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Archives 2017 > w/o January 20 to 26, 2017

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message 1: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4240 comments Mod
Greetings readers!

I was just checking out the Non-Fiction Resolution reads challenge and see that so far 16/32 books pledged have been read. The conversations about non-fiction reads have been interesting (and of course adding to TBR piles) especially the monthly read discussion of Up Ghost River. Even if you aren't reading this book, it is a busy discussion and worth checking out.

The Canada Reads discussion thread has been a busy one this week also as we get excited to see which 5 books will be part of the debates!

I hope that everyone has had a great week and look forward to reading all about the books that have been and are being read when I get home from work tomorrow!

message 2: by Gillian (last edited Jan 20, 2017 04:55AM) (new)

Gillian | 336 comments Happy Friday! I've been sick all week so my reading has centred around the comfort variety, lots of romance, simple plots and easy prose.

Last week I finished up:

- Into the Dark Lands by Michelle Sagara West. Dark fantasy. Decent read even though I'm not the biggest fan of that kind of fantasy.

- The Wild Ways and The Future Falls by Tanya Huff. Book two and three of the Gale Women series, an urban fantasy set in Canada. Book two was quite good, book three was ok.

- Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook. Romantic fantasy. The library keeps giving me early due dates for my interlibrary loans by accident so I had to read this one quickly. A nice comfort read and I'm ever saddened that Cook never continued the series.

- Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh. Really good paranormal romance, much better worldbuilding then the others I normally read. I'll have to check out her other work.

- Spirit Caller by Krista D. Ball. A three book novella omnibus. Enjoyable romantic, contemporary fantasy set in rural Newfoundland. Reminded me a bit of the Tanya Huff books I'd recently read due to the dry Canadian humour.

I'm currently reading Kushiel's Dar by Jacqueline Carey, The Just City by Jo Walton, and Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz. I'm reading Bone & Bread with my mother and need to hurry up with it since she's already finished it and I've barely started.

message 3: by Allison (last edited Jan 20, 2017 05:06AM) (new)

Allison | 2250 comments Good morning from drizzling Kingston! Better than -40, I say!

In paper this week, I made it about half way through Sleeping Giants, which is on the Canada Reads long list. It's throwing me deep into the Sci-Fi world, which I don't know much about. It's very army-speak, feels "male" in that way, although two of the main characters are strong women. I don't mind the book, actually! Something very different for me, but I think it could generate some good discussion, given the chance.

(Years ago I really enjoyed Contact by Carl Sagan, and although Sleeping Giants is not as good, it has the same kind of feel.)

In audio, I did Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. I was so happily surprised! I really liked Room, but couldn't make it through Landing by her, so was hesitant. My neighbour recommended it, and she can be trusted :). I thought Frog Music was fun, vibrant and had a great pace. WAY more sexual stuff than I was expecting! Colourful and rich story-telling and characters, with a neat dash of history on top. I'd now like to get my hands on The Wonder, which I wasn't so inspired to do before.

message 4: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 989 comments Happy Friday everyone!!
Today is also an important date for our friends south of the border, so my thoughts are with them.

I completed my non-fiction challenge, because I set a very low goal to read 1 book. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible was an audible book that I had for a long time. So finally got around to it and fulfilled the challenge.
Now I'm reading In the Darkroom, a memoir about Susan Faludi's journey trying to understand her father's transition into a woman at the age of 62. Her writing is very engaging. I'm getting a lot of insight about Jewish settlement in Hungary and the general resistance to zionism. I discover through this challenge that a lot more concentration is required to read non-fictions, so not much progress has been made on the book yet.
Have a great weekend everyone!

message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 928 comments Another slow work week meant I got a lot of reading done. I finished Difficult Women. I have mixed feelings about this story collection. So much dark content - it was a bit much for me overall. I also finished The Mothers, which was a quick read that I enjoyed. I look forward to seeing what this author does next.

I also read The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own, which was an interesting collection of essays that was helpful (emotionally) to read in this last week of the current presidency. It completed the nonfiction challenge for me, but I'm hoping to sneak in a fourth book. I also listened to Sweet Lamb of Heaven on audio for the Tournament of Books. My rating for this book kept changing while listening: 1 star, 4 stars... I settled on 2 stars because while it was really gripping at times, it ultimately didn't hold together for me and ended up being just too weird. I don't think it was helped by the narration (narrated by the author without a lot of inflection), but I doubt I would have liked it any more on the page.

Now I'm reading Mister Monkey, also for the Tournament of Books, and plan to start Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History over the weekend.

message 6: by Diane (new)

Diane (Tvor) | 548 comments I've been working on my January non-fiction and finished The Game by Ken Dryden which I very much enjoyed. I'm still working on Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva which is also quite interesting but I now need a dose of fiction, I think so I've started The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall and Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Still plugging away at Quicksilver and I'm about 75% done. I'm determined to finish it!

message 7: by Emmkay (new)

Emmkay | 383 comments Hi everyone!

I readUp Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History on the weekend, and thought it was terrific.

It was a First Nations-heavy reading week, as I also read Rose's Run. Am loving Dawn Dumont - both of her books have been such fun.

I read In-Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer as well, a moving graphic memoir by a woman with stage IV cancer.

So, 3 Canadian books this week! For a palate cleanser, I'm now re-reading an Agatha Christie. I never really remember them after reading them, so they're always fun to revisit.

@Allison, I liked Frog Music too - suggest you check out Slammerkin, which I liked even more.

@May, what did you think of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible?

message 8: by Alan (new)

Alan | 626 comments My reading has been terrible this year...but today is a new day!
I struggled for a month with the new Madeleine Thien and it just wasn't going for me. I found it painful to read, not the subject matter but I just couldn't keep track of the names and I just found the prose very dense. I picked it up because my partner whipped through it and loved it but I had to put it down, it was
really getting me down.

Allison in Kingston-I took out from the library the memoir of
the nun who survived the war-by Lise Dion. The strange thing is that my public library classifies it as fiction. I haven't started it yet but I was so impressed with your rec. that I want to give it a try. But why would they call it fiction?

message 9: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2250 comments Will try to get Slammerkin, @Emmkay -- thanks. I just realized that I have The Sealed Letter on my shelf, so will try to fit that in... Sometime...

I read The Year of Living Biblically years ago. Silly and funny. I lent it to someone and never saw it again, so I gather he liked it too! Not serious, but enlightening in a humorous way. :)

message 10: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 562 comments Hi all, we too are getting a break in the weather, +2 today yeah!

I finished up Into the Abyss: An Extraordinary True Story which I really enjoyed.

Now I am into Cereus Blooms at Night which is a beautiful book. It is on the 100 books that make Canadians proud, and it fits the LGBQT square as well, so I will definitely be using for my Bingo Card.

message 11: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2250 comments @Alan! Your library has made a mistake! The Secret of the Blue Trunk is definitely a memoir of Lise Dion's mother. It's heavy and sad (and short) but I hope you "enjoy" it, if you know what I mean. I learned a great deal -- a new layer to WWII and the experience of concentration camps.

message 12: by Kristen (last edited Jan 20, 2017 07:57AM) (new)

Kristen | 56 comments Happy Friday, y'all!

I finished Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat and it was such a painful read but really great. The mother/daughter relationships are so well done, even though I thought some of the plot was rushed.

Also, I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and I have incredibly mixed feelings over this and how Skloot represented herself and the Lacks family. I don't want to get into it too much here, I have written a review if anyone is interested.

My books for this week are:

- Sula by Toni Morrison. It's incredibly dark, which is something I enjoy in Morrison's work. There's always some level of horror in her novels.

- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I've been anxious to read this for a while since I saw it took the Pulitzer. Love it already.

message 13: by Alan (new)

Alan | 626 comments Thanks Allison, will report back . Happy its so short as my attention span lately has been short. I did think it was weird
that they classified it as fiction.

message 14: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 989 comments @Emmkay, I really enjoyed The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. I give the author huge credit for following through and documenting his journey. It was very entertaining and listening to the audio version was perfect.

message 15: by Megan (new)

Megan  | 628 comments Happy Friday everyone!
I've been super sick with the flu and so has my toddler, so I haven't done much reading. More coughing and sniffling. Ugh.
I'm still picking away at Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. It's pretty clunky to read, so it's taking me some time. I'm probably not going to have it done by the end of our January challenge.

The library just emailed yesterday to let me know that Hot Milk and Do Not Say We Have Nothing are ready for me to pick up, so I hope to start one of them this weekend.

message 16: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Penney | 783 comments It's been a slow reading week for me. I finished my first non-fiction book, "Invisible North: The Search for Answers on a Troubled Reserve" by Alexandra Shimo, which is a terrifically brave yet utterly maddening account of crisis on a northern Ontario reserve. It does a heartbreaking job of breaking down the systemic racism embedded in successive governments by the Indian Act, and the catch-22 reserves face when attempts to improve themselves encounter an unmovable and largely anonymous and anything-but-benign bureaucracy. It seems to beg the question - evident in policy - why does the federal government persist with backwards and inconsistent policies and jurisdictional quagmires that prevent reserves from any true attempt at self-governance or attempt at prosperity?

So after that, I needed something a tad lighter. So I finished "This Was a Man", the penultimate book in Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles. And sonI can continue with the Netflix series, I read the second book in the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events, "The Reptile Room."

I'll start "Up Ghost River" today to complete the monthly challenge in time to add thoughts to the discussion.

message 17: by Shannon (new)

Shannon White | 288 comments This week, I finished 2 books - With Love from the Inside which I found to start off a little lacking but the end was strong. It is a story about prison and family relationships, which I don't typically read but lately I am trying to focus a little bit on diversifying the subject matter that I am reading about.

Secondly, I finished Sleep. I believe some of you may have read this in the past. It's a book that makes you want to talk about it with someone else. My review is here:

I won't spill out all my review but I feel really strongly that the ave. 2.9 rating that this book has is very undeserved. Ricci's writing is extremely well-crafted and precise. He does a fabulous job teasing out David's downward spiral into destruction bit by bit. I will definitely consider reading another Ricci despite the low ratings on this site. Sometimes I think goodreads is making me shy away from books that I may have enjoyed. I will have to make a more concerted effort to not believe all the ratings I see.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend. If you want to talk about Sleep , you know where to find me. :)

message 18: by Rainey (last edited Jan 20, 2017 11:17AM) (new)

Rainey | 830 comments I am currently reading The Unquiet Dead, which has engaged me right from the start. The writing is quiet for lack of a better word - giving me tidbits of info to follow and wonder - developing the characters as we go along.

Also reading Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History - good and painful - story needs to be told and read by all Canadians.

BDA book club pick this month is Outline - which is described as 10 conversations - just that - writing is excellent, not much action though. Not sure how I am feeling about this one yet.

Also I will be in Miami in March, so reading Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean about Key West (will be there too) - this one also counts for the Read Harder Challenge.

Finished Sleeping Giants - loved it. Cant wait for the next book in the series.

message 19: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2250 comments @Shannon, I have been learning the same lesson -- sometimes a low rating on GR just doesn't line up for me! Outline comes to mind, and even Frog Music, which I finished this week. Loved both! So, I'm going to take your advice and seek out Sleep. Thanks!

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 2038 comments I'm late to the game this week. I finished I See You by Clare Mackintosh. It wasn't as good as I Let You Go, but a decent thriller all the same. I'm now reading The Invisible Library. On audio, I'm listening to Seraphina.

message 21: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4240 comments Mod
It has been a busy day here!! Lots of great reading suggestions!

I have continued with the non-fiction reads and finished The Reason You Walk which was a great read about Kinew's experience growing up with his father who had been to residential school and then the time they spent as he was dying of cancer. I listened to David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants and appreciated the way Gladwell connects information and research data to real situations with examples and stories. Finally I finished Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History which every Canadian should read.

I am not working on A Jest of God, part of Margaret Laurence's Manawaka series and Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid by Samantha Nutt who I met earlier in the week. I am listening to Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do about It which is eye opening about the safety of the food we eat - sure glad I don't eat seafood as this seems to be the worst offender so far. It is amazing to me that people order one kind of fish and get served something totally different that may not even be safe!

message 22: by Wanda (new)

Wanda | 598 comments I have an Overdrive copy of Sleeping Giants and have just started it, based on other comments I hope that I can appreciate this one. Not a real sci-fi fan so will have to see. I finished The Giver- am sure to read the others in this series. I raced through Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD, was so raw and heart-wrenching. Such a honour to read. I have recently started Innocent Heroes: Animals in War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a unique perspective of the animal heroes of WWI. I'm gaining new appreciation and education from this one by Canadian author, Sigmund W. Brouwer.

message 23: by Petra (new)

Petra | 836 comments @ Allison: I felt the opposite of you about Frog Music. Truly not a fan.
Like you, I really enjoyed Room and just this week I finished The Wonder, which I also liked.

@ May: I read The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible pre-GR, so don't have a review of it. I remember enjoying the humour of it. Glad you liked it.

This week I finished reading:
The Light Years, which I really enjoyed. The writing was a bit uneven (sometimes a bit drawn out) but the family is so interesting and full of issues that I didn't think much about it. I'm looking forward to continuing with this story.

The Wonder, which I listened to on audio. I ended up really liking this one. At first, I didn't like Lib and that took away (a bit) from the story but I soon saw that she was supposed to be that opinionated and snooty. It had to be.

I've now started the next Flavia de Luce book on audio, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. It starts out really well.
My paper books are Call It Sleep and Swann's Way. Both are enjoyable. Swann's Way is a bit slower, so dreamy and the characters are hilarious.

message 24: by Allison (last edited Jan 21, 2017 06:26AM) (new)

Allison | 2250 comments @Petra, I was a bit stunned at the graphic sex and sex-talk in Frog Music, but felt the story, history and character development "made up" for that discomfort. I was impressed by ED's writing skills, which were totally lacking in Landing, I thought. Was pleasantly surprised!

message 25: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2250 comments Heather(Gibby) wrote: "Now I am into Cereus Blooms at Night which is a beautiful book. ..."

@Heather, so glad your'e enjoying Cereus Blooms at Night, describing it as beautiful! I've had it on my shelf for about six months. It never quite makes the top of the list somehow, but your recommendation will help it to!

message 26: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4240 comments Mod
@Allison and @Petra - i have both Frog Music and Cereus Blooms at Night on my bookshelf TBR!

message 27: by Petra (new)

Petra | 836 comments @Allison: the sex just showed where Blanche and her cohorts came from. Their background is base and crude.
I found the story to so much about Blanche and, really, I thought she made her own problems with her self-centered, poor choices and then she whined.

message 28: by Alan (new)

Alan | 626 comments I sent a very good friend a copy of Up Ghost River because she is really into indigenous affairs and you all raved so much about it. When it arrived she was so excited and happy to receive it so thank you you amazing readers.
Almost the end of the first month of the new year (!) and I haven't been able to open one book yet. I know,this is very much a first world problem but still.....
Tomorrow I am planning on picking up the Lise dion that Allison raved about. It is short...maybe this will be the magic cure. I used to read a book a week,you guys overwhelm me!

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