Sunday, May 24, 2015

BOOKS: Audio Nonfiction

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart - Lisa Rogak (audiobook 6h 16 min)  narrated by Cassandra Campbell

I enjoyed this biography of Jon Stewart, reading this in anticipation of his ending tenure at The Daily Show. Nothing controversial here - Rogak covers his early life, his soccer career at University, his comedy beginnings. Stewart's take over of The Daily Show, how his past informs his comedy, a few controversies from the show. The reviews at library thing complain that there is no new information, nothing very deep, but it was all I wanted and I listened easily.


 Brain on Fire - Susannah Cahalan (audiobook 7 h 48 min)
 narrated by Heather Henderson

I'm not even sure how I found this engrossing read, but this was a great investigative journey into the author's 'month of madness.' Susannah Cahalan was a reporter with the New York Post when she had a seizure. Or something. She quickly devolved, and had some psychotic episodes, became erratic, and couldn't function. She ended up in a psych ward and without the devotion and determination of her divorced parents, and a lucky consult from a particular doctor, she might still be there. That doctor determined she had an infection and her immune system had attacked her brain - rare form of encephalitis.

After the fact, the journalist in her looked back at records, journals, and even video tape from hospitals to piece together what had actually happened to her, as she had little memory. It was a scary story, how quickly she changed, and how no one really knew what was the matter. There is now more awareness of this and more people are being diagnosed, but looking back, it's believed that perhaps others with this may have been diagnosed as schizophrenic or possessed by the devil.



I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend - Martin Short (audiobook 8 h 40 m)   read by the author 

I've always been conflicted about Martin Short - I've watched a lot of his work over the years, especially SCTV and Saturday Night Live when he was on it. Include some great movies, like Three Amigos and The Father of the Bride and the man has an impressive resume. But some of his stuff is so over the top (I'm looking at you Jimminy Glick) and Short's apparent incessant need for attention can be annoying. However, this memoir was fabulous, and has improved my impression of him. He's still over the top and goes too far too often in his comedy, but he comes across as so down to earth, and kind, and so very Canadian that I guess I am a fan.

There are tons of names dropped here, and it must have been a great time in the 1970s comedy scene. He and Andrea Martin were married to siblings, he dated Gilda Radner, Paul Shaffer is a pal, Victor Garber is a close friend, as is Tom Hanks and Steve Martin. He appears to have stayed good friends with a large circle of famous people and yet, he never succumbed to a rich and famous life style, living in the same house in Pacific Palisades with his long time wife, and maintaining a cottage in Canada. His family was close and funny, and he was orphaned by the age of twenty, but he never seemed to let these sad events, including his brother dying as well, define him. His Canadian-ness is also very important to him, even though he has lived in the States for so long.

I'd recommend the audiobook version of this book, as all the characters appear, and his ability to do impressions of people is so evident and funny. There is behind the scenes stuff from SCTV (the best show ever!) and SNL with Billy Crystal, plus so much more, His love for his wife comes through loud and clear - they married in Toronto before he was famous, and they stayed together until she died in 2010 of ovarian cancer. I had almost forgotten about that and then suddenly remembered just before I got to the chapters that detail her death. So the book has very funny, and very sad. Their love story and friendship was quite beautiful, and his remembrances of her after her death were very touching. I especially liked him when he was being sincere and smart, and wasn't 'on'.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

BOOKS: Canadian Reads

 I've been reading, and listening to a lot of books in the past few months. Here's a few quick reviews of some Canadian books that I'll use to fill in my Reading Bingo, Eh card:


Strange Heaven - Lynn Coady
 I read this the beginning of April and my impressions are fading. A 17 year old Bridget from Cape Breton goes to Halifax to have a baby. She ends up in a teenage mental ward with depression after giving up the baby. Some of the story was from home, before and after, some of the story was in Halifax. There were interesting characters as befits Cape Breton, and life was tough there. The psych ward was challenging as Bridget improves, and deals with the other kids. A slice of life story, as Bridget grows up and observes the people around her.





Anne's House of Dreams by LM Montgomery (audiobook 8h 22 m)
narrated by Susan O'Malley

Lindsey at reederreads is hosting a Green Gables read along. Last summer I started listening to the series, and Anne's House of Dreams fits in here for both. (I wasn't able to find Anne of Windy Poplars in audio) Since I've read all these multiple times, I'm only really commenting on my new impressions from audiobook.
This time around, I loved Miss Cornelia tons! Previously I found her overbearing, but now I adored her, and her friendship with Anne and Gilbert, and the way the narrator would exclaim: "Isn't that just like a man?"
This book is certainly a darker than the previous books and Anne's happy ever after is only partially there. And of course, I still cried when Captain Jim 'crosses the bar'. I noticed the nature descriptions more in this book than in the first three and not really in a good way. Clearly Montgomery's life had been through some upheavals before this one was written and it comes through. Still, can't beat an Anne book.


 Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

I thought this was going to be a short story book, being Munro and all, but this one is actually a series of short stories-novel following Del Jordan growing up in small town Ontario. Starting as a young child, and ending as she finishes high school, Del deals with growing up, and discovering where she fits in relative to her family and friends.

I read it, I liked it, but it didn't reach me or move me in any particular way. Good writing (she has won a Nobel prize after all) but there is an intimacy that I find missing. Sometimes I like a story better with a little less writing, and more story and people.


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley (audiobook 10h 52 m)
narrated by Jayne Entwistle
I was ready to give up on the series after the last book. It felt like the series had run its course and that with this book, with Flavia sent to boarding school in Canada, the series would take a new direction with new characters to develop and interact with. I thought this was a good idea, but that I wouldn't continue. I did find out that this was a one-off in Canada so decided to give a listen.

I'm not sure that this is a successful outing. I think it probably would have been better to take the series in a new direction and stay in Canada. Instead, we get new students and teachers that won't be sticking around, and we just miss the local flavour of Buckshaw, missing Dogger and the Inspector and Flavia's sisters. Maybe listening wasn't my best bet, but I've had other series where listening to a book or two reinvigorated the series for me, but this did not. The narrator was a good Flavia, and the mystery was okay - all the mysteries are thin in Flavia books. Their charm has been the characters and Flavia's interactions with them, so I missed that here.

(Plus, another review mentioned how they hoped it would be Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School For Young Ladies that Flavia attended. A fabulous idea, and I think that ruined it for me! Ten points for that reference.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

BOOK: Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave by Patrick Bowman

Torn From Troy: Odyssey of a Slave by Patrick Bowman (5 h 28 min)
narrated by Gerald Doyle

Neat take on The Odyssey by Homer. I have not yet read the original, but have read some other versions, including The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds in graphic novel form, and The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood last year. Here we have a young Trojan boy taken as a slave after the Greeks leave Troy. Alexi's father had been killed in the invasion, and as the Greeks retreat, his sister is killed in the final battle. Being able to watch the story of Odysseus (here called Lopex sometimes) from a different point of view is fun for readers who already know the story, but would also introduce the legend to new readers or children.

This is one of my last books from last summer's YA SYNC downloads and was an easy and enjoyable listen. It is the first in a series, so that was a little disappointing as the full journey of Odysseus doesn't get told. Alexi does get to experience the Lotus-Eaters and the Cyclops; he gets to know Odysseus, who recognizes Alexi's strengths as a healer and his intelligence, as well as Yuri, a mean Greek who would love to kill the little slave. Life on the ship is interesting and original, against the backdrop of the well known mythology.

This was my first read for the Once Upon a Time challenge and would be a mythology book. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

CHALLENGE: Once Upon a Time IX



“Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
~William Butler Yeats

The 9th Once Upon A Time hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings is the true beginning of spring. The signs around here (we still have 4-5 feet of snow on our lawn and I'm not exaggerating!) are not conducive to actual spring. I've seen some posts on Facebook that say the spring birds are arriving and can't get at the ground. It's pretty depressing around here with just piles of old dirty snow.

Of course I'll read a book for this challenge this year. Something in the fantasy, folklore, mythology, or fairy tales area. There are none that I'm specially planning to read, but there are a few floating around that I might read, including a read-a-long of Little, Big by John Crowley hosted by Bellezza. I also have one of the YA Sync audiobooks from last summer, Torn from Troy to listen to. That's probably pretty high on my list actually.

What I Read:
1.Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave - Patrick Bowman (audiobook)
2. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (audiobook)
3.



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Characters You'd Like To Check In With

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The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday hosted at The Broke and the Bookish is Characters You'd like to check in with.



Some of my favorite people have been checked in on - Bridget Jones (Mad About the Boy), Signora from Evening Class (Maeve Binchy kept revisiting old characters in each new book), Harry Potter (had the epilogue, which was enough). Crow Lake characters, by Mary Lawson, are seen in Road Ends and The Other Side of the Bridge. Of course, Anne Shirley got a whole series of books, so we know what happened there. The television series even made up a different ending for Anne  - a journalist is WW1?

On the other hand, many books I've read I was happy with the ending, happy with how the characters ended up and did not feel a need for a sequel. (The Rosie Project would be a great example - I never read the sequel) Even some series 'end' up enough for me at times - I'm almost finished of Flavia de Luce, even though I loved her first few books. She got older and lost her naive charm. There are a few characters however...



Rilla Blythe  - Anne and Gilbert's youngest daughter grew up during world war 1 and got her somewhat happy ending, but more would be nice!

Katniss Evergreen- and then?

Mary Gooch from The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens - I would love to know what happened to Mary. When I read the book, I thought a retelling from her husband's point of view would be neat as well.

Amy and Nick Dunne - How did those crazy kids (and kid) turn out? Who killed who first?

Lisbeth Salander - The Girl Who ... turned out okay? found some love?

unnamed narrator of The Outlander by Gil Adamson - the last line in this book practically set up a sequel

And the most recent book I listened to, The 4:50 to Paddington by Agatha Christie, left with Lucy Eyelesbarrow, Miss Marple's helper in this book, being interested in someone. Miss Marple predicts Lucy'll marry one of the two eligible characters, but she didn't say which!? I was not impressed! Actually, Lucy Eyelesbarrow herself was a very interesting character, and could have sustained a book or two of her own.

That's all I can think of for now. Once I read some other Top Ten Lists, I'm sure I realize who I forgot.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

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I completely missed Tuesday - so here I am a day late. The sad part is I even had this ready to go ahead of time. Top Ten Tuesday Whateverdayyougetitposted topic is books you've recently added to your to-be-read list.



This list is a blend of Bailey Prize for Women's Fiction titles, and me looking for authors and their new books at Chapters online. Some aren't even released yet, but they go on the list once you become aware.


Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason
A prequel of sorts, with early cases by Erlendur, how did I miss the release of this one?


The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
The Girls and The Wife's Tale were excellent. I also have her Rush Home Road to read before I tackle her latest book

Mrs Roosevelt's Confidente by Susan Elia MacNeal (Oct 27 2015)
The next in the Maggie Hope spy series, I'll wait for an audiobook copy as it is the only way I've read this series

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (Aug 25,  2015)
Another Gamauche book

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
I haven't read a Nick Hornby in quite a while; they are generally excellent

The ones from the Bailey list that intrigue me:

Crooked Hearts by Lissa Evans (July  28, 2015)


Elizabeth is Missing by  Emma Healey

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill














Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BOOK: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and The Girl on the Train

These books will be linked together for me for a long time, for no literary reason at all:
  • I read both on the March Break 
  • This March Break (and winter) was full of blizzards and snow that shuts down the Confederation Bridge, and warnings from RCMP to stay off the road, and picture after unbelievable picture of snow banks and drifts, and even though it is not something I do very often, I promise to never complain about summer weather in any way shape or form.
  • Both books are from my first Top Ten List of 2015 (books from 2014 I wish I'd read)
  • Both books are from my school library and the awesome school librarian who gets books for 'mature readers'; and who knows that books for teachers are important too! We model reading after all and discuss books with our students - a culture of reading
  • Plus they were excellent reads! A touching family drama, and a suspense mystery.


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, 292 pages

First of all, I really like this cover. I also really liked the inside book as well. I spent much of the novel being frustrated with this family, and the parents lack of awareness about anything - their own wishes, their children, their hurts. A Chinese father and Caucasian mother meet and marry in 1970s middle America. They love each other, and make sacrifices for each other, but neither is very happy. Once their children come along, the blue-eyed daughter Lydia becomes the focus for both parents to project their deepest hurts - the dad never fit it, never had friends as an American born Chinese child; the mom wanted to be a doctor not a housewife. The other two children, especially the youngest, will just break your heart.

The book starts with the line 'Lydia is dead' and then moves forward and back to unravel what happened. (Side note: this is not a literary thriller, and book blurb writers or reviewers who attempt to label it thus need to read some Deon Meyer and Mo Hayder, because those are thriller/mysteries. Just because there is something the reader doesn't know, doesn't make a book a mystery or thriller. I've been misled before.) This was a touching book that covered many issues that will have you immersed in this family's sad life.



The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, 318 pages

It gets compared to Gone Girl, but for me it is only in how information is revealed, and how people aren't exactly what you think they are. A girl watches people and couples from the train. One day she sees something, and eventually police are involved. That's all you need to know. Just enjoy the revelations as they come.  I've said too much already!

For some reason, I thought this was Canadian, so when she took the train to London, I was a bit confused, because why not Toronto?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top 10 Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit









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 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week: Books from My Childhood That I Would Love to Revisit. Some of these are cheats, because I have revisited them, and I've watched my children read this (and generally love them as well). Some are classics, but some are little known scholastic books from the monthly book order in elementary school. The book orders were really a highlight - rationing my allowance to get a book, poring over the descriptions to decide which book to get, and then when the order came in - waiting for my book.



Follow My Leader by James B Garfield

A young boy is blinded playing with firecrackers, and learns to be independent with the help of a guide dog. My kids have all read my original edition.
My Mother Made Me! by Sharon Brain

Four girls try to protest against their mothers signing them up to play hockey. They run away, in the summer, to the local rink and hide out their, ironically, playing a form of hockey to keep themselves amused. I really remember them and the bats in the rink.








The Great Brain
by John D Fitzgerald

I must have read and reread this series more times than I can count. Such a fun, historic series. It was set in the same era as Anne of Green Gables, so I was familiar with local life at that time, but Utah in the late 1800s in a Mormon community was very different. Classic comedy books!







Why Me? by John Branfield

It took me a long time to find out about this book which I reread a few times in elementary school. A young girl gets diabetes and it takes helping her dog, who also gets diabetes, for her to learn to look after herself and accept her diabetes. Apparently sometimes called Sugar Mice, I eventually found the name and author through a librarything group called Name That Book?




This Can't Be Happening At MacDonald Hall by Gordon Korman

I was in grade five when the first of the prolific author Korman's first book was published. He wrote this as a school project when he was a teenager and I still can rememeber Mrs Adams laughing so hard as she tried to read aloud this book that she couldn't read at all. (the panty-raid at Miss Scrimmages!) Korman is still one of my favorite authors for this series, as well as the incredible stand-alone book, I Want to Go Home. It can't be a coincidence that the short story I wrote in grade 8 is very similar to Korman's books of humour and mistaken identity.



The Bobbsey Twins  by Laura Lee Hope
The Bobbsey Twins and the Doodlebug Mystery by Laura Lee Hope

I was never much of a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew reader. I read a few, but the series I really loved was the Bobbsey Twins. Nan and Bert, Freddie and Flossie - I couldn't get enough of those sets of twins. I even had an original, before the mystery series, edition book, which was just a story of their life. They had a black maid and her accent made me uncomfortable. I don't even know if this edition is still around. I'm pretty sure the mysteries from the 1970s were a cleaned up version, and probably not even written by Laura Lee Hope. We had a childhood friend who had nearly every book in the series. That row of purple books in her bed room was to die for.
The DoodleBug Mystery is one that I remember the best.

Free to Be, You and Me by Marlo Thomas

We had this as a hard cover, filled with all kinds of wonderful short stories, poems, songs, and cartoons. William Wants a Doll, The Pain and the Great One, and the notes back and forth between two friends negotiating for the girl to pitch on the baseball team.




Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

I had a hard time deciding which Judy Blume book to pick, because really, Judy is the author of my pre-teens. Not so amazingly, she still rocks with the elementary set. My kids loved Fudge, and all the books about Fudge. She is as relevant as ever.





Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Another author who has not lost her mojo, Ramona books are still as popular as ever. While finding this cover, I discovered that Ms Cleary is still alive at 98! There needs to be a little more recognition of this great author. Henry Higgins, Ramona, and Socks are all characters I remember fondly.

    




Heidi by Joanna Spryri
Essentially Anne of Green Gables in Switzerland, is it any wonder I loved this book too? I read this and the sequel and still want to go to Switzerland.
ETA: I knew I'd forget something - Enid Blyton! We had a bunch of her books, but The Faraway Tree is the one I read and reread. (I think it is called that. Cathy?) Everytime they went up in the tree, they went to a new land. Probably started my love of British books.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Spring TBR List

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March Break! Perfect day being home and able to post for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Of course, I'd be home regardless today because ANOTHER BLIZZARD has hit the Maritimes, another 54 cm of snow, 24 hours of blowing snow causing unbelievable drifts. At this point, I am unable to be impressed with yet another picture of a snow drift because it causes my brain to shut off. This is not possible. What is possible apparently, is another drop of 15-20 cm snow tonight/tomorrow. Which isn't a lot, but when the first pile hasn't been cleaned up? Seriously, weather? We give up. 

Books I Hope to Read this Spring (or as we call it, the Winter continued)

Books in continuing series...

Gone by Mo Hayder
I finished Skin last week, and this is the third in a mini-trilogy within the series, so I want to read it while I still remember what happened in Skin.


Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri
The latest in Inspector Montalbano will be released in April, with another one translated this fall so I better stay on top of this series. Camilleri is turning 90 this year. Remember when I wrote about Sicily and my love of the series? 



Books from the Bailey's Prize for Women's Longlist...

  The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill
A Canadian nominated for the Bailey's! I've read her Lullabies for Little Criminals and remember it as gritty Montreal.



How to Be Both by Ali Smith
I read her There But For The book when it was last nominated for the Bailey's Prize, but I get her mixed up with Zadie Smith and I think I liked her NW better.  Oh my, that's not an appealing cover.




Audiobooks...

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie

Both are requested at the library and should arrive soon.



Books from my own shelves...
Triptych by Karin Slaughter
A new series with Will Trent set in Atlanta. If I get this read, the rest of the series is available in audiobook from the library.



Strange Heaven by Lynn Coady
I picked this up at a used book sale somewhere along the way. I have no idea what this book is about, but I am using it for a Governor Generals award nominated book for the Reading Bingo, Eh challenge.


A Canadian authored book from my shelves. I really don't care which one it is, and I have plenty to pick from - The Age of Longing by Richard B Wright, essays by Rex Murphy, Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens, Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro, The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaege, Republic of Love by Carol Shields, Orxy and Crake by Margaret Atwood,

 Book for Bookclub...
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
Looks like an easy fun read for my next book club meeting.

Friday, March 13, 2015

SERIES: Miss Marple by Agatha Christie

Years ago, as a teenager, I read a lot of Agatha Christie (and Ed McBain and Stephen King - the usuals.) I was a huge Poirot fan, with his little grey cells and logic.  A few Tommy and Tuppence, which on re-read later, are even better! I must have read some Miss Marple because I know I actively avoided her stories. I think the reason I wasn't a fan was that she didn't appear to be a part of the story. I wanted my detective front and center and for me to be a part of the reasoning process.  I guess people change as they get older, and aren't I lucky now to have all the Miss Marples to read Brand New? Yes, I am a lucky girl. Most of the Miss Marples are available on audiobook through my library, so it will be a very Jane Marple-y year for me.


Murder at the Vicarage  (7h 19 min)

I wasn't really a fan of the narrator, Joan Hickson. She was very British, which I liked, but also rather breathy, which I didn't; and the narrator was actually a male in the story, which was weird.  But the story was great, I really liked the Vicar and his young wife. I suffer a little with actual poor listening skills, so I mix up characters and don't remember names (who is that girl?) when I can't see the letters. Interestingly, I don't remember names when I read them either, but I recognize the arrangements of letters as that person. I was very excited to realize that I 'do' like Miss Marple, and now have over ten books to read and mostly listen to. 




The Body in the Library (5 h, 21 min)

I'm going to try to read the series in order, as best I can. This narrator, Stephanie Cole, was an improvement. I noticed that the vicar and his wife were mentioned, and while it would not affect the story in the least, seeing Griselda and Dennis Clement a year or so later added much enjoyment for my experience. (I really like to read my mystery series in order, even if you don't need to.) This was a particularly well plotted book with perhaps fewer characters, and unraveling all the characters and their motives and their actions is great fun. Especially for a little old lady well versed in village behaviours. I hate to imagine how old Miss Marple really was; dare I say a young middle age by today standards, like my age.

Next up: The Moving Finger in book edition form. I think it is even in large print version, so not the most popular of the Marples. Then will be A Murder is Announced.

Agatha Christie is the GOAT of mystery writers.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

BOOK: Cobra by Deon Meyer

Cobra by Deon Meyer, 338 pages

review copy from Penguin Random House Canada

from the publisher:
Why would a mathematics professor from Cambridge University, renting a holiday home outside Cape Town, require a false identity and 3 bodyguards? And where is he, now that they are dead? The only clue to the bodyguards' murder is the snake engraved on the shell casings of the bullets that killed them.

My favourite detective, Benny Griessel is back in his fifth book - I've loved all of them. Benny is a recovering alcoholic (400+ days) and a member of an elite group of detectives in South Africa. His recovery is not easy, even with his new girlfriend and seemingly good life. Plagued with self-doubt and feeling like he is too old in many ways, Benny is struggling all the time and when he shows up to work on the first pages looking terrible and sloppy, his colleagues are concerned that he is back on the booze.

The mystery is top-notch, the pacing is great, the views from the police and from the other characters like the pick-pocketer who gets caught up in a crazy situation provide just enough information to see what the police are doing and what they do not know. The mystery was international and convoluted, but not so confusing I didn't know what was going on. Police procedurals are my favourite type of mystery and Meyer writes them extremely well. This one also used cell phones and technology as a major plot point.

The other members of Benny's team are well developed and add so much to the story. From Vaughn Cupido, the blow-hard, difficult to get along with member, to no gray-area, no-nonsense Mbali, I want more stories with these cops. More Mr Meyer, please may I have some more.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

REVIEW: Walt by Russell Wangersky

Walt by Russell Wangersky, 304 pages

Great little suspense mystery!

I first read Wangersky's short story collection, Whirl Away, and quite enjoyed it. Rereading my review makes me almost want to read it again. I also followed the link and reread Buried in Print's review, which is up to her very high standards. We are both Wangersky fans after the first book. Then, lo and behold, Russell began writing a column in my local newspaper. It's an Atlantic provinces syndicated editorial column. But what about Walt?

Yes, what about Walt. Walt is a lonely, middle aged janitor at a grocery store, who has a hobby of picking up disposed grocery lists, and trying to build a person based on what was on the list. Seems benign in the beginning. But he reveals that he lurks some of the women on Facebook, that some lists are written on the back of discarded bills (with addresses) and the reader begins to have some concerns about Walt. He's lonely, and quite a bit creepy.  Then some back story about his wife who disappeared as the marriage was breaking down. Two policemen in St John's, Newfoundland, are assigned to look into cold cases, and it seems Walt is a prime suspect in his wife Mary's disappearance. Walt is moving up a notch into lonely, creepy, maybe wife killer.

I liked the writing, I liked the pacing, I liked the different narrative voices (Walt, the cop, and Alisha's diary entries), and so help me, I kinda liked Walt. Well, maybe not liked, but I felt for him. He had no personal contact in his day to day life, not a single person to talk to. He developed a world that he was able to be content with, imagining these women from the grocery store. And it is not clear, for much of the story, whether Walt is a stalker escalating to killer, or a guy who is creepy, but harmless. The tension builds, slowly, and I loved how the book developed. Great read!




Thursday, February 19, 2015

UPDATE: Mid-February Stormy Days


 
not my house, but my driveway looked similar


The weather has been: Did I say it was stormy at the end of last month? I'm sorry - that storm was just a baby. A baby who grew into a temper tantrum toddler who let us know exactly how he/she felt. How to explain how stormy it's been? Buzzfeed has done a feature on us:   Terrifying Pictures of Snow in Eastern Canada  (although we are Atlantic Canada, not Eastern, but anyway) and here's a slide show from CBC : Islander Day Storm Pictures. Because, Yay! it happened on a long weekend. But we haven't been back to school all week as the roads are really not safe for buses. Crazy. It started snowing and blowing on Sunday and continued all day Monday. There were no plows on the roads, the bridge was completely shut down, and nothing was moving. When we got up on Tuesday morning, over 80 cm of snow had fallen. On top of the 75 cm the week before. Our suburban street and neighbourhood didn't see a plow until Wednesday, and that was just a one -lane path.
On the plus side, we never lost power, we are warm and fed, and there really was no where to go. Usually we say on PEI, it's not the snow, it's the wind. This time it was both, and the drifts are unbelievable, even though we keep taking pictures and talking about it, as if trying to make it believable.
 

 I am listening to:  I listened to Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. It was okay. I haven't seen Girls and I'm not familiar with her comedy so I wasn't coming in as a huge fan or anything but there were funny sections. Parts worked for me, but she's younger than me, and I didn't relate completely.
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie is my current listen. I hadn't been a Miss Marple fan when I was younger, but I may be changing my mind.
Waiting for the next Veronica Roth book, Insurgent, and I Must Say by Martin Short.



 I am watching: Two seasons worth of  The Great British Bake-Off. Loving the show a lot, especially the polite nature of the competitive show. No need for 'advantages' or ways to hurt an opponent. Everyone is on equal footing, and the food rules. I love the blind judging of the technical challenge.
I also watched the SNL40 special which was perfect. So funny, so many great stars, great clips, great music, so many great memories. I thought Miley did a great version of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover but whatever Kanye did wasn't needed. Norm MacDonald tweeted a behind the scenes story last night of the making of the show, which is well worth reading. @normmacdonald
I also like watching the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Canadian Women's Curling Championships. Yah, I'm a (Canadian) nerd.

 I am reading:
February started with The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith, another wonderful outing with Mma Precious Ramotswe. I finished What We All Long For by Dionne Brand for my on-line family book club. Very Toronto book.
I'm well into Cobra, by Deon Meyers, the fabulous South African mystery writer. Cobra has an old character I like in Benny Griessel, great pacing, and an international mystery. Perfect for stormy days.



Books Entering House: I haven't been out of the house- how could books enter?



 Plans for the rest of February:
Finish Cobra; maybe start Skin by Mo Hayder, or a Canadian book for the Reading Bingo, Eh challenge and hopefully get back into a regular school routine.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

UPDATE: January



The weather has been:  Stormy! We had two storm days last week, which caused disruptions to final exams. Now a Saturday storm, the worst kind. However, it hasn't affected our travel plans. Husband and daughter got away to a ringette tournament yesterday, and tomorrow travel looks good for son on way to big basketball tournament. I got to meet all kinds of neighbours at the grocery store last night as people were stocking up for the weekend. Have you heard about our Maritime #stormchips? It's just about being prepared for being stormstayed, but there is some controversy about the origin of #stormchips.


 I am listening to: Divergent on audiobook. Very compelling so far; a mixture of Uglies and The Giver. I finished Dancing Barefoot by and read by Wil Wheaton. That was a short set of essays about his life. Amusing and nerdy - total Wil Wheaton. If I don't have an audiobook on my phone these days, waiting for one to be ready at the library, I feel a bit twitchy. Loving audiobooks, partly because I listen to them while playing mindless FB games, so I feel less lazy, cause I'm reading too. Also, I am more likely to crochet a row if I have a book to listen to. Audiobooks actually make me more productive (except for the games)


 I am watching: Sunday night PBS line-up: Great British Baking Show, Downton Abbey, and Granchester. (And Celebrity Apprentice. It balances out the PBS.)
Also, thanks to the beauty of live-streamimg, I'm watching my kids at their tournaments - Atlantic Ringette Championships this weekend, and next week, The Coal Bowl Basketball tournament in Cape Breton. Our school, Charlottetown Rural Raiders are the defending champions and this is my son's last year of high school. There is a tinge of sadness watching their games this year, knowing this amazing group of boys won't play together again.
Youngest daughter, 11, is reading the Harry Potter books for the first time. "That Doleres Umbridge is quite the character!" Heh, heh, no kidding. So we've been watching HP movies as she finishes each book. She's up to The Order of the Phoenix. It's quite fun to enjoy her enjoyment of reading these books for the first time.

 I am reading: Final exams in math and physics? Then The Handsome Man's De Luxe CafĂ© by Alexander McCall Smith, the 15th book in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. I also started Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth.

Books Entering the House: Some weeks books seem to multiply: I ordered Skin by Mo Hayder and The Federal Bureau of Physics Vol 2 with my Indigo gift card from Christmas; Cobra, the latest book by Deon Meyers,a review book from Random House; requested library books The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe and What We All Long For by Dionne Brand, which is a book for our online family book club.


 Plans for the February: Looks like a great reading month ahead, if I can get through all those books that just arrived. Plus, when I look at the Random House Bingo Reading Challenge, Eh, there are more books that I want to read.

January In Reading:
Number of Books Completed:
6
1. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee - Sarah Silverman (audiobook)
2. The Street Lawyer - John Grisham
3. The Humans - Matt Haig
4. In the Garden of the Beasts - Erik Larson (audiobook)
5. Dancing Barefoot - Wil Wheaton (audiobook)
6. Walt - Russell Wangersky
Favourite Book of the Month:
Walt - Russell Wangersky