Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dewey's 24-hour Readathon

The next Dewey 24-hour readathon is next Saturday (4/28/18). I participated in this event in 2015 and enjoyed it. Every time since then it has conflicted with something, but this time I am able to play along. The hosts have added a twist this time which is a goal of a combined readathon total of one-million pages.
To get ready for next week I need to:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Circle of Quilters

Circle of Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #9)Circle of Quilters
by Jennifer Chiaverini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this audiobook at the library because it had the word "circle" in the title and therefor completes the "shape" category in the 2018 What's in a Name Challenge. I have heard from various quilter friends that they really like Chiaverini's novels, but didn't really think they would appeal to me. I enjoyed this book very much. It was about the lives of a number of people who are applying for teaching positions at Elm Creek Quilt Camp. Their stories, and how they each come to apply for the job is told and then the reader is there for the interview of each. I enjoyed getting to know each person and was rooting for the various characters to do various things (I won't say what as I don't want to spoil the story).  There was some info about quilt making and a little bit of quilt history, but not as much as I expected. The structure of this particular novel may explain that. I am definitely going to read another of the Elm Creek Quilt novels.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Dedicated Man

A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks, #2)A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More of a traditional mystery than Robinson's first book this novel looks into the past of a group of people in a Yorkshire village to figure out who killed the Dedicated Man at the center of the circle. The ending pulled information that the reader got when Banks did into a logical answer. A well-crafted mystery in the British police-procedural tradition. 
Robinson lived in Toronto when he published this book (per the jacket copy) making this book #11/13 for the Canadian Book Challenge

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our weekly reading.
eleemosynary (adj) (1620): of, or relating to, or supported by charity. (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)
"The effort on behalf of the immigrants is not of course purely eleemosynary. Israel needs these people to fill the vessel of the state." (p. 139, Practicing History by Barbara Tuchman)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation

The #6degrees meme is hosted at Books are my Favourite and Best.

This month the chain begins with (#1) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I read this book for a wonderful book group I was in when I lived in Washington, DC. The next book we read after that was (#2) The Archivist by Martha Cooley. The conflicted archivist theme leads me to (#3) The Archivist's Story by Travis Holland, which is set in 
Moscow, 1939 where a young archivist in the recesses of the infamous Lubyanka prison struggles with choices about what his duty is. Russia, and struggles to understand what reality is are at the center of  (#4) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Both the magical elements and the struggle to understand reality bring me to (#5) The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Toru Okada, the main character in Murakami's novel spends a lot of time sitting in the bottom of a well thinking about stuff (it is more interesting than it sounds). This made me think of (#6) The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley which is a stunning novel about the deepest mysteries of human nature.


Friday, April 6, 2018

World War Z

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The premise of this book is that there was a Zombie War that nearly wiped out the planet and the narrator is a Studs Terkel-type writer who is interviewing people from around the world about their experiences in the war which is now (mostly) over. Through the stories the interviewees tell you learn what happened during the war. The thing that made this book really interesting though was that in large part it was about how people see themselves as part (or not) of their countries and how that makes them different from each other--especially how they are or are not Americans. The audio performance here was fabulous. There was a different person for each interviewee which gave each an additional layer of distinct personality beyond the words. I highly recommend this audiobook. My only complaint is that the part Nathan Fillion narrated was pretty short.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Gallows View

Gallows View (Inspector Banks, #1)Gallows View by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first novel about Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, a police officer in the Yorkshire Dales. He and his wife have recently come there from London and while this is a police procedural, it is also a novel about Alan Banks and what makes him who he is. It was well plotted and I liked Banks as a character. I look forward to reading more of this series the 25th installment of which is expected this July. Peter Robinson studied at the University of Windsor in Ontario and taught at various Toronto schools, so I am counting him as a Canadian author for the Canadian Book Challenge

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Underpainter

The UnderpainterThe Underpainter by Jane Urquhart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"But how crowded and unfocused this looking back is; all these foreign fields, the battles, this china collection. Views of rocks and trees, hills and streams. I scarcely know which images are mine and which have been taken by me, fully developed, from the others, or whether there is, in the final analysis, any difference.” (p. 217)
This is a novel about a life not lived. The narrator Austin Fraser has spent his life creating art and pushing away all human connections and now he is looking back upon what he has done. He reminded me of the Buchanans in Great Gatsby.
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” ― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby
This is a beautifully written but incredibly sad novel. The book is largely about Canadians, but the narrator is an American which gives the observations of Canada a distance they wouldn't have if the narrator was part of what he was telling us about. The sections about WWI were particularly interesting in their point-of-view. I knew that Canada fought in the war from the beginning, but hadn't really thought about it in the way Urquhart forces you to. 
I am counting this toward the Canadian Book Challenge.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bones of the Lost

Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan, #16)Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have not been reading these in order which doesn't make a difference for the cases, but is a bit confusing as far as Tempe's romantic entanglements. There was very little of Ryan in this novel (which is unfortunate as he is my favorite character), but now I understand what was up with him in one of the later books. This one focused on a hit and run and a military case that takes Tempe to a military base in Afghanistan. There is also a lot of not-at-all-subtle soap-boxing about a terrible world situation (I won't say what as it would give away a key point of the mystery). Reichs puts the lectures in the mouth of a character who is pedantic anyway, but it was still a bit more lecture than the novel could support.
I am counting this toward the Canadian Book Challenge as Reichs is a part-time resident of Montreal.
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