Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bonus Book #3: Her Fearful Symmetry

her fearful symmetry
I loved Her Fearful Symmetry. I don't know the last time I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing a book...well, maybe Room, but anyway...

I loved Audrey Niffenegger's first book, The Time Traveler's Wife, so I hoped this one would be good too!

This book is a ghost story...When Elspeth dies she leaves her flat and all her belongings to her nieces with some conditions. They have to live there for a year before they can sell it and their parents are never allowed inside. The girls meet Elspeth's neighbours and get pulled into their lives, but no one, not even Elspeth, bargained for Elspeth to still be there...

I loved that this book was set in London, in Highgate, which is close to where I lived...I also loved that while London was the setting, it didn't end up being a character like it often does...the cemetery, well, it was a character, but that was definitely okay.

It wasn't until I finished the book (into the wee hours this morning) that I realized that symmetry and cemetery sound the same when said with certain accents. Not mine. But some. Hmmm...or maybe it was the lack of sleep.

I found the twins creepy. I was shocked that Elspeth could do what she did to her own daughter. I think I actually found both sets of twins creepy...but you don't really ever see Elspeth and Edie together so the creepiness isn't as pronounced. I loved the relationships between the neighbours in the building.

This is definitely a book I would recommend. Go read it. It's excellent.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bookshelf Porn

My friend Heddy is in the process of moving...and moving means sorting through books.

I think moving also means procrastinating...I know when it's time for me to pack, there are a million things I'd rather do - clean grout with a toothbrush, wipe down baseboards, stare out the window...

Anyway fellow book lovers, here's a link provided by Heddy to some lovely bookshelf porn.

Enjoy! (Yes, it's completely safe for viewing at work!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bonus Book #2: The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

the mysterious edge of the heroic world
So, I loved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil R. Frankweiler. I loved it. I wanted to run away to a museum, but the museum in Kelowna was NOTHING like the museums I read about in books. There was a big stuffed bear and a carriage that was roped off. There were a couple of rooms of changing exhibitions. There was the funny little display up the stairs that was very creepy. There was a street with an assortment of stores. And a Kekuli. That's probably where I would have had to sleep if I'd run away to the Kelowna museum. Not in some fancy old-fashioned bed in a fancy musuem. I haven't been to the museum for a long, long time, so I probably should give it a visit next time I'm in Kelowna.

So, because I loved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil R. Frankweiler, when I saw this E. L. Konigsburg book while J and were choosing pictures books on the weekend, I had to bring it home. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World is rated for 10-14 year olds, so I've called it kidlit (as opposed to YA). But I liked it.

Amedeo moves to Florida from New York City with his mom and makes a new friend, William. William's mother is a liquidator and is working in Amedeo's next door neighbour's house. Amedeo ends up helping William and his mother. Amedeao's chapters alternate with his godfather Peter's chapters. I wasn't sure how Peter's story was going to tie into Amedeo's, but in the end, it worked really well.

This was the perfect book to read while I was stuck home with a sore was easy enough to figure out where I was if I fell asleep with the book and lost my place. It was easy to go back a few pages if I was confused (because I fell asleep...)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: from the couch...

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I have spent the last two days on the couch. With a sore throat. Really, I'd rather be at work. My throat is so sore I can't concentrate for very long on my book, but that's okay. Sleep is probably what I really need.

Today's sore throat teaser is four sentences, not two. Oh well. I like it.

She was from Italy. No one asked from where in Italy. It could have been Rome, or it could have been Rimini. It didn't matter. She was Italian, and she was beautiful, and she spoke three of the Romance languages.

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, E. L. Konigsburg, page 39-40

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT at the link above and/or here
with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post or share your teaser (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bonus Book: 29

Okay, so not the best picture, but whatever.

This was a super fast read. As in I got it at the library at lunch time yesterday and I was done around J's bedtime last night. And I'd done stuff in between like, you know, making dinner, tidying the house, going to the park, playing with J, J's bedtime routing...etc.

The premise of this book reminded me very much of Freaky Friday, although the author, Adena Halpern, says that book had no influence on this one.

A grandmother wishes she could be 29 again (for one day) on her 75th birthday. And she wakes up the next morning and she's 29. Life was different for her than the last time she was 29 - she's single and when she was 29 for real she was married and had an 8 or 9 year old daughter.

She gets to relive being 29 and spend the day with her 25 year old granddaughter. Her very glamourous, fashion designer granddaughter who happens to have a very handsome, single, millionaire friend.

Anyway. The day is full of adventure and some long standing personal relationship issues are resolved. And it pretty much ends happily ever after. And I'm okay with that. It was a good get-lost-in-another-world kind of read. Perfect for a rainy Sunday or a day at the beach or a long plane ride.

Out of interest I took a peek at the book club questions, which were pretty standard, but I thought about number five for a long time...
5. Lucy is thrilled at the chance to spend a day with her newly young grandmother. Think about your own grandmother-can you imagine doing the same with her? What do you think she would have on her "to do" list?

My grandmother and I are somewhat like Ellie and Lucy (except there's no way I would ever be a glamourous fashion designer!). She was married a full 13 years before I was (in terms of age, not real time) and by the time she was my age today, she had six kids aged 3 to 16. When she was 24, she had four kids aged 5 and under. When I was 24 I was living in London, doing whatever the heck I felt like doing on a daily basis...I travelled, I spent money frivilously, I regularly had a few too many alcoholic beverages...that said, I'd love to have had the chance to spend a day with her...I've heard stories...I've seen letters to and from her parents when she was in her late teens. I think she'd be a lot of fun. I think we'd probably get up to a lot of trouble, but I think it would be a day worth remembering! My grandmother is pretty outspoken and very open minded today - I'm sure there are many things she'd like to do that she didn't have the opportunity to do 50 years ago!

So yeah, this book was a fast read. And it was just brain candy. But it was good. I liked was nice to go on a silly vacation with Ellie!


When I worked somewhere that I don't work now, I was fortunate to be involved (peripherally) on a project involving Kenneth Oppel's book Silverwing. I read the trilogy and I enjoyed it - I think I need to reread it though because I remember Firewing being more difficult to follow than Silverwing and Sunwing...but that's not anything to do with this book. You can find some clips of the show on YouTube.

Anyway. Darkwing.

I've been meaning to pick this book up for a while - not only is it another Kenneth Oppel bat book, but there are dinosaurs. And I was going to be a paleaontologist. I was. Really.


I really enjoyed this book - it was a fairly quick read, but it was good. There were some pretty big themes in the book - discrimination and stereotypes being two of them - but they were dealt with so well, they were almost invisible. I'd like to reread Silverwing for sure now (I think it's in my bookcase!) because I felt like maybe I remembered some of those themes being the same...

The naming of the animals was well done - particularly the leader of the Felids being called Patriofelis, the rogue, meat eating Felid, Carnassial and his eventual mate Panthera. I love names...

This book is definitely worth picking up...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So, yesterday I was a bit worried I wouldn't make it to two books this month because I ended up not finishing The Vegetarian Myth. Today I don't think I really need to worry all that much. With more than half the month stretching before us I have finished my first book for January.

Room, by Emma Donoghue has been on my list of books to read since BEFORE it came out. Check out the trailers on her site and on the indigo Community site. There's even an interactive floor plan (you might want to wait until you've read the book to click).

I thought the voice in the book was amazing...the five year words and way of speaking were captured so well. I believed a five year old was telling the story. I couldn't put this book down...somewhere along the lines, I must have mentioned to J that there was a Jack in this book because before she went to bed she asked me if Jack was okay and if I was still reading him.

This book held me captive - it was touching and heartbreaking and funny and horribly awful, all at the very same time. They say little kids are extremely resilient and while they are often resistive to change, it is easier for them to adapt to change than it is for adults and this book showed a very resilient and adaptable little boy.

It was interesting how I didn't really know what Jack looked like until close to the end of the book. He never describes himself (but you know he has long hair because he talks about his pony tail) and it isn't until close to the end when he sees tv reports and reads a newspaper article about him and his mom that the reader gets an idea of what he may look like. To me, he was a little boy. Yes, he was living in horrible conditions, but he still saw the world from a little boy's perspective...

I would definitely recommend this book...and I'm holding on to my copy, sort of. Rebecca has asked to borrow it, but when she gives it back, I think I need to reread it...I'm certain I missed a whole lot!

PS Room + an episode of Criminal Minds just before bed = crazy, twisted dreams

Teaser Tuesday returns

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So, my teaser is:

So many of us believe we can get healthy by losing weight. The truth is we must be healthy to lose weight. [author's emphasis, not mine]

The Hormone Diet, Natasha Turner, page 5

with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Vegetarian Myth

Do you remember rule number 1? I sure do. And today I'm oh so glad I put it in my rules for this challenge.

Rule number 1:
If I cannot, absolutely bring myself to finish a book, I will not. I tend to torture myself and force myself to finish books even when they're not keeping my interest and I'm not enjoying them. I'm not going to do that for this challenge.
and as a result of rule number 1, rule number 2 also applies:
If I don't finish a book, I will still blog about it. Then I will attempt to read another book in that same, now truncated, month.
Because this book fits in to that rule. I had to request The Vegetarian Myth (and the university didn't have it!) and my name came up two days before we left to go away for Christmas. So I took it with me.

the vegetarian myth
Um. Yeah. It's not exactly a Christmas reading kind of book. It required that I pay attention and file information in my brain for a later date.

So I decided I'd wait until I got back. Well, it's going back to the library today. I can't renew it because there is a long list of other people who would like to read it. For a while I fooled myself into believing I'd add my name back onto that list, but really, I'm not going to.

I was really interested by the topic of the book and it was recommended by a couple of people as I looked up more information about the GAPS diet. Lierre Keith is a former vegetarian and former vegan who argues that a vegetarian diet creates as much or more destruction to animal life and to plant life as a meat diet does. It's an interesting thought and the way she arrived at her arguments was compelling, but after 70+ pages, it felt like torture.

I started the weekend hoping I'd have it done by the time Alex heads to work tonight - then no late fees because he can drop it in the box. But sometime on Saturday I realized I couldn't do it. As fascinating as it seemed, I just couldn't get into the book. Lierre Keith mentions a couple of times that she was a staunch vegan, set in her beliefs and, (I can't remember if she explicitly says this or if I made it up, reading between the lines) somewhat preachy in her views, but that after a time of illness and research, she has changed her stance. But I kind of felt this book was preachy...just the opposite preaching to what a vegan would preach.

So, if you've read it, I'd love to hear what you thought of the whole book. Maybe one day I'll pick it up again...or maybe I won't. But I tried.

And yes, I will try to read two other books this month...not sure what they will be yet, but I have a stack on the go.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What are you reading?

As you can see by my list of currently in progress books over there ---> I probably don't need any more books to read. But I do. I'm trying to get a list together of books I would like to read and books other people have suggested so that when I reach a point in time where I just don't know what to read, instead of staring mindlessly at my book shelves or walking into the book store and impulse buying a book, I can get out my list and find something at the library.

Also, I really like to hear about what other people are reading and why they do or do not like their current book...

So...what are you reading?

I'm going to make this a regular post - maybe every couple of weeks or so.

I'll start...the two on that list that I'm actively reading are Room and The Vegetarian Myth. Room is making me a little sad and I'm finding it's a fairly quick read that is slowed down a bit by the five year style of prose (that is not a complaint...I love that a five year old is the narrator). The Vegetarian Myth is annoying me. I'm not sure it's the book so much as I haven't been able to sit and read it for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time because I'm not finding it before I go to sleep material, so that means the other times I have to read are limited because of the toddler who lives at my house. I have nothing planned tonight so I'm going to try to make some headway. It's due back at the library this week and there's a hold on it so if I decide I want to finish it, I'll have to return it and put another hold on it. (That is my only frustration with library books...the ones I need more than three weeks to read are almost always the ones that have a long list of people who want to read them!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

And The Good Daughters goes to....


I didn't use because, well, I can figure out who randomly gets the book when only one person wants it!

I will try to do a few more book giveaways in the next little while. We're sorting out our books...we did five shelves of books today and we tossed 68 I think...they were mostly Alex's books, so I'm not giving them away - lots of hardcovers and mostly sports and biographies.

Mine are going to take a bit longer to go through...there's some I think I might get rid of, but I want to either reread them first of at least glance through them.

Edna, I will do my best to make it to the post office tomorrow, but the first day back after two and a half weeks off could make it hard...if not tomorrow, Wednesday for sure!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Challenge changes...

Happy New Year!

So, I did it! I made it through my first year of the challenge and managed to read one book a month. Okay, so November's book might have been a cop-out, but in the seven months of the challenge, I read eleven books. Even taking out the cop-out book and the one that didn't count because I bought it myself, I still average 9 books over 7 months, so I did it.

No matter how I look at it.

Which brings me to the 2011 part of the challenge. This year I am challenging myself to read two books a month. I'm going to try to read two each month, but if I read 24 books by the end of the year, I will be happy. Life with a toddler is a bit of a gong show and there are periods of chaos and periods of relative calm, so 24 books for the year it is.

Oh, and I've made one modification to my no rereads rule (you're still free to reread as much as you want) - I can count rereads for up to half of the 24 books...after I read 12 new and 12 rereads (or some other combination of 24 where number of new reads > number of rereads) I can reread as many as I want!

What are your reading goals for 2011? Anyone out there still with me on this challenge?