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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

Books Read in August 2014

November25

books read
In August 2014, we were busy getting ready for the arrival of my husband’s daughter Laura and her two young sons who were coming to stay for two weeks, and ended up under our roof for two years.

Nonetheless, books I had reserved at the library over the past couple of months were piling up, so I had my reading cut out for me!


 

Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky (Fiction, Short Stories, Atlantic Canadian) 4.5 star rating
Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky photo 3fb20fb4-d498-462e-a470-5e27a81bf682_zpszdlpfj8j.jpg

From Amazon: “From the caretaker of a prairie amusement park to the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, from a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road to an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage while sensuously burying himself in the tastes and smells of the kitchen, these are people who spin wildly out of control, finding themselves in a new and different world.”

Whirl Away was the winner of the 2013 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, was shortlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was a finalist for the 2012 BMO Winterset Award.

I highly recommend this collection. 4½ stars
 

I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant (Nonfiction, Bibliophilic, Kindle Single) 4 star rating
I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant photo f2a446d7-531a-4b79-8736-928841674047_zpsppnmso8t.jpg
When Grant downsized her living space in 2013, she had to purge thousands of her books from her personal library, started when she was a child.

Amazon says: ”Both a memoir of a lifetime of reading and an insight into how interior décor has banished the bookcase, her account of the emotional struggle of her relationship with books asks questions about the way we live today.“

The author is an award winning novelist and nonfiction writer, so this is a well-written and fascinating treatise. 4 stars

 
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (Fiction, Children’s Chapter book)4 star rating
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White photo c8e3d8c2-4ac2-43d4-a048-f799581922c4_zpsyfdgx6cx.jpg
I must have read this as a child but I’m certain that I didn’t remember how it ended.

It begins as a charming enough tale, with the saving of Wilbur the pig and the talking animals that welcome Fern, the young girl that saved him, to the barn. But it becomes something else that more mimics life.

This is deservedly a much-loved children’s classic. 4 stars
 

When Things Get Back to Normal by M.T. Dohaney (Nonfiction, Memoir, Canadian)4 star rating
When Things Get Back to Normal by M.T. Dohaney photo db35ef02-5e27-4499-82d4-c28e45f4e68a_zpspg12qxfj.jpg
I mentioned this book in my comments about The Hatbox Letters in June 2014.

Blurb: “One Friday evening, M.T. Dohaney’s husband went out to play hockey with his friends. She never saw him alive again. To help herself through this catastrophe, Dohaney recorded a year’s worth of pain and anger as well as her gradual and unexpected healing in the journal that became When Things Get Back to Normal.”

This was a reread because I wanted to be certain that it was indeed more useful then The Hatbox Letters. It was, very much so. 4 stars
 
The Care and Management of Lies: a Novel of the Great War by Jacqueline Winspear (Fiction, Historical, WWI) 3.5 star rating

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear photo 8b6aa75f-06ce-4a5c-a543-9673b6710671_zpsqyjp4ktu.jpg Two women have been friends since childhood. Now adults, one marries the brother of the other and moves to the family farm. War erupts and Tom enlists, and it falls to Kezia to run the farm, without much help because all the other young men are also enlisting.

Interesting in that regard, but otherwise unmemorable and too easily tied up at the end. 3½ stars
 

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family’s Past One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time by Lisa Tracy (Nonfiction, Memoir) 3 star rating
Objects of Our Affection by Lisa Tracy photo 0fdec56f-21b3-43da-96dc-d21587a8669f_zpsh7oqgfk5.jpg
Blurb: “About the history of certain carefully collected heirlooms and why we hold on to the things we keep and how we let go of the ones we lose.”

Lisa Tracy found herself, along with her sister Jeanne, responsible for cleaning out her deceased parents’ home, jammed full of the belongings they had gathered over a lifetime. I also had to clear out my mother’s house, full of her possessions. But there the similarities end.

Tracy’s parents collected museum quality antiques with high dollar value, and lovely family stories attached. I, sadly, couldn’t relate.

Recommended for someone whose parents are well-to-do and will be leaving a house that someone (maybe them!) will need to clear out.
3 stars

 
I’m going to post separately for the five mysteries I read.

I was heavy on nonfiction this month. Any 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.

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14 Comments to

“Books Read in August 2014”

  1. On November 25th, 2016 at 10:17 am Toady Says:

    I love these posts of looking back. I know what it’s like to have family visit and then end up staying. It’s funny how that works sometimes.

  2. On November 26th, 2016 at 6:18 pm Debbie Says:

    Two years remove takes the `sting` out of the life circumstances, Toady. I`m glad you`re enjoying these posts.

  3. On November 25th, 2016 at 11:17 am Nan Says:

    Wow! Lots of interesting books here.
    I’ve put Whirl Away in my shopping cart.
    I couldn’t bear to read the culling of the library book. It saddens me that people don’t have bookshelves, and that those fake books or never to be read books are decorating items. Books are the heart of a home to me.
    I love Charlotte’s Web so, so much. I wrote about it on the blog here, if you’d like to read it. http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-reportcharlottes-web.html
    I read a book a bit similar to the Dohaney book called A Three Dog Life. The husband didn’t die but his mind is altered. It is one of the first books I wrote about on my blog. I think you’d like the book. http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2006/12/book-of-month.html
    I tried the Winspear but couldn’t get very far. I adore the Maisie books but not this one.
    I don’t think I’d like the heirloom book either. I was so young when my parents died that I didn’t have a sense of what to keep, but my nature isn’t to hold onto things, and I regret only two things I gave away. Not bad for a 25 year old.
    This was a spectacular month for reading. And honestly, your sentence about your own life could be the beginning of a story.

  4. On November 26th, 2016 at 6:29 pm Debbie Says:

    Wow – you did so well with your pârents`s things! If only I regretted what I did with only two things. :-(

    What a lovely review of Charlotte`s Web (on your blog). I wish I had been a tenth as eloquent.

  5. On November 26th, 2016 at 1:36 am Teresa Says:

    I remember when my younger sister was reading Charlotte’s Web and my other sister and I came in the room to find her crying so hard. She finally told us that Charlotte had died. My middle sister and I looked at each other and asked, “Who’s Charlotte?”

    I go through stages when I read a lot of nonfiction, which I love, but I also love fiction. It’s cyclical.

  6. On November 26th, 2016 at 6:30 pm Debbie Says:

    I`m cyclical in my nonfiction-fiction mix reading, too, Teresa.

    Cute story about your sisters and Charlotte`s Web.

  7. On November 26th, 2016 at 3:31 am Whispering Gums Says:

    Funny how we have phases in our reading – like your nonfiction this month. I’ve just had a bit of a non-fiction run recently too.

    Oh, and I loved re-reading Charlotte’s web when I had my children. Such a special story.

  8. On November 26th, 2016 at 6:35 pm Debbie Says:

    It happened to me in June of 2014, as well, Sue – the month I read for France.

    I`m beginning to think that I didn`t read Charlotte`s Web as a child, after all. That points, I know, to a deprived childhood. ;-(

  9. On November 26th, 2016 at 4:14 pm Rebecca Foster Says:

    I always find at least one or two books to add to my TBR through these retrospective posts of yours. This time it’s Wangersky and Dohaney.

    I recently read my first Linda Grant novel (The Dark Circle) and really enjoyed it, so I think I’d also like a nonfiction work of hers. A Kindle single — I presume it’s pretty short?

    Having three family members stay for two years must have been quite the challenge! We had to live with my in-laws for two stretches, once for 7 months and once for 11 months. The first time was fine, but the second I barely survived.

  10. On November 26th, 2016 at 6:39 pm Debbie Says:

    Rebecca, I`m flattered that you find books in my monthly summaries that interest you. Linda Grant`s book is short – hard to tell on the kindle, but officially the print length is 28 pages.

    What saved our whole family arrangement was the baby who was two months when he arrived, and grew to be a loveable 2-year-old before he left. I know what you mean though about the bad days, and simply (and barely) surviving.

  11. On November 27th, 2016 at 9:38 pm Amal (AMB) Says:

    These look like such interesting books. My little ones read Charlotte’s Web recently and loved it (after they recovered from the ending!).

  12. On November 28th, 2016 at 11:00 am Debbie Says:

    That ending so surprised me, Amal but it’s such a good way to acquaint children with the inevitability of death, at least among their animal friends.

  13. On December 1st, 2016 at 1:47 pm Naomi Says:

    I’ve had Whirl Away on my list since it came out – glad to know you recommend it! I will get to it eventually…
    I’ve never heard of I Murdered My Library, but it sounds like fun!
    And, Charlotte’s Web will always be a favourite. :)

  14. On December 1st, 2016 at 2:40 pm Debbie Says:

    Naomi, we’re planning to downsize drastically in the next 5 years and I know I have to severely cull my 20+ feet of bookshelves. I read I Murdered My Library as a first step in preparing my mind.

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