pm


In received Monoculture How one Story is Changing Everything through the Early Reviewers program and read it for my Non-fiction category (Just 1 more to go in that category!!). This was a small sized book that is filled with useful information that made me think about the world around me and how we value our lives and institutions.

The authors premise is that we are at risk of valuing everything using the same cookie cutter approach: Is this (family, institution, organization) efficient, cost effective and economical? This is a mammoth undertaking requiring thinking out of the box on a subject that most of us are too close to see. Institutions that used to be ‘not for profit’ and for the great good of society are now expected to show their worth in explicit financial terms. Institutions that were meant to be free(er) of corporate influence such as libraries and educational institutions are now more directly influenced due to their requirement to fundraise and evaluate the financial benefit programs. You need only look at the cutbacks to libraries in Canada to see the effects of valuing everything at only one level. The author argues that this ‘monoculture’ is spreading and affecting the ways we evaluate our careers, living arrangements, and even our families. If everything is valued economically, we loose the ability to describe things as having value otherwise (community, religious values, charity, etc). The author has set out chapters describing how this change is affecting various areas including the arts, education, religion (Who are now competing for ‘customers’) creativity, etc.

The first chapter does jump right in without adequately describing the premise, but once you catch up it is a very interesting book. Missed is the impact of advertising where materialistic and food attitudes are brainwashed into people. Although this book was written by a Canadian author, some of the chapters have a distinct American point of view (e.g. the chapter on medical care, etc).

What this book did stress to me was the importance of valuing some institutions outside of a purely ‘economic’ perspective. The last chapter describes a few of the alternative perspectives including the ‘Slow Food Movement’ which I have been very interested in. An interesting read that I gave 3.5 stars.

Ago 28, 2011, 11:59pm

I received a copy of Fast-Tracked for my Kindle through the Member Giveaways program. I was interested as it seemed interesting and fit my dystopian category. I will admit I was leery as I had heard of issues with ebook published books being of lower quality. However I was extremely impressed.

Fast-Tracked is a YA novel set in a future United States. After a severe crash due to a lack of industry within the country, a president used the military to take control of the country. Harsh measures were necessary to rebuild the country. One measure the president took before he died was to set up an education system. Upon graduating each child is given a placement test which will determine their level in life (And the careers open to them). The lowest level would be the industrial works who receive little pay and poor working conditions. The highest level can choose any job they wish and be trained for it. Alexandria and her family are a mid-level family. She is shocked when she gets a gold (the highest level) an her boyfriend is shunted down to the lowest level. When she arrives she discovers the politics of Gold-level life are not all they seem, and begins to try to make a name for herself (Or at least enough of one to protect herself).

Teenagy angst was kept to a minimum and I really enjoyed this book! It is the first in a series and I will likely actually buy the second when it comes out.

I am also reading Verita by the same author. While it is decent so far I far prefer the Fast-Tracked series thus far.

Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 12:00am

Monoculture sounds really interesting! I'll give it a try if I come across a copy.

Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 12:26pm

I will try to write up one more review and the come back and catch up on the others later. I read Atonement for my local in-person bookclub. It is the story of a child who witnesses her sister with a man and being young, assumes it is not consensual. When one of her cousins is attacked, she then comes forward and the young man is blamed. What follows is the aftermath of what happened and her guilt when she later becomes uncertain.

I would like to say that I was actually unhappy when this book was chosen for the bookclub and was certain I would not like it. I am not much for 'lets read unhappy books just for the sake of being unhappy' and thought this would be one of them. I was wrong and ended up enjoying the book.

The first chapter I found annoying (Told from the pov of a very self-involved child) but the style quickly grew on me. What I enjoyed more are the chapters in which the younger sister had grown up and was training as a nurse in London just before the war, and stories of what was going on at the time. I called this a 'mystery' book because they later go into figuring out who actually attacked her cousin. Plus that way it can fit in one of my categories :P I ended up giving this book 4 stars, which is a far cry from where I thought it would place :)

Ago 29, 2011, 4:23am

Interesting comments on Atonement, Janice. That's book I've considered. Maybe one day, now that I've read your comments. I so agree with your thought-lets read unhappy books for the sake of being uphappy.

I've been reading through a number of Booker Long List Books

Sisters Brothers 5 stars and very fun!
Pigeon English 4.25 stars and an insightful read
Far to Go historical novel and a solid 4

Now I'm about ? 110 pages into A Cupboard Full of Coats. Initially -I thought it might be just to dark -but now that I'm further in -yes it's dark -but it's turning into a page turner. Domestic abuse etc.

Ago 29, 2011, 11:16am

Interesting comments on Atonement. Years ago, I too read it for my book club and didn't want to. I don't know what I thought it would be like, but I was sure I wouldn't like it. Turns out I fell in love with it on page two. I really liked the beginning of the book, didn't like the second part as much (lots of readers are the opposite). But it's gone down as one of my very favourite books I've ever read with my book club.

Ago 29, 2011, 12:27pm

Heh.. well we both had our minds changed for different reasons it seems :P

Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 12:42pm

I liked Atonement as well and actually found that the movie was well done too.

297 - Far to Go by Pick was one of my favourite reads last. It was definitely a 4+ read.

Ago 29, 2011, 1:01pm

Our book club is planning on watching the movie that goes with it in September, so I am glad to hear that :)

Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 10:03pm

300 - Glad you enjoyed Far to Go I did too. It was an interesting read and prior to that read, I'd never heard of Kindertransport.

Hmmm - Janice, glad you enjoyed Fast -Tracked . I'd be like you - leery that it is just an e-pub. But hey, I'm a dinosaur without a kindle or nook.

Ago 29, 2011, 4:07pm

I've only ever read Saturday by McEwan, which deeply annoyed me. Your review and this discussion makes me at least a little more interested in giving him a second go.

Ago 29, 2011, 6:44pm

GingerbreadMan, each of McEwan's books is different from every other one. I love some of his, like others and dislike a few. I really liked Atonement and Enduring Love.

Ago 29, 2011, 7:48pm

RidgewayGirl - I agree that they're all quite different. I've read six or seven, and ATonement and Enduring Love are my favourites too. I also like Amsterdam.

Ago 30, 2011, 11:54pm

I may have to check out Far to Go and add it to my wishlist.. I am interested in reading more about Kindertransport :)

Sep 13, 2011, 10:36pm

Ok, I seem to be behind again!

Starting with the Member Giveaway books.

I read Verita for my dystopian category. Originally I thought it would be for my Kindle category (only 99c!) but I decided that it does indeed fit. In a not to distant future Earth, Brett finds herself orphaned and alone. Shifted into care and a school in a 'poor' neighbourhood, she is offered a second chance at life working on a new space colony. The only catch? She will never see anyone on earth again. In order to reach the new planet, she will have to go into stasis with everyone else for at least 100 years. While in stasis she will be trained for a new job on the basis of her placement tests. Once there she finds she loves her job, and enjoys exploring the new planet. But is everyone going as well as it seems? Is there something sinister underlying all of this?

While I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed the authors other book (Fast-Tracked) more. This book felt a little less well put-together, and had more teenagy I'm so special all the boys are in love with me what to do/angsty type stuff in it. However, it did not overpower the book and I certainly did enjoy the chance to explore a new planet with Brett. 3.5 Stars/

Sep 13, 2011, 10:43pm

I was also lucky enough to win an e-copy of Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow from the Member's giveaway, and this one clearly fit in my Dystopian category.

Well, this was a wild ride. The United states is now part of a world government (based out of Australia) that sadly elected a dictator.. and things have been getting steadily worse. Armies of 'black bands' have been roaming the streets bullying people and calling anyone who disagrees a terrorist (hmmmm...). Micheal is gifted. He can see snippets of possible futures in his mind. One thing that keeps flashing to him as important is an infant he saves in the subway station. If he can get him to safety he could be the key to bringing democracy back. But not if the black bands are allowed to raise him.

But he will need help. You would think superheroes would be the first to help right? Not when they seem to have teamed up with the black bands against the populace and local police forces. But there was one who left... she was named Silverwing. Now unable to fly and living drunk on the streets, will she be able to provide any help at all? Especially when she keeps stealing liquor from people?

A little dark but definitely funny. 4.5 stars.

Sep 13, 2011, 11:05pm

I read The Kite Runner for my around the world category, for the country of Afghanistan.

This is a wonderful book that is difficult to write a review for. Especially without spoiling the ending or any surprises. Essentially it is the story about how class and violence can separate people, and the guilt associated with it. Amir and Hassan have been best friends since they were little, despite one being the son of their servant, being illiterate, and a member of an ethnic 'underclass'. As they grow older, situations pull them apart and Amir turns his back on Hassan. When they flee to America after the war breaks out, Amir is left with a lot of guilt.

A large part of the story is about them growing up in Afghanistan, enjoying childhood delights such as books and fighting kites. The second 'half' of the story is about Amir's life in America and later return to Afghanistan. This was a very touching book, and one that paced itself well. And by that I mean that while there were parts that were hard to read, this was not a depressing dark read. Rather it was a very human story. 5 starts and highly recommended even if you aren't sure if the subject matter is for you (I wasn't!).

Sep 13, 2011, 11:16pm

I think this might be my last book to catch up! (Will check my list again later).

This week I was able to quickly read through Spin for my 'Canadian books not set in Canada or a Specific Province' category.

This is a fun light book.

After Kate shows up for her dream interview drunk, she figures she has blown her career. All she wants to do is write. Then she is offered a way in: Sneak into rehab (Which she figures she doesn't *really* need) to spy on a celeb girl who has been sent there by her family. Sure it means she can't leave for thirty days, but if they like the story she writes, then they may just hire her on full time! Wouldn't you at least try?

A first time author, and a very funny light read. So great for when you are in that sort of a mood. :) 4 stars.

Sep 14, 2011, 12:55am

Lots of great new books that you've reviewed, Janice. I loved The Kite Runner when I read it a couple of years ago. In many ways, it's a very optimistic book, I thought. Though I'm glad that I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author, I'll caution you that I found it much darker and quite disturbing.
Hmm - I have several books out from the Library by Ian McEwen - including Atonement. I've got a lot of books waiting in the TBR pile -but I'll certainly consider Atonement as perhaps my first choice of his books!

Sep 17, 2011, 12:15pm

I just finished Why I Hate Canadians which I loved. It reminds me a bit of the writing of Farley Mowat. I will post a review later today, as I am heading out to the farmers market.

I have also added a '*' beside any book/play that was read at least partially on the Kindle. Quite a number of them were, as it turns out! While I still hold on to the somewhat optimistic view that I will finish all the categories, my second goal is to finish all but the kindle category (Since there is so much overlap anyway). Time will tell :)

Sep 17, 2011, 11:17pm

Well, obviously you've met your goal of using the Kindle a lot. 121 books is pretty steep! So is 111 for that matter.

Sep 18, 2011, 3:47am

Well, just got my kindle today. Downloaded two books- but I'm still in the midst of a paper book. I sure hope I can take to the Kindle!!!! I'm so amazed that I can download two books in 60 seconds!!!!

Sep 18, 2011, 10:42am

I'm so amazed that I can download two books in 60 seconds!!!!

This is reason number two of why I am not getting a nook or a kindle. Reason number one is that I love the immediacy and intimacy of the dead trees version. I like seeing my favorites out there on a shelf, instead of on a virtual row. I like passing on a book I don't want to keep to someone who will enjoy it and I like the look of my TBR shelves too much. There's something about browsing through actual books. Maybe I'll get over that someday -- probably when a method is developed by which a book owner can give their ebook to someone else when they're finished.

I do plan to get my daughter a nook, however. It's how she would prefer to experience her books and I'm fine with that.

Sep 18, 2011, 11:17am

315 - My husband won an ereader and honestly, I spent the first week downloading freebie books (legal ones of course) and then neither of us read anything because we missed paper! It then broke and we promptly forgot about it. I can see the attraction if say I went on vacation and wanted to read but even then, the type of books I would want to read on vacation (fluffy, light stuff) is not the type of thing that I would pay money for (the library fulfils that need quite nicely) so I just don't see the point. There are some things that I am old-fashioned about and reading is one of them.

And you are right. One of the best things about reading is passing the book along afterwards so that others can experience the joy of reading it. And I love having shelves and shelves of books surrounding me. When I have a bad day, I can retreat into my little cocoon and lose myself in a story complete with touch and smell. For me, it's just one thing that cannot be replaced.

Sep 18, 2011, 4:50pm

@315 and 316

I"ve spent over a year trying to decide whether to get a kindle. I'm actually quite anxious about reading from a kindle -but I'm hoping it will work out for me. I'm runnng out room for my books -and I find that because - as I am sure that you do - that I'm reading a lot from the Booker list, the Orange list and now the Giller. While I can pass along my mysteries, I can't seem to interest anyone in my more literary books. My friends and family seem to prefer mysteries. I'm running out of room for my books.

Ridgewaygirl, I'm not sure where I read it - but I think that there is an ereader that you loan your book from - to maybe just one person.

Anyway - wish me luck in my venture -because I'm a wee bit anxious about reading from my kindle too.

Sep 18, 2011, 5:12pm

You'll grow to love it. The people who get them usually do. And think of the space you'll save.

My concern is not in loaning books, but in passing on the ones I don't want to keep. I guess it feels too much like book burning to just delete a novel from existence. There's a selfishness, too. I enjoy finding a book second-hand, whether at a booksale, used book store or from an internet book trading site.

Editado: Sep 18, 2011, 6:53pm

Actually, any book that you download from kindle stays archived on the kindle website - so you can re access it anytime -and if you make annotations or highlight passages, they stay on the kindle website - so you don't actually have to delete the book. I was just finding that yes, I am running out of space, plus often I'd have to order from amazon - and wait from 5 -8 business days to get the book. And it's a little cheaper. Still - that 6 inch screen seems so different from a book! Thanks for your encouragement What I've found myself doing is donating my used books that are quite literary to my local library, since I use it quite a bit. I feel like since I borrow from the library, I want to give back .

Yes, I've got a couple of books on there way as second hand books - could not find them anywhere else . Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym I could only find second hand, and same with The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns. I love both of those authors!

Sep 19, 2011, 7:36am

The Kindle doesn't stop me from buying real books. I have added Kindle downloading to my usual book buying and library habits and have plenty of Kindle freebies stashed away for an emergency. It's also good for travelling; I can take spare shoes in the carry-on luggage now, instead of 2 kg of books.

Sep 19, 2011, 12:18pm

I can take spare shoes in the carry-on luggage now, instead of 2 kg of books

That is an up side!

Sep 20, 2011, 11:32am

I finished The Kreutzer Sonata over the weekend. This makes 9 out of 11 in the Classics section complete!

A strange book, even for Tolstoy. A man feels depraved due to his pre-marital relations, and managing a wonderful example of Freudian displacement manages to blame his wife for being both to clean and too sullied (Virtuous, yet sullied by him, virtuous in having children, sullied by birth control and child care) and in the end accuses her of infidelity and kills her. The only saving grace of the book is the afterword where he discusses what he beleives to be the very serious problem of the double standard in allowing and encouraging premarital relations in men, while holding a double standard for women. He also discusses how he feels the lower classes are 'misused' by men in this arrangement. However, he also has a very negative attitude towards any form of birth control, so it evens out somewhat :P

Sep 20, 2011, 11:40am

As for the kindle, mine was a gift and I was unconvinced that I wanted one before I received it. I do like it a lot.

I have been piling enough books on mount TBR that I have set myself a rule that I must get rid of 70% of what I read (However, I seem to be having problems breaking 67%). I am also participating in some reading challenges (This one, What is Stephen Harper Reading, etc) where classics are being read. The town I am in has *one* library. Thank goodness for the university library!! However even then many classics and books I would want to read are not present. Hence my accumulation of books.

For books that I don't believe I will want to read again and again (see above) the kindle works perfectly. Many surprising books are free through Gutenberg etc. So if I do decide I want to read them again and again, they are there. Which is great! I have read many classics that I would not have otherwise thanks to the Kindle. I am also now able to enter for e-books in the early reviewers program, including 3 in my current dystopian category that I enjoyed.

It certainly has not replaced books. For one thing, I am terrified of dropping it in the tub. For another, I do love books! I would say about 1/3 of my readings this year have been on the kindle (So about 30?). By in large non-DRM books so that I can share them. THere is also a different E-reader that allows you to 'loan' out books to friends.

I find it comfortable to read, and it reminds me of a book. In fact I switched to e-reader halfway through Adam Bede because the copy I had (Chosen due to its cute retro cover) had small printing that was hard to read for a long period of time. I also like that I can keep it handy in my purse and if waiting for a meeting with students/hosting an exam/ in a waiting room I can choose from a large selection. No one will know if it is Tolstoy or Chicklit. ;)

However for some books, only a paper book will do. I read a lot of local history (Or at least have been adding a lot to the pile) that is not on Kindle. I love to loan out books and participate in bookcrossing. I don't think it is an either/or. I think it is a wonderful supplement.

Editado: Sep 20, 2011, 7:40pm

I read Why I Hate Canadians for my Canadian without a specific province or set outside Canada category. 10/11 books completed in this category!!

Having enjoyed but been somewhat disappointed in How to Be Canadian I figured this would be a quick light read that I would then be able to pass on to a friend. Guess what? I'm keeping it.

I was very impressed with the writing style in this book. A combination of personal stories, Canadian history/politics, and humour/rants that reminds me of the writing of Farley Mowat.

If you will permit me a few longer quotes (both from the beginning of the book) that I found hilarious and convinced me to keep reading:

While doing Canadian funded youth volunteerism abroad:

"Canadian World Youth is funded by CIDA...Unfortunately CIDA is also a homonym for the Spanish words for Aids, and when we went around thrusting our hands at the villagers telling thenm 'Hola! Yo estoy con CIDA' (Hi! I'm with AIDS!) we got some terrified looks. There were rumours that we had been chased out of our home country because we had AIDs, but the matter was eventually settled. Although it did make it hard for us to get dates."

"The people of Malacatos were keen to know more about Canada, but when compared to the Ecuador folk dances.. Canadian culture seemed ephemeral. .. hanging out at the mall is difficult to convey in a dance. Never let it be said that our group let Canada down... we did what any true-blooded Canadian would have done- we made one (a dance) up. Call it the Pamisto Stomp: A group dance involving much arm swining and hand-clapping which might,.. have resembled a square dance... we performed set manoeuvres and just yelled out whatever came to mind... What we lacked in finesse we made up for in volume... Grab yer partner like a bell, one-two-three now yell like hell.. Yeehaw.' It amused the Ecuadorians to no end. 'Do you dance again' they would say and laugh hysterically. We must have performed that dance a dozen times to bemused audiences throughout the valley, and I like to think we left a little of Canada behind us wherever we went. Yee-haw"

"With extra paint, we decided to update a globe of the world, 3 meters tall, which stood beside the church. The globe was faded and still contained pre WWII boundaries.. Needless to say when we repainted it, we made Canada REALLY BIG, so that even today in a small village in the Andres highlands of Ecuador, travelers are surprised to discover that Canada has serendipitously conquered most of New England, all of Oregon, much of Montana and a good deal of Alaska. We cackled to ourselves while we did it. It was a typically Canadian act of defiance: Sneaky, clever, and completely ineffectual".

Anyway, a great book, grab a copy if you see it :)

Sep 20, 2011, 12:27pm

I picked up Why I Hate Canadians at the uni bookstore a few years ago and couldn't put it down until I finished it. Great fun.

Sep 20, 2011, 6:58pm

I have a copy, too! I'm planning a Canadian category for the 12 12.

Sep 20, 2011, 9:15pm

Why I hate Canadians does sound like fun. Thanks for the review and the quotes!

Sep 20, 2011, 10:56pm

I'd agree that the kindle is a supplement to real books. So far, I've just started an O/S mystery, When the Devil Holds the Candle -and today while out grocery shopping and popped into my local bookstore and picked up Meagre Tarmac by Clark Blaise. It's on the Giller list , and a book of short stories. I'm a sucker for reading from the lists.

So yes, I'd say it's not an either other thing, with an e -reader.

I love your comments, Janice , about how you can read whatever you like without people knowing whether you are reading Chick - Lit or Tolstoy.

Why I hate Canadians does sound like fun! For some reason I think I've read but perhaps I'm due a re - read...

Sep 21, 2011, 10:23am

I thought a nook would be just the thing for long trips, until I read that you have to turn off your ereader during take-off and landing, which everyone knows are the most important times to have something to read!

Sep 21, 2011, 3:55pm

All I do is turn off the wireless during takeoff and landing. I have had no complaints about that. I keep the wireless off most of the time anyway, due to it eating up the battery.

Sep 24, 2011, 10:00pm

Seems to me it would only be the wireless bit planes would have a problem with. Odd? & the thought of having a completely library hidden in your purse almost makes me want to shell out the money.

Sep 27, 2011, 8:06am

Well, Janice, I happily read my first novella on my kindle and very much enjoyed it! I've started a second book on my kindle Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I think that if a book was long and complex, I'd rather have the actual book to flip through, but I'm really enjoying my kindle! Easy to read, and like you - I just leave the wireless off, unless I am downloading a book. You don't need the wireless to read the book.

Sep 27, 2011, 10:45am

Exactly! So glad that you are enjoying it :) :)

I am a few reviews behind again, and I seem to have started several books at once. I am reading two books for my food writing category: The Tea Lovers Treasury and Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair. Apparently not happy reading only fiction, I am also well into Something Rotten which I will likely fit in the mystery category (or humour with a u!).

Sep 27, 2011, 10:22pm

I'm enjoying hearing your thoughts on the Kindle. I have a Sony e-Reader and I love it. Both my daughter and I have used it a lot on trips (our library has a great collection of children's and YA e-books), and I keep it in my purse, so I can whip it out every time I'm stuck in a grocery store line-up or the like.

However, like you, I love exchanging books with friends and through Bookcrossing, Bookmooch, etc. The funny thing is that I've been accumulating MORE print books since getting my e-Reader a couple of years ago. I find I'm just reading a lot more these days, in all formats (digital, audiobook and print), and I think participating in LibraryThing and Bookcrossing has had a big effect on my reading habits.

Sep 29, 2011, 8:52am

Hi Janice! I really enjoy the discussion on e-readers here on your thread. I've come to realise that despite I might try and convince myself otherwise, I'm by no means an early adaptor. I mean, I got my Spotify account two weeks ago. I've never Skyped. When it comes to e-readers, what I think I'd miss most is cover art, the way a book feels in your hands when you begin it, when you're in the middle, when you're ending it, all the little dents and marks it gets even when handled by a gentle reader like myself. I can totally see the upside, and once they've settled on a format, I guess I'll go for it. But a replacement for physical books? I think not.

Why I hate Canadians sounds like a lot of fun! As a Swede, I always feel kind of kindred but inferior when I meet Canadians. Eveything that makes Sweden special Canada has too - but bigger. Vaster forests, bigger bears, more wolves, colder climate... I really want to go there someday.

Sep 29, 2011, 11:25am

I'm the opposite of an early adaptor, if not quite a Luddite, but I listened to a review of the new Kindle Fire and I am tempted.

Editado: Sep 30, 2011, 12:51am

@336 - I'm the opposite of an early adaptor too, and ohh! I could almost kick myself for just purchasing my new Kindle only to find that the new Kindle Fire has just come out! Just my luck!! Oh well - I will live................... I think;) My ultimate goal - I think........ is the Ipad!!!!But $$...

Sep 30, 2011, 8:32am

Ooh, I'd take an iPad!

Sep 30, 2011, 10:45am

My husband won an iPad last year, and though we do get a lot of use out of it and it is nice to have, in the end it's just a TOY.

Oct 2, 2011, 9:04am

Well, yes Joyce, I suppose a Ipad is just a toy - but my sister and husband just took a trip to Italy -and via that small to pack Ipad , they were able to keep in touch with us and send us pictures while they were on the trip. I guess you could do that with a i-phone too -but that Ipad is the ultimate in toys as far as I am concerned!:) They back- packed, so a bigger netbook or whatever, was not going to work for them.

And hi to Janice and Ridgeway girl. Yes, that Kindle Fire sounds really great! Go for it!!!!Or the ipad!

Oct 2, 2011, 11:29am

..... and Christmas is just around the corner...... ;-)

I have to admit I have an Android ipad clone and while it can do a lot, I mainly use it as a e-book reader and web browser. I am still asking for paper books for Christmas presents this year!

Oct 3, 2011, 12:45am

Hehe.. I think my plain old kindle is better. And probably easier on the electricity too ;)

335: I am really not the first to get new technology either, this was a gift. I remember when I moved to BC (Only 6 years ago?) I actually got into a fight with my family because I felt I did not need a DVD player when I had a VCR (I eventually relented :P ). So I do understand that. I still find my Kindle fantastic. I have a friend who bought one just for all the articles she has to read through school, she finds it a lot easier on the eyes and more portable than a laptop :P

And LOL! I sometimes feel the same way with people from Sweden.. they have the whole 'In The North' thing, but also great culture/rights etc.

Anyway, three books on the go right now, two in the Food Writing and one in non-fiction (My last book for the non-fiction category! (Unless I move them around to other categories)).

I am a little behind, I think I owe you guys reviews for The Road and Something Rotten. I have made it to 70 books! (I have read over 110, but many don't fit the categories).

Oct 3, 2011, 3:39am

Congratulations on making it to 70 books, Janice! I'm nearly there! Just finished a fabulous book by a Canadian writer, Tell it To The Trees by Anita Rau Badami. While I very much enjoyed it, I'm not sure it would be your cup of tea, as it dealt with family violence/ abuse. Really a heartbreaker. I'm still pondering a review.

And I must ask - what's a spotify? I'll have to look that up!

Oct 3, 2011, 9:51am


I was wondering about spotify myself!

I have yet to skype, still using the old MSN instant messaging lol.

Oct 3, 2011, 5:43pm

Spotify is a free and legal web service where you can stream music from a catalogue of something like 15 million songs. Basically, it's like you have all the music you ever wanted to hear on your computer or your iphone, making both CD:s and mp3:s kind of obsolete (although I keep mine, of course...) www.spotify.com

Thanks guys, for letting me feel tech savvy :)

Oct 3, 2011, 5:52pm

heheheh... if you have an iphone you are savier than I.. I don't even bother to keep a cell phone anymore :P

Oct 4, 2011, 10:46am

Darn it! Spotify looks really cool but is not available in Canada. Sad face.

Editado: Oct 8, 2011, 10:46pm

Ok, time to catch up on reviews! Fortunately I have not let myself get as behind as I did this summer lol.

For the 9th book in my dystopian category I read The Road. Although it is bleak, I did enjoy this book. It is the type of book that seems to 'draw you in'. Part of that I think is the wonderful use of description in this book. Although the setting is rather colourless (A road, it is always cold, always cloudy/grey, ash in the air, always the same) it is described vividly. Someone else described his writing as poetic,and I agree. He uses a very conversational style of writing.

We join a man and a young boy who are attempting to walk to the ocean after some sort of apocalypse. The journey is not easy, and often they have to avoid others who will resort to anything to survive. Along the way they find the occasional treasure (A house no one else has found with homemade canned goods) and also make horrific discoveries (There are lots of mummified bodies around, and the author takes care to tell you that none of the bodies had shoes as they had long ago been scavenged). The father struggles to maintain optimism for his son. I think the title The Road is very apt as this book seems like it flows in one longer chapter than you don't want to put down. One long journey. I read this book in two sittings. If you dislike dystopian novels this might not be the best starting place for you, but if you do like them this one is a great read and highly recommended.

Editado: Oct 8, 2011, 10:44pm

I also read Something Rotten for my 7th book in my Mystery category. This is the 4th book in the Thursday Next trilogy by Fforde. I was going to attempt to read from the bottom of mount TBR and read those in mid-pile next year. But after The Well of Lost Plots this book was just calling out to me. In this book Thursday returns from policing inside books to policing book-related crimes in the real world.

A fictional character they cannot trace, who seems bent on world conquest has escaped and managed to get himself elected. She is still trying to have her husband's eradication reversed. And her son (Friday) who has been hiding with her in the book world speaks nothing but Lorem Ipsum:
"Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. "

A fast pace and funny book. I felt that the first three were a bit better, this one had a bit much going on all at once. But I still loved it!

I am working on changing any softcovers in my FForde collection (Aside from one that is autographed) into hardcover copies! :)

Editado: Nov 27, 2011, 2:49pm

I also read Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair for my somewhat
ignored food related category. This makes my 5th book completed.

This book was written by a founding member of The Slow Food Movement, and it discusses the main philosophies of the movement. Food should be good: Although taste will vary greatly from culture to culture, good also means that it is processed as little as possible. Food should be clean: Using as few pesticides, GMO, it should travel as short a distance as possible, and we should strive to save biodiversity in crops and the surrounding environment. Food should be fair: People should be paid a living wage.

The book also discusses the importance of saving/documenting food growing/preserving traditions, as well are redefining the concept of a 'gastronome' from the fat jolly person who only thinks about food, to one who is concerned with food being good, clean and fair. It stresses the idea that traditional ideas about agriculture/food preservation can be just as valid as the newer ideas, and we need to preserve these before it is too late.

The book brought up some interesting political points about global intervention in food that really made me think. Most of us have heard about how GMO seeds are making developing nations dependent on buying seeds every year. But there are other unintended effects.

Traditional inhabitants have a good idea of what will grow in their area, and have adapted crops that are well suited. With the introduction of new 'hybrid' plants they quickly loose that knowledge. He described visiting one house of a hungry farmer growing GMOs in South Africa who did not realize he had food ('weeds') growing in his backyard.. food that was traditional in his culture. That was until an Ethnographer was visiting the town, and everybody wanted to know what the local plants were for :P

Hybrid varieties also tend to require *a lot* more water than the traditional varieties, which makes them poorer candidates, and more expensive to grow. Which makes them less 'fair' to the farmer in the end.

Another food ideas that 'seemed like a good idea at the time' was shrimp farming in India. The world bank set up shrimp farming in India as a way to increase employment and feed the local population. However these were areas that used to grow rice. Therefore they offered employment to 100s of people a year, which went down to about 10 per farm with shrimp farming. It required adding a lot of salt to the water, which made it unusable for other crops. And to top it off, the locals could not afford it, so the shrimp were now being shipped off to rich people far away (Instead of rice that fed the locals). The destruction of the mangroves along the edges of the shore that was necc for the farming lead to greatly increased damage when the storm went through several years ago. Despite this, the world bank intended to rebuild them, and I believe that they did.

When Europe and other countries started banning GMOs, countries like the US found themselves with a huge surplus, especially with GMO corn. What they did was 'dump' it on poorer nations as a charitable donation. Sounds reasonable correct? Only this lead to the many local farmers abandoning their farms as it was no longer financially viable. Which lead to.. you guessed it, more famine the next year. So more food dumps... and fewer farmers again.

A very interesting non-fiction book, recommended to anyone with an interest in ethnography, politics, food, or the environment.

Oct 8, 2011, 9:11pm

Slow Food Nation sounds fascinating! Adding that one to my wish list, even though I have several unread food books in my TBR pile.

Oct 8, 2011, 9:18pm

Heheheh... You can never have too many food related books in mount TBR :P Hope you enjoy it! :)

Oct 8, 2011, 9:43pm

Great review of The Road. Thanks for that. In my thread I've teasingly begun the start of a dystopian novel, based on my curly hair which drives me mad. I'm afraid I don't care for dystopian novels, but I respect that you and many do.

I've been dipping into a couple of graphic novels, which is very new for me . First I read Stitches - which was great! I just finished another non -fiction GN - Two Generals by Scott Chantler. It was quite interesting, a story of the Invasion of Normandy, told by the grandson of the soldier, Law Chantler. It included a lot of interesting details about the war. It's nice change from pure print.

Oct 8, 2011, 9:50pm

I hear you! I enjoyed Maus, and have put Essex County on my wishlist. You may remember it was up for an award last year I believe. I also have The Walking Dead on my wishlist which is more of a dystopian graphic novel admittedly :P

Oct 8, 2011, 10:40pm

Oh! I'm in the library queue for Maus. I should put my name in for Essex County which, yes, I remember .It was up for the Giller I think?

Oct 8, 2011, 10:43pm

Eee! Look who figured out how to put pictures in!! Now to go back and put them in the other two :P

Oct 8, 2011, 10:44pm

Yes, I think it was for the Giller? It was last year, and I think in the early list for best Canadian book of the previous decade.

Oct 8, 2011, 11:22pm

I don't remember Essex County from the Giller--I could look it up, but I'm lazy. I do remember it, however, from this past year's Canada Reads. The person defending it was just disgusted at the other panelists prejudice toward it.

Editado: Oct 9, 2011, 4:10am

Ohh fabulous job with the book covers, Janice! When I figured out how to that, I had a big eureka moment! It really makes a thread more colourful and interesting! Great job.

Joyce, yes I think you are right, Essex County was a Canada Reads/CBC contender. It won a couple of other prizes.

Editado: Oct 9, 2011, 12:11am

Ok, I just finished another quick book.

How to Store Your Garden Produce: The key to self-sufficiency is only the 4th book in my Homesteading/ Self-Sufficiency category. I need to do a little catching up in this category :P

I put together a few food storage books for when I began to pull in the 'bounty' from my garden. As it became apparent that due to a very cool, wet, non-sunny summer my choice of all root vegetables was not going to be bountiful, I planned on buying large amounts of produce at the last farmers market at a cut rate :P

How to store your garden produce is a fun book and a good basic book. It is more of a starting point rather than an in depth book. It will tell you which fruit/veg are best stored in which way, but not very many details beyond that. (What counts as cool and damp? How would you suggest one do that in an apartment?). It does offer some useful general guidelines, and has plenty of space that I am using to write in specifics. However if you know a lot about food storage you would likely find this book would not meet your needs.

ps- I am thinking of taping some blankets/plastic bags around my closed but not airtight balcony window and storing produce in there? WIll see how it fairs temperature wise when I set it up. Right now since it is not freezing I am just putting it out on the balcony.

ps- While I have you here, see the bounty that is my garden lol!

Oct 9, 2011, 12:12am

ps- I think you are right, it must have been Canada Reads! :)

Editado: Oct 9, 2011, 4:07am

Oh dear Janice!!! My goodness but those are very baby carrots, to say the least. But you tried, which is much more than I can say about myself!!!!

I don't know much about growing root vegetables. One set of my grandparents were very big into having a big vegetable garden in Winnipeg, and they seemed to both really know what they were doing. I remember eating fried green tomatoes for breakfast with my grandpa and lovely fresh carrots, fresh peas, corn - yum!!!I don't know how one would keep the pests away from root vegetables.

Oct 14, 2011, 10:46pm

Hi Janice - getting caught up on threads. Thanks for posting the review for The Road. I have it on my bookshelf and based on your thoughts, I don't need to steer clear of this book, which I am happy to see as I am trying to clear some of my bookshelves of unread books!

Congrats of figuring out how to add pictures and covers! It is fun...... and love the baby carrots, they are adorable!

Oct 15, 2011, 2:00am

Este usuario ha sido eliminado por spam.

Nov 27, 2011, 11:08am

I have had a very busy semester teaching! Only one week of teaching left to go, so going to try to catch up a little on my reviews!

By moving one Canadian book out of my non-fiction section into my Canadian section, I now have my first completed section! (Canadian without a specific province or not set in Canada). Yay! I also have a few sections that are near completion :)

Nov 27, 2011, 11:13am

Cold Storage for Fruits & Vegetables: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-87

I read this short book in the fall as well when figuring out how to store my veg. I found it significantly more useful than How to Store your Garden Produce in terms of overall tips. However both seemed to assume you were able to build a storeroom of some sort. I would love to see a book based more on making-do for apartment dwellers :P

Nov 27, 2011, 11:17am

I read Anne of Avonlea for the second to last book in my Classics section! I was a little burned out of reading/work and apparently needed something more light-hearted to work my way back in. Now that I am teaching I cringe even more when things go wrong when she is teaching! A nice light read that was available free for my kindle :)

Nov 27, 2011, 11:24am

I won Fire (Elements of The Undead) (Volume 1) from the Members Giveaway section on Librarything, and read it for my 10th dystopian book.

This book was alright for a first book published on kindle. It focuses on the live of several men and women and what becomes of them after a zombie apocalypse spreads throughout the land. Because so many people were chosen, it necessarily skips over large segments of time. That did bug me as I want to know how they escaped from the perilous situations we last saw them trapped in before we switched over to how they were surviving in the future.

The author has gone out of his way to pick already flawed characters and then thrown them into stressful situations to see how they handle them (Workaholics, under achieving drug users, prostitutes etc). Therefore this book does contain a significant amount of drugs and sex, which I suppose is to be expected for a zombie novel. One thing that did bug me about this book was the portrayal of women. Out of all the characters the only two women you have to choose from are a) Prostitute with a heart of gold or b) Military commander turned psychopath who now keeps a harem of men. Ugh.


Editado: Nov 27, 2011, 11:30am

Health Psychology an Introduction to Behavior and Health is a textbook I was teaching from this semester. I decided to include it in my non-fiction section. (10 down!)

It is a decent book, but too simplified for my taste. If I teach this class again I would select a different book (I inherited this book from the previous person who was teaching this class). This book covers the main ideas, but does not fully explain the concepts (e.g. will cover the digestive system with all the terms in about 2 paragraphs, therefore naming the terms but not actually describing them). It is occasionally out of date. Diagrams will include important ideas or terms that are not described in the text, which throws students for a loop. It includes an example of a celebrity with the disorder in each chapter, and then harps on it throughout the chapter (How many times to we need to hear about Bush's heart issues during one chapter?). A passable book, but you could do better.

Nov 27, 2011, 11:54am

I read A Modest Proposal for my 6th humour book. I originally put it in the classics section, but moved it to humour after reading it. I also read this book as part of the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge, as it was one of the books Yan Martel sent to Prime Minister Harper.

This was a short, satirical, dark, humorous, bitter proposal on how to deal with the Irish poor. It leads you slowly in by discussing how concerned they are with the poor and their suffering, and how they need a way to have honest work to support themselves, and how the suffering of children is especially problematic. Then it offers a solution to the problem: If people are largely property of their landlords, and if they are going to be allowed to do nothing but suffer anyway, why not sell the babies as foodstuffs? The first allusion to 'renewable resources' I have come across. Funny, but at the same time sad and occasionally hard to read, at least for me. Three and a half stars.

Editado: Nov 27, 2011, 12:29pm

For the 7th humour book I read The Paranoid's Pocket Guide, a hundred things you never knew you needed to worry about.

From the "There are so many marvelous things to obsess over- loss of privacy, new diseases, technological dangers... -it's hard to now where to begin. So I've highlighted sections to help you worry more efficiently: fears about work, home, food, airplanes..." Along the bottom of most pages runs fears written into the author (e.g. my neighbours will see my recycling and think I am an alcoholic). Again, I needed a light read. Includes short paragraphs about various things that can go wrong (e.g. over 30,000 people per year are seriously injured by exercise equipment). This book was decent fun, but superficial. If I am going to invest time and effort into worrying, I need more details than that! :P

Was fun to read, I will be registering this one on Bookcrossing and setting it free shortly. 3/5

Editado: Nov 27, 2011, 1:39pm

I read The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi for the 11th play! It is also part of the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge. I bought this book along with What is Stephen Harper Reading at a used bookstore in Montreal. As it is a Quebec author it would b harder to find elsewhere. The book contains several plays, the rest of which are in french. Imagine my surprise when it came time to read this book, and I found that this particular play was actually in English!

It is Quebecois in terms of how the language is used, the play uses English, but writes in Quebec form. This gives the play the feel of poetry. In terms of other books I have read for this challenge, it reminded me a bit of To the Lighthouse in that it seems to be written in a stream of consciousness style. He takes you on a journey to Chicoutimi that needs some deciphering. What you believe are true statements will later be refuted ('I travel a lot'... then later 'actually I have never traveled') and jumps between real events, interpretations of the events, and dreams/visions. In one paragraph you are playing with him in the local stream, in the next he is an older man gathering popsicle sticks on playground to build things out of. The play seems to center around the an incident with a playmate in Chicoutimi that left the main character mute for a period of time, with the play being an attempt to pull all the strings together and make some sense of the situation. An odd play, but I am very glad that I read it.

2nd category completed! :)

Nov 27, 2011, 1:17pm

Hi Janice - What a diverse list of books you have recently finished! A Modest Proposal sound different as does The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, which will fit in my 12 in 12 challenge. I did have a good chuckle over the concept of The Paranoid's Pocket Guide..... that sound like a fun one to read!

Nov 27, 2011, 4:22pm

Just stopping by to encourage you to read Louis Riel . It was a fabulous graphic novel!!! I really learned a lot! The author is sympathetic to Louis Riel as is my married in French Canadian uncle, who says he is distantly related to Louis Riel. I can really recommend it! And then it led me to read John A :The Man Who Made Us by Richard Gwyn and I plan to read the second half of the biography in January or February.

Dic 2, 2011, 11:08am

I needed some more light reading to close out the semester, so books #8 and 9 in the mystery section were chosen with that in mind.

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies is part of the Ladies Detective Agency series. I started reading these books while visiting family, since they were in the house. They are sweet and good for a nice light read. This one is also a bookcrossing book that came to me from the USA (And came there originally from Finland!). So now I can set this book free for the holiday season.

The Secret of the Forgotten City
This is my first Nancy Drew book as an adult. I found it as a bookcrossing book when dropping off other books at a book exchange, and thought what they hey :P That was back in June. Now it is read so I can set it free again as well. Nancy drew goes on an archeological hunt in the american desert for plates of gold! Yes gold! Naturally, there is danger afoot.

Dic 2, 2011, 11:58am

So, how was reading Nancy Drew as an adult? I loved her when I was a kid, but I don't think I could do it anymore.

Dic 3, 2011, 1:08am

It was ok, but I don't think you can really go back (Unless you were sick and on strong cough medicine!). Fun for nostalgia's sake, but I kept wanting to yell at them for being so stupid :P

Dic 3, 2011, 7:53am

How was Nancy's blue coupe, or blue Roadster, depending on when the book was published? And how is Ned, her boyfriend? I read them back when I was young and one of my friends and I still have a great laugh about Nancy's Roadster.. or coupe...;)

Dic 3, 2011, 12:29pm

Red roadster! And Beth injured herself immediately of course (And every time she went missing they checked the kitchen first.. what with her being 'plump' and all). Ned seemed fine, trailing along behind making sarcastic remarks ;P

Dic 3, 2011, 5:52pm

Did Nancy get her car painted? I seem to remember her driving a blue roadster.

Dic 3, 2011, 7:28pm

Hmm.. now that you mention it, they were traveling to an archeological dig, so her car was a rental. Apparently the same make, only red :P

Editado: Dic 3, 2011, 7:39pm

I have a few books on the go now that I am trying to finish up.

For the 6th book in my Homesteading section (I am a little behind there lol) I finished reading How to build and Indian Canoe, a small hardcover ex-library book I picked up on a whim from a thrift store over a year ago:

I had to scan in my own picture for this one (Only 5 other members with this book!).

The book is well researched and contains a lot more detail than I would have expected. Not knowing much about canoes (or boats in general) I found myself having to look up many of the words (gunwale, keel, etc). What I found especially interesting was the discussion of just how they were able to make very well made canoes without metal implements. All the boards used in the interior and bark had to be kept very wet in hot water (which they dropped hot rocks into to boil) to keep it malleable. They were then sewn together with pine roots preferably, or sinew if pine roots were not available. Some groups used frames to help build the canoes, while others did not. The author went into detail about the different types of canoes (Some more suited for streams, ocean, cargo, hunting etc) as well as details about the differences in canoe style between different First Nations groups. Also mentioned were a few of the decorations used, and the different types of paddles made (e.g. regular paddles vs. 8 foot paddles for steering in the rapids). Simple line drawings were included along with a few old photos.

The book was a much more in depth read than I expected, and I have much more respect for how much work must have gone into these old canoes! Likely a lost art I am afraid.

Dic 4, 2011, 4:56am

Useless fact: In Sweden Nancy Drew (read by all girls at a certain age at least in my generation, while the boys of the same age would rather be found dead in a ditch) is called Kitty. I guess "Nancy" was seen as too hard to pronounce in Swedish :) I was well into my twenties when I realised Kitty and Nancy were the same character.

Oh, and no, I haven't read any of the books. When I came to an age where I would have felt secure gender-wise, I was at an age where they were too childish for me...

Dic 4, 2011, 11:41am

If you want to know more about Nancy/Kitty, there is a book called Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her which is not a bad read. I grew up with Nancy Drew so it was interesting to read some of the behind the scenes stuff.

Dic 4, 2011, 12:56pm

hehe! I completely forgot about Beth, and her being plump and all! LOL!! Danielle, I might just have to get the book that you named above. I grew up with Nancy Drew too. And the Hardy Boys, if push came to shove. :)

Dic 4, 2011, 2:09pm

I actually read the Hardy Boys before Nancy Drew...I was a weird little girl, I guess!

Dic 4, 2011, 3:44pm

I am planning reading Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her for my non-fiction category in the 12 in 12 challenge. Even though I was more of a Trixie Belden fan, I certainly did read my fair share of Nancy Drews.

Dic 4, 2011, 5:27pm

Great reviews, Janice! I'm enjoying the Nancy Drew discussion. I loved Nancy Drew when I was young, and both my girls have enjoyed the books also. I still feel nostalgic about the series, but it's usually a disappointment when I reread any of them now as an adult. I also liked the Hardy Boys, but my very favourite was The Three Investigators.

Dic 4, 2011, 7:34pm

I read all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books originally published between the 1920s and the 1970s in elementary school. I loved them then, but I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy them now. I liked Nancy Drew better because all the Hardy Boys have exactly the same plot, while all the Nancy Drew plots have only roughly 75% similarity.

Dic 6, 2011, 1:03am

Welcome everyone!

I remember reading in another discussion that the Nancy Drews being republished now are 'updated' to remove anything that might be sexist etc... caused a fair bit of controversy about whether they should be changing them or leaving it for nostalgia's sake.

Dic 6, 2011, 9:49pm

Well, they've been changing them for decades. We all grew up with updated versions. Maybe it's controversial because we want things to stay the same?

Dic 8, 2011, 3:00pm

What??? None of youse guyz read Tom Swift? After all, they did give us the term Tom Swifties. Example- "I just won a thousand bucks", said Tom grandly.

Dic 8, 2011, 9:05pm

I read Nancy but truthfully, preferred Trixie Belden. Nancy seemed a little too perfect while Trixie was down to earth. Never read Tom Swift though.

Dic 9, 2011, 10:20am

I much preferred Trixie Belden too. I think she was more fun, and they got to ride horses.

Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 11:59am

Oh.. I had Trixie Belden's too, but I never cared for them much. I think it's because I've never been interested in horses. I'd rather have that blue roadster any day!;)

Hmmm , Tom Swift? I have never heard of him. I did read Mad Magazine and Cracked.

Here's a link to Trixie Belden - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trixie_Belden

It gives me a great chuckle to remember Honey Wheeler, etc!!! And they lived in Sleepyside... ;)

Dic 10, 2011, 12:15pm

I had never even heard of Trixie Belden :P Will keep my eyes open lol. :) I have finished a few new books (And realized I forgot to do one review) so will be catching up shortly. :)

Dic 10, 2011, 12:24pm

I realized today that I had neglected to post a review for The Tea Lovers Treasury which I ready for my Food and Food Related category. :) I was lucky enough to find this book in a used bookstore in Victoria some years ago. It is a larger book, but is surprisingly easy reading. For a non-fiction book it is written in a very conversational tone. If you have been wanting to read up more on tea but have been putting off delving into a long non-fiction book on the topic, this may be a good compromise book. It is older so a few of the points are out of date. However I did find teas discussed here that I have not found discussed in other tea related books, which made it a very interesting read. There are sections on tea history, tea trade (clipper ships!), tea growing/processing, different tea regions, and tea types. There is also a section on various mail order options for tea which I imagine is now out of date. Quite a fun read!

Dic 10, 2011, 12:56pm

I have been very lucky in that the next two books I received through the Early Reviewers program were infinitely better than the zombie novel :P I received 3 non-fiction books, two of which I have completed:

Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload is a book on judging and making good use of the media. I read this for my last book in my non-fiction section :)

I was impressed with this book. It covers a range of information while still remaining accessible and entertaining. It starts with a brief introduction on how technology has changed the media (newspapers to radio to tv and now internet) and what the traditional role of the media has been. It then goes on to discuss the main 'types' of media out there, and how to distinguish between them. From 1) Journalism of Verification (traditional model with high value on truth) to 2) Journalism of Assertion (24hr news stations that don't have time to fact check. 3) Journalism of Affirmation: Less a news source, less emphasis on accuracy, more emphasis on a particular type of politics, cherry picking information that supports a particular type of view and on to new watchdog news sources on the internet (Who tend to only watch one particular group or type of law, leading to a slanted website) and some of the more reliable/balanced websites out there (e.g. polifacts).

Within each of these descriptions are interesting real life examples of journalism done right (early examples include reporters who actually went to Vietnam) which help to keep the book interesting. The author concludes with a discussion of what role the media needs to take in the future.

The examples are American based, however you could apply them anywhere. Given the state of the media in the USA right now, I think this book should be required reading for all. Four and a half stars.

**Non-fiction section completed!** :)

Dic 10, 2011, 1:06pm

Making the Best Apple Cider is a short Garden Way book. I read this book for the 7th book in my food related category. :)

This was a short but very informative book, discussing both soft and hard apple cider. I learned many things including what types of apples to use (Always a mix, and always include some 'wild' (crab) apples). There is a table classifying the types of apples (high acid, low acid, Aromatic, astringent) and I have yet to see most of these apples for sale :P

The process of making the cider itself seems time consuming but rather simple. First you age the apples a few days, then run them through a hopper (Apple grinder). You can use a food processor, but this will be tedious if you are making large batches. Then extract the liquid from the mush, usually using some sort of press. You now have apple cider!

Hard apple cider is a longer process involving fermentation, and there were a few points here that I felt could have used more clarification.. however it is nothing a judicious use of google could not fix I am sure. :) Lastly there are suggestions on what to do with the leftover apple pulp, and recipes using apple cider. A fun and informative read!

Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 7:57pm

The KunstlerCast: Conversations with James Howard Kunstler is another book I received through the early reviewers program, and the last book for my dystopian section! You may know Kunstler as the author of The Geography of Nowhere.

This book is a series of interviews (posted on the web as podcasts) on a variety of subjects, largely centering around changes that will occur in the future as energy becomes more scarce (peak oil, etc). Rather than being a dreary book, Kunstler envisions a sort of rebirth involving more small town living, shrinking/centering of large cities, and an emphasis on walkable cities.

Kunstler is not a fan of current cities as developers have emphasized the convience of cars over people (e.g. non walkable, 4 lane traffic to cross, mass parking making it harder to walk from store to store, the insistence that apartments host parking, etc). He believes that these changes will make it harder for us to adjust when cars become more expensive to run and people are attempting to adjust to less car-driven lifestyles.

Kunslter also emphasizes just how dehumanizing, ugly and overwhelming modern construction can be. He believes that suburban living not only cuts children off from independence or any sort of community living, but also that suburbs as they are today (Disallowing mixed use land etc) will not be tenable in the future. Also discussed is the need for public transportation, especially a functioning rail system, and the return to using waterways as a method of transportation.

A thought provoking book. The fact that it is broken up into short fun segments means that it is no way daunting... I finished reading this book far more quickly than I meant to, and would recommend it for anyone interested in these areas.

I did read The Geography of Nowhere quite a while ago, and remember finding it somewhat dry. I did not have the same issue with this book.

**Dystopian Section Completed!!**

Editado: Dic 10, 2011, 7:58pm

Lastly, I read Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol for the second time, for my last book in my Classics section. :)

This is a lovely and fun book, and would be a great introduction for anybody intimidated by the larger size of some of Dickens other books.

I only started reading this book last year (I don't know why!) and was surprised just how much it added over and above any of the movies. I suppose I should not have been surprised. I really should have known better. At least it was a pleasant surprise. Last year I was impressed with the newness of it all, and this year I seem to have taken more time with it. Dickens I think is an author best read more than once, I have a feeling each time I read this book I will see fun details I either missed or had forgotten over the course of the year. I felt myself almost compelled to read this book aloud to myself, and if I had smaller cousins would probably attempt to rope them into a storytime.

My copy is an older schoolhouse version (see picture above) which I find adds to its charm. Inside it contains a label with the BC seal on it stating that this book was provided by the British Columbia Department of Education. A great book to read with a great big mug of 'blueberry' tea ;)

**Classics section completed!!**

Dic 10, 2011, 3:08pm

Blur sounds good--on to the wishlist it goes.

Dic 10, 2011, 4:19pm

The Kunstlercast sounds like something I would find interesting to read. Your review - which is great and thumbed! - reminded me of Suzuki's The Legacy: An Elder's Vision for our Sustainable Future which I read earlier this year.

Dic 10, 2011, 7:59pm

402: Thanks!
403: Thank you as well! I am going to have to add that one to my wishlist :)

Dic 10, 2011, 10:20pm

Hey Janet, congratulation on finishing your dystopian category and your classic category! Great review of all your current books: Blur sounds especially interesting!

Oh! A Christmas Carol! I could kick myself ! When I was in my teens in worked p/t in a bookstore and ran across the most beautifully illustrated version of A Christmas Carol - not drawings, but more like a scene set up and photographed. Somehow I must have left it behind when I moved at some point. I used to read a Christmas Carol every Christmas as a tradition. I'm glad that you have gotten to it!

As for Trixie Belden and even Nancy Drew, I'm particularly surprised at how old the Trixie Belden books are! My mom was born in the early 1940's and she passed along her old Trixie Belden , Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin books to we three daughters back when we young. :) Boy, that brings back memories. Since I also had brothers, we had The Hardy Boys series too! Oh the memories! ;)

Editado: Dic 16, 2011, 1:13am

Tis the night before I head home to see family for the holidays, and I just finished my last early reviewers book of the year!

I read Running away home for my 7th book in my around the world category (A bit behind there! :P)

After Eat, Pray, Love and And I Shall have some Peace There I was understandably leery of travel writing and especially of 'finding yourself' writing. However, as I was very curious to read about Croatia I put my name in the hat for this book through the Early Reviewers program and am glad that I did.

Jeniffer Wilson and her family decide to spend close to one year in her families ancestral village in Croatia. While the trip is overall a wonderful one, things never seem to go according to plan (e.g. they show up to find their rented lodging is actually still under construction). I found this book decidedly less self-centered that the two previously mentioned books, and very much enjoyed reading it. Jennifer is able to paint a rather vivid picture of small town Croatian life... you get an idea not only what the town and surrounding areas look like, but what the people are like. Rather than painting herself as special and the center of everything, Jennifer is able to step back and see how she fits within the Croatian. She is also able to admit where she doesn't fit, and what her failings are. I loved the descriptions of the old buildings, and the traditional way of life that many are still living there (e.g. making their own cheese, guarding with their lives their vodka recipes, etc). Closer to the end of the book she is also able to talk with some of the oldest inhabitants of the town about the area (e.g. most of the villages have been burned down at least 5 times during various wars) and I found the discussions very touching.

While there were a few spots in this book I found a bit slow, I did give this book 4.5 stars/5.

Dic 16, 2011, 9:37am

Thanks for the review, I've added it to my short list!

Dic 18, 2011, 6:50pm

>406 Bcteagirl: I've sometimes had an issue with American writers writing about other parts of the world, as it often seems to come across as exotistic and Look at me, how fabolous am I to be so comfortbale in this backwater! This sounds like something else, and I'm noting it as a possible fit for my Europe Endless Challenge.

Dic 22, 2011, 4:11pm

Read 2 more books on my kindle to squeak in under the wire and complete my Mystery section! Both Agatha Christie books with Poirot. :)

For my 11th book I read Murder on the Calais Coach otherwise known as Murder on the Orient Express

I started reading this one while hosting an examination, and finished reading it on the plane, courtesy of my kindle! I have to say it has had a lot more use than I would have predicted, it is very handy to have. Having only read one other Agatha Christie book, I did enjoy this one. There is a murder on a train... that has been trapped in the snow. Poirot must investigate without any of the tools usually at his disposal. Given that the man was hated and on the run, there are many people who would have wanted him dead. Many people to keep track of... a whole train full in fact ;)

For my 12th book, I read The mysterious affair at Styles.

This book is one of two Agatha Christie books available for free legal download from Gutenberg, and it can be found here:

This was another Poirot, and a fun light read for the end of the year. An older woman is found poisoned, all all signs are pointing towards her younger unpopular new husband... who happens to have an alibi. This book includes the young friend he investigates with. I see it is popular enough on the kindle that it is actually one of the tags!

Anyway, one more section down! :)

Dic 22, 2011, 4:43pm

Great to see there are still some of us plowing away here, despite hopeless odds of making it :)

Dic 22, 2011, 11:03pm

Congrats on completing your Mystery category Janice!

Dic 23, 2011, 8:28am

Thank you! I am a sucker for hopeless odds. Probably just as well I don't bet on the ponies ;)

Dic 31, 2011, 11:05am

Alrighty! Time to finish up this thread for the year it seems! I managed to read through two more cookbooks while helping out for the holidays, and that finishes up the Food Related thread. This means I read a total of 101 books, and completed the following categories:
1) Classics
2) Dystopian
3) Non-fiction
4) Food Related
5) Mystery
6) Humour
7) Plays
8) Canadian Authors, not set in a specific province

I think in the 12 in 12 I will make my categories slightly broader, but I am happy to have broken 100 books! See you in the 12 and 12! (Need to set up my thread next).

Editado: Dic 31, 2011, 4:11pm

Congrats on finishing!! I think 100 is quite respectable, especially since that's my normal average... :) Hope you have a great new years!

(formerly bookoholic13)

Ene 1, 2012, 6:04am

I agree with Eva, an impressive result! (I have never read 100 books in a year, ever) Glad to hear you're joining us for the 12 in 12!

Ene 1, 2012, 11:43am

Found and starred your 12 in 12 but wanted to drop a line here to congratulate you on reading 100 books in 2011!

Editado: Ene 6, 2012, 11:33am

Thank you!!

Getting a slow start on the 12 in 12 (Helping parents with busted water pipes etc) but my new thread can be found here: