Sunday, January 31, 2016

UPDATE: January

A few more wintery aerials of McCabe Lake area from @flitelab
Flitelab phone of Nova Scotia (my brother in law's company)

The weather has been: *cross your fingers* okay. Regular wintery. Had one or two storm days so got to get some #stormchips. That blizzard that blew through Eastern US veered off and missed us. The nor'eastern this weekend just grazed us. But things didn't turn bad last year until February, so still cautiously optimistic. Actually, other than worrying about what could be, it's been quite mild (-5C) and lovely. 

 I am listening to: Just finishing up Dead Wake by Erik Larson, and Fates and Furies by Lauren Grof is on stand-by. In January, I also re-listened to Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore (with Benedict Cumberbatch) which can be found on Podcast apps. So hilarious!

Books on audio in January:

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, 11.5 hours

The last of YA Sync on my phone from 2015, considered part of the Code Name Verity series, because a character from Verity appears here as a friend of Rose in England. I was disappointed in the audio of Code Name Verity after loving the book. This book was okay. It's girls in an internment camp in Germany in WW2, so very bleak. Some of the girls are characters (obvs, plucky young ladies, defying the odds, etc, etc) and I didn't enjoy some of the voices that Sasha Pick used. I did finish and it was done very well showing the challenges Rose faced after her release. Not as dramatic as Code Name Verity, but I preferred the audio of Rose Under Fire.

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, 10 h 19 min

I had no idea what this would be about, but it's Hornby, and it's been listed on 'best of' lists, so I gave it a whirl. Summary in five words: Mary Tyler Moore in England? The novel follows a young girl who wants to be funny, and on television. She meets up, in 1960s London, with writing partners who happen to gay, but not romantic partners. They both hide their sexual orientation in different ways. They make a successful comedy programme in England, and the book just continues to follow their lives, up til the present. There are plenty of sociological comments on show business, following your dreams, the business of nostalgia, life in England from the 60s to present, and the sacrifices made to achieve your dreams. Worth the time.

I am watching: 

  • I watched quite a bit of the Australian Open, enjoying Milos Raonic's run to the semis.
  • The Grinder with Fred Savage and Rob Lowe! Very, very funny, with both actors on point. Fred Savage has the Bob Newhart role of a sane person with craziness around him, and Rob Lowe plays his brother, a Hollywood actor returning home after playing a lawyer for years. He thinks he knows the law since he played a lawyer on TV. 
  • My son play basketball on AUS-tv, online streaming of all the games. Go Capers!

I am reading: 
Books read in January: short reviews for the ones I'll never get around to writing better ones!

A Beam of Light - Andrea Camilleri
19th in the Inspector Montalbano series. 

After not liking for years how Salvo treats Livia, I am now ready for them to break up. There has been little shown that is positive in their relationship, and he seems to have some regrets for decisions. In this one, a new women appears who is, of course, obsessed with Montalbano. The notes at the back by the translator Stephen Sartarelli continue to add to the reading experience and could be even more! The mystery had a call back to a previous book, so that was cool.

Mr Chartwell - Rebecca Hunt, 256 pages

Winston Churchill referred to his lifelong battle with depression as 'the black dog' and here the dog is an actual creature, calling himself Mr Chartwell. Mr Chartwell is a busy worker, and when he takes a room in Esther's home it is clear he is coming for her as well. The book tells parallel tales of Esther and Churchill as they are struggling. I think the book is discussing two different kinds of depression - a clinical, hereditary type associated with Churchill and his family, and a situational one like Esther's due to a tragedy in her life. 
It was  a little weird, with the dog actually there for those who can see it but the point was made. Esther was a lovely character and I liked the supporting cast around her that help her pull through the dark time. The Churchill parts made me want to read more about him and Clementine. (And they are characters in the non-fiction book, Dead Wake.)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E Lockhart   already reviewed
Swamp Angel - Ethel Wilson 
A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 - Robert Dallison

Our Souls at Night - Kent Haruf, 170 pages

Having never heard of Kent Haruf before seeing this title on several end of year lists, I now have his Evensong trilogy I'd like to read. All take place in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. 
Our Souls at Night was his last book before Haruf died of cancer in late 2014. The premise is so sweet - a widow asks her neighbour, who she knows a bit socially but not really friends, if he, also widowed, would sleep the night in her bed. She's lonely, and wants some companionship. Someone to talk to through the night. It's a pretty simple book that follows the aftermath of this request. There is more to the story, and less, at the same time.

Plans for February:
The start of a new semester of classes and two girls playing ringette means a busy February. I'm planning a week-end to Halifax to watch my son play some basketball games and visit with sister and sister-in-law. Another weekend away to attend the Atlantic Ringette Championship that both girls play in, Under 14 and Under 16 Provincial teams. 

Reading wise, I'm hoping to read a mystery (Undone by Karin Slaughter), something Canadian, and something from the shelves that I already own. I've got a few books on request on audio that should come in an orderly fashion. (Fates and Furies, Finders Keepers by Stephen King, and Mountain Story by Lori Lansens)

I'm not sure what is going on with Blogger, but I am not having fun with the formatting problems.