Thursday, March 31, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Cereal

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Booking Through Thursday for March 31, 2011: If you’re like me, you grew up reading everything under the sun, like the cereal boxes while you ate your breakfast, the newspapers held by strangers on the subway, the tabloid headlines at the grocery store.
What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever read? (You know, something NOT a book, magazine, short story, poem or article.)

My answer: Hmmmmmm...I have to think about this for a minute. The oddest thing I've ever read. Well I don't know how odd it is, because I think most people do it, but if there is writing on public bathroom stalls I always read a few! Don't you? If you said no, I DO NOT believe you. Maybe you don't go into a public washroom with that purpose, but if there is writing on the walls AS IF YOU DON'T read?? Who would turn their head away?? Ok what else....once in awhile I will check out the missed connection section on craigslist to see if I can match people up!! I haven't...yet!!  When I lived in Winnipeg there was a church on Grant avenue that changed it's sign every was usually pretty funny. That's all I can really think of.

How about you??

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

Sarah Blake's The Postmistress is my book club's April selection. This will sadly be my FINAL book club becuase two days after it I will officially be moving to Red Deer! Craziness.

As you may know I don't like to say too much about my book club books on here because I like to save my comments for our discussions. Plus my reviews have been a bit lame-o lately because I feel like I can't fully concentrate on writing summaries and reviews. Let's pretend it's baby brain. People are often willing to chalk up my scatterbrain to the baby, and I am starting to believe it myself.

So The Postmistress-pretty good I enjoyed it, although I am looking forward to hearing what my fellow book clubbers have to say about certain parts!

From "Those who carry the truth sometimes bear a terrible burden...Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape. The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen."

I'm always interested in reading books set during this time period, especially from the British or Canadian perspective, (The Postmistress is set during Word War II in England, Europe, and The USA). I look forward to discussing this one with my book club!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Review: The Winter Ghosts

I read Kate Mosse's novel The Winter Ghosts last week. It was okI guess.  From the author's website: "In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation." I was intrigued because I enjoyed her novel Labyrinth, and this one also had a touch of the supernatural, but it wasn't very exciting, nor was it incredibly terrible. It was a pretty quick read, but that's pretty much all I have to say about it.

Sorry for the lame review!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins March 24, 2011

Oh Friday Fill-Ins! we go! (My answers are in red!)

1. Why does it not just warm up for good!!

2. Two people giving 50% is equal to 50%.

3. My favorite breakfast includes waffles with strawberries and an Arnold Palmer from over easy.

4. The Book of Negroes was the last book I read twice in one year.

5. I am SO glad it's Friday and I get to hang out with my friends!

6. Being with David would make me feel better right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing Said the Whale, tomorrow my plans include being lazy, maybe some reading, and maybe some knitting, and Sunday, I want to relax some more!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Serial

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March 24, 2011 question: Series? Or Stand-alone books?

My answer:

Short answer: Series please!! I love being able to find out what happens next!!

Long answer: I feel like I answered this question a while ago so I looked back through my archives to see:

On September 30, 2010 the question was about a series “jumping the shark, you can see my response here. In that post I did list my favourite series: The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Earth's Children (Jean Auel), The Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon), The Josephine B. Trilogy (Sandra Gulland), His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman), Twilight, Rashi's Daughters (Maggie Anton), Magic Kingdom of Landover (Terry Brooks), The Foundation Series (Isaac Asimov), The Finovar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay), and I would now like to add Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy!!

On August 16, 2010 I also mentioned my love of series (you can read that post here).

On June 3, 2010 I wrote about my love of lengthy novels, especially in a series (here).

So back to the short answer: I love reading books in a series!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Needles and Pearls

Gil McNeil's novel Needles and Pearls was EXACTLY the kind of book I needed last week!! It is the sequel to Divas Don't Knit and is equally entertaining. I found Divas Don't Knit a year or so ago at Chapters for a few dollars and bought it and loved it, and so I was thrilled when I found Needles and Pearls on their shelves for $5 last week!!

According to Goodreads: "A year after her husband's death, Jo Mackenzie is finally starting to get the hang of being a single parent. The boys are thriving in their new seaside home, the wool shop is starting to do well and despite two weddings, an in-school knitting project and Trevor the Wonder Dog coming to stay, she's just about keeping her head above water. But boys, babies and best friends certainly make life a lot more interesting. Can Jo cope when things get really complicated? Because if knitting truly does keep you sane when your life starts to unravel then it looks like Jo is going to need much bigger needles."

A bit of mindless chick lit, but oh how I loved it!! Jo ends up being pregnant and going through all kidns of crazy stuff in her life, which I can relate to,plus I am a bit in love with knitting right now, so this was a perfect read for me. I ended up looking at amazon to find other chick-lit knitting related books and there are tons-I will definitely be stocking up on these in the near future!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (referred to hereafter as TGLAPPS) by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was my book club's selection this month. I initially read this book a couple of years ago but reread it for 2 reasons:1. I LOVED it the first time I read it, and 2. I did not reread our February selection Little Bee and completely forgot EVERYTHING about it and could not participate in the discussion.

A brief note about TGLAPPS (that seems almost obscene for some reason): It is a book all in letters-which threw a lot  people off at first-and so did the title for that matter- but it works!! Honestly! Set just after World War II, a London author heads out to the Channel Islands to research her new novel about people's experiences during wartime. The island of Guernsey was actually occupied by the Germans for 5 years (for real!) and a group of people there formed a "bookclub" to cover up a late night feast when they were caught going home after curfew.  I'm not really doing this book justice right now I can tell but believe me when I say it's worth the read. It's not very long, it's a fairly quick read, and although it deals with some heavy issues, it's also quite lighthearted and fun. It's one of my favourite books to be honest with!!

Friday Fill-Ins March 18, 2011

My answers are in RED as per usual! we go!

1. I love to go to the book store because I love finding new books to read.

2. It's not the quantity, it’s the quality!

3. The last thing I had to eat was a banana.

4. An air conditioner is no longer essential.

5. Please take a moment to be thankful for the wonderful people and things in your life!

6. Your morals, beliefs, and hard work have brought you this far.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight (today) I'm looking forward to looking at strollers and playing some games with Dave and Carolyn,  tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and having brunch, and Sunday, I want to hang out some more with my husband and sister!!

Hope you all have as wonderful a weekend as I know I will be having!! :)

E-book cap for libraries

There was an interesting article in the Toronto Star today about HarperCollins Publisher putting a 26 download cap on library book titles. When the Toronto Public Library (TPL) purchases an e-book, only one user can take it out at a time, just like a regular book (you can have up to 10 e-books out at once for up to 21 days each). After that "copy" has been loaned out 26 times the library now has to re-purchase the book, albeit at a lower cost.  Hmmmmmm. Interesting. According to this article many librarians report that "regular books" can often circulate for over 100 checkouts-and I believe it based on the condition of some of the books I've borrowed over the years!! 

While I understand that the publishing company is worried that their sales of e-books will be impacted by people being able to borrow e-books from the library "forever", isn't a major point of libraries to promote and support literacy and access to knowledge? I think there is something very wrong about this situation indeed!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: The Good Daughters

Joyce Maynard's The Good Daughters seemed like a really intersting book. From the publisher's website:

"They were born on the same day, in the same small New Hampshire hospital, into families that could hardly have been less alike...Told in the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana, The Good Daughters follows these "birthday sisters" as they make their way from the 1950s to the present. Master storyteller Joyce Maynard chronicles the unlikely ways the two women's lives parallel and intersect—from childhood and adolescence to first loves, first sex, marriage, and parenthood; from the deaths of parents to divorce, the loss of home, and the loss of a beloved partner—until past secrets and forgotten memories unexpectedly come to light, forcing them to reevaluate themselves and each other."

But it wasn't. I did not enjoy this read. When my mom lent it to me she said "It was ok, but I figured it out right away". There is a "big secret" but I think you're supposed to know or at least be contemplating it the whole time. In the end it is a bit anti-climactic because you've been expecting it all along. Not on my list of recommendations that's for sure!

What are you reading now?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins March 10, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins! we go! My answers are in RED and since my mom is still here visiting, her answers are in BLUE!

1. Oh gross! I thought it was chocolate.
     Oh gross! I thought it was mud.

2. Living in separate provinces from my husband while pregnant-well THAT's off my bucket list!
    Toronto-well THAT's off my bucket list!

3. No, thank you!
    No, I don't want to hear that.

4. I love my husband with all my heart and soul.
    With all my heart and soul

5. And then she left.
    And then some more of the same.

6. I can't forget about the time I got a nosebleed after eating nachos loaded with jalapenos.
    I can't forget ... I think I forgot.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and hanging out with my mom, and Sunday, I want to go grocery shopping before my mom leaves.
   And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going out for supper with Sara, tomorrow my plans include going to Eaton Centre and looking at baby stuff, and going out for supper at Canyon Creek, and Sunday, I want to sleep in and do my last visiting in Toronto!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Multi-Tasking

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March 10, 2011: Do you multi-task when you read? Do other things like stirring things on the stove, brushing your teeth, watching television, knitting, walking, et cetera?
Or is it just me, and you sit and do nothing but focus on what you’re reading?
(Or, if you do both, why, when, and which do you prefer?)

My answer: It depends. If I'm reading on the subway then I am just reading (unless people are talking WAY TOO LOUD, then I have to put my IPod in to drown them out). If I'm reading at home though, it could go either way. If I'm really into a book I usually zone out and won't even respond to people talking to me, never mind doing anything else!! If I'm not really into a book or if there's is something on my mind (like baby stuff!!) then I might get up every once in a while and do stuff-usually google whatever I'm thinking about, or check facebook or my email. Sometimes I'll read while the TV is on, but that's usually if someone else is around watching something I don't really care about.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: Bride of New France

I thoroughly enjoyed Suzanne DesRochers' Bride of New France. Laure is a young woman living in the Salpetriere-a dormitory/orphanage/hospital in Paris in 1669. She was taken from her parents from the streets of parents as a toddler because they were homeless beggars on the streets. Taught needlework and to make lace, she produces exceptional work, and Laure dreams of one day becoming a seamstress. After writing a letter to the King of France requesting better food rations, the King's minister writes back to the nun Superior at the Salpetriere requesting 100 of their girls to be sent to New France to marry the French men of the Colony. This is considered a fate worse than death and Laure is sent to be one of the filles du roi. We follow Laure as she crosses the Atlantic and settles in this new world of "Savages" (it pains me to write that word but that was what was said in that time) and lonely Frenchmen. I do enjoy historical fiction, and love to read about Canada's history so this was a great book for me! I also like that DesRochers' Bride of New France  began as her master's thesis project!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review: Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go was intriguing in the beginning, but a bit disappointing overall.

From  "Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it. Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is."

The students are in fact being bred as organ donors. At Hailsham they are basically sheltered from this information until after they graduate, and slowly learn about what is expected of them in life. The novel is narrated by Kathy H. and it feels very disconnected. There is a bit of a love triangle between the main characters Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, but it felt a bit dry, not really believable. I was more interested in understand how society got to a point of harvesting organ donations from people bred specifically for that cause, and would have liked to hear something from the receiver's perspective. Never Let Me Go was recently released as a film, the trailer makes me think it might be more enjoyable as a movie than a book!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins March 3, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins!

FFI we go! My answers in RED, my mom's answers in BLUE!!

1. Bring your favorite comfy clothes. Bring your favorite dish.

2. Batteries are included.   Instructions are included.

3. That is exactly right.    What I said is exactly right.

4. Well, you see, it's just like I said.  Well, you see, I think that's spectacular.

5. See you soon!  Coming soon!

6. But what if we COULD teleport?   But what if there were no ifs?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my mom, tomorrow my plans include looking at strollers and baby stuff, and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing Sara, going for dinner and drinking wine, tomorrow my plans include whatever I want, and Sunday, more of the same!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Cheating

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March 3, 2011: Do you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

My answer: Nope! I used to look at the last WORD of a book, but that was YEARS ago. I don't want to spoil the story by accidentally seeing a name of someone who you think might not make it to the end!

How about you?