Get the feed in a reader!Get updates by email!Get updates by email!

ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

Mystery Books Read in October 2013

June22

 

I continued with a favourite series – and discovered a really good new (to me) one.

Have a look!
 


1. THE SOUND AND THE FURRY
by Spencer Quinn (Mystery, Detective, series) 4.5 star rating

 photo sound20and20the20furry_zpsiko3annm.jpg This is the sixth installment in the Chet & Bernie series, which the canine “Chet the Jet” narrates. He and his “partner” Bernie run the Little Detective Agency and have been hired to seek the missing brother of a past “client”. Said brother has disappeared with his houseboat somewhere in the Louisiana bayou. This poses a BIG change of scenery for our boys but Quinn had me smelling those swamps, so succinct were his descriptions.

If you haven’t yet tried this series (perhaps because of the animal narrator), I’d urge you to do so anyway. There is almost always a solid mystery and some suspense. And Chet has such a naive and positive outlook on life that he can’t help but leave you smiling.

Read this (series) if: you’re a dog lover; or you’d like a mystery that’s definitely not cozy but still fun. 4½ stars

 

2. KILLED IN THE RATINGS by William L. deAndrea (Mystery, Vintage) 4 star rating

 photo killed20in20the20ratings_zpsrwmjmgqk.jpg I found reference to this series in Old-Time Detection, a thrice-yearly publication written and published by Arthur Vidro of Claremont NH, and I was able to purchase the Kindle version of the series’ first book.

Written and set in the 1980s, it’s a peek into corporate culture in the pre-cell phone, pre-Internet days. It’s also a look behind the scenes in the television industry.

Matt Cobb, network executive, deals with literally deadly office politics. It’s reasonably well-written. I’m not sure how more murders will occur within the scope of a high-end entertainment exec, but the series continues, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading some more.

Read this if:
you’re nostalgic for the days when you didn’t have to be available to everybody 24/7; or you’re looking for a series that not too dark, in a setting that’s a little different. 4 stars

 

3. THE IGGY CHRONICLES by Spencer Quinn (Mystery, Novella – adjunct to the series) 4 star rating

 photo 44548fdf-0ab4-4b9b-85ce-4eac7b59db2c_zpslrfurogc.jpg Another sort of prequel to the Chet & Bernie series (see item #1), this is the story of Iggy, the dog next door. Iggy is Chet’s bud, but they don’t see much of each other.

While this wasn’t as intriguing as A Cat Was Involved, another series prequel, Quinn still has a way with a story and this dog’s irrepressible take on life.

Read this if: you’re a series fan. If you haven’t read any of the books yet, start with A Cat Was Involved and then move on to Dog Gone It. 4 stars-

 

Do you like the sound of either of these series?

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

SNAPSHOT SATURDAY 18Jun16: Updating the Travel Journal

June18

I’m stuck looking through our photos of our trip to France two years ago. It was such a dream come true.

updating the travel journal southern france photo iPad 54 450_zpscbsrlysi.jpg

Updating our travel journal: This was one of our “home” days, having lunch in the walled garden in back of our gite (cottage). Bread & soft cheese (I shared that plateful!). And, I know, it should be wine instead of water but, now & then, we needed a break.
 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Books Read in October 2013

June16

books read Finally – here I am with my “Books Read Summaries” for the rest of 2013. This is what happens when one lets herself get behind in recording “Books Read” on her blog, her personal & necessary record: life, and death, and more life. I won’t bore you with the details all at once, just as they occur.

So here I am in October 2013, blissfully unaware of what’s ahead, and reading, reading. Because this was almost three years ago, I won’t pretend to remember everything about these books, but I’ll tell you what I can. I’m thankful that I rated them when I read them.

The three mystery books that I read are detailed in a separate post.
 

1. THE DEATH OF BEES by Lisa O’Donnell (Contemporary, Scottish) 4 star rating

 photo b70d1352-ae96-453d-a95f-42ccc7674d2c_zps3dqjmyir.jpg Two young girls bury their parents in the back yard and try to carry on as normal so that their parents’ assistance cheques will keep coming. The lonely widowed next-door neighbour watches them, suspects that something is amiss, and reaches out to include them in his life.
The story is told in the first person from the POV of each of the three main characters. I remember that the voices were clear and distinct. Also, the burgeoning relationship between the neighbours is credibly drawn.

Read this if: you’d like a sneak peek into the slums of modern-day Glasgow and the life of many of those who receive welfare; or if you like stories with young, resourceful protagonists. 4 stars
 

2. FAUNA by Alissa York (Literary, Contemporary, Canadian) 4 star rating

This was the 2013 pick for One Book Nova Scotia. It’s set in the Don Valley in Toronto, Ontario. The River Don runs through the heart of Canada’s biggest city, largely unnoticed by most residents, but the valley teems with wildlife activity. photo 76284495-5d1b-49cc-babb-f999ea81cb94_zpso3ohrcdo.jpg

Alissa Yorke imagines an auto wreckers in this ravine, with a secret sanctuary for the injured fauna of the title. All of the characters who cross paths here are recovering from or distancing themselves from a loss. Most interesting is Edal, a federal wildlife officer on stress leave, torn between reporting the illegal operation and watching the wildlife she is sworn to protect heal. There’s also a coyote-shooting fringe element, and of course, the wildlife itself.

Read this if: you are interested in the role that animals and humans play in the healing of the other; or you live in or near Toronto (or another large urban centre) and want a glimpse of the hidden world amid the concrete that is the Don Valley. 4 stars

 

3. BREATH by Tim Winton (Literary, Australian, 1970s setting) 4 star rating

Breath  photo 81762949-f7fc-4df7-81e6-a2513c61341d_zpsved5fxts.jpg is set in a small fictional village in Western Australia. Childhood friends Piker and Loon grow up daring each to more and more dangerous stunts. As teenagers, they take up surfing and meet Sando, a former pro surfer who leads them to new levels of daring.

What I remember most about this book is the image of the beauty and the savagery of the west Australian coast. Winton put me on the edge of my seat, underwater with those boys.

Breath won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2009.

Read this if: you’ve forgotten the thrill of testing yourself to the limit. 4 stars

 

4. A FAR CRY FROM KENSINGTON by Muriel Spark (Fiction, Vintage, British) 4 star rating

The narrator  photo 97a6a513-1983-4986-9644-9118ad4ba959_zps2lwhudmm.jpgof this book lived in a boarding house in Kensington in the 1950s and recounts the mild adventures of her fellow boarders. As usual, the narrator is a key, but that fact is obscured until the end. This makes it sound as if I didn’t like this book, but I did – a great deal. Spark is a smooth delight at any time.

Read this if: you’ve just finished a book you had to work really hard at and you need a ‘palate-cleanser’; or, obviously, you enjoy vintage English comedies. 4 stars

 

5. EXTRAORDINARY by David Gilmour (Fiction, Canadian, Contemporary, Literary) 4 star rating

 photo extraordinary_zpsgnooqj91.jpgLong-listed for Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize for Fiction, Extraordinary became a controversial choice after comments made by the author that many saw as sexist. It was a challenge to approach this book then, without preconceived ideas about its value.

Very spare, it’s told from the viewpoint of a man asked by his sister to assist in her suicide. It’s perhaps as objective an account as can be told about this hotly debated subject.

Read this if: you’re interested in the collateral effect of the assisted death of an ill person. 4 stars

 

6. YOU ARE ONE OF THEM  by Elliott Holt  (Fiction, American) 3.5 star rating

 photo you20are20one20of20them_zpsaoy6jjyd.jpg Set during the Cold War, this story revolves around a community of young Americans living and working in Moscow.

I had a difficult time deciding on a rating of 3 or 3½ stars. In the end I came down on the side of readability.

Read this if: if you’d like a low-key spy novel. 3½ stars

 

7. PALISADES PARK by Alan Brennert (Fiction, Historical, American) 3.5 star rating

 photo palisades20park_zpsecrwxgrs.jpg The real Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City, saw millions of visitors in its life 1898 – 1971. It was immortalized in Freddy Cannon’s 1962 hit of the same name.

Brennert has created a novel that could well be the biography of generations of those who worked and/or owned the concessions and made the park their second home during the summer months.

Read this if: you remember having fun at Palisades Park or another large privately-owner amusement park. 3½ stars

 

8. EVERYTHING FLOWS by Vasily Grossman (Fiction, Historical, Russian, translated) 3.5 star rating

I would never have picked this up but for the War and Literature read along.
 photo everything20flows_zpsyqdsalmb.jpg
Translated from the Russian, this strongly autobiographical story follows Ivan Grigoryevich who returns to society from prison during the Communist regime. It’s hard for us to imagine living with the distrust of friends and family members that Russian citizens did for decades—lifetimes.

I’m glad that I read this but it did drag immensely. Perhaps life in Russia did then.

Read this if: you want the nitty-gritty of life under Communism in post-WWII Russia. 3½ stars

 

9. EVERYBODY HAS EVERYTHING by Katrina Onstad (Fiction, Contemporary, Canadian) 3 star rating

 photo everybody20has20everything_zpsj3upslvf.jpg From Amazon: “After a car crash leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they have become the legal guardians of a 2½-year-old, Finn”.

I don’t know why I found this book so forgettable.

Read this if: Since I can’t remember anything about it, I can’t really recommend who should read it. 3 stars

 

10. THE HOW-TO HANDBOOK: Shortcuts and Solutions for the Problems of Everyday Life by Martin Oliver and Alexandra Johnson (Non-fiction, DIY) 3 star rating
 photo how-to20handbook_zpscra4vvi0.jpg

Instructions for many basic but necessary life skills. Suitable for teens moving out for the first time.

Read this if: you’re off to college or to find your place in the world. 3 stars

Note: I won a copy of this book on Library Thing Early Reviewers. This did not affect my rating.

 
Is there anything here that catches your interest?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Save

Five Things I Miss about City Living

June14

Last week I took part in Top Ten Tuesday and extolled the virtues of country living. I also promised that this week I would balance the scales a little by listing a few things I miss about living in the city.

I could come up with only five. I’m clearly a country girl at heart.

theatre masks photo theatre_zpsiuy3scuo.jpg1. Live Theatre — Although there is a small amateur group here in Tatamagouche, they present only twice a year. In the city, I had season’s tickets to every theatre group going, professional and amateur. From September to June, I was out an average of twice a month going to theatre productions.

2. Ethnic Food — Sometimes there will be one restaurant run by new citizens who will provide the cuisine of their home country, but usually it’s pizza, “Chinese”, or, here in Nova Scotia, donairs. Sometimes I long for good Indian food.
 photo pizza_zpsxhhz5oyc.jpg
3. Pizza Delivery
— There are some nights when it’s a toss-up as to which I feel less like doing: cooking or driving into the village to pick-up the pizza.

4. Sidewalks — In the spring, especially. Even when the snow is still piled up, if the walk has been cleared and the sun has been shining, there might be no need of boots in the city. In the country, we all have “mud boots” (for March through May) as well as warm winter boots.

deer in headlights photo deer_zpsf6apszzb.jpg5. Short distances to Your Friends’ Houses — It’s not the getting there, it’s the driving home after dark, keeping careful watch for all the critters who (rightfully) think the road is a part of their woods.

How about it, city dwellers? What are the advantages of urban living?

Books I’ve Read (in the Past): 1997

June11

 photo Books Ive Read text 400c_zpsrnpovccu.jpg

I first started keeping track of the books that I read in 1997 when I was already in my ’40s. What a foolish woman I was to not have started in my teens. How I’ve wished (over and over) that I had.

And my early records are incomplete, and some of the brief comments are laughable. But, inspired by JoAnn of Lakeside Musing who has shared her older journals in a series that she has named Pages from the Past, I’d like to share my journals with you. Herewith, a small sample from that first year, 1997.

death of a salesman 125 photo death of a salesman_zpseoca2nz8.jpg

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (fiction, play, drama, tragedy) Viking Press 1948/1970
Pulitzer Prize winner
** Very dark–not just about aging, but also madness. Would like to see it performed when in a better state of mind.
[2016 notes: Most everyone will have heard of Willy Loman and his family around whom this play is centred. Hard work and chasing the American dream have not rewarded Willy; neither have his sons turned out as he had hoped.]

illustrated garden book photo garden book_zpsegcb52cn.jpgThe Illustrated Garden Book by Vita Sackville-West (non-fiction, essays, gardening)
** An anthology of her newspaper columns from the 1940s and ’50s.
A window on a different life–English gentility; and a different climate, where she could arrange some plants to cut for indoor ‘flowers’ every month of the year!
[2016 notes: I remember that I immensely enjoyed this book, which I dipped into an essay at a time, and fell in love with Vita Sackville-West’s writing.]

and ladies of the club photo ladies of the club_zpsenzzavqu.jpg

And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (fiction, saga, drama)
** My second time through this – the first over 10 years ago. I still enjoy the development of multi-generational characters; and I think I was more touched this time by the fleetingness of life. The U.S. politics still could not hold my interest, though.
[2016 notes: This story centres around two women (and eventually their families) in the years before, during, and after the American Civil War. I’m not sure why I was intrigued enough with this to reread it since it’s over 1300 pages.]

That’s all I recorded for 1997 although I know I read lots more than that. What do you think: shall I continue posting these old reading journal entries?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Reasons I Love Country Living

June7

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

Top Ten Tuesday photo toptentuesday_zps1les7hiy.jpg

I want to make this a quick list that won’t require extra photos, nor a lot of your time to read.

1.
Privacy (in a physical sense). Folks will want to know who your grandfather was, where you’re from, why you’re here and lots, lots more. But most of them “don’t mean nothin’ by it”. It’s just the country way of knowing people. And they leave you be to go out on the deck in your robe (or less!)

2. Quiet – You’re usually far enough away from your neighbours that the noises you hear are the spring peepers, summer crickets, autumn leaves, and winter wind. Much nicer than someone else’s stereo on full blast, sirens and horns, and squealing tires.

3. Friendliness — It might take you a while to be accepted in the country but while you’re waiting you can pretty much know that everybody on Main Street will smile and say hello. It helps to try do things their way instead of showing off your city learnin’.

4. Traffic — There isn’t any. Except during haying season when the farmers drive their tractors down the highway. Three cars behind one is a traffic jam. (The school buses here pull over and let you by.)

5. Clean Air — No traffic carbon monoxide, no factory particulates or smells. Country air smells green; here it sometimes also smells like the ocean.

6. Clotheslines — outlawed in lots of cities, but pretty much de rigeur in the country.

7. No Water or Sewer Bill — not that we waste water; it is a limited earth resource after all. And every few years we have to pay to get the septic tank pumped. But it still beats having that monthly bill.

8. Wildlife
— Okay, the bear getting into the green bin was a little much, but I never tire of seeing deer in the yard, or catching a glimpse of a fox or a ferret crossing the road and disappearing into the woods. There’s red squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, muskrats and lots, lots more.

9. The View from My Window

10. House Accounts
— at the pharmacy and the hardware store. Enough said.
 

To be fair, there are a few things that I miss about living in the city. I’ll share them with you next Tuesday.

Semi-Charmed Summer 2016 Challenge

June5

I haven’t officially entered any book challenges since 2012, when I entered 63 of them. You read that right: sixty-three challenges. As you might guess, that burned me out of reading lists for a while.

But, from time to time, I do challenge myself: to themed reading months, to the What’s in a Name? challenge now hosted by The Worm Hole, and to Semi-Charmed winter & summer challenges. All of these have the common element of introducing me to books I might have left languishing on the shelf, while being creative and fun.

Semi-Charmed 225 photo Semi-Charmed SBC16 225_zps7fb8g3py.jpg
So it’s about time that I made it official: this year I’m formally entering Semi-Charmed’s Summer 2016 Challenge. I’ve copied the criteria to the end of this post. I have no idea at this time what books I will use to meet the requirements of each category, and I’m open to suggestions.

 

Categories:
5 points:
Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.
10 points: Read a collection of short stories or essays. They may all be written by the same author, or the book may be an anthology from different writers; your choice!
10 points: Read an adult fiction book written by an author who normally writes books for children.
15 points: Read a book set in Appalachia.
15 points: Don’t judge a book by its cover! Read a book with a cover you personally find unappealing.
20 points: Read a book that you have previously only seen the film (movie) of.
25 points: Read a book with a punny title. The title can be a play on another book title, movie title or a common expression.
30 points: Read a microhistory.
30 points: Read one book with a good word in the title, and one with a bad word. Note: This category is reeeeeeeally open-ended! Maybe you like turtles, so The Pearl that Broke Its Shell is a title with a “good” word. Similarly, the “bad” word could be a swear word or a literally negative word like “not” or “none,” or it could just be something you don’t like. Have fun with it! (Remember, you must read both books to get 30 points; this category is not worth 15 points per book.)
40 points: Read two books that contain the same word in the title, but once in the singular and once in the plural. (Remember, you must read both books to get 40 points; this category is not worth 20 points per book.)

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Lobster Season!

June4

One of the bonuses of our rural community is that it is on the Atlantic coast. (In Nova Scotia most of us are not far from the ocean. The province is very nearly an island.)
lobster platter 450 photo lobster platter_zpsxnjjjleo.jpgThe government of Nova Scotia limits the fishing seasons and rotates them throughout the various areas of the province. Although lobster is being fished throughout the summer, the fisherman in our area have only May & June to haul them in. So lobster season is here on the North Shore!
lobster supper photo lobster supper 2_zpszgfur3bb.jpg
Since I was visiting Ontario for most of May, we have had a slow start to our personal lobster season. A neighbor of ours – just a mile down the road – runs Lobster Time each year to sell the lobsters that her husband & father-in-law fish. We picked up a feed today.

Since we eat them the traditional Atlantic Canadian way (cold with hot garlic butter, potato salad and bread), I bought these lobsters pre-cooked so supper was easy-peasy.

Weekend Cooking new logo photo wkendcooking 125_zpsljojsy3j.jpg
I’m linking up with Weekend Cooking, even though I did very little actual cooking.

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet

June4

This link-up is hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best, and was inspired by Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy. In his 1929 short story, “Chains”, Karinthy coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. The phrase was popularized by a 1990 play written by John Guare, which was later made into a film starring Stockard Channing.

On the first Saturday of every month, Kate chooses a book as a starting point and links that book to six others forming a chain. Bloggers and readers are invited to join in and the beauty of this mini-challenge is that I can decide how and why I make the links in my chain.

six degrees of separation June 2016 photo 2016-6 Romeo amp Juliet_zpsnrb0h4jf.jpg

June’s starting book is Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare. Is there anyone who doesn’t know this story, even if they haven’t read the play or seen it performed? It’s the classic “love-tragedy” that is so poignant over 400 years after its writing that I find myself still, upon seeing it performed, wanting to call out loud to the players: “Turn around!” or “No! Wait!”

1. Its connection to my first link Juliet in August by Dianne Warren is in title only. This cool and still story (also published as Cool Water) of a priairie town in summer won the Canadian Governor-General’s Award for Fiction in 2010.

2. The book that is my next link, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt won the same award, the following year. Both books are Canadian and both are very good but deWitt’s ‘noir western’ about two cowboys whose last name is Sisters and who are hired to kill a man, is is no other way similar to Warren’s book, nor to my third link (by a title word only),

3. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen, which tells the story of two elderly spinster sisters who nurse injured birds back to health. The birds lead me to my fourth link,

4. Nicholas Drayson’s A Guide to the Birds of East Africa , a gentle love story of the courtship between two middle-aged bird-watchers in almost-modern-day Kenya. This was a charming book which connects in two ways (love and Africa) to my fifth link in the chain.

5. African Love Stories, edited by Ama Ata Aidoo, is an anthology of short stories, not so gentle, about love relationships, mostly in West Africa, expecially Nigeria. My last link also connects to Africa and love.

6. Adé: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker is a love story in the tradition of Romeo and Juliet: haunting and heart-breaking. This tale, set in modern-day Kenya, deserves to be a classic of 21st century literature. I have not been as touched by a book in a long time as I was by Adé.

So that’s my chain of six degrees: from a classic love tragedy of the 16th century to an equalling heart-rending love tragedy of the 21st century. What do you think? Does love ever change?

Why not visit Kate’s blog and see how she made the final connection to The Last Painting of Sarah de Vos.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

The View from My Office Window – 02Jun16

June2

In April I decided to post a view from my office window on the last Friday afternoon of each month.

I was half-way across the continent last Friday afternoon (the last one in May) so I’m posting a photo from today. I didn’t want you to miss seeing the “May Effect”.

View 16Jun02 photo IMG_3649 450_zpstjgpjlzr.jpg

Nova Scotia came alive over the past month!

It’s still too cold for the beach (9C/48F now, at 10am, and the forecasted high for today is 15C/59C) but it’s gorgeous for yard work (like pruning that pear tree). And the lilacs are just beginning to open!

How’s the weather where you are?

Snapshot Saturday 28May16

May28

Southern France 2014: At the end of the laneway to our gite; the village of Nougein

Nougein photo IMG_3238 450_zpsiohnuta0.jpg

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

WONDROUS WORD: Sporran

May25

This week’s word is one that most people are familiar with, but rarely use. In Carol Shields’ Swann: a Literary Mystery, one of the main characters meets a Scotsman in a kilt and can’t remember the word for the little purse attached to his outfit, until it comes to him in the night a few weeks later. Rationalizing, he says:

Of course, it’s not a particularly common word. One could go years and years without hearing it. But still he should not have forgotten.

The sporran (/ˈspɒrən/; Scottish Gaelic for “purse”), a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress, is a pouch that performs the same function as pockets on the pocketless kilt.

Sporran photo sporran_zpsigcrv4j4.jpg

Made of leather or fur, the ornamentation of the sporran is chosen to complement the formality of dress worn with it. The sporran is worn on a leather strap or chain, conventionally positioned in front of the groin of the wearer.

When was the last time you used the word sporran?

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Snapshot Saturday 21May16

May21

Southern France 2014: Cows in the yard, in the heart of the village.  

Cows in the village photo French cows in the yard_zpsbxpsm0gm.jpg
 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday Linkups – 20May16: HOOPERMAN

May20

 photo book beginnings_zpsklyjo57x.jpg

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
 

Opening sentences from Hooperman: a Bookstore Mystery by John M. Daniel
 photo hooperman_zpsn1a3dbim.jpgHooperman Johnson, a tall, skinny, bushy-bearded man of few words, lived that spring and summer of 1972 in a rented room with a bed, a table, and no phone over the ‘At’s Amore Pizza Palace on University Avenue in Palo Alto, California.

My thoughts: Whew! His life story in one sentence. I’m not asking if I should read on, because there’s no way you could stop me. 1972? I remember it well.


* * * * *

Here’s an entry from page 56 of Hooperman:

“You guys aren’t shipping out as much as you were when that other guy was in charge.”
“That right?” Hoop asked.
“Usually be a box or two every day for the Returns Center. I guess you guys aren’t returning as many books nowadays. I guess that’s a good sign.
“Retu,turns Center? What’s that?”
“You tell me,” Mitch said. “it’s your store, guy. I’m just a mailman.”

My thoughts: This sounds a little sinister to me, so I’m looking for a mystery here. This is first up on my Kindle so I’ll be able to let you know!
 
Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

What do you think? Would you enjoy this book?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Seisún & Bodhran

May17

This week’s word comes from the first in the Rare Book Murder series, The Dirty Book Murder. The protagonist is visiting his favourite Irish pub:

An informal seisún began in a corner with a fiddler, a bodhran player, and a girl with a pennywhistle. They played “The Bold Fenian Men” and followed that with “Black and Tan” to put the crowd in a fine rebel mood.
 

seisún: a mostly informal gathering at which people play Irish traditional music. From the Irish sheisiún: session; from Old French session, from Latin sessiō ‎(“a sitting”), from sedeō ‎(“sit”).

bodhran photo bodhran2_zpshicz86ek.jpg

bodhran /ˈbôˌrän,-rən/: a shallow one-sided Irish drum typically played with a short two-headed drumstick. Origin: Irish bodhrán. The first known use is 1972.

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Saturday Snapshot 14May16

May14

Southern France – shouldn’t that be ARRÊTEZ?

French stop sign--- photo IMG_3059 450_zpsgczklift.jpg
 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday Linkups – 13May16: THE THIRD SON

May13

Book beginnings photo book beginnings_zpsklyjo57x.jpg

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Opening sentences from The Third Son by Julie Wu

My journey began when the Americans bombed us, in 1943, because it was during the bombings that I met the girl.

I was eight years old.

My thoughts: What do you think? Should I read on?


* * * * *

 

Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Here’s an entry from page 56 of The Third Son:

I had never known how hard the ground could be.

Oh, wow – that could be the middle of so many things! I am intrigued. What do you think?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Incunabula

May11

This week’s word comes from the first in the Rare Book Murder series, The Dirty Book Murder. And it’s a lovely “book word”.

“There were thirty more books in the two boxes, all related to travel, adventure, or sporting activities such as hunting and fishing. I didn’t expect to find any incunabula, but these beautifully bound editions covered a period from the mid-eighteenth century to the early nineteenth that was in a price zone I could afford.”
 

 photo incubalia_zpsyyhqbebx.jpg

incunabula: books produced before 1501, in the earliest stages of printing from movable type.

Incunabula
(pronounced in-kyoo-nab-yuh-la) is plural; the singular, of course, is incunabulum. The word originated about 1815-25 and is derived from the Latin: straps holding a baby in a cradle, probably equivalent to *incūnā (re) to place in a cradle + -bula, plural of -bulum

Do you have any other “book words” to share?
 
Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION from “Perfume – The Story of a Murderer”

May7

This link-up is hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best, and was inspired by Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy. In his 1929 short story, “Chains”, Karinthy coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. The phrase was popularized by a 1990 play written by John Guare, which was later made into a film starring Stockard Channing.

On the first Saturday of every month, Kate chooses a book as a starting point and links that book to six others forming a chain. Bloggers and readers are invited to join in and the beauty of this mini-challenge is that I can decide how and why I make the links in my chain.

 photo 2016-4 Perfume_zpskx1vh4ag.jpg

May’s starting book is Perfume – the Story of a Murderer.

1. I haven’t read Perfume but I understand that it is translated from German, as is Thomas Mann’s classic of modern literature, The Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family, first published in Germany in 1900. I read this in my pre-blogging days for our local book club, The Loquacious Compendium.

2. The Mountain and the Valley by Ernest Buckler, a modern classic in its own right, also documents the decline of a family over three generations of farming people in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. The tale culminates in the story of David Canaan who wants to leave the family farm to devote himself to writing.

3. Loyal Blood, the main character in Annie Proulx’ Postcards also leaves the farm – this one in post WWII Vermont, and for an entirely different reason. Loyal has unintentionally killed his fiancee – the literal girl next door, hastily buried her body, and fled in the night leaving a note to say that he and she have run off together. Afraid to ever leave a trail, over the years Loyal sends heart-wrenching barely-literate postcards from across the USA to his family, but remains unable to receive news from them.

4. The postcards in Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence are of a different type. They are part of an artistic correspondence documented in this incredibly imagined & illustrated book. (Click on the title to see my 2012 review.

5. The topic of illustration put me in mind of The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury which I also reviewed in 2012.

6. And Bradbury leads me to my sixth and last link in the chain: Dandelion Wine, Bradbury’s enchanting tale of twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding and the summer of 1928. I read (and reread) and loved this book as a teenager. It holds its magic still.

So that’s my chain: not as strong as I’d like but leading from the slums of 18th century France to the small town of Green Town, Illinois two centuries later. Do you have any suggestions for me? Why not visit Kate’s blog and see how she made the final connection to The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Friday Link-Ups – 06May16: THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF EGYPT

May6

Book beginnings photo book beginnings_zpsklyjo57x.jpg

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

automobile club of Egypt photo auto club of egypt_zpsus07qxyi.jpg
 
Opening sentence from The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany:

My wife finally understood I needed some time on my own . . .

My thoughts: hmmm – what’s he up to? Would you read on?


* * * * *

 

Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Here’s an entry from page 56 of The Automobile Club of Egypt:

My life stretched before me like a long road, but I could see where it led. Then, suddenly, it changed course. It is strange how that can happen unexpectedly due to some small matter or a passing word, going down some street at a particular hour or turning right instead of left or appearing late for work and bumping into someone–any such thing has the potential to change everything.

Intriguing! What are your thoughts?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

« Older Entries
Every little bit of kindness is appreciated



Other Amount:



Your Email Address :