Wednesday, July 17, 2019

LIST: Six in Six



The Book Jotter  by way of Nan at Letters from a Hill Farm , has a meme, Six in Six, sort of a half way through the year check in.  It's not a highlight of the Raptors basketball season, or the six players who meant the most to their championship run, which is something you might expect to find here on my blog, being a huge basketball house that I live in. Toronto is known as 'the six' thanks to Drake, who is closely connected to the Toronto Raptors. Anyway, back to books. I haven't repeated any books, but there are a few that could fit in more than one category. 

1. Six new authors to me (and understood to mean, I'd read again)

Normal People - Sally Rooney (ebook)
I liked this unlikely romance between two young people who were continually drawn back to each other.

Inside the O'Briens - Lisa Genova 🎧
Somewhat predictable story, but well-done family drama about a tight-knit Boston family whose patriarch is diagnosed with a terrible, hereditary disease

An American Marriage - Tayari Jones 🎧
A Women's Prize for Fiction short-listed book about a marriage that faces unfortunate circumstances, where no one is right or wrong, so it was sad

The Mars Room - Rachel Kushner  🎧
A view of women in prison, also sad, but kept me interested.

The Library Book - Susan Orlean 🎧
Great non-fiction read for book-lovers and library lovers, with a little bit for true crime fans as this book centers on a 1980s fire at the Los Angeles library

Wild Bird - Wendelin Van Draanen 🎧
YA book about a messed up fourteen year old who gets sent to a wilderness rehab situation done quite well


2. Six authors I have read before 

Daisy Jones & the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid (Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
 Reid is finding a nice niche in writing tabloid-type stories about somewhat famous people. Daisy Jones was a seventies rock icon and the novel is written in interview style. Easy reading.

Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty 🎧 (Big Little Lies)
Multiple view points, many characters (nine!) all in an isolated situation, with slowly revealed connections. I love this kind of story.

Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny  🎧
Book fourteen in the Gamauche series set in Three Pines

Warlight - Michael Ondaatje  🎧 (The English Patient)
Post WW2 London with some interesting characters, looks at what makes a family. More literature and layered than my usual fare

Who Do You Love - Jennifer Weiner 🎧 (Fly Away Home)
Pretty easy reading, with two (kinda unlikeable) characters who are drawn to each other over the years in different ways. Won't break any stereotypes but still, a great beach read book.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Annie Barrows, Mary Ann Shaffer🎧
I haven't read this author more than once, I've only read this same book twice, and it was just as charming the second time around. Next up is to watch the movie on Netflix.


3. Six books I have enjoyed the most

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens 🎧
Lives up to the hype, part nature book, part mystery, part loneliness study, this was a wonderful book.

Milkman - Anna Burns (ebook)
This won't be for everyone, but I loved it. You would know very quickly if you liked the writing style, Irish stream of consciousness, set during the Troubles

Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson 🎧
Amazing novel in verse memoir. If you get a chance to listen, you should. 

The Swans of Fifth Avenue - Melanie Benjamin 🎧
I've raved about this one already. Fictional account of Truman Capote in New York City and his socialite women friends. There's another book, Swan Song, based on this story. It's ripe for writing about!

A Study in Scarlet Women - Sherry Thomas 🎧
Another play on Sherlock Holmes, but with women. I'm looking forward to reading another book in the series.

My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite 🎧
Black comedy maybe? It was interesting and won the Tournament of Books this March. It think it was good because it was such a surprise.

4. Six series of books read or started

Al Capone Shines My Shoes - Gennifer Choldenko (book 2 of 4)
Fun, surprisingly deep, middle school book set on Alcatraz during the '50s. 

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay - Elena Ferrente (book 3 of 4)
Continuing saga of those frenemies in Italy.

The Tainted Coin - Mel Starr (book 5 of 11)
Hugh de Singleton, 14th century surgeon and bailiff who solves murders, great for fans of Brother Cadfael

The Ruin - Devla McTiernan 🎧 (book 1 of 2, so far, it's a new series)
This feels like it could be part of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, but shorter. Great start to a new series and I can't wait for the next one.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han (book 3 of 3)
Dear Lara Jean and her adorable boyfriend Peter, are dealing with finishing high school and moving on to university. 

A Dublin Student Doctor - Patrick Taylor   🎧 (book 6 of 13)
This was a flashback to Fingal O'Reilly's days in medical school, but so easy to read and so charming. 

5. Six From the Non-Fiction Shelf

Educated - Tara Westover (ebook)
Crazy off the grid family memoir about a daughter who sought education as a way out 

Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter - Steven Johnson
Social science that says TV and video games are not the worst thing ever! I am becoming quite a fan of this nonfiction author.

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump - Andrew G McCabe 🎧
You've heard McCabe called down by Trump on CNN, now read his side of the story. (hint, someone is more credible sounding than the other) One cool thing in this book was the reference to a 2006 incident with a terrorist trying to get on a plane with a liquid bomb. It was cool because my sister and mother and I were travelling during this time period and our trip back home with no carry-on luggage was significantly different than our trip over. 

Murder at McDonald's: The  Killers Next Door - Phonse Jessome  (ebook)
Just like we are encouraged to #eatlocal, #readlocal also applies. I loved this true crime read about  horrific murders in nearby Cape Breton that I remember from a distance. 

Force of Nature: The Frontier Genius of Ernest Rutherford - Richard Reeves
Great biography of one half of Bohr-Rutherford fame, for you students who remember your chemistry. 

Bad Blood - John Carryroo 🎧
Fascinating read about the biggest fraud in the bio-tech industry. You will want to learn more about Elizabeth Holmes after this investigation.

6. Six Canadian Authored Books

The Italian Teacher - Tom Rachman  🎧
The vanities of art, and the troubles of family. 

The Golden Tresses of the Dead - Alan Bradley  🎧

The last of the Flavia de Luce mysteries was well done, but I'm ready for the series to end.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore - Kim Fu  🎧

Premise was good and it started strong, but I found it fizzled out by the end

Blink & Caution - Tim Wynne-Jones  🎧

I enjoyed this young adult adventure through Toronto about two runaways

French Exit - Patrick deWitt  (ebook)
deWitt's follow-up to The Brothers Sisters, the author shows he can write different styles. This was more of a Oscar Wilde comedy of manners? 

I Am a Truck - Michelle Winters 
This was the winner in this section - cute little book set in rural New Brunswick about a husband who goes missing and his wife picking up the pieces. Quite a bit of French in this but my high school French came through enough.



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books on My Summer 2019 TBR



Once again, I'm a week behind. Last week's topic for Top Ten Tuesday was to list your Summer TBR, which is a list I love to make. Unfortunately, June in high schools is a crazy month and I wasn't able to get my act together and make my list. It's been made in my head, but not on paper. Last Monday was our graduation, so that was why I didn't get this written for last week. There is a lot involved in getting 300 graduates across the stage with the correct diploma handed to them, and I was completely wiped the next day as well.

Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for other blog posts on this topic, or for future topics or this week's topic!



Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
recc'd by Melwyk, the Indextrious Reader 



Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heligman
a YA Sync book


Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Mary Roach writes the best science nonfiction


The Tainted Coin by Mel Starr
5th in the Hugh de Singleton 13th century mysteries


Sovereign by C.J. Sansom
book 3 in the Shardlake series
I like to try one big ole book in the summer and this series is always top-notch


The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah J Harris
a publisher freebie, I've been meaning to get to it, and then heard it recc'd on CBC, on one of those 'books to read this summer'


The Island Villa by Lily Graham
described as 'the perfect feel good summer read' 


Ordinary People by Diana Evans
a Women's Prize for Fiction short-listed book


The Suspect by Fiona Barton
looks like a fast paced suspense type book



Monday, July 1, 2019

ETC: Happy Canada Day!



Duke Caboom, Canada's Greatest Stuntman, says Yes We Canada!

(What a great surpise in Toy Story 4, to have Keanu Reeves voice Duke!)

Happy Canada Day!


I didn't officially complete this challenge, because having to write the reviews is always my downfall. I read 20 and reviewed maybe 4. Still, reading these Canadian books makes me a winner in many ways.

 Blink - Malcolm Gladwell (audiobook)
A Jest of God - Margaret Laurence
Golden Boy - Grant Matheson (ebook)
A Bird in the House - Margaret Laurence
The Boy on the Bicycle: A Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto - Nate Hendley (ebook)
The Nest - Kenneth Oppel
The Boundless - Kenneth Oppel 
No One Tells You This - Glynnis MacNicol 
French Exit - Patrick deWitt
The Italian Teacher - Tom Rachman
Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny
Murder at McDonald's: The  Killers Next Door - Phonse Jessome 
Run Hide Repeat - Pauline Dakin
Warlight - Michael Ondaatje
The Golden Tresses of the Dead - Alan Bradley
 The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore - Kim Fu
A Dublin Student Doctor - Patrick Taylor
Blink & Caution - Tim Wynne-Jones
The Beggar's Opera - Peggy Blair 
The Morningside World of Stuart McLean - Stuart McLean

My favourite book from this group was Murder at McDonald's: The Killers Next Door by Phonse Jessome. A close second is Golden Boy by Grant Matheson. Interestingly, both are nonfiction, and both are from the Maritimes. 

Margaret Laurence is reliably awesome, with understated but satisfying reads. I'm just left to read The Diviners by her.

Ongoing series by Alan Bradley, Louise Penny, and Patrick Taylor never disappoint.

There is another edition of the Canadian Book Challenge, #13, so head on over to Canadian Bookworm for all the details.



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019



The topic this week for Top Ten Tuesday is the Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019. This was harder than I would have liked now that FictFact.com has shut down. It was a valuable site for tracking series, and since it was connected to amazon, dates of new releases and next books was easily found. Mostly what I look forward to are the next books in my favourite series or books from favourite authors.

Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for other blog posts on this topic, or for future topics.




Big Sky by Kate Atkinson June 25
Ooh, a new Jackson Brodie


Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen Aug 6
the latest with Lady Georgiana, 34th in line for the throne in 1930s England


This Little Light by Lori Lansens Aug 13
Lansens is a great Canadian writer of books like The Girls, The Wife's Tale, and Rush Home Road


A Better Man by Louise Penny Aug 27
a new Inspector Gamauche book, and life from Three Pines


Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell  Sept 10
Gladwell writes such entertaining social science books, with anecdotes to support his theory. 



A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier Sept 17
A 1930s, between the war book from England, by Chevalier? ticking all my boxes



To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith Oct 22 2019
Number One Ladies Detective Agency in lovely Botswana, book #20

and finally, while not a book, I am most looking forward to Toy Story 4 at the theatre, starting June 21st







Tuesday, June 11, 2019

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books From My Favorite Genre


The topic last week is Books From My Favourite Genre. I forgot to write last week, but I have lots of police procedurals to share so will do this list this week instead. I like police procedurals from different time periods, and different countries. I much prefer police detectives to cozy mysteries

Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for other blog posts on this topic, or for future topics.



Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
Bennie Griessle is South African police officer and Thirteen Hours was the first of his books that I read. And I loved it. I've gone back and now have read all the Bennie books that Meyer has written. Brilliant reads.


Truth by Peter Temple
I read Truth probably ten years ago and I really liked it. It was dark and noir, and once I got used to the slang/Australian accent, it was great. 


The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters
A future world with a meteor about to hit the Earth, and one poor cop trying to keep working and keep order. This trilogy was a great blend of police and apocalyptic. 


The Trespasser by Tana French
I can't wait for another one in this series, the Dublin Murder Squad. Each book is a stand alone and follows a different detective. Sometimes I feel like French could use an editor, but not enough to stop reading, and her books are getting tighter and tighter.


Birdman by Mo Hayder
Jack Caffrey is a London police officer but is dealing with lots of internal struggles. This series pushed the limit of my goriness factor, much like Criminal Minds the TV show did.


The Dry by Jane Harper
Australia the setting is just as great as the detective, Aaron Falk. Only two books so far, but I'm waiting for some more.



The Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason
Iceland is the setting for many murders and disappearances for the police to investigate and Erlendur is just the cranky detective to do it. This series was a wonderful chance to learn about a different country, and now I would like to visit Iceland.



A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George
Twenty years ago, Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Barbara Havers were my go to police detectives. These are long books, heavy vocabulary, but really well plotted and layered characters as well as British class issues. I read about 12 in the series, mostly before blogging, and they would take me nearly a month to read. I have great memories of these books. 


The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry
Another British series but Victorian setting and much lighter and easier to read. The kind of series it was easy to grab one from the library and enjoy. The order didn't matter too much, but there are character developments along the way. More with the British class systems and police officer Thomas Pitt is considered pretty lowly, and much of his advantage is his high born wife Charlotte. Full of the Victorian manners and rules.


Cop Hater by Ed McBain
This is probably the best police series ever written, with apologies to the Martin Beck Swedish series which is considered the original, and I forgot to feature today. There are over 50 books in this series, with many different detectives and New York City is a major piece of the books. I don't even know how many or which books I read, because I didn't keep a record of all that I read way back when I read these. 
An interesting feature of this series is that it starts in the 1960s and then everyone continues to grow and age. Maybe a combination of Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues? 

Monday, June 10, 2019

MONDAY: What Are You Reading?



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week and is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

In print:

Remember when I read, and loved The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson? I finally got around to reading another book by him, and he has not disappointed. Slightly old, 2005, but still fascinating. His premise is that modern popular culture, video games and television and internet, are actually making us smarter, not dumbing us down as is the common belief. He's making his case for me! This book reminds me of a Malcolm Gladwell type of book, with lots of specific examples to support his theory. 

next in print: probably Ordinary People by Diana Evans, a short listed Women's Prize for Fiction title

In Audio:



I finally read this classic Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Good Earth. It was good, but a little frustrating as the main character let his money go to his head, and life was pretty terrible in China in the early 1900s. However, it was an interesting look at a different life. 

next in audio: Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle, a YA Sync summer book

in Ebook: 

I've been enjoying this Swedish nonfiction true crime book. 

next in ebook: I'm not sure yet. I've had to stop getting Kindle deal updates, as there are now quite a few ebooks waiting for me. I have lots of options.

I'm writing this post as I sit and watch the Raptors, me along with most of Canada. When the game is in Toronto, I can mostly listen, as cheering is always good news. For our basketball house, this has been such an exciting NBA playoffs! Go Raptors! Fear the North!