Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #187

Here we go!!

1. I'm going to fall asleep standing up!

2. I enjoy a little bit of adventure and daring.

3. Perhaps today you can make it a point to say something nice to someone just because.

4. My sister-in law has a true adventurer’s spirit.

5. Compassion is incredibly important.

6. Be honest-with other people AND yourself, no matter how difficult.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to eating tacos, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and then watching the copy of Baby Boom I bought for $5, and Sunday, I want to sleep in again!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: A day at the beach with...

Booking Through Thursday July 29, 2010 question: Which fictional character (or group of characters) would you like to spend a day at the beach with? Why would he/she/they make good beach buddies?

My answer: I had to think about this one for a while, and ended up browsing through my "book's I've read" list. I would like to spend a day at the beach with the characters from Rebecca Wells' The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood when they are young adults-before Vivi has her breakdown. Why? because they are such a close group of girls/women that support each other no matter what and know how to have a good time! One flashback scene in particular sticks with me from the movie (but I'm pretty sure it was in the book too) when the four women (Vivi, Teensy, Necie, and Caro) are at the beach with all their kids and everyone is laughing and happy!! It always makes me want to be there with them!!

Now I wish I was at the beach!!!!

P.S. This is my 100th post!!!!!!!!!! HURRAY!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

articles about e-books and a drinking game

Awesome article I came across on the Quill and Quire blog about an awesome post on Bookavore: basically the premise is to make a drinking game out of articles reviewing electronic books. Check out the link for full details/rules-some of my favourites include:
  • Reminder that some people read in the bathtub or on the beach and assertion that e-readers/physical books are superior in this regard — two drinks
  • “smell of a real book” — clean out the liquor cabinet, drink until you pass out, wake up next morning, puke, then continue drinking
Another one I would like to add would be:
  • "easy on the eyes" For example: "uses eink, which is easy on the eyes — not at all like reading on a computer screen" (from the Toronto Star) - one drink (tequila shot if possible)
He he, I don't have anything against e-readers-they seem kind of neat-but I am definitely tired of reading what seems like the same reviews over and over!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Review: The Man Who Forgot How To Read

Howard Engel is the Canadian writer of the Benny Cooperman detective series. Back in the early 2000s e had a stroke which left him with alexia sine agraphia - he was unable to read while his writing was preserved. As a speech-language pathologist I found this quite intriguing because I have worked with a few people with interesting reading and writing deficits-although not quite like Engel's. Most of these people had infarcts in the occipital lobe so their deficits are much different than those resulting from damage in the temporal, parietal or frontal lobes.

But I digress...Engel's personal account of his stroke and subsequent recovery was repetitive at times, it was also an interesting and much more approachable than Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight (although that was a very unique perspective of a neuroanatomist's personal experience with stroke).

While reading The Man Who Forgot How To Read, I remembered reading an article about this book in an issue of CASLPO's monthly newsletter in 2008. AT that time (2008) I thought it was really cool (and still do!) that he contacted Oliver Sacks, a prominent neurologist-and that Sacks not only wrote back, but ended up writing the forward to Engel's next Benny Cooperman novel AND the afterword to The Man Who Forgot How To Read.

If you are intrigued by how the brain works, AND what happens when it doesn't, I recommend checking out Engel's The Man Who Forgot How To Read, or ANYTHING by Oliver Sacks!!

What are you reading?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Book Review: The Outlander

When I picked up Gil Adamson's The Outlander at the library last week, I was familiar with the name but not the story line. I've seen reviews about the book, plus my amazon store has been recommending it to me for the past year or two, but I could not for the life of me remember what it was about.

A brief synopsis courtesy of Quill and Quire's review: "The year is 1903, the location somewhere in the Crowsnest Pass region of the Rockies. Mary is fleeing from her husband’s two brothers, who do not take kindly to her having shot their closest kin in the thigh and watched him bleed to death."

Apparently parts of this book are based on what I like to call "real life", but I'm not sure exactly which parts. What I really liked about this book was the character development, especially Mary! She is a "widow by her own hand" and we slowly learn the why and how along the way. She is vulnerable and naive, yet strong and courageous. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I find it frustrating unique adjectives are used close together in a novel-and Adamson was guilty of this a few times!

Overall an interesting read!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #186

Oh Fill-Ins, how I enjoy you:

1. I feel TOO HOT!!!

2. Laundry-we need to catch up.

3. Do what makes YOU happy!

4. Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle was completely unique.

5. It's hard to know how much longer I will be able to withstand this heat and humidity!!

6. This heat follows suit.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to eating something delicious, tomorrow my plans include a potentially rainy BBQ with friends and Sunday, I want to hit anywhere but to short-stop and get on base!!!

Booking Through Thursday: Podcasts

July 22, 2010 question: Do you ever listen to book-related podcasts?

If so, which ones and why? (Include the URLs for people who aren’t familiar with them.)

Or, of course, there’s the flip side … did you even know that such a thing existed? (I ask because I know a lot of people who have no idea what a podcast is.)

My answer: Nope. I DO know what a podcast is, but I don't listen to any to be honest with you. My husband has a few that he listens to although they are not book related. If anybody has any good suggestions please let me know.

(Wow that was a REALLY short answer!!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Definitions #2

Here are some words I've had to look up recently:

1. Saturnine: Melancholy or sullen; Having or marked by a tendency to be bitter or sardonic.

2. Louche: Of questionable taste or morality; decadent.

3. Palimpsest: A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once;with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible.

4. Noisome: Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; foul.

5. Pernicious: Tending to cause death or serious injury; deadly;Causing great harm; destructive.

6. Toadying: A person who flatters or defers to others for self-serving reasons; a sycophant.

7. Horripilate: The bristling of the body hair, as from fear or cold; goose bumps.

8. Triturated: To rub, crush, grind, or pound into fine particles or a powder; pulverize.

9. Pullulated: To put forth sprouts or buds; germinate; To breed rapidly or abundantly; To teem; swarm.

10. Peregrinations: To journey or travel from place to place, especially on foot.

11. Styptic: Contracting the tissues or blood vessels; astringent; Tending to check bleeding by contracting the tissues or blood vessels; hemostatic.

12. Moribund: Approaching death; about to die; On the verge of becoming obsolete.

13. Mendicants: A beggar; A member of an order of friars forbidden to own property in common, who work or beg for their living.

How many of these words did YOU know?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Fill In #185

Here we go-another Fill-In Friday: (my answers are in red)

1. This is what life does. It lets you make your own decisions.

2. Will you appreciate the moment?

3. Upon reflection I think I'll have the soup.

4. I haven't been camping for quite a long time.

5. Later, you wake up and are grateful you got to sleep in!

6. From the golden prairies to the far and boundless sea.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to CAMPING tomorrow my plans include READING, SWIMMING AND ROASTING MARSHMALLOWS and Sunday, I want to WIN OUR BASEBALL GAME!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Hot

Booking Through Thursday question July 15, 2010: … when you think about “hot reading,” what does that make you think of? Beach reading? Steamy romances? Books that take place in hot climates? Or cold ones?

My answer: I tend to think of a book that is easy to read and won't required too much thinking. Something that is fast paced like "The DaVinci Code" or more chick lit like a Maeve Binchy book.
Publish Post

It's very HOT and HUMID in Toronto right now and we are finally going camping this weekend!!! I am just about to finish Eat, Pray, Love for the second time-it was my book club's selection for this month, well today actually, but I didn't go because there was too much to do to get ready for camping. So now I need to pick the book to bring camping-I've got a few on the shelf so we'll see what strikes my fancy later on.

Have a GREAT weekend!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: A Fine Balance

FINALLY!! I FINISHED IT!!! I will have to look back through my blog to figure out when I decided to start reading Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance so that Meghan and I could have a mini book club discussion. Months for sure. (Update: according to Goodreads I added it March ya, basically 4 months!!). I didn't think I was going to make it. It's fairly thick book (713pages to be exact) so I wasn't keen on carrying it with me on the subway so I thought that I could use it as my book to read at home, while having another on the go for to and from work. that obviously didn't go well. I kept letting it sit on my bedside table, but last week I was determined to finish it!! Meghan finished it a while ago, so I owed it to her to get 'er done! Honestly, I don't know that I would have been able to get through it if it wasn't for her. But I did.

My friend Sandra (I hope it's ok I used your name!!) from book club often talks about A Fine Balance and how depressing it is, and comments on how she would get to a "good part" (or happy part) and simply close the book and say to herself "THE END!!" No kidding Sandra-I know what you mean!! describes it "From the publisher" as: Set against the emergency measures imposed by Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s, A Fine Balance follows the lives of four unlikely people as they struggle "to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair." Originally published in 1995, A Fine Balance is both a warning about the human terrors that await a society without compassion and a testimony to the enduring greatness of the human spirit.

It is definitely a depressing book-but there must be more to it than that!! I printed off some info from various places online including some discussion questions-so I hope we can find at least a grain of goodness!!

Wish us luck!

Have you read a Fine Balance? What did you think? I would be VERY HAPPY to have your thoughts!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Discuss

Question July 8, 2010: Do you have friends and family to share books with? Discuss them with? Does it matter to you?

Answer: I DO!!!!!!!!!! It matters VERY MUCH!!!! I love to read-it's one of my favourite things to do. I also love to talk. So talking about books is, well, awesome!!

In university I didn't know very many people who LOVED to read for fun-or many who didn't have time for it because school was so busy.

Since moving to Toronto I've met many people who love to read and it's simply wonderful. I'm part of a great book club with ladies who at one time were strangers but who I now consider friends. I love our discussions because I like being offered different viewpoints because I end up appreciating so much more than I would have on my own.

I also work with a number of people (who I also consider friends) who enjoy reading and we often share our reading experiences. In fact, my friend Meghan and I decided we would read A Fine Balance because we had both heard so much about it and though it would be fun to discuss it together! (I am 3/4 of the way Meghan-this weekend it will be done-I PROMISE!!)

My family likes to read to too, and especially since I started this blog we've had a lot more book related discussions-both on the blog and off (like in real life...well the phone counts as real life right?).

How about you? Do you have people to discuss with Do you like to discuss books or do you prefer to mull things over yourself?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Review: The Tenth Gift

My mom brought Jane Johnson's the Tenth Gift for me from Winnipeg when her and my dad came to visit last week and overall I really enjoyed it! There were a few things that drove me crazy but I'll get to those shortly.

First a summary: The Tenth Gift is set in both the present day AND in 1625, in England AND Morocco. Julia-a likable character save for her being the mistress of her best friend's husband Michael-is ceremoniously dumped by her lover and is given a need work book from the 1600s as a parting gift. What Michael initially fails to realize is that he has given Julia the wrong copy-one that contains the diary of Catherine Anne Treganna (Cat)-a first hand account of her kidnapping by Barbary pirates. As part of the war on Christendom, Cat is taken to Morocco to become a slave. Once Michael realizes his mistake he tries to contact Julia who has cut off all ties and leaves the country-for Morocco. The novel skips between Julia in the present day and Cat's diary entries as her life enfolds as a slave in 1625.

The Tenth Gift was captivating and it held my attention for every single minute-I could hardly wait for a chance to read it. HOWEVER. There are two things in particular that drove me crazy:
1. There were a few times when the author repeated adjectives within pages of each other. I don't mean words like "great" or "fantastic" but words like "noisome" A word like that pops out at you and is easily noticed by the reader (well this reader at least. And I find that annoying (I'm sure many people also find it annoying that I start my sentences with and...but I digress). SO yes, I found that annoying-I mean honestly, don't you have a thesaurus!?!? Here are a few other options courtesy of fetid, putrid, rotten, stinking, mephitic.

2. I like when a story comes together but this was a bit too perfect if you ask me. There happened to be an awful lots of connections between the characters from 1625 and the present day, in and across both locations. These connections were a bit too convenient and thus unrealistic for me.

Wow-that was a long rant. But please don't get me wrong-I TRULY enjoyed this book!! Best of all was finding out what the Tenth Gift was!!

So readers, what are you reading?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Disappointment

July 1, 2010 question: Name a book or author that you truly wanted to love but left you disappointed. (And, of course, explain why.)

My answer: I LOVED LOVED LOVED Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind. It captivating and mysterious and I completely LOVED Zafon's writing. When I found out last fall (shortly after reading The Shadow of the Wind) that a new prequel (The Angel's Game) was coming out-I was thrilled. I got it for Christmas and it took all of my energy NOT to start reading it immediately-and I mean right then and there without opening any other presents!! When I finally got the chance to dig in I was SO DISAPPOINTED. Here is why:

It's kind of my own fault. Well at least a little bit. You see, I read that it was a prequel-but what I didn't not realize (because they had me at the word prequel so I stopped reading the blurb after that), was that this was set in the same city, featured a few landmarks from TSOTW, but it was set like 80 years in the past. The main characters are not really connected at all and the storyline was completely different. I felt cheated!! For the majority of the book I was trying to figure out how the two stories were linked (besides a few landmarks as I mentioned) and by the time I finished I realized they weren't really connected-at least not in the way I was expecting. The other thing-which I will NOT accept responsibility for-was the use of the supernatural . NOW LET ME BE CLEAR-I quite enjoy the supernatural-but in this case it was just kind of weird and didn't really fit in with the rest of the book.

All in all I didn't hate the book-but I was VERY disappointed!!

How about you? Are there any books or authors that have disappointed you?