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Archives 2018 > w/o May 4 to 10, 2018

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message 1: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3569 comments Mod
May the 4th be with you!!!

How are your TBR challenges starting? Are you taking something from the top of your pile or digging one out from the bottom and causing an avalanche?

What are you reading? What is next? What are you looking forward to?


message 2: by Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (last edited May 04, 2018 04:22AM) (new)

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments Good morning! And it is indeed Star Wars Day - may the 4th be with you also! Star Wars is one of the few incredibly successful movie franchises that didn't begin with books, but I suppose us book lovers can still give a nod when it's due! So many exclamations points - I need an editor!!!

This week I've been reading a YA Goodreads giveaway, That Inevitable Victorian Thing. I think it counts towards conquering Mount TBR as I had a bit of a winning spree with the giveaways and I really need to catch up. I'm also using it for the bingo square for a book picked based on the cover. It's gorgeous!

I finished listening to 419 earlier in the week and I must admit that I was a bit disappointed with it. I rated it three stars, but I had myself built up to expect something awesome. My latest audiobook is Still Me, although Jojo Moyes should have ended Lou's story with the second book, in my opinion.


message 3: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3569 comments Mod
It is nice to be home this morning and add to the discussion before the end of the day!

I did the majority of my reading last weekend and finished The Clay Girl which I think needs much more attention. It was a tough topic but beautifully written. I mentioned that I had met her in author events and she loves book clubs so anyone in the GTA vicinity (we met her in Ancaster) might consider asking her to join. We had a fabulous night with her on Wednesday. I will add some details in the author events section when I have a chance to write it up.

My other book finished was Vi. Although not as engaging as Ru, I did connect with the characters and enjoy it. The ending seemed a bit quick and I hope to ask her about that today at the Fold Festival where she is joining Catherine Hernandez, author of Scarborough.

Currently I am listening to Dance, Gladys, Dance. I did not know what to expect with this one but am chuckling during my commutes. I seem to be one of the last people reading ( and enjoying) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency which was a Secret Sender gift and hope to finish it off this weekend and then need to tackle the TBR mountain which will give me far too many choices for this months challenge!


Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments Well @Susan, I haven't read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, so you are not the last! I'm also intrigued by Dance, Gladys, Dance, if only because Gladys is my mother's name. Like you, I am at home this morning and enjoying a bit of R&R. I'm technically working from home today, but I was up early and got lots done so now I'm feeling less productive!


message 5: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3569 comments Mod
@Allison It was a book that I really knew nothing about and it is interesting to learn more about Gladys.

I only read the first two in the Me Before You series and actually felt that it should have ended after the first book. I really struggled with the reflection on paramedics in the 2nd book and the lack of confidentiality and professionalism (like taking her along) in After You. I think i will take a pass on the 3rd. It would be interesting to reread the first book and reflect now that Canada has medical assistance in death!


message 6: by Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (last edited May 04, 2018 05:26AM) (new)

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments I agree that Me Before You was a great standalone novel, but I liked seeing Lou find happiness again in the second book. If the author continues to drag on the series, I won't be reading any further.


message 7: by Story (last edited May 04, 2018 05:43AM) (new)

Story (storyheart) I enjoyed Dance, Gladys, Dance too and thought it deserved a wider reasdership. @Susan, if you're an audiobook fan, the No 1 Ladies Detective series is beautifully narrated.

Slow reading week for me. I read and liked a Polish book in translation Swallowing Mercury. It was a collection of vignettes about growing up there in the Communist 1980s.

I'm in the middle of A Field Guide to Reality and finding it good brain exercise as it's a mix of fiction, physics and philosophy. To lighten the load on the little grey cells, I'm listening to a delightful kids' series Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

I also went to the big Friends of the Library sale yesterday and came home with a nice bag of books. Highlight of the week!


message 8: by Louise (new)

Louise | 1171 comments I recently listened to Me Before You for a book club because it's not the kind of book I would normally read. Why are all romance novels between a rich guy and a klutzy girl? But I digress. While I liked it more than I thought I would, I still didn't like it enough to continue with the series. I do wish the author would have explored the whole Dignitas part in more detail. I would have been interested to see what that entire process entails.


message 9: by Rainey (last edited May 04, 2018 06:55AM) (new)

Rainey | 644 comments Its been a rough week - board pack prep and my father in law is in the hospital in BDA (he has been in Baltimore since Oct) so wiped when i get home.

I am still making my way through: Circe, Home to Woefield and on audio: Son of a Trickster - so awesome on audio.

Once I finish these I am looking to read: Today Will Be Different - the April read for my BDA book-club (have until the end of the month to finish this one), Start The End of Your Life Book Club, which is our May read and Listen to on Audio: The Dry.

My TBR book this month is Pachinko.


message 10: by Shannon (new)

Shannon White | 198 comments @Allison hikes... I enjoyed 419. Although it wasn't really riveting or standout, I found that it actually made it plausible for someone to fall for one of those scams. The author created a character that was authentic and I found I could understand how he got wrapped up in it. It made me think that maybe that is why those scams seems to remain in our environment.

@Susan - I agree on Vi. I find Kim Thuy has a poetic writing style however it often leaves me feeling unresolved as the books are short and sometimes end abruptly.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - the mention of this makes me laugh as I was just talking about these books with a friend. Way back, when the series first started I began reading them and buying them in trade paperback format. I read the first 6 or so and enjoyed them but started to tire of the cookie cutter format. I kept buying them until number 12 or 13 and then I finally tapped out. It broke my heart to be a quitter but they just became too predictable and formulaic. It seems quite natural to me that the books later went on to become a TV series. Read a couple, certainly....they're fun.

This week, I finished From Sand and Ash. It had phenomenal ratings on this site however I wasn't quite as overjoyed with it. It is set in WWII and is essentially a love story between two people who were raised in the same household but not siblings. The male character eventually becomes a priest and the female character is Jewish. Imagine the rest and you probably have the story right. Entertaining read but not quite up to my standards. :) haha

Now I am about 1/3 of the way through The Home for Unwanted Girls. I am finding it enjoyable so far and a pretty light read. The Canadian history bits are interesting and I like how it is based on truths... historical fiction. I will let you know my final rating shortly as I plan to finish it this weekend.

Also - I subscribed to RavenReads this week. (Won't receive first box until July)

Have a great weekend all,


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 744 comments Happy Friday, everyone!

This week I finished My Ex-Life, which I won through Goodreads. It was a pleasant read, but one of those books you don't spend any time thinking about once you're done with it. I also finished Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada, which was thought provoking. Lawrence Hill always comes across as such a decent human being.

I'm still making my way through Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter in audio. Aguirre definitely has an interesting story to tell but I'm not loving her narration, so have been listening to this in small doses.

For the bingo, cross-Canada, and Mount TBR challenges, I'm reading The Death Of Donna Whalen. It's a bit slow so far, but it's also been a busy week. I hope to spend more time with it over the weekend.


message 12: by Barbara (new)

Barbara McEwen (babsbookobsession) | 215 comments Morning!
I have a noteworthy Canadian book on the go right now that I won through Goodreads, The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Grudova. It is a book of short stories that is weird and creepy and has an awesome feminist feel to it. Definitely not one for everyone but I am really enjoying it.

I haven't been reading as much as I would like since I have been stressing over getting things ready for my son's birthday party. I have been feeling like a bad mom because I am throwing things together at the last minute but I think I am finally done! Full time work and parenting can be a real struggle and I only have one kid! I am amazed by the people working multiple jobs or taking care of multiple kids or elderly parents etc. I tip my hat to you all. Now hopefully I can relax and read a bit this weekend?

Cheers!


message 13: by Loretta (new)

Loretta | 26 comments hello! popping in again after a longish period of just lurking. Life is busy, but good.

Oh Mt TBR. It never shrinks, only grows. I'll have to settle on at least one book from the pile for this month, but right now I have three library books to read first because they have a deadline!

One of the library books is Scarborough, which I'm about half way through and quite liking. I think Hernandez manages the multiple points of view/ voices really well.

On audio I'm listening to Little Fires Everywhere and also really liking it. It's always interesting to me when a book starts with a really dramatic event and the rest of the book shows the reader how everything got there. I'm enjoying the characters very much, and the narrator is really good.

Another recent audiobook was B is for Burglar, which I actually didn't love. I had never read Grafton, so when she died I thought I should give the series a try. I can see why they were best sellers but I don't think I'll continue with the rest of the books, at least not for now.

On the other end, and still in the mystery vein (although stand-alone) I did really enjoy Sunburn by Laura Lippman. It started off quite slow but once it heated up I was hooked. Recommended if you like noir, with complex and challenging characters (i.e. nobody in this book is really "likeable", but they're genuine and their motivations make sense).


Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments @Barbara, the struggle is real! Good luck with the birthday party. I'm sure it'll be great!


message 15: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments Hello All!

The focus of my reading this week was on my TBR list (but not Cdn): A Thousand Splendid Suns and totally loved it. I rarely give 5/5 stars this I rated this one 5*.

Next on my TBR list was His Whole Life and I've just started, only about 60 pages in so it will be my book this week.

On audio I'm listening to 2 memoirs: Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking -- so bleak, sad and detailed... interesting though but depressing.

And popular one on Hoopla recently The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store -- which if I hadn't been in the car a lot this week to listen to, I would have abandoned it. I'm almost done but it's ...... well, in all the decluttering in her life... she could have decluttered half her book. Awful but it's a whiny book with little true insight and again, if I was reading-reading it, I would have not gone past 30 pages. At least it's short. Why is it I can handle more on audio than in actual reading? Maybe because when I listen on audio it's what I consider 'dead time' versus I value my reading time much more.

@alison -- my plan is to start 419 and pull it off my shelf. Darn that you found it disappointing... so annoying when we expect so much and then are let down. That happens to me sometimes too.

@Loretta I liked Little Fires Everywhere too, good read.


message 16: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 644 comments Ann-Marie wrote: "Hello All!

The focus of my reading this week was on my TBR list (but not Cdn): A Thousand Splendid Suns and totally loved it. I rarely give 5/5 stars this I rated this one 5*.

Next ..."


A year of Less: I applaud her effort to put her life out there. But it really isn't a how too on minimalism which I think people were expecting. And it was whinny. I gave it 3 stars.


message 17: by Petra (new)

Petra | 682 comments Happy Friday!
Not much reading done this week but I did finish a couple of books:

Educated: A Memoir, which I ended up really appreciating for the author's struggle to find her way after a difficult childhood, and The Good People, which I really enjoyed. I'll be reading more of Hannah Kent's books.

I started A Fairly Honourable Defeat but will lay it aside for a couple of weeks. It seems to be mainly dialogue of the chatty nature and I feel like I need to get away and be by myself a bit. It's the introvert in me coming out, I guess. I like the premise of the book, so want to give it another try.

I've also started The Voyage Out as part of the May TBR challenge and am really enjoying it.


message 18: by Elinor (new)

Elinor | 207 comments I've been preparing a slide show for my mother's memorial service next month, which involves going through a veritable mountain of albums and loose photos, and scanning the chosen ones. So many memories are bringing both laughter and tears, as I reflect on her 93 years on earth, and the changes wrought in our world during her lifetime.


message 19: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Barbara wrote: ", The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Grudova. It is a book of short stories that is weird and creepy and has an awesome feminist feel to it. Definitely not one for everyone but I am really enjoying it. "

So excited to hear this. I've been looking forward to this one.


message 20: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 671 comments Happy Friday everyone! My week off is coming to an end like a flash and not much reading has been done at all!
I finished Pachinko and Best Friends Forever, a free book I won at my chapter of the Girly Book Club. Loved Pachinko, the other was just so so. Now I am trying to finish The Wife before it needs to go back to the library.
Haven't really planned much for the TBR challenge. I think I will continue with the Game of Thrones series, as my goal this year is to go through as many big-book series as possible.
Happy a great weekend!


message 21: by Gail (new)

Gail Amendt | 115 comments It has been a while since I have checked in here. Life has been busy, but I have been reading. I believe when I last checked, I was reading The Waiting Hours, the thirteenth installment of my favorite WWII comfort series. It was delightful as usual.

I had the privilege of attending the Alberta Library Conference in Jasper last weekend, as I'm a trustee on our local library board. I read Islands of Grass by Trevor Herriot in preparation for attending his author talk at the conference. As I was raised in southern Alberta, I really enjoyed his book about the importance of preserving what remains of the native grassland on the prairies. His author talk was excellent. I also heard Sheila Watt-Cloutier, author of The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Fight to Protect the Arctic and Save the Planet from Climate Change, but was disappointed. Her presentation was dull and repetitive. Everyone was checking their phones and fidgeting...not at all what should be happening during a morning key-note address.

After that I read Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, which is a very interesting and entertaining memoir by comedian Trevor Noah about his childhood in South Africa during and immediately after apartheid. He does an amazing job of making a difficult subject light and easy to read through the use of humor.

I am now reading Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House to fill my bingo square for a book that has been in the news. I can't call this read enjoyable as it mostly makes me angry at our neighbours to the south for electing such an incompetent.

Once this one is out of the way, I am going to tackle Fall on Your Knees for the TBR Challenge. It has been on my TBR forever as it is so long.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Reading everyone!


message 22: by Mj (last edited May 04, 2018 06:32PM) (new)

Mj Hi Everyone,

There are so many comments and books mentioned so far, that I will save my responses for a later post.

This post is about what I've read recently (didn't post last week.)

I finally finished Keeper'n Me by Richard Wagamese. The long read time had more to do with my savouring than not enjoying. It was Wagamese's first novel and I'm using it for both a Bingo Square and the TBR monthly read. It was written 24 year ago. The read was slower for me than usual, because there was a lot of dialogue and slang and only 4-5 chapters in a 300 page book. Also is was so filled with native tradition, folklore and healing practises that I wanted to take my time. I learned so much. As usual - given what I perceived as an intention of the book's author to educate readers about native traditions, I think kudo's to Wagamese are well-deserved.

The story also went full circle for me. I just read it shortly after the death in 2017 of Wagamese. One of the highlights of the book was the "honour" ceremony at the end of the book for the fictitious character. It certainly caused me to pause and reflect on why Wagamese was also well-deserving of honour and praise for the changes he had made in himself and the character he had shown in his healing and writing. Fyi, the story and fictitious character very much parallel Wagamese's own life. Many would call it a memoir or autobiography. Unfortunately I felt I needed to read it as a universal story that could have been written about many native men during this time-frame. The story describes the lives of many native men who were "scooped" in the sixties or removed from native parents for other reasons. I am glad I postponed reading Wagamese's first novel. As a result, I found reading about the honour ceremony and the praise for the main character's changes and accomplishments in light of his life difficulties to be very, very moving.

I also read The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. I'd put in on hold long before any title with the word "woman" or "girl" in it became a no no. :) It suddenly arrived. Turned out to be a great palate cleanser. It was a quick and easy read and flowed well (100 chapters in a 400 page book with lots of white space), kept me interested, on the edge and wondering, had a predominant creep factor - definitely falling into the psychological thriller category. It was just the diversion I needed. Haven't read any mysteries or thrillers in a while.

Also read Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig - a British author. The book is much more than a memoir about Haig's personal breakdown at the age of 24. (He wrote the book 14 years later after a lot of life changes. Although he is very straight-forward and honest about the depression/anxiety always lurking he has gained so much wisdom since - well worth paying attention to.) The book is well written (read in one sitting, chock full of information and surprisingly based on the subject matter very uplifting. Haig has now written about 6 books in total to wide acclaim, most turned into movies. He only started writing after his breakdown and offers writing as one positive action among others. His book includes lots of other positive actions to take and the variety of ways in which he shares information and writes his book kept me as a reader interested and wanting to turn pages and learn more.

The book deals mainly with the mental health issues of depression and anxiety. It is definitely a book work buying and reading again and again for reminders. He has a good sense of humour and I look forward to reading more of his books.

After a bit of a reading slump, am very pleased to have chosen and enjoyed these 3 books.


message 23: by Mj (last edited May 04, 2018 07:52PM) (new)

Mj @ Rainey - Sorry to hear about your father-in-law’s health. Must be tough for you and your son after your husband’s recent passing. Hugs to you both.

@ Elinor - My heart goes out to you. Going through a loved one’s belongings, especially favourite pictures and momentos, brings up all kinds of memories and feelings. Been there and can empathize. Hope your mother’s memorial service provides much joy and closure for you. My thoughts will be with you.

@ Barbara - Not to worry about your son’s birthday party. There's no doubt in my mind that you’re a great mom!! Even to worry about it and express your doubts publically are illustration of how incorrect your harsh judgment of yourself is and how much you care about your son. With respect to the party - kids are so easy to please. Fussing isn’t necessary. Give yourself a break and a pat on the back. Use your love of fantasy and alternative worlds (based on some of your reading favourites) and just get all the kids’ imaginations firing so they entertain themselves. Kid powered parties are the “best” kind!! Enjoy their giggles, humour, laughter and energy!!


message 24: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3569 comments Mod
@Storyheart - thanks! I am enjoying the box set of the first 3 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in print (thanks to my Secret Sender) and will try a subsequent book in audio.

@Rainey - I hope that your FIL is on the mend!

@Barbara - agree with MJ re: the party, after 4 kids, you really don't need to do too much planning, they make their own fun!!

@Loretta - looking forward to meeting you at the Fold tomorrow. Hernandez moderated the conversation with Kim Thuy but did not speak of her own book at all. I now have a signed copy of Scarborough on my TBR shelf!


@Ann-Marie - i am chuckling at your comments and agree, more editing was necessary. I did not expect to hear so much about the author's personal challenges.

@Eleanor - hugs!

@Gail - sorry to hear about that author event. It sounds like the presentation was much like the book - needed more editing! I appreciate that cloutier wanted to give credit to others but it made for painful reading. It is rare that I don't finish a book but this was one that I stopped halfway despite the important message.

@MJ - interesting to read your comments on Matt Haig's book. The author who came to our book club, Heather Tucker, gushed about his book The Humans

It is a beautiful day in S. Ontario after a large windstorm yesterday so I am hoping to get some reading done outside and hope that the rest of you can do so as well!


message 25: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) @ Elinor, we posted right at the same time so I missed your message about planning your mom's memorial. What a whole lot of lived experiences 93 years of life holds. Hugs to you.

I'm also about to start putting together a slide show for my sister's memorial next month so will soon be joining you in laughter and tears.


message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisafriel) | 202 comments Hi Everyone!

Just a quick check-in. Haven't read any Canadian Content the last couple of weeks, but I am just starting Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home by Tom Wilson.

For the TBR challenge I plan to read The Gargoyle , The Water Beetles and This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications - all holds I have been suspending at the library. I also want to finish Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva and And the Birds Rained Down. Which is too many books for one month now that the weather is nicer. We'll see what happens.

And added to Mount TBR after reading today's comments is The Clay Girl and The Home for Unwanted Girls. Thanks ladies!

Have a great week!


message 27: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 428 comments I have finished Middlemarch ! now I can move onto some fun reading! ( It is an extremely well witten book, and the pace picks up in the last 300 pages, but it is a really tough book to get into)

I am now well into The Girls, this is the 2nd book I have read by Lori Lansens, the other being The Mountain Story an I find her writing style really riveting, like listening to a good friend tell you a story.

For our may TBR read, I am going to read The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed, I had bought it for a previous group read, and never followed through on reading it.


message 28: by Mj (last edited May 06, 2018 07:36PM) (new)

Mj @ Heather - I too enjoyed Lori Lansens's writing. The book I read was Rush Home Road. I also read The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed for an on-line book club. I learned a lot but found it a fairly, detailed slow read primarily due to lack of white space, small font and typography rather than the amount of information and writing itself. These printing details seemed to make it more difficult to read than it ever had to be.

Funny how timing works because right now I'm reading The Jaguar's Children by the same author John Vaillant for an in-person book club. This time it's a fiction rather than non-fiction, the font isn't getting in the way and so far it's been more engaging from the get go.

Hope you enjoy The Golden Spruce. Despite the tyopography I found the research and details about the forest micro eco systems fascinating.


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