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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

WWW Wednesday 09Oct13

October9

Is anyone still out there? It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve all taken your ball and gone home.

I’m working on the summaries of the books I’ve read over the past four months but, photo www_wednesdays4_zps5af47167.jpg in the meantime, and to break radio silence, here’s a fun meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. I came across WWW Wednesday via Words and Peace.

 
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What I’m currently reading:

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

My heart is breaking for all of the main characters. It’s very hard to put down.

 

necessary lies 100 photo necessarylies100_zps18abea0e.jpg

I just finished reading:

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

This is women’s fiction set in 1960 North Carolina. I saw a decent review of this and needed an “N” title for my A-Z challenge, but I should have known better. Happy endings that involve unrealistic resolutions rub me the wrong way.
 

far cry from kensington 100 photo farcryfromkensington100_zps81f2e710.jpg

What I think I’ll read next:

A Far Cry from Kensington
Is something published in 1988 “vintage”? I guess it depends how old you are. Anyway, I expect this book will contain a lot of the protagonist’s memories of 1950s Kensington, which I’m sure is old enough to qualify. I’m hoping this is just my cup of tea.

 

How about you? What are you reading? Leave me a comment and let me know I’m not all alone in the blogosphere.

 

Expanding my Reading Horizons with BAND

October26

In July, a small group of book bloggers came together to form the Bloggers’ Alliance of Non-Fiction Devotees (BAND). I’m not sure how I missed the launch, but when Amy of Amy Reads drew my attention to the group in a recent post, I was intrigued.

stranger than fiction cartoon I first became interested in non-fiction (outside of post-secondary education) in my mid-twenties when, quite unusually for my age, I became interested in tracing my family history. I devoured genealogical research and social history books, and those, along with biographies & memoirs are my preferred NF read to this day.

But it seems to me that I don’t read many non-fiction titles any more. It’s not that I don’t like them; it’s just that there seem to be so many fiction books I want to read that I don’t get around to the NF. So I counted up my reads over the last couple of years and I was little surprised at how “well” I’ve done. In 2010, I read 31 non-fiction titles out of a total of 123 books. That’s a respectable 25%! So far this year, I managed only 12 (out of 110), or about 10%.

Amy’s inaugural post reminds me that I do “love the random topics and collections of facts that come from (…) non-narrative nonfiction.” So I’m going to try to consciously incorporate more such titles into my TBR short list. If you’d like to do the same, don’t miss BAND’s tmblr page!


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What Are You Reading? Monday 04Jan10

January4

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

It’s been a slow couple of weeks reading-wise; not quite sure why. Over the past two weeks I managed to finish reading:

1. Fellowship of Fear (A Gideon Oliver Mystery)
by Aaron Elkins
Fellowship of Fear,Aaron Elkins

Before Kathy Reichs’ Tempe Brennan and television shows like Bones, there was Aaaron Elkins’ Gideon Oliver, physical anthropology professor.

The Fellowship of Fear is the first of Gideon’s adventures (currently sixteen books). Published in 1982, it draws its tension from the cold war between Russia and the U.S.

Here’s my review.

P.S. I love the lists at Fantastic Fiction and the public library that allow me to read any series in order. YAY for both.

2. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
by Alan Bradley
Sweetness at the bottom of the pie,Alan Bradley,Flavia de Luce,Canadian author
Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie,
Who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?

The Art of Cookery, William King

I borrowed this from the library as well, although I waited several months after I placed a hold on it.

The debut novel for Canadian author Alan Bradley, Sweetness was a smash hit last year. Imagine my surprise to find it’s a murder mystery – almost a “cozy” – and quite good enough to warrant its own review.

P.S. If you click through the affiliate links in the book titles, you may notice a different cover. I like to see the cover that’s on the copy I read – and it’s usually different than Amazon.com because they display the American release, and I read the Canadian.
P.P.S. Canadian readers interested in any of these titles can click through at the bottom of this post. Or, even better, buy from an independent book seller.

Shop Indie Bookstores

And, yes, they are all affiliate links which means that I earn a small amount if you purchase after you’ve clicked through from this post.)


Links for Canadian readers

Fellowship Of Fear

The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie


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What Are You Reading Monday – 21Dec09

December18

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I just finished two wins from publishers, two books recommended by readers, a 1930s genre classic, and the first of a relatively new detective series set in Montana: Supreme Courtship, The Last Dickens, The Sea Garden, High Rising, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Coyote Wind. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are You Reading Monday – 30Nov09

November30

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished a memoir won from the publisher, one reader recommendation, a young adult novel, a book club buy, a lovely story set in Kenya, a short WAHM guide, and the first in a great new detective/dog series (it works!): On The Line, Some Tame Gazelle, Breakfast at Sadie’s, Cormac, A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, License to Play, and Dog On It. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are You Reading Monday – 16Nov09

November16

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished two young girl “chapter” books, both classics in their own right, a top-100 list title, and a “I have no idea how this came to be reserved for me at the library” book: Betsy-Tacy, Ramona and her Mother, Olive Kitteridge, and The Christmas List: a Novel. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are You Reading Monday – 02Nov09

November2

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

This week I finished reading :

The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore
Iambics of Newfoundland, Robert Finch

After spending the greater part of a decade traveling around the island of Newfoundland… NPR radio (host) Robert Finch chronicles the people, geography, and wildlife of this remote and lovely place.

Read the rest of this entry »

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What Are You Reading Monday – 26Oct09

October26

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

This week I finished reading :

Nothing. Nada. Nyet. I’m just working away on the two that I’m currently reading.

I’m currently reading:
All You Have To Do is Be,Tom Caldwell
1. All You Have To Do Is Be

A very special gift from my sister because Tom Caldwell was our father’s brother.

This week, I read the chapters “forgiving” and “Good”. References, in addition to the Bible: Charles Spurgeon, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Shakespeare (MacBeth) and Charles Sheldon.

2. The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore
Iambics of Newfoundland, Robert Finch

After spending the greater part of a decade traveling around the island of Newfoundland… NPR radio (host) Robert Finch chronicles the people, geography, and wildlife of this remote and lovely place.

This week, I particularly enjoyed the chapter about the CBC: “A Half Hour Later in Newfoundland”

Shop Indie Bookstores
Yes, this is an affiliate link – they all are.

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What Are You Reading Monday – 19Oct09

October19

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

literary road trip It was a very busy week, reading-wise for me! I finished a remainder,
a top 100 title, two stops on the Atlantic Canada Literary Road Trip, and a library book that I cannot ever remember ordering: Strength Training for Seniors, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Settlement of Memory, Latitudes of Melt, and East of the Mountains. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are You Reading Monday – 12Oct09

October12

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished reading :

1. The Lonesome Gods

The Lonesome Gods,Louis L'AmourI’ve never read anything by Louis L’Amour who is one of the most prolific writers I’ve run into, and seems to be “THE” name in Western fiction. My dad used to read a lot of books by L’Amour. He’s been gone eleven years so I thought it was about time I investigated those books that were always around the house when I was growing up.

Based on this book, I won’t be wasting my time on any more L’Amour fiction. I finished this one only because I thought some clever coming plot twist would reveal the reason why his work is popular. Alas, I read to the bitter end without finding any such thing.

Perhaps L’Amour’s earlier writing was better. After all, one doesn’t churn out 89 novels & 14 short-story collections over 40 years and maintain quality. I had chosen this novel because, according to Google, it was one of his best-selling books.

I found the writing to be uneven, and L’Amour’s phrasing repetitive. Where in the world were his editors?

His characters were overdrawn, either being completely good, intelligent, kind to animals, well-and-widely-read (in the Wild West where many were illiterate), world-wise, strong, resourceful, astute in business, knowledgeable about their surroundings and on & on OR evil, smarmy, unkind to all creatures, not as smart as the good people and so on.

The plot was formulaic and predictable. You know that the hero will live, get the girl & get rich and the bad people will lose their land & money, and die (all but perhaps one or two that might make for a similarly formulaic sequel).

L’Amour’s setting in 1850s California–definitely the frontier–may well be historically accurate although I found his manner of dropping in semi-relevant facts (some with a century’s perspective) awkward and irritating – much like talking to a social-climbing name-dropper.

If this was a full review, I’d go into greater detail. I’ll save us both from that. Sorry, Dad.

I’m currently reading:

1. Strength Training for Seniors,Michael FeketeStrength Training for Seniors
Subtitled: How to Rewind Your Biological Clock

My chiropractor has recommended core strengthening for me. Since I don’t have the strength to do planks, I thought I’d better get in shape.

2. A Settlement of Memory
A Novel by Gordon RodgersA Settlement of Memory,Gordon Rodgers
From Books in Canada: Rodgers has written a complex and compelling narrative using the history of the labour movement in Newfoundland as his historical anchor. William Coaker and the Fishermen’s Protective Union are paralleled by Tom Vincent and his FC Union based in the outports of the coast and islands of Bonavista Bay. Rodgers’ novel is backed by extensive research; which is the skeleton for a consistent and authentic narrative.


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What Are You Reading Monday – 05Oct09

October5

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished reading :

1. The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretserthe lost dog,michelle de Kretser

“Traipsing through muddy fields in search of his lost dog, Tom Loxley is preoccupied–with the book he is writing on Henry James; with an enigmatic artist…; and with his elderly mother…As Tom’s search progresses, (the book) bursts with life and emotion, making brilliant use of the conventions of suspense as it leads us to see anew the conflicts between our bodies and our minds, the present and the past, the primal and the civilized.”

How Not to Look Old,Charla Krupp2. How Not to Look Old
Subtitled: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better

Dozens of ways Read the rest of this entry »

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What Are You Reading Monday – 28Sep09

September28

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished reading :

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
From Wikipedia.org:

The novel begins in 1939 with the arrival of Josef Kavalier as a refugee in New York City, where he comes to live with his 17-year-old cousin Sammy Klayman. Besides having a shared interest in drawing, the two are also fans of the Jewish stage magician Harry Houdini… Read the rest of this entry »

What Are You Reading Monday – 21Sep09

September21

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished reading :
Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook: 50 To-Die-For Recipes fpr New York-Style Cheesecake
I just love reading cookbooks and this one was easier than most. I learned lots, including the story of Junior’s and their cheesecake, why to use melted butter in the sponge cake crust, Junior’s two-step mixing technique for the cheesecake filling, how to bake a cheesecake without any cracks, and how to cut a cheesecake properly.
Most of all, I learned I want to go to Junior’s in Brooklyn and taste how the professionals do it!
(Of course, I also I drooled over the recipes. I don’t have any immediate plans to actually bake a cheesecake, but when I try out a recipe from this book, you’ll be the first to know the results, dear reader.)
Read the rest of this entry »

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What Are You Reading Monday – 14Sep09

September14

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

It’s the week of the “Michaels”.

I’ve just finished reading for the second time:
Galore
Galore by Michael Crummey

“An intricate family saga and a love story spanning two centuries…propelled by the disputes and alliances, grievances and trade-offs that bind the Sellers and Devine families through generations.”

Michael Crummey surpasses my (very high) expectations in his third novel about Newfoundland life. I promise a review this week.

I’m currently reading:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
“Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America–the comic book.”

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What are You Reading Monday 10Aug09

August10

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

Noted this week: two classics of 1950s literature (Hannah Fowler, Village School) and the hottest new diet book to hit the pre-publication market.
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What are you reading Monday 03Aug09

August3

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

Completed this week: a fun murder mystery (Taken to the Cleaners) and an exciting recent Canadian entry (Jade Peony). Read the rest of this entry »

What are you Reading Monday – 27Jul09

July27

What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog

I’ve just finished reading these. Reviews are coming soon.

1. The Daughter-in-Law Rules
by Sally Shields
101 Surefire Ways to Manage (and Make Friends with) Your Mother-In-Law
“In her hilarious new book The Daughter-In-Law Rules author Sally Shields lays out 101 simple and witty ways to aid wives of all ages in mastering every element of MIL relations.”

2. Galore by Michael Crummey
“An intricate family saga and a love story spanning two centuries…propelled by the disputes and alliances, grievances and trade-offs that bind the Sellers and Devine families through generations.”

I’m currently reading these:

1. Taken to the Cleaners
by Dolores Johnson A Mandy Dyer mystery
Mysteries, especially themed such this one is, are my snack food of reading. My secret vice. This is the first one of this series that I’ve seen. “Mandy is making a go of [her late uncle’s Denver dry-cleaning company]…Then Betty the Bag Lady comes in with a man’s suit, slashed and stained with blood.”

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