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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

Books Read in January 2015

January16

books read
Yup – you read that right: 2015. I’m three years behind in recording the books I’ve read. But one must start somewhere, so away we go.

January! A new year – and I celebrated by indulging in mysteries. They’re in a separate post, as usual. Herewith are the four non-mystery books that I read.

 

1. SILENCE OF THE SONGBIRDS: How We Are Losing the World’s Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them by Bridget Stutchbury (Non-fiction, Nature) 4 star rating

The Silence of the Songbirds by Bridget Stutchbury photo ffe34720-fb37-40c8-b040-dc64458be6cc_zpsbio4ibpq.jpg I’ve noticed in the last few years and especially in the spring and summer of last year that there are fewer songbirds trilling their calls around our country property.
Since reading Silence of the Songbirds, I have a good idea why this is – not that it makes me feel any better.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is still a classic on this subject, but Stutchbury’s book is an up-to-date consideration of the whole of North America.

These are disturbing facts; I often see in my mind’s eye, even now three years after first reading of them, all those dead hawks falling from the sky over southern fields.

4 stars

 

2. THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY by Walter Mosley (Fiction) 4 star rating

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley photo 41b7921e-1fc5-4f47-bec9-d1f5f8ae23a4_zps6o5yxxjn.jpg
91-year-old recluse Ptolemy Grey lives forgotten by the world and suffering from increasing dementia. He’s offered a chance to engage in an experimental drug test that will clear his mind, but cause his death within one year.

Publishers Weekly says: “Though the details of the experimental procedure are less than convincing, Mosley’s depiction of the indignities of old age is heartbreaking, and Ptolemy’s grace and decency make for a wonderful character and a moving novel.” I agree.

4 stars

 

3. ALAN TURING: ENIGMA MAN by Nigel Cawthorne (Nonfiction, Biography, History) 3.5 star rating
Alan Turing - The Enigma Man by Nigel Cawthorne photo 070f5b64-c308-48a6-93d4-4c9e7ea10607_zpss2djnqme.jpg

I was inspired to read Enigma Man after seeing the film The Imitation Game. This short biography of Alan Turing, genius of Bletchley Park and Britain’s chief codebreaker during WWII is the book on which the movie was based.

The book is a little dry, but short and worthwhile to have some background knowledge on this mastermind.

3½ stars

 

4. DILIGENT RIVER DAUGHTER by Bruce Graham 3 star rating

Diligent River Daughter by Bruce Graham photo be834223-b311-480a-a912-78b0dd1d6e2c_zpsdez3akg8.jpgI buy a lot of books but most are clearance items or used. But remembering how much I had enjoyed The Parrsboro Boxing Club by Bruce Graham, I impulsively picked this book up at a bookstore and paid full price, expecting another gem, set in my adopted home province.

I was disappointed, however, since the WWI setting took the protagonist away from her home in Diligent River, Nova Scotia. The plot wasn’t strong enough to overcome that. This is not Graham’s best.

3 stars

 
I find that Silence of the Songbirds has really stuck with me. Have you read any good nonfiction books in the last few years that have the same effect on you?

 

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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6 Comments to

“Books Read in January 2015”

  1. On January 17th, 2018 at 12:52 am Teresa Edgerton Says:

    I’m finishing up my 2017 reading list and getting ready to start my 2018. It seems to be taking longer to get myself organized this year. I think we traveled so much last year that I fear bits and pieces of me are spread across the globe. I read a vintage nonfiction book I had on my bookshelves–Wandering through Winter: An Adventurous 20,000 Mile Journey Through the North American Winter, by Edwin Way Teale and published in 1965. I reviewed it on my blog. It wouldn’t appeal to most modern readers but I grew to love it. The book won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Teale, accompanied by his wife, visits places of interest to him and writes about them as they travel across the US from the southern tip of California to the coast of Maine. The places they visit include the Colorado Desert where he sees a bird that hibernates for the winter; the location of the largest concentration of albino squirrels; the basement of a cabin with an artesian well with salamanders so rare, this is their only known location; the largest prairie dog colony; and a museum dedicated to photos of snowflakes. I also read all three volumes of the autobiography of artist/illustrator Susan Branch, which I also loved. Her experiences mirrored mine growing up in the same era, and I liked the handwritten quality of the books and the illustrations she drew for the books.

  2. On January 17th, 2018 at 3:28 pm Debbie Says:

    The Teale book sounds fascinating, Teresa. It sounds to me like you wandered with him, leisurely working your way through.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. On January 17th, 2018 at 6:30 am Rebecca Foster Says:

    I like the sound of Ptolemy Grey. I haven’t read the Stutchbury but I do occasionally feel compelled to read books like that (on climate change, etc.) — as depressing as they are, it’s important to understand what we’re doing to the world. Most such books have at least a glimmer of hope in them about how we can help.

  4. On January 17th, 2018 at 3:28 pm Debbie Says:

    Rebecca, in fact, Stutchbury has a list of specific items at the end of her book.

  5. On January 17th, 2018 at 1:28 pm Naomi Says:

    The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey appeals to me – I’m reading a nonfiction book about Alzheimer’s right now and find it fascinating. The novel might make a good companion read!

    The Diligent Daughter is on my Halifax Explosion list, so I’m still curious to read it despite the fact that it’s clearly not everyone’s favourite book. 🙂

  6. On January 17th, 2018 at 3:31 pm Debbie Says:

    You may well enjoy The Diligent Daughter, Naomi. I recall that I was in the mood for smalltown–or even village–NS and didn’t find it. Odd that I don’t remember the explosion figuring in that book, but it must have. 😉

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