HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

lkernagh (Lori) Reads Her Way Through The Months in 2017 - Third Thread

2017 Category Challenge

Join LibraryThing to post.

1lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:49pm Top



Hi everyone. This is my eighth year participating in the Category Challenge. My 2017 category challenge theme is loosely designed around monthly birthstones, flowers, colours and meanings, derived in part from this table of birthstones, flowers and colours.
This challenge has been designed so that I don't feel pinned down to the same categories each month. Also, because I am super bad about starting a new series and then never following through with the further books in the series, this challenge will give me the opportunity to dive back into series reading while also continuing my love for tracking my page count reading. Each month will have a "Miscellaneous" sub-category for tracking purposes of any books read that don't fit any of the monthly theme sub-categories. For the purposes of the title word count sub-category, words like "A" and "The" will count as words for the purposes of word count. The goal will be to read a minimum of three theme-reads each month, but if I read more (or less), it is all good. As the saying goes, it is all about the reading.

ETA - Books read will be allowed to count for more than one sub-category (but not allowed to count as multiple books read!). For example, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (should it become one of my January reads) would actually count for a Hat Trick as a book that fits "1st book in series", "Books with Carnation in Title" and "Books with Pink mentioned in the book title". Can you guess what one of my January reads will be??? :-)





2lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:51pm Top



1st book in a series:
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig - (review)
- The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - (review)
- Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with One (1) in the title:
- The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen - (review)

Books page count (1-100 pages):
- Cupcakes by Daniel Kelley - (review)

Books with One-Word title:
- Cupcakes by Daniel Kelley - (review)
- Paris by Edward Rutherfurd - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of January:
- Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising by Jonathan Littell - (review)

Books with January, Carnation or Garnet in title or author/main character name:
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig - (review)

Books where main theme is Loyalty, Constancy:
- Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics by Jacke Huba - (review)

Books with either Black/Dark Red or Pink cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:

3lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:51pm Top



2nd book in a series:
- The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)
- The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig - (review)

Books with Two (2) in the title:
- 11.22.63 by Stephen King - (review)

Books page count (101-200 pages):
- The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Two-Word title:
- Amethyst Dreams by Phyllis A. Whitney - (review)
- Look Again by Lisa Scottoline - (review)
- Office Girl by Joe Meno - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of February:
- Office Girl by Joe Meno - (review)

Books with February, Iris or Amethyst in title or author/main character name:
- Amethyst Dreams by Phyllis A. Whitney - (review)

Books where main theme is Sincerity:
- Sincerity: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars | modern art | hipster chic | and the curious notion that we ALL have something to say (no matter how dull) by R. Jay Magill Jr. - (review)

Books with Purple cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- Amethyst Dreams by Phyllis A. Whitney - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson - (review)

4lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:53pm Top



3rd book in a series:
- These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon - (review)
- Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)
- The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig - (review)
- At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Three (3) in the title:
- Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden - (review)

Books page count (201-300 pages):
- Matylda, Bright & Tender by Holly M. McGhee - (review)
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio - (review)
- Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Three-Word title:
- Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden - (review)
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - (review)
- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of March:
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio - (review)

Books with March, Jonquil (Daffodil) or Aquamarine in title or author/main character name:
- The Violets of March by Sarah Jio - (review)
- Daffodils by Alex Martin - (review)

Books where main theme is Courage:
- A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Fable about Creativity and Courage by BJ Gallagher - (review)

Books with either White, Yellow or Light Blue cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - (review)
- Daffodils by Alex Martin - (review)
- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:

5lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:54pm Top



4th book in a series:
- The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard - (review)
- Out to Canaan by Jan Karon - (review)
- The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig - (review)
- The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Four (4) in the title:
- 419 by Will Ferguson - (review)

Books page count (301-400 pages):
- Two Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney - (review)
- Out to Canaan by Jan Karon - (review)
- The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig - (review)
- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - (review)

Books with Four-Word title:
- Two Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney - (review)
- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of April:
- Two Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney - (review)

Books with April, Daisy or Diamond in title or author/main character name:
- Daisy Miller by Henry James - (review)

Books where main theme is Innocence:
- Daisy Miller by Henry James - (review)

Books with White cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- White with Fish, Red with Murder by Harley Mazuk - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- Drawn Away by Holly Bennett - (review)

6lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:55pm Top



5th book in a series:
- The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig - (review)
- The Fall of the House of Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard - (review)
- A New Song by Jan Karon - (review)
- The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Five (5) in the title:
- Five Days in London: May 1940 by John Lukacs - (review)

Books page count (401-500 pages):
- V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton - (review)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - (review)
- A New Song by Jan Karon - (review)

Books with Five-Word title:
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - (review)
- Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen by Glen Huser - (review)
- The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of May:
- Five Days in London: May 1940 by John Lukacs - (review)
- V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton - (review)

Books with May, Lily or Emerald in title or author/main character name:
- Five Days in London: May 1940 by John Lukacs - (review)

Books where main theme is Success in Love:
- The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig - (review)

Books with Green cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- A Poisoned Prayer by Michael Skeet - (review)
- Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life by Allen Shawn - (review)
- Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard - (review)

7lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:55pm Top



6th book in a series:
- The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig - (review)
- In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)
- A Common Life by Jan Karon - (review)

Books with Six (6) in the title:
- The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming - (review)

Books page count (501-600 pages):
- The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - (review)
- The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss - (review)
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - (review)

Books with Six-Word title:
- Create the Retirement You Really Want by Clay Gillespie - (review)
- The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig - (review)
- In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of June:
- The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang - (review)

Books with June, Rose, Pearl or Alexanderite (or variation on name) in title or author/main character name:
- The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang - (review)

Books where main theme is Good Health:
- The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health by Justin & Erica Sonnenburg - (review)

Books with Cream cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang - (review)
- When I Was Young And In My Prime by Alayna Munce - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- The Ion Raider by Ian Whates - (review)

8lkernagh
Edited: Aug 2, 2017, 12:15am Top



7th book in a series:
- In This Mountain by Jan Karon - (review)
- Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Seven (7) in the title:
- Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - (review)

Books page count (601-700 pages):
- The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt - (review)

Books with Seven-Word title:
- On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of July:
- Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns - (review)

Books with July, Larkspur or Ruby in title or author/main character name:
- Watching July by Christine Hart - (review)

Books where main theme is Happiness or Contented Mind:
- Laugh and Live by Douglas Fairbanks - (review)

Books with Red cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- From Scratch by Gail Anderson-Dargatz - (review)
- House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch - (review)

9lkernagh
Edited: Sep 4, 2017, 3:39pm Top



8th book in a series:
- Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon - (review)
- The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Eight (8) in the title:
- Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn - (review)

Books page count (701-800 pages):
- The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb - (review)

Books with Eight-Word title:
- Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of August:
- Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos by Brian Wallis - (review)

Books with August, Gladiolus or Peridot (or variation on name) in title or author/main character name:
- An Accident in August by Laurence Cosse - (review)
- Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos by Brian Wallis - (review)

Books where main theme is Friendship or Conjugal Felicity:
- Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner - (review)

Books with Light Green cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- Involuntary Bliss by Devon Code - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton - (review)
- The Last Lost Girl by Maria Hoey - (review)

10lkernagh
Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 12:03pm Top



9th book in a series:
- Light From Heaven by Jan Karon - (review)
- The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Nine (9) in the title:
- The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong - (review)

Books page count (801-900 pages):

Books with Nine-Word title:
- The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of September:
- September 17 by Amanda West Lewis - (review)

Books with September, Aster (or variation on name) or Sapphire in title or author/main character name:
- September 17 by Amanda West Lewis - (review)

Books where main theme is Shrewdness, Love or Clear Thinking:
- Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier and Wiser by Guy P. Harrison - (review)

Books with Dark Blue cover or the color mentioned in the book title :
- The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:

11lkernagh
Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 11:17pm Top



10th book in a series:
- Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Ten (10) in the title:
- The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart - (review)

Books page count (901-1,000 pages):
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - (review)

Books with Ten-Word title:

Books set predominantly in the month of October:
- Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal - (review)

Books with October, Marigold or Opal in title or author/main character name:
- Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris - (review)
- Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal - (review)

Books where main theme is Hope:

Books with Yellow cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- Strawberry Fields by Marina Lewycka - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of René Descartes by Andrew Pessin - (review)

12lkernagh
Edited: Nov 28, 2017, 8:01pm Top



11th book in a series:
- The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Eleven (11) in the title:
- The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries - (review)

Books page count (1,001-1,100 pages):
- World Without End by Ken Follett - (review)

Books with Eleven-Word title:

Books set predominantly in the month of November:
- Five Days in November by Clint Hill -

Books with November, Chrysanthemum or Topaz in title or author/main character name:
- Five Days in November by Clint Hill -

Books where main theme is Fidelity or Faithfulness:

Books with Orange cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- Benito by Francois Gravel - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano - (review)
- The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins - (review)

13lkernagh
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 8:09pm Top



12th book in a series:
- The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Twelve (12) in the title:
- Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose - (review)

Books page count (1,101-1,200 pages):

Books with Twelve-Word title:
- The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America by the Survivors of Troy by Duane Gundrum - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of December:
- Death in December by Shonah Stevens - (review)

Books with December, Poinsettia or Turquoise in title or author/main character name:
- Death in December by Shonah Stevens - (review)

Books where main theme is Prosperity:

Books with Greenish-Blue or Red/Green cover or the color mentioned in the book title:



Miscellaneous books read:
- Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes - (review)

14lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:57pm Top



Welcome to my 3rd / Summer thread for 2017.


15lkernagh
Edited: Jul 3, 2017, 9:01pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey


The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 103 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 80.94
Kilometers walked in total:4,350.66
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: Outskirts of Sudbury
Points of interest along the way: Continuing to pass through much of the lake district of Ontario.

16lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 8:58pm Top

.
Book #62 - From Scratch by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: ARC trade paperback
Original publication date: 2017
Acquisition date: June 2, 2017
Page count: 120 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Cookie is about to lose her job at the local bakery. She dreams of owning her own bakery but doesn't think she has the skills or money to do it. Most of all, she doesn't have the self-confidence. When she takes a course at the local college, she finds she has much more going for her than she imagined. With the help of her community, she figures out how to make sure no one has to go without her famous doily cookies for long!
Review:
As a book from Canada's Rapid Reads Program - short books written by bestselling authors designed to help adult readers achieve their literacy goals - From Scratch is an interesting cross between a non-fiction self-help book and a quaint story about small town life. I have read a couple of books from the Rapid Reads program and enjoy seeing how some of my favorite authors tackle the short format required for these books. I loved reading Eva's growing enthusiasm and confidence as she navigates a college business course as a mature student and embarks on a business plan with a goal to start her own business. By the end, even my own lack of confidence at the thought of starting a small business was significantly diminished.

Overall, another worthy addition to the Rapid Reads program of books.

17lkernagh
Edited: Jul 3, 2017, 10:18pm Top


Book #63 - Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns - audiobook narrated by Grover Gardner
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of July"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 1984
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 393 pages / 13 hours, 5 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around-fast. When Grandpa E. Rucker Blakeslee announces one July morning in 1906 that he's aiming to marry the young and freckledy milliner, Miss Love Simpson-a bare three weeks after Granny Blakeslee has gone to her reward-the news is served up all over town with that afternoon's dinner. And young Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a major scandal. Boggled by the sheer audacity of it all, and not a little jealous of his grandpa's new wife, Will nevertheless approves of this May-December match and follows its progress with just a smidgen of youthful prurience. As the newlyweds' chaperone, conspirator, and confidant, Will is privy to his one-armed, renegade grandfather's second adolescence; meanwhile, he does some growing up of his own. He gets run over by a train and lives to tell about it; he kisses his first girl, and survives that too.
Review:
Summer reading at its finest and one wonderful portrayal of small town Southern life, circa 1906 that I have read to date. The characters are full of life and Will Tweedy is the perfect voice of a 14-year-old boy trying to make sense of all the craziness happening around him. The story presents a number of small-town biases that would make for wonderful discussions in a book group setting: the differences between town and mill-town folk (mill-town folks being the ones who did grueling manual labour in the cotton mills); North versus South points of view on everything from celebrating Independence Day to a woman's place in society. Through all the family bickering, moral posturing and other social machinations of the Cold Sassy folk, Will Tweedy's coming-of-age story is a story filled with heart, and had me laughing and shacking my head at some of his "boys will be boys" pranks, all the while exploring topics of love, death and religion.

A perfect summer read, even if it may come across as being a bit dated for some readers.

18thornton37814
Jul 3, 2017, 9:05pm Top

>17 lkernagh: Grover Gardner is such a marvelous narrator I'm sure he'd make anything sound great!

19rabbitprincess
Jul 3, 2017, 10:10pm Top

Happy new summer thread! Glad to hear you had great weather for the Canada Day festivities. We had a giant downpour mid-afternoon on Canada Day, but it cleared up by the time we wanted to barbecue. And judging from the lineups and weather woes, I was very glad to NOT be in Ottawa for the big day this year!

20lkernagh
Jul 3, 2017, 10:37pm Top

>18 thornton37814: - Hi Lori! I agree, Grover Gardner is a fabulous narrator. He really brought Cold Sassy Tree to life for me. ;-)

>19 rabbitprincess: - Thanks RP! So sorry to read you had mid-afternoon rain during Canada Day. Sounds like your weather was similar to what my Dad experienced in Alberta, although he said he got two light shows that day - rain with lightening in the afternoon and then the fireworks later that evening, when the rain had cleared off. I have a work colleague that was either in Ottawa or Montreal on Saturday so I will have to ask is she was caught in the lineups and weather woes.

21lkernagh
Jul 4, 2017, 1:00am Top



Wishing my friends south of the border a fabulous 4th of July!

22MissWatson
Jul 4, 2017, 3:01am Top

Happy new thread, Lori, it's always great to read about your walking. I hope you had lovely fireworks on Canada Day!

23BLBera
Jul 4, 2017, 9:15am Top

Happy new thread, Lori.

I love the Rapid Reads idea. And it sounds like there are some good selections.

Cold Sassy Tree does sound like the ideal summer read.

24dudes22
Jul 4, 2017, 7:28pm Top

Happy new summer thread, Lori!

25VivienneR
Jul 7, 2017, 2:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Lori. A new thread means I enjoy a review of what has gone before. And, I'm taking a bullet with Cold Sassy Tree.

26lkernagh
Jul 8, 2017, 11:07am Top

>22 MissWatson: - Thanks for the happy new thread greetings, Birgit. The fireworks were fabulous and so has been the weather the past two weeks, so I am logging some good walking!

>23 BLBera: - Hi Beth! The Rapid Read program is really wonderful and a big help for adult ESL students. My summer time reading tends to go in two general directions: quaint fun reads like Cold Sassy Tree or chunkster reads. For some reason I always get ambitious with my reading plans when lazy summer days arrive.... that is usually when I attempt books like War and Peace. Thankfully, I read War and Peace recently so can choose a different chunkster read for this summer!

>24 dudes22: - Thanks Betty!

>25 VivienneR: - Thanks Vivienne. I love visiting new threads for that same reason... so fun to scan everyone's categories and how they are filling out. I hope you enjoy Cold Sassy Tree!

----------------------------
The weather this past week has been absolutely gorgeous, and the forecast for the next 7 days is pretty much the same. I just packed my other half off on a weekend sailing trip with his buddy, so I have a "free" weekend! I will definitely get in some walking and reading. I might even go out for a cycle.

On the reading front, I just realized that I seem to have inadvertently stuck myself in the American South for a spell. Cold Sassy Tree (my previous read) is set in Georgia, while my two current reads, In This Mountain by Jan Karon is set in North Carolina, and On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons is set in Virginia.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

27BLBera
Jul 9, 2017, 1:12pm Top

Enjoy your time in the South, Lori, and happy trekking.

28lkernagh
Jul 9, 2017, 11:54pm Top

>27 BLBera: - Hi Beth, my time in the South (on the reading front) has proven to be quite wonderful.... but time to venture off to some other part of the world now, I think. ;-)

----------------------------
"Free Weekends" are indeed fabulous weekends. Saturday involved some retail therapy and then a bike ride out to Thetis Lake, a public lake (with swimming available) near town. Sunday has been relaxing - puttered around tending my herb garden (which is loving this warm weather we are having!), made a loaf of bread and made some headway into my current read, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. I attempted to read this one back in 2009 and ended up abandoning it after reading 94 pages. This time I am listening to the audiobook, which was only slightly challenging until I discovered that my audiobook repeated part of chapter 4 in two different section of the first disc.... very strange and not something that has happened to me before so I spent part of this morning reading and listening at the same time. I am now 116 pages in and so far, no more weird glitches with the audiobook, but if one does crop up, I will probably revert back to reading as opposed to listening to it. ;-)

29lkernagh
Jul 9, 2017, 11:55pm Top


Book #64 - In This Mountain by Jan Karon - audiobook narrated by John Mcdonough
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "7th book in a series"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2002
Acquisition date: May 15, 2011
Page count: 382 pages / 6 hours, 39 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.90 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book backcover:
Now at home again in Mitford, Father Tim and Cynthia find change in the air. Though Father Tim dislikes change, he dislikes retirement even more. A new challenge seems promising until an unexpected event propels him on a painful journey. For years, Father Tim has helped others find forgiveness; now he must find the courage and grace to forgive himself.
Review:
This one is probably my favorite book in the series so far. It is a little darker in tone and a bit more serious than the previous books in the series as Father Tim's painful journey, both physically and spiritually, is triggered by a health crisis. What I really liked is how the story is not just told from Father Tim's point of view. This time, the reader also gets to see what is going on inside the heads of some of the Mitford town folk, such as Father Tim's tenant at the Vicarage Helene Pringle, Hope Winchester, who runs the Happy Endings Bookstore and Hessie Mayhew.

Another good installment in this charming, heartwarming and uplifting series.

30lkernagh
Jul 9, 2017, 11:55pm Top


Book #65 - On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Seven-Word title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: 1998
Acquisition date: February 22, 2009
Page count: 273 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazoncom book listing webpage:
Emma Garnet Tate Lowell, a plantation owner's daughter, grows up in a privileged lifestyle, but it's not all roses. Her family's prosperity is linked to the institution of slavery, and Clarice, a close and trusted family servant, exposes Emma to the truth and history of their plantation and how it brutally affected the slave population. Her father, Samuel P. Tate, has an aggressive and overpowering persona that intimidates many people -- including Emma. But she refuses to conform to his ideals and marries a prominent young doctor. Together they face the horrors of the Civil War, nursing wounded soldiers, as Emma begins the long journey toward her own recovery from the terrible forces that shaped her father's life.
Review:
This is my first foray into a Kaye Gibbons book. Gibbons portrayal of an elderly woman's musing about her life stuck all the right chords with me. The tone is muted, reflective in nature but there are no rose-coloured glasses at work here. The Tate family, under the rule of Emma's bigoted, self-made father is dysfunctional, so it comes as no surprise that Emma seeks escape in a marriage to a doctor from a well-to-do Boston family. Gibbons may have been a bit extreme in her portrayal of Emma's tyrannical father (a man Emma's sister tries to explain by saying "''You know he thinks he himself is the South,'') and her mother's quiet acquiescence to his raving demands, but even that effect is dulled down by the portrayal of the ravages the Civil War inflicted on everything and everyone in its path. Through it all, Clarice is the skilled navigator of choppy waters and it is her wisdom that shines through in this story:
"We knew what she believed to be moral, and while at the top of her list was eliminating slavery, she did not interfere in its flourishing. Her mission was not to change history but to help both white and black prevail over the circumstances of living in that place, the South, in our time. She worked with the consequences dealt her by others, in the travails of her race. She was not merely dignified, and to label her such would be not an error of judgement but one of degree. No, she was dignity herself."
As summarized by one reviewer, this novel is "above all, a story of how Southern women suffered and endured the deprivations of the home front during the Civil War. But it is so much more." A worthy read, IMO.

31lkernagh
Jul 9, 2017, 11:56pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey


The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 104 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 65.53
Kilometers walked in total:4,416.19
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: East of Markstay-Warren and heading for West Nipissing and Lake Nipissing
Points of interest along the way: I never tire of visiting conservation areas... they are so fabulous for walking in! Just outside of Sudbury is the 2,400 acre Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. Not much else to report on the map, but rather excited to report locally that the blackberry bushes near home look to be heading for a bumper crop later this summer:



I am looking forward to blackberry season!

32lkernagh
Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 12:19am Top

Facebook popped something fun in my newsfeed yesterday that I just have to share here, even though it really isn't "new" news: The Monkey's Paw bookstore in Toronto has a book vending machine (called the Biblio-Mat) that for $2 will spit out an “old and unusual” book at random. Talk about fun! When I say this isn't exactly new news, is because apparently the bookstore has had this vending machine on its premises since 2012. I just love the vintage look of the machine and the idea of spending $2 without knowing what book you are purchasing.

Link to the Monkey's Paw website
Link to Biblio-Mat video where you can see how this one-of-a-kind vending machine operates.


Image Source: Cory Doctorow - Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Pretty darn cool!

33BLBera
Jul 10, 2017, 9:11am Top

Hi Lori -
>32 lkernagh: I love it! This alone is worth a trip to Toronto!

The Gibbons book sounds great - onto the list it goes.

34lkernagh
Jul 10, 2017, 10:40am Top

I know!

The Gibbons book was fabulous. One of the best Civil War settings I have read in some time!

35VivienneR
Jul 10, 2017, 11:32am Top

>32 lkernagh: The Biblio-Mat sounds like a lot of fun for $2.

36RidgewayGirl
Jul 10, 2017, 2:35pm Top

>32 lkernagh: How much fun would it be to have the job of stocking that machine?

37andreablythe
Jul 10, 2017, 3:41pm Top

>32 lkernagh:
Ooooh! The Bibliomat looks amazing!

38LittleTaiko
Jul 13, 2017, 8:29pm Top

>32 lkernagh: - Okay, I really want to give that a try.

39lkernagh
Edited: Jul 15, 2017, 1:48am Top

>35 VivienneR:, >36 RidgewayGirl:, >37 andreablythe: and >38 LittleTaiko: - So glad to see enjoyment and fascination with the Biblio-Mat machine! I seriously have added it to my "To Do" list should I be visiting Toronto. ;-)

------------------------------
The past two weeks have been fabulous for sun, sun and sun, which has a downside in that BC is experiencing more than the usual magnitude of wildfires. It is a great summer for sun seekers - a really bad summer for the forests, grasslands and communities affected by the wildfires. Thankfully where I live on the island there have been one two fires of note, but still, that is two fires too many. Given the province-wide campfire ban and overall state of emergency, I have to say kudos to the cop in the West Shore community who witnessed a driver tossing his still-light cigarette butt out his window, pulled the driver over, asked the driver if he was aware of the wildfires and the province-wide ban, gave the driver a lecture and then handed him a $575 ticket under the province's Wildfire Act.

On a brighter note, other half had a meeting this evening so I took advantage of the sudden "me time":



Fresh air, balcony, relaxing chair, glass of Malbec and my current read, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. Lovely way to close off a busy work week!

40rabbitprincess
Jul 15, 2017, 8:59am Top

I think Victoria/Vancouver must have sent their weather to Ottawa; it's been raining almost every day since the beginning of the month, with temps in the lower 20s (but also humid, ew).

Good for the cop giving that idiot a ticket. How irresponsible to be throwing still-lit cigarettes out the window at any time, but especially in conditions like these. I have a friend in Williams Lake and it's worrying to think of her family under an evacuation alert :(

41RidgewayGirl
Jul 15, 2017, 11:32am Top

>39 lkernagh: I've been following the progression of the fires there in BC. I'm heartened by the number of people offering specific help, like accommodations for horses and cattle. And the Alberta firefighters are there and they are amazing.

Malbec, The Children's Book and a very healthy basil plant!

42dudes22
Jul 15, 2017, 7:39pm Top

>39 lkernagh: - That does look relaxing! I've been meaning to get to a book by A.S. Byatt so I'll be waiting to see what you think of The Children's Book. (Then I'll have to find what box it's in)

43BLBera
Jul 16, 2017, 11:18am Top

>39 lkernagh: Love it! It is the perfect way to end a day.

44DeltaQueen50
Jul 16, 2017, 6:13pm Top

We are having a lovely summer but those wild fires are so scary. We too have relatives and friends who are watching the hills around them carefully. I agree with the kudos to the policeman who issued that ticket, one second of carelessness could cause so much damage!

45dudes22
Jul 16, 2017, 8:21pm Top

>44 DeltaQueen50: - Why are people so stupid??

46lkernagh
Jul 16, 2017, 10:49pm Top

>40 rabbitprincess: - RP, if you have had enough of the rain, feel free to send it back this way (I only wish you had the power to do so). Either more people and engaging in just down right stupid behavior or the news (and social media) is doing a much better job of bringing transgressions like the cigarette-butt thrower to society's attention. I don't know which it is. I just hope the driver is just one of those rare individuals that doesn't already know how dangerous that is, and not just one of the rare ones that happened to get caught in the act.Sighs

I saw the evacuation alert for Williams Lake and area went into effect Saturday evening. I hope your friend and family are safe as well as their homes.

Oh, and I see there is a new Doctor (Doctor Who): Jodie Whittaker will be the first female Doctor in the long running series. Should prove interesting!

>41 RidgewayGirl: - I received an email earlier today that some 14,000 people have had to be evacuated due to the wildfires (and those numbers don't include the recent evacuation orders for Williams Lake and area). The problem is the magnitude of some of the fires and the number of fires (as of Saturday morning there were 124 wildfires burning across BC, most in the Interior. The weather has been anything but helpful for the fire crews. I would give anything for a week of nothing but rain.

>42 dudes22: and >43 BLBera: - I tend to snatch relaxation time whenever I can!

>44 DeltaQueen50: - It is scary. I know that last week we were looking at the worst wildfire season since 2003... I am wondering if we are now in the worst wildfire season on record for the province. Not a first to be aiming for, that is for sure!

47lkernagh
Jul 16, 2017, 10:49pm Top

The weekend has been a good one. The weather teased us here earlier today with some dark clouds but they just rolled away did not bring any rain or cooler temps. With all of my walking, it was bound to happen: Both my running shoes and my hiking shoes have reached the end of their usefulness. I have been on the hunt for a new pair of either runners or hiking shoes and this weekend I scored a lovely deal on this pair of Columbia hiking shoes:



Managed to get the other half a new pair of runners at the same time. ;-)

Other than that, the weekend has been a quiet one. Both of us have spend the day puttering around, me making bread, cooking a roast beef for my other half's lunch sandwiches and getting in a little bit of reading time as well. I did finish The Children's Book last night so I have a review to post. Currently reading The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner (a YA historical fiction set in Paris and London at the start of the French Revolution) and have just started listening to the audiobook Seven for a Secret by Lindsay Faye.

Also, given the notice made of my basil plant in the >39 lkernagh: photo, I thought a herb garden update was also in order. ;-)

48lkernagh
Edited: Jul 16, 2017, 11:18pm Top

Herb Garden - 2017 Update:
It just occurred to me that I have not posted an update to my on-going attempts at container gardening. ;-)

2017 started off with a no-spring Spring (prolonged winter and then cooler than normal temps and lack of sunshine days). The poor herb garden pretty much limped along until summer arrived on June 22nd, and the start of the warm sunny streak of days we have been experiencing since then. End result is a now happy herb garden (except for the dill which is acting very temperamental):



In the back row are my happy and healthy Spanish tarragon, English thyme and sage plants. The middle row is Greek oregano, parsley, basil and cilantro. In the front row is the poorly dill plant, chives and not a herb, but my second attempt at growing some leafy greens. The leafy greens in question are Swiss Chard. I know that pot looks small and not very productive but it is growing just the right amount so that I can add some "fresh from the garden" greens to my other half's weekday lunch sandwiches. Next year, weather permitting, I am planning on expanding the garden to include a larger selection (and quantity) of leafy greens. Not sure I am ready to attempt growing tomatoes any time soon and will probably hold off until I know we have a sunny and warm Spring-Summer in the making.

49lkernagh
Jul 16, 2017, 10:51pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey


The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 105 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 71.39
Kilometers walked in total:4,487.58
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: East of North Bay, traveling through Mattawa River Provincial Park and heading for Mattawa.
Points of interest along the way: Interesting fact learned about Lake Nipissing while surfing the Net: Excluding the Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing is the third-largest lake in Ontario, but relatively shallow with an average depth of only 4.5 m (15 ft). Based on pictures, it looks like a lovely, tranquil lake:


Image source: Skeeter08865, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

50lkernagh
Jul 16, 2017, 10:53pm Top


Book #66 - The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt - audiobook narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books page count (601-700 pages)"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2009
Acquisition date: May 15, 2011
Page count: 624 pages / 30 hours, 17 hours listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Olive Wellwood is a famous writer, interviewed with her children gathered at her knee. For each, she writes a private book, bound in its own colour and placed on a shelf. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh the children play in a storybook world - but their lives, and those of their rich cousins and friends, are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries its own secrets. Born at the end of the Victorian era and growing up in the golden summers of Edwardian times, a whole generation was unaware of the darkness ahead; in their innocence, they were betrayed unintentionally by the adults who loved them.
Review:
What to say... what to say. The arts and crafts movement - covering the last ten years of the Victorian period, through the Edwardian period and into the House of Windsor period - is richly captured. Byatt brings minute details to focus, allowing this reader to "experience" the industry of potters, metals workers, puppeteers, play dramatists and writers against the backdrop of the Fabian and Suffragettes movements. The lifestyles of Byatt's characters are languid, steeped in a kind of drunkenness a warm summer day in a fragrant garden can produce. Beneath that outward display of calm roils deep set frustrations and a desire for.... something different. One one level, this book is a masterpiece depicting time and place. The weaving of fairy tales in to the story-line imbues the story with as sense of magic and wonder, but the characters are for the most part unappealing in their aimlessness. I get that the times being depicted were a mix of heady escapism and rising socialistic purpose/fervor, but I found myself getting lost in the descriptions and losing the tenuous plot threads. All emotion comes across as muted, or as a bit of hysterics. Even the more horrifying elements of WWI appear to have been written to cloak the resulting image as being veiled, removing some of the sharp focus certain parts of the story call for. One reviewer has commented that The Children's Book is a human story of responsibility, with the characters "attempting to define their responsibilities, whether to fulfill them or to evade them; with those in pursuit of enlightenment or seeking to manipulate it; and with some simply attempting to unearth who they are and what they should do to survive." From that perspective, Byatt has delved deep and produced results that may appeal to readers seeking a story about the human condition and all its flaws. While I loved the details depicted in the story, I never felt a connection to any of the characters, expect for Philip Warren, one of the few characters who knew all along what he wanted to accomplish.

Overall, a good read but I felt like an observer peering in from afar as a group of actors fumble their way through their roles.

51sirfurboy
Jul 17, 2017, 5:28am Top

Hmm, I am never sure which of your threads to comment on!

I left a response on your other thread, but yes, I agree with your feelings on The Children's Book.

52Jackie_K
Jul 17, 2017, 8:54am Top

>48 lkernagh: The herbs are looking great! Re leafy greens, we are growing a lot this year (some more successfully than others, it has to be said) and our salads are really delicious! Most successful has been rocket, orange chard, and spinach, but we've also got flowering turnip, sorrel (I can't stand sorrel, but my husband loves it, and this is the first time he's successfully managed to grow it), and (I think) Swiss chard.

53BLBera
Jul 17, 2017, 9:04am Top

Hi Lori-
>48 lkernagh: Your herbs look great! I haven't planted any this year. :(

>50 lkernagh: Great comments on The Children's Book. My feelings about it were very similar. It wasn't my favorite Byatt.

Lake Nipissing looks lovely. With new shoes, maybe you'll be able to get out of Ontario!

54andreablythe
Jul 17, 2017, 12:17pm Top

>48 lkernagh:
Your herbs are looking beautiful!

>49 lkernagh:
Also, what a beautiful scene on your walk. You're getting quite far on your journey. Looks to be about 2/3rds of the way there.

55DeltaQueen50
Jul 17, 2017, 7:24pm Top

Lori, your herb garden looks great. I usually grow an assortment on my back porch but didn't bother planting any this year and I do miss them. I have sage, fennel and thyme in our back garden and so am using them more this year than I usually do. Next year, I hope to duplicate your herb garden on my balcony.

56mathgirl40
Jul 17, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>50 lkernagh: I read your comments on The Children's Book with interest. I absolutely loved this book myself but at the same time, I think you are correct about some of its weaknesses. I agree with your assessment that, "On one level, this book is a masterpiece depicting time and place." Because Byatt described the time and place so brilliantly, I was able to overlook all the other faults.

57dudes22
Jul 18, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>48 lkernagh: - Great looking herbs. Thyme is probably my favorite herb. We got some compost from my brother's farm when we built our gardens at the new place and things have been growing like wild. I've already made a batch of pesto and will probably need to make another one by the weekend.

>50 lkernagh: - This is one of her books that is not on my TBR pile. I read your review with interest. Maybe I'll start with one of the ones on my TBR and see if I like her writing before I tackle this one.

58VivienneR
Jul 20, 2017, 5:08pm Top

>39 lkernagh: Glad to hear of the hefty fine for discarding a lit cigarette. That might just deter some people from doing the same thing. My heart goes out to those affected by wildfires. Two years ago we had a lot of fires in south-western BC and thick smoke that hung around for weeks. With highways closed and flights cancelled it made travel very challenging. My Australian visitor almost got stuck here.

>47 lkernagh: Love getting a bargain! Your new shoes should last until the end of the Trans Canada!

>48 lkernagh: Your herb garden looks lovely! I wish I had the same success. It might be too hot and dry in this part of BC. But I won't stop trying.

59lkernagh
Jul 23, 2017, 1:06pm Top

>51 sirfurboy: - I know. Have two threads with similar content can make a visitor to both threads think they are experiencing "deja-vu"! ;-0 Thanks for stopping by both of my threads!

>52 Jackie_K: - Oh, orange chard... never seen any seeds for that particular leafy greens! Sounds like you have a wonderful garden going! I love fresh from the garden greens... they taste so much better than the store bought stuff. I keep threatening to purchase one of those small, portable green houses and setting it up in the east-facing window and growing leafy greens year round. I just may do that next year. ;-)

>53 BLBera: - No herbs planted? I can understand that. This spring I was almost ready to forgo any garden this year.

With new shoes, maybe you'll be able to get out of Ontario!

One can hope! I was so excited when I updated the map this morning and noticed that I have reached the Ottawa River (which is part of the Ontario - Quebec border), only to realize that by following the Trans Canada Highway, I won't be passing into Quebec for a couple of weeks yet. So close, and yet.... not. ;-(

>54 andreablythe: - Thanks Andrea! Yup, I am taking advantage of the good weather - and my good heath - this summer to try and make up for some low/no walking days/weeks earlier in my walking journal. Fingers crossed I will still be able to finish my virtual cross-Canada journey in the 3 years I planned it to take.

60lkernagh
Jul 23, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>55 DeltaQueen50: - I love balcony gardening! I think you will find it to be a good substitute for your back porch herb garden. ;-)

>56 mathgirl40: - Thanks Paulina. I tend to struggle when I write a review that seems to go against the norm or the tide of other readers. I can see how the book would be a fantastic read for some readers. It is my first Byatt so I am kind of curious to see what I think of some of her other stories.

>57 dudes22: - I love Thyme. I find it to be "the herb" along with chives when we have our weekend egg breakfast. Farm compost... your garden must be in 7th heaven with all those wonderful nutrients!

As I mentioned to >56 mathgirl40:, The Children's Book is my first Byatt read. I will be curious to see what you think of one of her other books.

61lkernagh
Jul 23, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>58 VivienneR: - I do hope the wildfire season gets some relief in the way of cooler weather and rain (without the lightening would also be nice). I just shake my head at some of the stupid things that people do. My work colleague witnessed a near accident Friday morning. A cyclist decided to try and beat a truck and trailer by trying to make the right hand turn from Government St. onto Belleville St. Cyclist realized too late that they were not going fast enough and the truck driver had to lock his brakes to miss the cyclist (the road in question has no wide shoulder or cycling lane) The only place the cyclist could go was onto the sidewalk. Friggin' nuts, I tell you.

As for herb garden, you could probably try a container garden. I find this summer I have to water the herbs every 2-3 days. As the containers all have holes in the bottom (and a layer or rocks for drainage) I place the pot in a larger pail, give the plant a thorough watering, allowing the excess water to drain out the bottom. I then reuse the drained water when I water the next potted plant. ;-)
-----------------------

I hope everyone has had a good week. For me, this past week has been... interesting. Things are a little confused at the moment at work so I am a little out of sorts. Nothing dramatic or anything. Just waiting for clarity on an unexpected issue and then work will probably return to normal. On a plus note, I am getting excited about having some vacation time coming up soon and looking forward to heading home to visit with my dad and maybe do some gardening in his yard.

It has been a good week for reading and walking. I am slowly trying to get back into crafting. I had all my beading supplies out last night and I spent some time taking stock of what I have and what I might want to make.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday and a good week.

... now for some reviews and a walking update.

62lkernagh
Edited: Jul 23, 2017, 2:58pm Top


Book #67 - Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - audiobook narrated by Steven Boyer
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Seven (7) in the title"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2013
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 496 pages / 14 hours, 6 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 5.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Six months after the formation of the NYPD, its most reluctant and talented officer, Timothy Wilde, thinks himself well versed in his city’s dark practices—until he learns of the gruesome underworld of lies and corruption ruled by the “blackbirders,” who snatch free Northerners of color from their homes, masquerade them as slaves, and sell them South to toil as plantation property. The abolitionist Timothy is horrified by these traders in human flesh. But in 1846, slave catching isn’t just legal—it’s law enforcement. When the beautiful and terrified Lucy Adams staggers into Timothy’s office to report a robbery and is asked what was stolen, her reply is, “My family.” Their search for her mixed-race sister and son will plunge Timothy and his feral brother, Valentine, into a world where police are complicit and politics savage, and corpses appear in the most shocking of places. Timothy finds himself caught between power and principles, desperate to protect his only brother and to unravel the puzzle before all he cares for is lost.
Review:
And here I thought Faye could not improve on her fabulous first book in her Timothy Wilde series. I was so, so wrong. Loved this one! These stories are so much more than just an excellent historical fiction/crime/mystery read. Faye brings to life the teaming underbelly of mid-19th century New York City, with its freshly minted police force (the "Copper Stars") comprised of an interesting (and challenging) mix of moralist/capitalistic/vigilantism that makes it clear why even law-abiding citizens were leery of Copper Stars when they showed up on the scene.

For me, it is the complicated relationship Timothy has with his older brother Valentine and the moral/ethical challenges Timothy faces that makes this such riveting reading. Valentine is such an enigma/antihero for Timothy, and Timothy is such a naive younger brother for Valentine, it is no surprise that their interactions are charged with volatile energy. Yes, Timothy's "leap before think" approach - seriously, how does he not learn after a solid bashing or two that this might not be the best course of action? - just fuels already tinder-ready situations with some very explosive results. On top of all this exciting action, Faye provides one of the best plot shift/reveals that had me applauding, even as I felt the sucker punch Timothy faced.

My favorite read so far in 2017.

63lkernagh
Jul 23, 2017, 1:07pm Top


Book #68 - Laugh and Live by Douglas Fairbanks - audiobook narrated by Walter Costello
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books where main theme is Happiness or Contented Mind"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 1917
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 79 pages / 2 hours, 43 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
There is one thing in this good old world that is positively sure - happiness is for all who strive to be happy, and those who laugh are happy. Everybody is eligible - you, me, the other fellow. Happiness is fundamentally a state of mind, not a state of body. And mind controls. Indeed, it is possible to stand with one foot on the inevitable "banana peel" of life with both eyes peering into the Great Beyond and still be happy, comfortable, and serene - if we will even so much as smile. So goes the wisdom of silent film star Douglas Fairbanks, who, in addition to his movie career, wrote a number of self-help books. In Laugh and Live, which was originally published in 1917, he expounds upon his theories for living a good and happy life. Fairbanks's formula for happiness - humility, good humor, and particularly strenuous physical exercise - is enshrined in this and his other advice books.
Review:
Why this book? Well, I needed a book focused on happiness and didn't feel like getting bogged down in books on spiritual Tao/Buddhist approaches to happiness. That, and the fact that I never knew that the actor Douglas Fairbanks had written several self-help books. Laugh and Live was originally published in 1917, so I was also curious to see how Fairbanks' advice holds up 100 years later. I think it holds up pretty good! Fairbanks takes a very practical, holistic "mind/body" approach to a wholesome, happy life. While Fairbanks did not coin the phrase, "Laughter is the best medicine", he does extol the health benefits of a hearty laugh:
"I like to laugh. It is a tonic. It braces me up—makes me feel fine!—and keeps me in prime mental condition. Laughter is a physiological necessity. The nerve system requires it. The deep, forceful chest movement in itself sets the blood to racing thereby livening up the circulation—which is good for us."
Fairbanks talks about good values (daily exercise; taking stock of who we are/our aspirations; learning and profiting from our experiences; building one's personality; honesty as a character builder; the importance of cleanliness of body and mind and consideration for others) and the bad ones (self-indulgence; living beyond our means; lack of initiative/self-reliance; failure to seize opportunities we hold within us and failing to assume responsibility for one's actions). Even the chapter "Wedlock in Time" - although decidedly dated in presentation - still contains a lot of advice that would continue to ring true today. Fairbanks keeps the tone light and entertaining while dishing out advice, making use of "Mister Numbskull" to portray someone who lives his life poorly by failing to seize opportunities that come knocking his way.

A quick, fun and informative read. I am now on the trail to see what other shelf-help books Fairbanks wrote!

64lkernagh
Edited: Jul 23, 2017, 1:14pm Top


Book #69 - The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Red cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2007
Acquisition date: May 16, 2010
Page count: 384 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the barnesandnoble.com book listing webpage:
A mysterious gypsy boy, Yann Margoza, and his guardian, a dwarf, work for the magician Topolain in 1789. On the night of Topolain's death, Yann's life truly begins. That's when he meets Sido, an heiress with a horrible father. An attachment is born that will determine both their paths. Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her from a fearful villain named Count Kalliovski. It will take all of Yann's newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of Sido's past and his own and to fight the devilish count.
Review:
For a YA novel, this one has a little bit of everything: history, romance, mystery, secrets and magic. Using the lead up to the French Revolution as a basis, Gardner's story has a few unique focuses: a Romany gypsy angle and a sprinkling of magical realism. While the character development isn't all that amazing - I had to remind myself that the book was written with a much younger audience in mind! - I did enjoy the 1780's European setting of Paris and London and the automatons. I found the descriptions of the Paris massacres to paint a rather disturbing mental picture for me, which has me worried as to how a younger reader may react when reading this story.

Overall, a different take on an area of French history that has been the focus of many other books. While a bit far-fetched at time, Gardner's story does provide for a decent YA version of Dickens' sweeping story, A Tale of Two Cities.

65lkernagh
Jul 23, 2017, 1:14pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey


The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 106 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 62.62
Kilometers walked in total:4,550.20
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: East of Mattawa, north of Algonquin Provincial Park and heading for Deux Rivieres (Two Rivers).
Points of interest along the way: I have made it to the Ottawa River, which also happens to comprise part of the Ontario - Quebec border. I will probably by hugging the Ontario side of the river for the next little while. Algonquin Provincial Park was established in 1893 and is the oldest provincial park in Canada and was established as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992. According to Wikipedia, the park is pretty big as far as parks go - approximately 1.5 times the size of Prince Edward Island or 1/4 the size of the country of Belgium.


Image Source: "Algonquin Colors" by Jok2000 - as found on Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

66clue
Edited: Jul 23, 2017, 5:05pm Top

>62 lkernagh: One of my friends likes the Lyndsay Faye series too so I'm going to give it a try. I'm in the Alpha challenge and next month is F so it's a perfect time to start. Not that I don't have any books I could read off of the shelf but still...

>63 lkernagh: I didn't know this about Douglas Fairbanks either. I've been doing research on 19th century women in Western Arkansas recently for an exhibit that will be shown at the Fort Smith National Historic Site during March, women's history month, 2018. I stumbled across the first woman to graduate from a new, and first training program for nurses here (Fort Smith, Ar.) in 1896. After working in private duty nursing 2 years* in Fort Smith she went to NY for further training. After finishing her "post graduate" work there, she went to work in NY as a private duty nurse to wealthy families. One of her clients was Douglas Fairbanks. She apparently stayed in the Fairbanks home 2 years, beginning work when Mrs. Fairbanks (Anna Beth) was pregnant with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. The nurse, Ella Wood, remained in NY 15 years and then returned home to help with an ill family member. In a newspaper interview written after her return she spoke very highly of the Fairbanks family and was still in contact with Anna Beth.

*Private duty nursing was all there was at that time. If someone in the hospital wanted a nurse, they had to hire them. In 1896 it paid $2 for 24-hour-duty!

67andreablythe
Jul 24, 2017, 1:49pm Top

New thread! New thread!

>47 lkernagh:
Also, new shoes! Very nice. I like the color, and I hope they serve you well on your Trans Canada journey.

68BLBera
Jul 27, 2017, 8:39am Top

>62 lkernagh: Great praise for the Faye, Lori. Should these be read in order? It sounds like something I would like.

69lkernagh
Jul 27, 2017, 9:44pm Top

>66 clue: - I know... it can be soooo tempting to read a book because of the raving of other readers and I will continue to rave about the Timothy WIlde series. ;-)

OMG... what a fascinating story about the connection to Douglas Fairbanks' family! And wow on the fact that one had to hire a private nurse, even when in a hospital. Kind of reminds me of stories of having to pay for your own meals if in prison, etc - which has always struck me as rather odd: how is one supposed to pay for meals if they are in prison? I am so thankful that in this day and age, when one checks into a hospital, hiring a nurse to take care of them is not something a patient or a patient's family needs to worry about, unless they are discharged from hospital and still in need of a nurse.

>67 andreablythe: - Yup, new thread.... got to keep with the seasons if I can. ;-) Thanks! I have been breaking the shoes in and they are comfy, so looking forward to logging some good "clicks" while wearing them.

>68 BLBera: - I would definitely recommend reading the Faye books in order. A lot of events and individuals from the first book are references, sometimes only slightly in book two. Also, book two assumes that you have read book one and don't need a re-hash of the history of the Wilde brothers and why their relationship is so complicated.

--------------------
One more day to the weekend. Today was a bit strange in that I kept thinking it was Friday. the warm, sunny weather continues - wonder if we are heading towards a record for the number of days with no or very little rain - everything is turning brown and I am finding that I need to water my herb garden more frequently. Not good news for the crews out fighting the wildfires as this continues to be a very bad wildfire season, with the bad mix of dry weather and high winds. I am keeping a close eye on the weather in Calgary since I will be heading there next week. So far they are dry and hot with no end in sight. Sure does make packing easy!

70lkernagh
Jul 27, 2017, 9:45pm Top


Book #70 - Watching July by Christine Hart
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with July, Larkspur or Ruby in title or author/main character name"
Source: TBR
Format: eBook
Original publication date: 2008
Acquisition date: March 21, 2017
Page count: 174 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Uprooted from her Vancouver home, bereft of a mother who died in unnatural circumstances, sixteen-year-old July is stuck way out in the BC Interior and ready to completely hate her life. But before she knows it, she is experimenting with piercings and hair colours with her new best friend and dating one of the hottest guys at school in Salmon Arm. But then things turn decidedly weird. July's bizarre nightmare dreams cross the line into her waking world, and in the end, what she finally uncovers is the most chilling reality of all...
Review:
For a debut novel, I was impressed with the quality of the writing and not surprised that this story won the 2008 Moonbeam Awards Gold Medal in the Young Adult Fiction - Mature Issues category. Hart presents the teenage mind with skill, focusing on the struggles of trying to fit in to a new community, make friends and try not to come across as too weird or different. What girl wouldn't be flattered to catch the eye of one of the cutest guys in school? It is not surprising that July is prepared to make some allowances when her new boyfriend exhibits signs of jealousy, and Hart portrayal of July's indecision and behaviour rationalization rings true and no wonder, as July's boyfriend Ryan can be quite the charmer. The story has a good pace to it, slowly building the suspense and creepiness level to the point where I could not put the book down... I needed to know what was going to happen. I think the story would have been better if it did not have the supernatural aspect to it, if the ending had been a bit more polished (the story has a rather abrupt ending) and I wish that Hart had made more use of the journal July's mother kept to make the plot-theme connections. Originally published back in 2008, this story does not appear dated by today's standards, unless one finds the lack of social media as a bit "odd".

Overall, a decent YA suspense read with a focus on obsession/control in a troubled teenage relationship.

As a footnote to this review, I am discovering more and more books, like this one, being re-released as independently published ebooks when the original publishing house copies are "out of print". Nice to see authors breathing second life into their stories through self-publishing!

71lkernagh
Jul 27, 2017, 9:45pm Top


Book #71 - Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "7th book in a series"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / audiobook
Original publication date: 2006
Acquisition date: May 11, 2014
Page count: 256 pages / 8 hours, 19 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Life is good for Mma Ramotswe as she sets out with her usual resolve to solve people's problems, heal their misfortunes, and untangle the mysteries that make life interesting. And life is never dull on Tlokweng Road. A new and rather too brusque advice columnist is appearing in the local paper. Then, a cobra is found in the offices of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Recently, the Mokolodi Game Preserve manager feels an infectious fear spreading among his workers, and a local doctor may be falsifying blood pressure readings. To further complicate matters, Grace Makutsi may have scared off her own fiance. Mma Ramotswe, however, is always up to the challenge.
Review:
Another fine installment. No huge mysteries or issues outside of the interesting case of blackmail. I tend to appreciate these stories for their examination of the human condition, the growing divide between traditional Botswana and modern ways and the subtlety with which Mma Ramotswe approaches the challenges that are brought to her attention. Some readers may find Mma Ramotswe more "gentle, caring busy-body" approach to detection a bit of a snooze but the stories do make for "feel good" light reading. I enjoy following Mma Ramotswe as she tries to find the best path for good results and minimal impact to her fellow Batswana. In this installment we get to see more of the personal side of various characters as Mma Ramotswe struggles with the idea of going on a diet and Mma Makutsi worries that her views on feminism may have driven her fiance away.

72rabbitprincess
Jul 27, 2017, 10:05pm Top

>69 lkernagh: A friend of mine was in Edmonton last week and she said they could smell the fires and see the haze from the smoke from there! It's terrible. Doing what I can to send more rain your way!

73lkernagh
Jul 27, 2017, 10:08pm Top

Any rain you are able to send would be happily appreciated by all, RP! ;-)

74sirfurboy
Jul 28, 2017, 5:14am Top

>73 lkernagh: I don't know. 120 million years ago you would have been happily sitting semi submerged in large and damp swampland, but then you go and drift off and turn all dry. It's your own fault, Alberta. You should have stayed where you were!

Actually I would happily send you the band of rain that has swept in here today. Not sure if UPS will deliver though.

75lkernagh
Jul 28, 2017, 5:03pm Top

>74 sirfurboy: - True and yet, try and explain that to people these days and they just give you a blank stare, like I am nuts or something. ;-)

Yup, I don't think UPS will deliver rain. I will just have to learn a rain dance or something.

76dudes22
Jul 30, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>71 lkernagh: - I always like the series for the same reason. Not much happens but it's interestinglittle glimpses of everyday life.

77lkernagh
Aug 2, 2017, 12:14am Top

>76 dudes22: - I agree. Sometimes it is just wonderful to sit back and enjoy a relaxed nature and "interesting little glimpses of everyday life". Kind of helps put things inter perspective. ;-)

-----------------------
Life has been crazy with weird fast-slow times. Good news is this LTer is now officially on "VACAY" time! I am still racing around getting some last minute stuff done - really, I had no idea it would take me over 1.5 hours just to harvest, clean and package the herbs from my herb garden that I will be taking with me tomorrow morning so that I can use them as I make meals for my dad. Must take that into account next trip planning.

I am so looking forward to the downtime. Plans to visit Jasper National Park have been put on hold, what with the on-going wildfires and all, but a possible trip to Waterton Lakes National Parks may be the replacement sub-trip to this trip home. All trips that involve visits with family are to be treasured.

Sorry, no walking report or any kind of July summary reading report, but I do have one last July read book with review ready to post.

78lkernagh
Aug 2, 2017, 12:14am Top

Last review for July read books:


Book #72 - House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: N/A
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: July 29, 2008
Acquisition date: February 22, 2009
Page count: 320 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Lonely Clementine is the rightful heir to the House of Peine, the vineyard that has been in the family for generations. She has spent her whole life caring for the vines, not to mention her sour brute of a father. But now the Peine patriarch is dead, and to Clementine’s distress his will stipulates that she must share the vineyard with a half-sister she hasn’t seen in twenty years and another she didn’t even know existed. Secrets tumble out as the three sisters struggle to rescue the family heritage while overcoming their own differences.
Review:
Another light-weight beach read. Published in the UK as "House of Paine", I enjoyed Lynch's depiction of life on a family-run French vineyard. I also really enjoyed the details about the champagne-making. Lynch outlines at the start of the book the extensive research she conducted about the history of champagne and its process, and it really comes through in her story. I learned so much!

A vein of eccentricity runs through this story - from the rumbling ruin of a family home, a miniature pony as Clementine's indoor family pet and Le Petite Noix, the wizened sharp-witted gypsy who suddenly shows up one day, stays through the picking season and tries to guide the three sisters in their relationship. As for the sisters - Clementine, Mathilde and Sophie - they all harbour resentments, bitterness, pain and regrets, but their differences are sharply defined, as is the antagonism between Clementine and Mathilde. Mathilde is just mean, with a viperous tongue and I really grew tired of her constant barbs. Clementine I found to be frustrating. Hard working but prone to resorting to running away and eating when trouble or disappointment comes calling. Not surprisingly, Sophie, the youngest, is also the sweetest of three. What I found strange is that Clementine does not come across as a woman who has lived her entire life in rural France... she comes across almost as American as her sister Mathilde. As the story progresses, we get to see the complexities of the characters emerge - kind of like the hidden complexity of the champagne they work to create.

Overall, an alright summer read with some bubbly wit, a light dosing of magical realism against the backdrop of a French vineyard.

79DeltaQueen50
Aug 3, 2017, 6:22pm Top

Have a great time on your vacation, Lori. Enjoy your "family time". :)

80LittleTaiko
Aug 4, 2017, 10:51am Top

Hope you have a wonderful vacation!

81BLBera
Aug 4, 2017, 10:58am Top

Have a wonderful vacation, Lori. Enjoy your family time.

82lkernagh
Aug 20, 2017, 7:24pm Top

I am back!

>79 DeltaQueen50:, >80 LittleTaiko: and >81 BLBera: - Thank you Judy, Stacy and Beth for the vacation wishes.

It was great to have the down time with family. This was a wonderful, low-key down time kind of vacation. Fly into Calgary and managed to spend some time with my brother and SIL before they headed into the BC interior for their annual August vacation. My Dad and I drove down to the Crowsnest Pass for the August long weekend to spend it at my sister and BIL's home. Made a day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park - Yes, we were in the park on the Sunday when the park had to temporarily close its gates because of concerns of the number of visitors in the park. Other than that, the trip home involved clearing weeds and dead vegetation from the flowerbeds at my dad's place, taking my uncle grocery shopping and visiting with him, helping move a sofa into my niece's new apartment and just kicking back in the back yard with a good book to read. a very relaxing vacation and even better, I am still riding that vacation wave after being back at work for one week. ;-)

I would have posted before now expect computer "issues" have held me back. I finally decided to take the plunge and migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 on my personal computer. My other half was going to take care of that while I was away but he got so busy he didn't work on my computer until last week and Good Grief.... Nothing like a simple software upgrade locking the motherboard bios and then playing merry havoc with the hard drive. A new mother board and hard drive later and I am back online. :-0

I have a backlog of reviews I still need to write but I can at least post the three reviews I was able to write while on vacation as well as a walking update.

83lkernagh
Aug 20, 2017, 7:24pm Top


Book #73 - W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton - audiobbok narrated by Judy Kaye
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: N/A
Source: TBR
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 2013
Acquisition date: July 14, 2015
Page count: 486 pages / 17 hours listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
The first victim was a local PI of suspect reputation who’d been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. The other body was found on the beach six weeks later—a homeless man with Kinsey Millhone’s name and number written on a slip of paper in his pants pocket. Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently of natural causes. But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange linkages begin to emerge. Not just between the two victims, but also to Kinsey’s past. And before long Kinsey, through no fault of her own, is thoroughly compromised…
Review:
Another solid installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. I really enjoy the stories where we get to see parts of Kinsey’s past, where unknown family members come to light. What makes these stories such a treat to read (for me) is the detailed 1980’s California setting and Kinsey’s personal code of ethics, which leads Kinsey to involve herself in cases that other PI’s would probably turn a blind eye to. This story has a sadder atmosphere to it as the issues on tap in this installment are the plight of the homeless, the challenges (and perils) of navigating tricky family relationships and the ethics when running a human drug development clinical trial. Grafton continues to provide her signature escalation to a suspenseful (and for me, unpredictable) plot climax, while pulling two seemingly divergent storylines together into a cohesive unit. Yes, I was a little saddened that Kinsey’s love life continues to be on the skids but it was still great to see her three exes all back in this story, along with her wonderful landlord Henry Pitt and his hypochondriac brother William.

84lkernagh
Aug 20, 2017, 7:24pm Top


Book #74 - An Accident in August by Laurence Cosse
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with August, Gladiolus or Peridot (or variation on name) in title or author/main character name"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2003 - Original French language; 2011 - English translation
Acquisition date: August 24, 2015
Page count: 192 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.65 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
On August 31, 1997. An accident that cost the lives of three people - Lady Diana, Dodi al Fayed, and Henri Paul. One person involved in the tragedy, the driver of a white Fiat Uno that was in the Alma Tunnel at the time of the accident, remains unidentified. Cossé's story focuses on the driver of this car, fictionalized as being a young French woman, 25-year-old Louise Origan, we follow as she sees her life thrown into turmoil when, scared and alone, she flees the scene of the accident. While there are no immediate repercussions resulting from her flight, as news of the event spreads and TV stations, papers and radio talk of nothing else for weeks, she is assailed by a growing sense of guilt. Terrified of being found out, questioned, arrested, and thrown headfirst into a media whirlwind, she finds herself paralyzed by fear, paranoia, and a growing sense of remorse. When finally it seems she has evaded both the police and the media spotlights, a mysterious man appears who will force her into a decision that will dramatically change her life.
Review:
Interesting premise but other than that, this really felt like an attempt to capitalize on that famous accident, especially as the release of the book’s English translation coincided with the 14th anniversary of the accident. Originally written in 2003, the focus of the story is on one of the remaining mysteries from the investigation into the crash – that a slow-moving car, described as being a white Fiat Uno, might have caused the accident. Told from the point of view of the Fiat Uno car driver, Cosse tries to present Lou as a character readers may be able to identify with and feel empathy for. Unfortunately the story came across as contrived. Lou’s overactive imagination, coupled with a lack of a friends/family support group produces escalating levels of guilt, paranoia and evasion of crime activities - all good elements for a page-turning thriller read - but Lou comes across as a weak character focused only on making her own escape, even to the detriment of her own relationship with her boyfriend and her work. It is that singular focus that I found so frustrating and alienating as a reader to accept. As for the ending, I found it to be a lame one that, sadly, is not outside of the realm of possibilities.

Overall, a rather disappointing read for what I had hoped would be an interesting suspense read.

85lkernagh
Aug 20, 2017, 7:25pm Top

.
Book #75 - The Last Lost Girl by Maria Hoey
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: eBook
Original publication date: July 11, 2017
Acquisition date: June 27, 2017
Page count: 448 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
On a perfect July evening in the sizzling Irish summer of 1976, fifteen-year-old Festival Queen Lilly Brennan disappears. Thirty-seven years later, as the anniversary of Lilly's disappearance approaches, her sister Jacqueline returns to their childhood home in Blackberry Lane. There she stumbles upon something that reopens the mystery, setting her on a search for the truth. A search that leads her to surprising places and challenging encounters. Jacqueline feels increasingly compelled to find the answer to what happened to Lilly all those years ago and finally lay her ghost to rest. But at what cost? For unravelling the past proves to be a dangerous and painful thing, and her path to the truth leads her ever closer to a dark secret she may not wish to know.
Review:
Presented as a story told in alternating chapters, Hoey’s story captures that long hot Irish summer when Lilly disappears and Jacqueline’s search for answers all those years later. The story is steeped in sadness and grief, loss and longing. Beautifully written, this story is an emotional account of how destructive family secrets can be. the narrative brings to life the events of that 1976 summer as seen through the eyes of then eleven-year-old Jacqueline. Even though Jacqueline has a tendency to listen at doors and “sneak” around, her sister’s disappearance is one that has haunted Jacqueline all these years. The characters are complex and well written. I really like how the reader is limited to what Jacqueline knows from first-hand experience or what she learns as she works to uncover what happened to Lilly all those years ago. The reveal at the end is shocking – I did not see that one coming! – and makes all the pieces presented earlier in the story fall perfectly into place.

A well written debut novel that beautifully portrays a family forever changed by a terrible event.

86lkernagh
Aug 20, 2017, 7:32pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 107, 108 and 109 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 112.70 (Week 107=30.8; Week 108=24.3, Week 109=57.6)
Kilometers walked in total:4,662.9
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: South of Chalk River and heading for Petawawa.
Points of interest along the way: My virtual walking took me through or near a number of Ontario communities, namely Deux-Rivieres, Bissett Creek, Stonecliffe, Rolphton, Point Alexander, Deep River and Chalk River. Chalk River, what some might call a "small rural village" is home to Chalk River Laboratories, One of Canada's major nuclear research and development centers, supporting the CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) reactor technology.

My actual walking journeys were more varied as they involved walks in both Victoria and Calgary, as well as a hike up Bear's Hump in Waterton Lakes National Park. The hike itself is only 2 kilometers round trip but it involves climbing 240 meters in elevation via a rough trail comprising of 18 switchbacks. I did the hike with my two younger nieces and my 82-year-old father. Yup, my dad did the hike! Is that impressive, or what!? I don't have any decent pictures worth sharing... the smoke haze detracted from what is usually stunning views, like this picture posted by another hiker:


Bears Hump Waterton Lake, taken by Elsie Hui (CC BY 2.0)

The day we were in Waterton was the Sunday of the August long weekend. The building in the bottom left of the above picture is the Prince of Wales Hotel. The day we were there, the parking lot was full of vehicles, and the cliff bluffs were full of visitors! We did try to hike Red Rock Canyon, but park officials were turning people away as both upper and lower parking lots were full. Below is a picture of what hiking Red Rock Canyon would look like, if we had been able to do that hike:



Of course, a trip to Waterton Lakes National Park is not complete without stopping in the townsite for some shopping, which for me, always involves candy shopping:





Too bad the "souvenir" candy bar for this Canadian National Park is actually made in Montana:



87sirfurboy
Edited: Aug 21, 2017, 6:37am Top

>86 lkernagh: beautiful scenery and those red rocks are amazing. What is the rock there? It doesn't look like staining by minerals because of the white strata in that picture - but then it is remarkable how there can be white strata with the red so evident above an below. Maybe it is staining but the white rock is non porous?

I suppose I should google it :)

88DeltaQueen50
Aug 21, 2017, 1:47pm Top

Welcome back, Lori. Glad to hear that you had a good time with your family. Waterton Park is one of my favorite places, so beautiful.

89dudes22
Aug 21, 2017, 7:40pm Top

That looks like it would be an amazing place to hike. Glad you had a good vacation.

90RidgewayGirl
Aug 21, 2017, 8:09pm Top

I'm glad your vacation was restorative and your computer is now functional. Welcome back!

91VivienneR
Aug 22, 2017, 4:38pm Top

>82 lkernagh: Thanks for sharing your photos of Waterton Lakes National Park. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited, love the little townsite. And congratulations to your Dad for doing the Bear's Hump hike! A great achievement.

92lkernagh
Aug 23, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>87 sirfurboy:, >88 DeltaQueen50:, >89 dudes22:, >90 RidgewayGirl: and >91 VivienneR: - Thank you sirfurboy, Judy, Betty, RidgewayGirl and Vivienne welcome back wishes. Family is good, hiking was fabulous - Waterton is amazing! - and as much as I enjoyed the trip, it is still nice to be home. ;-)

>87 sirfurboy: - Good question and something I had to google to find out:
"Layer upon layer of sand, silt, clay and iron-rich mud were buried, compressed and cemented to form sandstone, shale and limestone. Some deeply buried layers were changed (metamorphosed) by additional pressure and heat. For example, shale changed to argillite (red and green rocks) and limestone to dolomite.

The green rocks contain non-oxidized iron, while the red rocks contain about three percent oxidized iron. The red colour indicates that, at some point, there was enough oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere to have affected those layers. The light-coloured layers (white, buff, light brown) are sandstone, limestone and a similar rock called dolomite."
Red Rock Canyon is considered to be an impressive example of this process.

>90 RidgewayGirl: - LOL, well, I do at least have a functioning computer, that is true. We are still adding back various software programs but my latest "GRRRR!" is that the computer no longer "sees" my iPod Touch, which is the device I use to listen to my audiobooks and I can only upload/delete audiobooks (and music) using iTunes on my computer, so I guess you could say that my computer frustrations continue. ;-)

>91 VivienneR: - I am hugely impressed with my dad's hike up Bear's Hump! It is a beautiful townsite, I just struggle with the idea currently being proposed to build the new tourist center in the middle of the town beside the campgrounds. That area is so busy already!

------------------------

Happy to see the first half of the week finished and we are that much closer to the weekend. I am rather excited about my plans this weekend. I am going to be able to cross off one of the Canadiana events that has been on my bucket list for this year: I am going to go see the RCMP Musical Ride this Saturday. Just one of those things I haven't seen before now, and since they will be here in Victoria, no reason not to go! For anyone who has an interst in seeing the Musical Ride, Victoria Buzz will be live streaming the event on their Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/victoriabcbuzz/ ) August 27th, starting approximately 1:30 pm Pacific Time.

In the meantime, I did manage to write three more of my backlogged book reviews, which are now ready for posting.

93lkernagh
Aug 23, 2017, 9:55pm Top


Book #76 - The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb - audiobook narrated by George Guidall
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books page count (701-800 pages)"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2008
Acquisition date: September 13, 2014
Page count: 768 pages / 25 hours, 21 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.15 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from various sources:
When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. When Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family's Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right, and further tragedy ensues. While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers five generations' worth of diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in his family's house. As unimaginable secrets emerge, Caelum grapples with the past and struggles to fashion a future from the ashes of tragedy.
Review:
Without a doubt, this is a very ambitious story. Against the backdrop of the Columbine High School shootings, Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War, Lamb tackles a myriad of complex issues like marriage, drug addiction, post traumatic stress disorder and prison reform. Lamb "spokesperson" is everyday man Caelum Quirk. Quirk is not a hero, he is not a philosopher, he is not a healer. He is ordinary person trapped in a downward spiraling life of pain, grief and yes, even a bit of the absurd, enough to make one wonder what kind of hand he has been dealt by the card dealer in the sky. As much as I appreciate the voice of Caelum, the book itself tends to get mired down in the details. It is a case of trying to cram way to much stuff into one book.

One reviewer has summed up this book quite nicely:
"melodrama that justifies platitudes via seemingly endless ugliness."
Lamb imbues his story with a frankness that is refreshing, but could have come up with a better story if he had controlled the rambling tangents the story dips down.

Favorite Quote:
"We all have the power to free ourselves from prisons of our own or others' making, but doing so depends on our willingness to take that crucial leap of faith and realize that angels are real, not really the product of wishful thinking, and that they are all around us. We are, my friends, or can be, angels for one another."

94lkernagh
Aug 23, 2017, 9:55pm Top


Book #77 - Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon - audiobook narrated by John McDonough
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "8th book in a series"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2003
Acquisition date: May 15, 2011
Page count: 304 pages / 6 hours, 9 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Father Tim has always lived what he calls "the life of the mind" and has never learned to savor the work of his hands. But that changes when he f inds a derelict nativity scene that has suffered the indignities of time and neglect. Does he have what it takes to restore the assembly? It's the beginning of a small journey of faith that touches everyone around him, and that reminds us all about the true Christmas spirit."
Review:
I am one of those readers who feels that Christmas stories can be read year round, not just in December. Shepherds Abiding is a special book as the reader gets glimpses into Father Tim's childhood and fond memories of those Christmases past. The book does not contain any of the sadder, social issues of previous stories. The focus here is on good will, light, peace and joy for everyone... my kind of Christmas story.

While my print copy only has the story Shepherds Abiding, the audiobook version I listed to also contained two bonus short stories - "Esther's Gift" and "The Mitford Snowmen". In "Esther's Gift" we get to experience Esther, of the marmalade cake fame, pondering the cost of continuing to make her signature cake as Christmas gifts for some of the Mitford community. The story even includes the recipe for the marmalade cake! "The Mitford Snowmen" is a fun romp during a sudden snow downfall where the adults of Mitford find themselves involved in what we would call today a "flash mob" building of snowmen up and down Mitford's main street. Perfect bonus reads!

95lkernagh
Aug 23, 2017, 9:55pm Top


Book #78 - Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos by Brian Wallis, with photos by John Vachon
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of August"
Source: GVPL
Format: Hardcover
Original publication date: 2010
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 128 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca website book listing webpage:
It was yet another assignment for LOOK magazine staff photographer John Vachon. But when he arrived in Banff, Alberta, in mid-August of 1953 to shoot Marilyn Monroe on location making River of No Return, Vachon encountered an opportunity never afforded the many great photographers who took pictures of Marilyn during her short life. Due to an injured ankle that prevented her from filming, Vachon got access to Marilyn over a period of several days. Vachon's lens captured her in a variety of contexts and countenances. Here is Marilyn the way we want to remember her: luminous, sexually charismatic, smiling radiantly — even on crutches. This extraordinary portfolio of revealing images ranges from her mugging poolside to riding high on a ski lift to nuzzling with her then-husband-to-be, the legendary Joe DiMaggio — the only time that the two posed formally together for a photographer.
Review:
This collection of both posed and candid shots of Marilyn was a quick read. I really like Wallis's detailed write-up of the photo-shoot assignment and the background details of Marilyn, her struggles with the heads of the Hollywood movies production houses and the extent to which DiMaggio went to to ensure that they were not seen as a couple. Some of the pictures are super cheesy - apparently LOOK wanted to get shots of Marilyn in a bathing suit with cast and crutches and a series of what can only be called "tourism" shots with Marylin posing in a canoe, with a RMCP officer and even lying fully clothed in a log cabin on a bearskin rug.

While the original assignment was to capture what it looks like when three major Hollywood movies, featuring some of the biggest stars, are being filmed simultaneously on location in the Canadian Rockies, it is the inclusion of Vacon's letters home to his wife while on location that really give the reader fabulous glimpses into the events of the shoot, the iconic Banff Springs Hotel of the 1950's and the personalities of the stars (Vachon liked Shelley Winters, found Robert Mitchum to be an arrogant ass and his first meeting with Alan Ladd left him thinking Ladd to be the worst person he has ever met).

A fabulous, quick read for Marilyn Monroe fans or anyone interested in Hollywood productions of the era and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

96andreablythe
Aug 25, 2017, 12:54pm Top

>86 lkernagh:
WOW! Bears Hump Waterton Lake is gorgeous.

97BLBera
Aug 26, 2017, 11:50am Top

Hi Lori - Lovely pictures - what great places to walk!

Nice comments on your reading. I think I have An Accident in August somewhere. I'm sorry to hear it was so disappointing. I must get to the Grafton series; I know I would like them. I am on letter C, so as you can see I have some catching up to do.

Have a wonderful weekend.

98LittleTaiko
Aug 26, 2017, 9:01pm Top

Welcome back! Happy to hear that you had such a nice vacation. The Y book in the Grafton series came out this week - I'm really hoping to get to it soon. Need to finish a couple of other books first though.

99lkernagh
Aug 27, 2017, 8:40pm Top

>96 andreablythe: - Hi Andrea! Waterton is, like all of the other national parks, pretty darn spectacular. I an envious that my sister has a home within a one-hour's drive of the park. My niece, currently attending the University of Lethbridge has done a lot of hiking in that park. Something about the proximity of the park to where she studies.... ;-)

>97 BLBera: - Hi Beth! It is a lovely place to walk. As for Accident in August, I think I was more bugged about how ambivalent the main character seems to be. Yes, she experiences some lack of sleep and loss of appetite over to the whole situation, but the fact that she is singularly focused on herself - to the exclusion of anyone else - I found highly disturbing, and that was a turn off for me: How am I supposed to feel empathy for someone who only thinks about themselves?

I hope you have had a lovely weekend.

>98 LittleTaiko: - Hi Stacy! It is lovely to be back "online" and posting again. Vacation was fabulous. I am trying very hard to contain myself from jumping on the next Sue Grafton book. I only have to read "X" and then I am onto "Y"... but I am going to hold back on both of those reads until next year. I have decided I need more flexibility in my challenge. As much as I have loved my challenge this year, August has been a bit of a challenge and I want to be able to read as little or as much as I choose in any given month, so I am going to be do a basic Alphabet challenge next year (which is why I want to hold out on reading Grafton's "X" and "Y" books for now). ;-)

100lkernagh
Aug 27, 2017, 8:43pm Top

The weekend has been fabulous! I was able to send my other half off for the weekend - he is helping a buddy sail a boat over to Salt Spring Island to pick up some parts he needs for his boat - so I have had a very relaxing weekend. I have just realized that part of the reason I have been having such a successful reading year is roughly every 2-3 weeks for the past three months other half has been busy sailing boats, leaving me with wonderful downtime to do whatever I want. Bliss!

Saturday I did go out to see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride. Fabulous! The weather was a bit on the hot side (in the mid-20'C, sunshine with no clouds or wind) so I kind of felt sorry for the riders in their heavy serge jackets. The event itself started off with performance by a combination of highland pipers and drummers from a handful of different Canadian military regiments as well as a military band. I snapped some pics of the ride:


Entering the grounds at the start of the show




Usually a picture (being worth a thousand words, as the saying goes) will suffice, but in this instance, it doesn't even come close to conveying the experience. No worries, I did shot some short video clips with my phone and have posted a 1-minute clip to YouTube, so that everyone here can "glimpse" the show:

https://youtu.be/CCb062-Syug

I should warn you that the video quality is not the best, but it does give an indication of what was on offer during the 30-minute performance.

Today I ventured off to see the Chalf Art Festival. Previous years the event has been downtown on Government Street but this year it occurred at Uptown Mall. Not as good as in previous years and nothing photo-worthy caught my eye, so no pics of that event.

.... 4 more days and we are into September. ;-(

Book reviews and walking update (with correction) ready for posting.

101lkernagh
Aug 27, 2017, 8:44pm Top


Book #79 - Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner - audiobook narrated by the author
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books where main theme is Friendship or Conjugal Felicity"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2016
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 278 pages / 7 hours, 30 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca website book listing webpage:
Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Little did they know that their next roles as Spock and Captain Kirk, in a new science fiction television series, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated. In seventy-nine television episodes of Star Trek and six feature films, they grew to know each other more than most friends could ever imagine. Over the course of half a century, Shatner and Nimoy saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows. In this powerfully emotional book, Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set, as well as gathering stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life. As much a biography of Nimoy as a story of their friendship, Leonard is a uniquely heartfelt book written by one legendary actor in celebration of another.
Review:
In this inviting memoir/biography, Shatner muses about his working relationship with Leonard Nimoy and the development of their off-screen friendship. Shatner likes to think that Leonard Nimoy was his best friend, and to fair to Shatner, he does admit that friendships are not something that he fosters. In fact, he states in the book that
”until Leonard and I had developed our relationship… I didn’t even know what a friend was.”
Whether Leonard shared this feeling is a moot point. To this day Shatner insists that he has no idea what he did to make Nimoy, in 2011, stop being friends with him. For this reason, this book is more an apologetic eulogy by Shatner, and a reminder of just how special meaningful friendships are. Shatner discusses the commonalities he shared with Nimoy (Nimoy was born just 4 days after Shatner; both come from working class Jewish Eastern European immigrant families; both struggled to start their acting careers, etc) and on to explain how their 50-year ‘friendship’ spanned personal and professional highs and lows for both of them (Nimoy and Shatner’s third wife both suffered alcohol addiction; both went through bitter divorces and both saw professional highs – Nimoy as a director and Shatner achieving a solid acting career). While the book delves into the early years and professional histories of both actors – and yes, there is a lot of material for Trekkie fans like me to enjoy – it is Shatner’s supposition that their immigrant experiences shaped their lives that I found most interesting.

Overall, Shatner presents and interesting portrayal of Nimoy as a driven artist, performer and individual who was always challenging himself. The book is a bit clichéd but I will give Shatner credit, he does like to tell a story, even if he cannot help but include himself as a one of the key players in the story being told.

102lkernagh
Aug 27, 2017, 8:45pm Top


Book #80 - The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "8th book in a series"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: April 17, 2007
Acquisition date: May 11, 2014
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 24 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.90 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
There is rarely a dull moment in the life of Precious Ramotswe, and on Zebra Drive and Tlokweng Road many changes are afoot. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni wants be put in charge of a case involving an errant husband, and Mma Makutsi is considering leaving the agency, taking her near perfect score on the Botswana Secretarial College typing exam with her. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has been asked to investigate a series of unexpected deaths at the hospital in Mochudi. Along the way, she encounters other tricky mysteries, and once again displays her undying love for Botswana, a country of which she is justly proud.
Review:
Another good installment in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series. McCall Smith continues to depict ordinary life in Botswana with a solid cast of characters that, after 7 previous installments, have grown into reasonably complex characters. I loved that Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni gets involved in a case of his own to solve which, inadvertently, produces a new mystery of a more personal nature, but it is Mma Ramotswe's keen observation skills, her understanding of human nature, her common sense and the ability to turn the other way that ensures happy results for almost all involved. Mma Makutsi is annoying for the first half of the book - I don't think I could work closely, day after day, with someone of that vocal a personality - but thankfully, she settles down into a more sedate and more forgiving character. Also, I really like how Charlie, the older mechanic apprentice, learns the hard way that starting a business of your own can have unexpected pitfalls.

Another insightful depiction of the "slice of life" activities at Zebra Drive and Tlokweng Road.

103lkernagh
Aug 27, 2017, 8:46pm Top


Book #81 - Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Eight-Word title"
Source: GVPL
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2006
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 119 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
In Rome one January afternoon in 1943, a young German woman is on her way to listen to a Bach concert at the Lutheran church. The war is for her little more than a daydream, until she realizes that her husband might never return. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, winner of the prestigious Georg Büchner prize, is a mesmerizing psychological portrait of the human need to safeguard innocence and integrity at any cost?even at the risk of excluding reality.
Review:
Evocative is the word I will use to describe this beautifully written story. Okay, I would use the word sublime as well. Introspective and observational in nature, Delius has captured the essence of a 19-year-old German woman, 8-months pregnant and adrift "in the dangerous sea of the hospitable and harsh, beautiful and uncanny city" of Rome. Margaret (the girl's name) does not speak the local language and as such, finds herself trying to explain the sights and sounds that surround her via her innocent, devout Protestant upbringing. Delius' portrayal of Rome, in particular Margaret's walk from the German-run mission hospital to the Lutheran Gospel on Via Sicilia is vividly descriptive but it is Margaret's attempts to dissuade new ideas that threaten to make her lower her shield of naivete and start to question the German point of view on things like the war, attitudes towards Jews and Italians, and even start to examine her station and circumstances. Emotionally, the reader is exposed to Margaret's fear of dissent and the repression she sees in the faces of the individuals passing by during her walk.

For me this story has the same quiet contemplation and examination found in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. This story is also written in the stream of consciousness style, comprising of an inner monologue. I tend to enjoy quiet, contemplative stories and like the stream of consciousness style, but I understand that this may not be another reader's idea of a good read. If you find a story written as one 119-page run-on sentence, this story may not appeal to you.

As one review has put it, "This is an absolutely beautiful meditation on life, love, war, cruelty, faith, humanity" and one that I highly recommend, if anything, to experience the wonderful poetic prose the story is written in.

104lkernagh
Aug 27, 2017, 8:48pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

I have to start off by reporting that I completely missed a week of walking when I compiled my last report, so I am posted a REVISED report, as well as this week's walking... the joys of thinking I could easily take care of things without access to my backup spreadsheet. ;-)

REVISED WEEKS 107, 108, 109, 110 and new WEEK 111 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked WEEKS 107, 108, 109 and 110: 175.50 (Week 107=62.58; Week 108=30.75; Week 109=24.31; Week 110=57.64)
Kilometers walked in Week 111: 57.86
Kilometers walked in total:4,783.34
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: Southeast of Arnprior and heading for Kanata.
Points of interest along the way: No time to do any online research for points of interest... just really happy that I am getting that much closer to crossing into Quebec. Always good news to discover an extra 62.58 KM walked but not recorded. ;-)

105VivienneR
Aug 28, 2017, 8:12pm Top

106andreablythe
Aug 30, 2017, 1:31pm Top

>103 lkernagh:
I don't pick up historical very often, and certainly not WWII stories (because they can be so bleak), but your lovely review has me wanting to grab this one.

107clue
Aug 30, 2017, 7:51pm Top

Thanks for the pictures and video, the horses are so beautiful.

Your review reminded me I need to get back the Mma Ramotswe, I don't think I've read a single book from that series this year.

The Leonard Shatner goes on the Wishlist.

108RidgewayGirl
Aug 31, 2017, 11:30am Top

>103 lkernagh: Lovely review. I'll be looking for this one.

109Tanya-dogearedcopy
Edited: Sep 1, 2017, 4:08pm Top

>84 lkernagh: That's too bad about An Accident in August. I had high hopes for it. It's a book that's in my TBR stack via a postal book club, and I made the effort to cart it in my luggage to Paris so I could get some books shots of the book "in situ." Unfortunately, the site of the crash is really a busy freeway, and it was raining on the afternoon I had set aside for the adventure, so I decided risking my neck for the shot wasn't worth it. I took the book Shakespeare and Company instead:

______________

I haven't actually read the book yet; but I'll keep my expectations in check :-/

110lkernagh
Sep 1, 2017, 8:21pm Top

>105 VivienneR: - I don't typically read biographies or memoirs but I couldn't resist this one. I hope you also like it.

>106 andreablythe: - I hear you on the bleak nature of most WWII stories, Andrea. I don't like reading depressing reads or war reads in general. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is different in that the war machine is not front and center in this story, since Germany was an ally of Italy and even the Allied War Effort wasn't about to bomb the Vatican. The fact that this story ends on a high note is another positive to nudge you towards the book. ;-)

>107 clue: - The RCMP Musical Ride is a unique experience. Glad you liked the pics and video! Mma Ramotswe has been a great way for me to escape the hustle and bustle of RL.

>108 RidgewayGirl: - Thanks! It is a wonderful quick read!

>109 Tanya-dogearedcopy:- So did I! It is an interesting premise and I do know some other readers who praised it more highly than I did, so you may still find it to be a good read. Love the picture! That is perfect. Good choice to take the snap outside Shakespeare and Company, instead of at the crash scene. ;-)

-------------------------

Goodbye August, Hello September.

Summer is officially over this weekend. Wow. You know, I think back over the past two months and I am still surprised how quickly the time flew by. This week has been a rather sombre, reflective week for me. The news out of Texas has been capturing my attention as I have an old school friend who lives in the affected areas. They are fine and have been outside of the flooding but the magnitude of the event and the damage is just mind-numbing. Also, this week my mom would have turned 83 so I have been spending more time thinking back on memories as the family and I continue the journey of "firsts" since mom's passing. I have a four-day weekend this weekend but it will be a very low-key one.

Wishing everyone a safe Labour Day weekend.

111lkernagh
Sep 1, 2017, 8:22pm Top


Book #82 - Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn - audiobook narrated by Neil Shah
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Eight (8) in the title"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: April 2016
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 274 pages / 6 hours, 27 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
A future lord is dispossessed of his birthright by a scheming uncle, a mountain sorcerer imbues a mask with the spirit of a great stag for a lost young man, a stubborn father forces his son to give up his wife to his older brother, and a powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne, the child who is the rightful heir to the emperor barely escaping the capital in the arms of his sister. And that is just the beginning. As destiny weaves its rich tapestry, a compelling drama plays out against a background of wild forests, elegant castles, hidden temples, and savage battlefields. This is the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, where animal spirits clash with warriors and children navigate a landscape as serene as it is deadly.
Review:
This first book in a four-book series - all published in 2016 - by Gillian Rubinstein (writing under the pseudonym Lian Hearn) is a pretty darn decent read considering I don't usually go for the epic Japanese fantasy-styled stories of warring clans and sorcery-inspired magical elements. A fantasy world of chivalry, rivalry, swords, daggers and intrigue. All good elements for a fast-paced story! The descriptive scenery - I could "feel" the cold being described! - and the recognizable Japanese elements of medieval classic tales are well done. The pace fo the story starts out at a good clip and doesn't slow down. No time for dilly-dallying and stopping to smell the flowers when the self-serving ambitions of men are involved. Yes, I had a difficult time keeping some the characters straight in my mind, but I was too busy enjoying all the action and decided to just settle in and let the story wash over me. I enjoyed this story enough that I will probably continue to read the other three books in the series.

Overall, a good, fast paced story set in a fantasy version of feudal Japan and made for a nice "change of pace" to my previous reads.

112lkernagh
Sep 1, 2017, 8:22pm Top


Book #83 - Involuntary Bliss by Devon Code
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Light Green cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: GVPL
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: October 18, 2016
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 180 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 1.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the book inside cover flap:
A bond between three friends forms over a mutual fascination with an obscure Peruvian novella and is fractured by an accidental death. Over one hazy weekend in late August, an unnamed narrator visits his troubled friend James following a gap of many month. The two young men are set adrift in Montreal by way of James's memories - an affair, a stint volunteering at a children's hospital, a striptease show - assembling a picture of James's haunted life in the wake of their close friend's death.
Review:
What an odd story. It reads like an edgy, freewheeling existential novel, with everything from bohemian artists, a biker gang and a strange Peruvian mountain shamen peddling a psychotropic drink as a means to spiritual release and enlightenment. The story spirals around repeated mentions an unnamed novella with a theme of involuntary bliss. Code continually skirts the edges of this novella, and its elusive meaning. Instead, he focuses on James's frustrated attempts to make sense of the world around him.

Overall, I found this to be very frustrating, annoying novel to read. The character James is an enigma. I have no problem with characters that are completely adrift in life, but Code treats the entire story like a coded puzzle, cast adrift just like James, leaving the reader to reach their own conclusions on the themes presented. This story brings to mind Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, albeit on a much smaller scale than Bolaño’s hefty tome and is probably better suited to that type of reading audience.

113lkernagh
Edited: Sep 1, 2017, 8:24pm Top

Continuing my reading "roll", Augusts was a good reading month, although I have to admit that I am starting to tire of my category challenge. I know I gave myself a rather low minimum goal to read 3 theme-reads per month, but the obsessive-compulsive in my still strives to read at least one book for each monthly sub-list. I just have myself to blame for feeling a little pressured. ;-)



8th book in a series:
- Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon - (review)
- The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith - (review)

Books with Eight (8) in the title:
- Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn - (review)

Books page count (701-800 pages):
- The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb - (review)

Books with Eight-Word title:
- Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - (review)

Books set predominantly in the month of August:
- Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos by Brian Wallis - (review)

Books with August, Gladiolus or Peridot (or variation on name) in title or author/main character name:
- An Accident in August by Laurence Cosse - (review)

Books where main theme is Friendship or Conjugal Felicity:
- Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner - (review)

Books with Light Green cover or the color mentioned in the book title:
- Involuntary Bliss by Devon Code - (review)



Miscellaneous books read:
- W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton - (review)
- The Last Lost Girl by Maria Hoey - (review)

------------------------------------

MAY SUMMARY:
No. of Books read: 11
ROOTs read: 4
Largest book read by page count: - The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb at 768 pages
Smallest book read by page count: - Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius 119 pages
# Pages read: - 3,417 pages
Average # pages per book read: - 311 pages
Average # pages read per day: - 110
Audiobooks / eBooks / Physical Books: - 6/1/7 making note that three of the audioreads were listened to as a way to get physical reads off my TBR pile.
Male vs. Female Authors: - 5 vs. 6
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction Reads: - 9 vs. 2
Average Decimal/ Star rating for books read: 3.60 out of 5 / Thanks to two dud reads this month.
------------------------------------

... Now onward to September reading!

114clue
Sep 1, 2017, 10:56pm Top

>111 lkernagh: I loved her Tales of the Otori series so I should try this series too. Just haven't gotten around to it.

115DeltaQueen50
Sep 2, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>111 lkernagh: I also loved the Tales of the Otori series and I am looking forward to this series as well.

116pammab
Sep 2, 2017, 7:49pm Top

>101 lkernagh: Really enticing reviews of Leonard and Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman! I am especially intrigued at the idea that immigrant family identities shaped Shatner and Nimoy's identities and the way they experienced the world.

117lkernagh
Sep 4, 2017, 4:03pm Top

>114 clue: & >115 DeltaQueen50: - Good to know that you both loved her other series, Tales of the Otori! Rubinstein is a "new-to-me" author and I am looking forward to reading more of her works.

>116 pammab: - Thanks pammab! I enjoyed both reads. Always happy when I am able to get others interested in the books I like. ;-) I was really surprised at the number of similarities in both Shatner and Nimoy's upbringing and still they become their own unique individuals with their own special contributions to the world.

-----------------

Happy Labour Day, everyone! This weekend has been a stellar one, with a continuation of the fabulous summer weather we have been having here on the island. Even though I had mentioned that I was going to have a low-key weekend, my plans didn't quite pan out that way. Saturday was the usual chores with some reading. Sunday, instead of staying home, I went into town and took in part of the blues and bluegrass musical event as well as the classical boat festival, both occurring in the Inner Harbour:



Always great to see the classic wood-paneled boats that are lovingly maintained by their owners.

While I was downtown yesterday, I finally caught a glimpse of this pub-crawl vehicle I had heard so much about this summer:

.

As the sign says, The Rolling Barrel is the city's first "Pedal Pub Tour". Pub crawlers provide the pedal power while a driver takes them to three downtown pubs where the riders receive discounts on food and drink at each stop during the 2-hour tour. The good news is that the pubs are in close proximity so it is a fun and I am assuming reasonably safe way for pub crawlers to get from pub to pub (making note that the seats do not come with seat-belts). Can't quite see this getting much use in the wet winter months but definitely fun for a hot summer day!

Today, I have taken advantage of the insanely hot weather - you will have to take my word for it that temps of 18'C before 8AM with highs of 29'C is highly unusual for Victoria - so I have spend this morning steam cleaning the carpets and washing the curtains. Not exactly the way some people would spend the Labour Day holiday but with this heat, everything will be dry by mid-afternoon.

On the reading front, I have finished my first September read. Review to follow.

118lkernagh
Sep 4, 2017, 4:04pm Top


Book #84 - The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Nine-Word title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: 2004
Acquisition date: May 4, 2013
Page count: 352 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: summary from the allreaders.com book review summary page:
Olivia Hunt is a Hollywood producer who has just been fired after her last movie entitled "Lyold the Hamster", tanked at the box office. To make matters worse, Olivia has been given her walking papers by her boyfriend, Michael. While wallowing in a heap of self pity, Olivia's younger sister Maddy has been diagnosed with leukemia. Olivia rushes home to Shawnee Falls, Ohio to be with her sister and her family as they struggle to process the devastating news. Olivia and Maddie have always been close, although their lives are radically different. While Olivia has been wheeling and dealing in Hollywood, Maddie has married a stable and loving guy and settled down in their hometown of Shawnee Falls. While Olivia is a cynic, Maddie is an optimist. Despite the grim news, Maddie firmly believes she will successfully battle the leukemia. As Olivia provides her sister a shoulder to lean on, Maddie challenges her older sister to chase her dreams and produce the film she has always dreamed of making, despite the odds being stacked against her.
Review:
I see mixed reviews and predominately average ratings for this one but I have to say, I loved this book. It really hit home for me. Robinson has taken her own real-life experiences - she worked in the film business for 10 years and watched as her optimistic sister died of leukemia - and has written a heartfelt story that was probably a therapeutic release for the author. Robinson succeeds where other authors might fail with the epistolary style: The story is told strictly through Olivia's correspondence. Even using this "one person" perspective, Robinson is able to bring the other characters to life. The reader experiences the near manic highs and gut-wrenching lows as Maddie's disease runs its course. Robinson also portrays how life cannot be placed on hold when a family member becomes ill. One just logs a lot more Air Miles, get a lot less sleep and try to continue to face work as "business as usual". For Olivia, business as usual is the highly demanding life of a film producer. Robinson takes her film business experience and writes a cracking good satire about Hollywood. When I wasn't crying for Maddie, I was laughing at the scathing missives as Olivia does everything she can to get her project - the latest adaptation of Don Quixote - to screen. To fully appreciate this story, and not just the Hollywood satire aspect, it would help the reader to have a good understanding of the subtle nuances and underlying themes of Don Quixote, and not just the fact that some supposed madman raced at windmills.

Lev Gorssman says it best:
"Tough, tender and tearful, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters helps us make sense of it all."

119lkernagh
Sep 4, 2017, 4:06pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

I have to start off by reporting that I completely missed a week of walking when I compiled my last report, so I am posted a REVISED report, as well as this week's walking... the joys of thinking I could easily take care of things without access to my backup spreadsheet. ;-)

WEEK 112 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 69.24
Kilometers walked in total:4,852.58
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: Southeast of Ottawa and heading for Limonges and Casselman.
Points of interest along the way: I should probably point out that the only reason I have not crossed over into Quebec yet is because I am travelling the Trans Canada Highway. On this route - which through this part of Canada is called Highway 417 - I won't cross into Quebec until closer to Montreal. Of course, I could have hopped on over to Gatineau while crossing through Ottawa, but that would be taking me "off course". ;-)

Ottawa, being the capital of Canada, has a lot of interesting things to see and do, such as:

The Parliament Buildings - Arial shot of Parliament Hill

(Image Source: Flickr, posted by tsaiproject under CC BY 2.0 license)

The National Gallery of Canada

(Image Source: Wikimedia, posted by Tullia under CC BY-SA 3.0 license)
Don't ask me to explain the arachnid-looking piece of public art. I have no idea... I struggle to understand most public art here in Canada.

With a stop for a BeaverTails Pastry

(Image Source: Wikimedia, posted by Peter Reichert under CC BY 2.0 license)
Admittedly, I can partake of a BeaverTails Pastry even in Victoria, but still, one those Canadian tourist things to do.

One of these years, I will get to Ottawa to see the city in person.

120rabbitprincess
Sep 4, 2017, 4:10pm Top

Whoop whoop! Whenever you do get to Ottawa, let me know and we'll go book shopping ;)

121Jackie_K
Sep 4, 2017, 4:45pm Top

>119 lkernagh: I'm pretty sure the spider (or one very like it) was in London a few years ago, at the Tate Modern. I wonder if the author has done a series. (I really really hope it's not that the spiders are reproducing!).

122RidgewayGirl
Sep 4, 2017, 6:37pm Top

That spider is by the amazing artist, Louise Bourgeois, who saw spiders as nurturing and mother-like. Her work is well worth seeing if you get a chance. I love her work.

123lkernagh
Sep 4, 2017, 8:22pm Top

>120 rabbitprincess: - Absolutely!

>121 Jackie_K: & >122 RidgewayGirl: - Good to know who the artist and how she viewed spiders as being nurturing and mother-like, which I can see from a safe distance. I will give spiders their space so long as they don't invade my indoor space. I think that is fair.

124lkernagh
Sep 4, 2017, 8:26pm Top

Public Art

I am curious to learn what people think about public art. You know, art paid for with tax payer's dollars displayed in public areas to "beautify" and facilitate conversations (the conversations bit is the only explanation I can provide for why some public art even exists). I thought it would be fun if visitors to this thread can post a picture of the public art in their community that they either "Love" or "Despise". I will start:

In Victoria, we have a number of works of public art. For the most part, they are aesthetically pleasing, and some of them even make sense in the context of their location. There does exist one piece of public art (circa 1997) that continues to baffle me as to why it even exists. It is the "Day is For Resting, Night is For Sleeping" sculptures created by Mowry and Baden and on permanent display near the corner of Beacon Hill Park:

.

To me, it looks like ad hoc use of a discarded pile of moldy old mattresses.

Is there any public art in your community that you either "Love" or "Despise"?

125andreablythe
Sep 5, 2017, 12:21pm Top

>117 lkernagh:
I've seen those pub crawl vehicles around the Bay Area in California (I don't remember which city), and they've always looked like a good time to me.

>124 lkernagh:
I find public art in most cases to be hideous – although there definitely some good examples.

The most notorious local public art is in downtown San Jose. It's a statue of Quetzalcoatl. From a distance, it looks like the poop emoji, but up close it's not so bad.


126lkernagh
Sep 5, 2017, 1:22pm Top

Wow, I see what you mean. That would look like a poop emoji from a distance! ;-)

127DeltaQueen50
Sep 5, 2017, 1:34pm Top

You ladies gave me my first giggle of the day - I love the imagery of "poop emoji"!

128rabbitprincess
Sep 5, 2017, 2:33pm Top

129lkernagh
Sep 7, 2017, 10:22pm Top

Today is Day 3 of a smoke haze/air quality advisory for Victoria. I know, I shouldn't complain. For the most part the prevailing winds this summer have sent the smoke from the various Pacific Northwest fires in other directions. I feel sorry for everyone who has been impacted by these fires. This has got to be one of the worst fire seasons on record. My frustration comes from the lack of rain. We are over 60-days with no rain (because I refuse to count that minuscule sprinkling of wet stuff back in mid-August as rain) and while the weather forecast at the start of the week had potential rain slated for today, that potential rain forecast has now been pushed out to Saturday. I never thought I would be asking for this but I would love one week of solid, non-stop rain.

On the reading front I have completed a book - Light from Heaven, the 9th installment in Jan Karon's Mitford Series - but I have not gotten around to writing the review. Maybe this weekend.

Wishing all my LT friends in the vicinity of any of the wild fires, hurricanes and "who know what else" stay safe.

130DeltaQueen50
Sep 8, 2017, 12:57pm Top

I was so happy to get up this morning and find it raining. It looks like this is going to be a good, soaking rain and I sure hope it's reaching lots of the Pacific Northwest and helping to put out these terrible fires.

131lkernagh
Sep 8, 2017, 9:06pm Top

So do I Judy! Unfortunately, we didn't get much rain on the island - it had stopped raining by 6AM - so I still have my fingers crossed for more rain on Saturday, even if that might impact Rib Fest. ;-)

132lkernagh
Sep 8, 2017, 9:07pm Top


Book #85 - Light From Heaven by Jan Karon - audiobook narrated by John Mcdonough
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "9th book in a series"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2004
Acquisition date: 2005
Page count: 384 pages / 15 hours, 21 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
On a century-old valley farm where Father Tim and Cynthia are housesitting, there’s plenty to say grace over, from the havoc of a windstorm to a surprising new addition to the household and a mystery in the chicken house. It’s life on the mountaintop, however, that promises to give Father Tim the definitive challenge of his long priesthood. Can he step up to the plate and revive a remote, long-empty mountain church, asap? Or has he been called to accomplish the impossible? Fortunately, he’s been given an angel—in the flesh, of course.
Review:
As the last installment in Karon’s Mitford series – readers can continue to follow Father Timothy in Karon’s Father Tim series – this one seemed to come across a bit flat. Mitford and its wonderful town folk take a back seat as Father Tim and Cynthia have moved out to Meadowgate Farm for a year and Father Tim comes out of retirement to revive an old unused missionary church, Holy Trinity. Yes, there is a new cast of vivid characters to meet and fall in love with, but I found the story seemed to peter out instead providing a more satisfying plot resolution, almost as though Karon was rushing to meet a publishing deadline and didn’t have the time to wrap the story up properly.

I will miss my visits to Mitford but at least I can look forward to more stories with Father Timothy.

133VivienneR
Sep 12, 2017, 2:31pm Top

>86 lkernagh: Today I was thinking of you and your visit to Waterton National Park in southern Alberta when I read the latest news on the fire burning there. It is approaching the beautiful townsite and the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. Let's hope it is brought under control soon.

134mathgirl40
Sep 13, 2017, 10:22pm Top

>119 lkernagh: I always enjoy visiting Ottawa! It's such a great city. I hope you do get to travel there one day soon. I love your Labour Day photos too. Glad to hear you had a terrific weekend.

135lkernagh
Sep 17, 2017, 8:13pm Top

>133 VivienneR: - I was so sad to receive the text message from my sister when the tourist centre at the start of Bear's Hump hike was reported as a casualty of the wildfire! Thankfully, the buildings in the township and Prince of Wales Hotel were all spared/saved from the wildfires. The area where my sister and BIL have their house was part of the evacuation zone, but all is good. Also good that the cooler weather helped the firefighters. This has a been the worst fire season that I can remember. Very sad.

>134 mathgirl40: - Thanks Paulina! I do hope to visit Ottawa someday.

136lkernagh
Sep 17, 2017, 8:22pm Top

I know.... I have been rather absent lately. A lot going one - some good, some bad - and just not really had the energy to post an update. Going back to last weekend, we did finally get some rain on Sept 9, which was a blessing! It didn't last long, so on the Sunday I enjoyed great food, local craft beer and live music at RibFest. Fabulous time!

RibFest 2017

.

After such a great weekend, I woke up Monday morning with my first head cold of the year. I hate being sick. Spend the day at home in bed re-watching Doc Martin episodes, starting with the first show. By mid-week I was able to put in a full day at the office and continuing to mend. Thursday night was one for the books. I was woken up at 1:30 in the morning to the cry of "Fire!" and on looking out the window, saw that one of the condos across the street had flames licking up the outside corner of their unit. No alarms - the fire obviously originated on their 3rd floor balcony - so it is all thanks to the fact that one of my neighbors is an insomniac and saw the fire, or it could have easily burned for another 30 minutes or longer before an alarm was raised. Fire crew was on-sight until just after 3 dealing with the post fire cleanup. While great to have a ringside seat to the activities, very disturbing (and not surprising) that the suspected cause of the fire was a cigarette not properly extinguished. they got off easy with no human causalities and only $50,000 of estimated fire-related damage. Still, always scary when a wood-frame structure is involved. Suffice to say, with the lack of sleep, I was pretty much rubbish for Friday.

Saturday was a busy day as it was VF-Day (Victoria Foundation community appreciation day). Over 30 venues were open to the public at no charge so I took advantage of the day and the weather and took in three historical homes:

Spencer Mansion - part of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

.
Image Source: John Mabel, on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Emily Carr House

.
- a fitting visit after viewing the extensive collection of Emily Carr paintings at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Point Ellice House

.

I also took in two art galleries (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Robert Bateman Center), two museums (Canadian Scottish Regimental Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia) and one garden (the Abkhazi Garden)

Abkhazi Garden

/

All were amazing.

On the reading front, I have been rubbish, more interested in watching Doc Martin episodes than reading. I "may" have a review or two ready next week, but don't hold your breath. ;-)

... at least, I have my walking update ready for posting.

137lkernagh
Sep 17, 2017, 8:24pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

I have to start off by reporting that I completely missed a week of walking when I compiled my last report, so I am posted a REVISED report, as well as this week's walking... the joys of thinking I could easily take care of things without access to my backup spreadsheet. ;-)

WEEKS 113 and 114 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 92.99 (Week 113=46.40; Week 114=46.59)
Kilometers walked in total:4,945.57
Current province: (ON)
My current location on the map: Northeast of Stardale and heading for Voyageur Provincial Park.
Points of interest along the way: Week 113 walking was tempered a bit by the smoke haze and resulting poorer air quality. Week 114 walking was curtailed by a head cold. At some point, I will actually cross the border into Quebec... really, I will!

138lkernagh
Sep 17, 2017, 8:45pm Top

Today is the day that new trees have been planted at the memorial forest in Calgary, in memory of individuals who have passed on in the past year. A sad day today with the memories, but I know that Mom would have appreciated having a tree planted in her memory Mom loved trees and was always against having any of the trees on the property being taken down. Years back When my older sister was getting married, there was an Elm tree in the front yard that was diseased and needed to be removed. While my mom, sister and I were out checking out wedding dresses, my dad and brothers took down the tree. Sadly, that day did not go well in that my sister refused to be married in a traditional white wedding gown so Mom was not in the best of moods when we got home and she then saw what my dad and brothers had done. Not a great day, but the good news is that a new tree did grow up from the roots of the original tree and, with time, it replaced the tree that was taken down.

I like that my Mom will continue to live through the tree planted in her memory today.

139clue
Sep 17, 2017, 9:11pm Top

Thanks for the beautiful pictures. I love old buildings, especially homes. My sister likes to tease me when we go by one I especially like and say, "Just think, if you had been living then you could have been a maid there."

140rabbitprincess
Sep 18, 2017, 2:41am Top

Sorry to hear you've been plagued by a head cold too! But I am glad you were able to get out and enjoy Ribfest and the doors open events!

141andreablythe
Sep 18, 2017, 1:54pm Top

>136 lkernagh:
Thanks for sharing about the Ribfest and other adventures.

Witnessing a fire is always scary, a reminder of how easy it is for one to start. Glad to hear no one was hurt.

Those historic homes look gorgeous. :)

142Chrischi_HH
Sep 18, 2017, 3:37pm Top

So many beautiful pictures on your thread! And I was hit by a bb from August (?): The Last Lost Girl. :)

143pammab
Sep 18, 2017, 10:20pm Top

I can't believe you had a fire so nearby! Quite scary, especially in denser neighborhoods and neighborhoods with trees.

A tree is such a nice gesture. I love that it will be protected in the long term there too.

144thornton37814
Sep 19, 2017, 9:09am Top

>136 lkernagh: The gardens are lovely.

145BLBera
Sep 28, 2017, 3:22pm Top

>136 lkernagh: Love the pictures. I love old houses.

STILL in Ontario? You must be nearly through.

146lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:48pm Top

>139 clue: - LOL your sister's comment! I am a sucker for touring old buildings that have a history behind them. Unfortunately, a lot of old buildings are being torn down to be replaced with new structures. Always sad to see the old buildings disappear.

>140 rabbitprincess: - Thanks RP. The blasted cold has lingered. It has been one of those mild but lingering colds that just do not want to leave. A tickle in the throat one evening, a stuffed nose one morning, never feeling 100% but not sick enough to be bed-ridden. Very frustrating!

Ribfest is a fantastic way to enjoy appease the carnivore in me and support a good cause at the same time!

>141 andreablythe:- Hi Andrea! Yes, the fire was disturbing, especially now that we know the fire was caused by smokers extinguishing their cigarettes in the potted plants on the balcony. Apparently, they thought they were property dealing with the lit ends and didn't realize that most potting soil contains nitrates and other items that can make the soil a firebox just waiting to happen!

>142 Chrischi_HH: - Always happy to provide my visitors with something interesting to see. I do love it when I am pleasantly surprised by an LT Early Reviewer book. The Last Lost Girl is a good one!

>143 pammab: - Fires, especially in the middle of the night, are scary. Always sad when fires are the cause of human negligence, as I mentioned in above in my response to Andrea. The tree planted in the memory of my mom is located in a provincial park within the boundaries of the city of Calgary so I have hopes that the tree will be protected. I am planning on visiting the park when I am back for Canadian Thanksgiving.

>144 thornton37814: - The gardens and the story behind their creation is beautiful. I am so happy that there are volunteers that maintain the gardens and are working to return the gardens to their earlier glory.

>145 BLBera: - Thanks Beth! Good news is that I have crossed over into Quebec, but with this darn cold my walking has been rather curtailed over the past two weeks.

147lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:49pm Top



Good-bye September, Hello October!

September was not the greatest of months this year. Yes, the weather has remained mild, but the cold I came down with mid-September has been one of those mild but lingering colds that just do not want to shake off. One morning it is a stuffed nose, one night it is a tickling throat, one afternoon it is a nagging cough. I think I can safely say I am feeling 98% good so here is hoping I can finally give this cold the brush off before I head home later this week for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.

On the reading front, my reading for September has been low considering previous months. I did manage to finish some books - including a 700 page chunkster! - and have those reviews and a walking up ate ready for posting.

Monthly reading wrap up will have the wait.

148lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:49pm Top


Book #86 - Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier and Wiser by Guy P. Harrison - audiobook narrated by Walter Dixon
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books where main theme is Shrewdness, Love or Clear Thinking"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2015
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 288 pages / 9 hours, 47 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the penguinrandomhouse.com book listing webpage:
Critical-thinking skills are essential for life in the 21st century. Guy Harrison demonstrates in a detailed fashion how to sort through bad ideas, unfounded claims, and bogus information to drill down to the most salient facts. Harrison summarizes scientific research showing how easily even intelligent and well-educated people can be fooled. We all suffer from cognitive biases, embellished memories, and the tendency to kowtow to authority figures or be duped by dubious ‘truths’ packaged in appealing stories. By explaining how the human brain works, and outing its most irrational processes, this book provides the thinking tools that will help you make better decisions, ask the right questions (at the right time), know what to look for when evaluating information, and understand how your own brain subconsciously clouds your judgment. With knowledge and the right thinking skills, anyone can lead a safer, wiser, more efficient, and productive life.
Review:
Interesting read. Harrison is obviously passionate about science and he does provide a good overview of the human brain and its processes. I really liked the chapters that focus on how our unconscious brain – what Harrison calls our “shadow brain” – has more control over or thoughts and decision making processes than one would expect. At least I now have a clearer understanding of how our brain takes shortcuts when making decisions and how it tricks use into making common errors in thinking. On the downside, I almost “Pearl Ruled” this book early on because of how strongly Harrison believes that one cannot and should not believe in anything that is unproved by science, such as belief systems that may humans incorporate into their daily lives. I did notice that his “science is God” approach to debunking everything from religion, astronomy and alternative medicines was toned down in the subsequent chapters compared to his rather “in your face’ approach in the early chapters. The good, common sense take-away from this book is that a clear thinker will ask questions and seek the source of new information to determine its validity and is open to changing their opinion/perspective should new evidence come to light. A good approach to enable us to not be swayed by conspiracy theories/extreme points of view that seem to abound these days.

149lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:49pm Top


Book #87 - The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Dark Blue cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback - ARC
Original publication date: 2006
Acquisition date: May 13, 2009
Page count: 720 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.8 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amzon.ca book listing webpage:
“After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.”

Raised in straitened circumstances by his novelist mother, Glyver attended Eton thanks to the munificence of a mysterious benefactor. After his mother’s death, Glyver is not sure what path to take in life. Should he explore the new art of photography, take a job at the British Museum, continue his travels in Europe with his friend Le Grice? But then, going through his mother’s papers, he discovers something that seems unbelievable: the woman who raised him was not his mother at all. He may in fact be the son of one of the richest and most powerful men in England, Lord Tansor, but Glyver lacks the evidence to prove his case. In his search for evidence, Glyver adopts an alias and in the process, learns of the one person who stands between him and his birthright: his old schoolmate and rival Phoebus Rainsford Daunt, a popular poet (and secret criminal) whom Lord Tansor has taken a decidedly paternal interest in after the death of his only son.

Glyver’s mission to regain his patrimony takes him from the heights of society to its lowest depths, from brothels and opium dens to Cambridge colleges and the idylls of Evenwood, the Tansor family’s ancestral home. Glyver may be a bibliophile, but he is no bookworm. Employed “in a private capacity” by one of Victorian London’s top lawyers, he knows his Macrobius from his First Folio, but he has the street-smarts and ruthlessness of a Philip Marlowe. Glyver is tough and resourceful, but Daunt always seems to be a step ahead, at least until Glyver meets the beguilingly beautiful Emily Carteret, daughter of Lord Tansor’s secretary. As this extraordinary story of betrayal and treachery, of delusion and deceit unfolds, one has to wonder, is Glyver a callous and brutal killer or is he a victim of a series of betrayals, twists, lies, and obsession?
Review:
I think readers who love Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White or Michel Faber’s Crimson Petal and the White will also love this one. Cox skillfully provides readers with a revenge mystery not only set in Victorian England – and filled with characters with Dickensian names – but also accurately reproduces the style of a Victorian-era sensation novel. The “gimmick” to this one is that the story is presented in the format of a genuine 19th century manuscript, complete with footnotes. The story has all of the atmospheric experience of the seedier underside of 1850’s London, juxtaposed against the pristine and awe inspiring Evenwood country estate. If the Victorian atmosphere doesn’t draw you in, then maybe the ”complicated web of happenstance, circumstance and conspiracy” will. If not that, there is always the suspense as Cox sends his characters on an intricate waltz of secrets, deceits and greed. Whether our narrator Glyver is a reliable character deserving of a reader’s sympathy or just a madman ranting, you will have to read this one to reach your own conclusions.

Overall, a richly complex and engrossing Victorian-styled read.

150lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:50pm Top


Book #88 - September 17 by Amanda West Lewis
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of September" and "Books with September, Aster (or variation on name) or Sapphire in title or author/main character name"
Source: GVPL
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2015
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 317 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.90 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amzon.ca book listing webpage:
In July 1940, a British government-sponsored program called Children's Overseas Reception Board — or CORB — was set up to send children from Britain to Canada and other Commonwealth countries, in order to rescue them from the bombings of British cities. The City of Benares was a luxury liner that was recruited in September 1940 to transport 90 of these children to Canada, along with the ship's regular passenger complement. Traveling in a convoy of ships, approximately six hundred miles out from Liverpool, the City of Benares was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in about half an hour. Only thirteen of the CORB children survived the sinking. As a result of this tragedy, the program was cancelled. September 17 is a novel that tells the story from a fictional perspective of three of the children that were on board The City of Benares, as they experience and survive the disaster and wait to be rescued.
Review:
Some readers do not like fictionalized accounts of real life historical events. I seem them as an interesting way to entice a reader to want to do further, non-fiction reading about the topic in question. I will admit that while I did know about the CORB (Children's Overseas Reception Board) program and that the short-lived program was quickly dismantled because of the German U-boat attacks on the transport ships, I did not know anything about the sink of the City of Benares. Lewis has created an interesting blend of fact and fiction. The events of that fateful voyage and the individuals involved are pulled directly from historical record. Lewis’s artistic license comes into play by telling the story from the point of view of three of the children passengers, infusing them with emotions, feelings, thoughts and reactions of her own design. Written for a YA audience as an adventure/survival story, Lewis focuses on the optimistic nature of children as well as their ability to adapt and survive. Yes, the story is one of harrowing loss but it also swells with an uplifting experience of community, love and hope.

A good, fast paced story that sent me to do further reading about the City of Benares sinking.

151lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:50pm Top


Book #89 - The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "9th book in a series"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2008
Acquisition date: May 11, 2014
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 36 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amzon.ca book listing webpage:
Under the endless skies of Botswana, there is always something Mma Ramotswe can do to help someone and here she finds herself assisting a woman looking for her family. The problem is the woman doesn't know her real name or whether any of her family members are still alive. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi is the recipient of a beautiful new bed that causes more than a few sleepless nights. And, at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has come under the influence of a doctor promising a miracle cure for his daughter's medical condition, which Mma Ramotswe finds hard to accept. Nonetheless, Precious Ramotswe handles these things in her usual compassionate and good-natured way, while always finding time for a cup of red bush tea.
Review:
Another great installment. Even though there is an ominous undertone the story with threatening anonymous letters addressed to the ladies at the detective agency, I continue to enjoy Mma Ramotswe's quiet contemplation on society as she goes about her day to day business. It was also refreshing to have both Both Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe find themselves making some incorrect assumptions that they have to make amends for. A very good lesson here about not jumping to conclusions! Overall, another charming visit to McCall Smith's Botswana.

152lkernagh
Oct 1, 2017, 10:51pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 115 and 116 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 78.36 (Week 115=47.25; Week 116=31.11)
Kilometers walked in total:5,023.93
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: In the Mount Royal area of Montreal.
Points of interest along the way: Just happy to report that I am Finally in Quebec!

153BLBera
Oct 5, 2017, 3:20pm Top

Congrats on making it to Quebec, Lori. I hope you're feeling better.
>149 lkernagh: >150 lkernagh: You got me with both of these.

154DeltaQueen50
Oct 5, 2017, 5:36pm Top

Congrats to getting to La Belle Province! You are doing fantastic on your Cross-Canada Tour.

155VivienneR
Oct 6, 2017, 1:04am Top

Just catching up, Lori. Glad to see you are making excellent progress on your walk - even with a lingering summer cold.

156lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 11:57am Top

>153 BLBera:, >154 DeltaQueen50: and >155 VivienneR: - Thanks Beth, Judy and Vivienne. It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to reach Quebec, but I finally made it!

157lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 11:57am Top

Hi Everyone! October seems to be getting away from me and the rest of my 2017 is looking to be a very busy one, so I probably won't be around much on LT. I am taking some work-related training courses and a separate course for personal knowledge development so my 'free' time is going to be a bit sparse for the next couple of months.

The trip home for Thanksgiving was fabulous. Got to see my Dad, all of my siblings and their spouses, all of my nephews, one of my nieces and one of my uncles (with a Thanksgiving Day chat with another aunt and uncle). Family tradition of food and football was observed. ;-)

I have managed some reading - but not much walking! - so book reviews to follow but walking update will not occur until next weekend, if I remember.

158lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 11:58am Top

Category Challenge Update:
September was the first month where I was not able to read a book for each of my sub-categories. I also finished one of my September reads while I was away on the trip home, so I am making a slight adjustment to my category challenge. I will allow myself to "back fill" any subcategory I did not complete. I doubt that I will fill all subcategories for all months by year end, but at least this gives me some breathing room to start a book in one month and finish it in a different month. ;-)

159lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 11:58am Top


Book #90 - The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart - audiobook narrated by Rebecca Burns
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Ten (10) in the title"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 1906
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 176 pages / 6 hours, 30 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the simonandschuster.ca book listing webpage:
Lawrence Blakely, attorney-at-law, sets off by train to deliver valuable documents in a criminal case. His ride will be eventful. Along the way he'll encounter romance, treachery, a train wreck, even a murder in which he'll be implicated. Who's after Blakely and his papers -- why?
Review:
Now I understand why Rinehart is considered to be the American Agatha Christie, or should it be that Agatha Christie is the British Mary Roberts Rinehart, given that Rinehart’s first novel – this one – was published some 14 years before Christie’s first book? Either way, this story has all the wonderful atmospheric feel I have come to love in Golden era mystery novels. For a debut novel, Rinehart does a wonderful job drawing her characters and a twisty plot. The story provides for some good suspenseful moments and I did enjoy the banter Lawrence and his partner/good friend McKnight engage in. Even with a murder and unscrupulous people who think Lawrence still has the documents in his possession, the characters comes across as treating this as a low key concern…. Life and death situations seem to still involve taking time off for a good drink, a bite to eat and a bit of tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Favorite character for me is the amateur sleuth Hotchkiss who just pops up everywhere. Hotchkiss employs the detailed investigation techniques characterized by Sherlock Holmes but with the demeanor of a quiet, bookish accountant. Love Lawrence’s reaction to Hotchkiss’ note-taking and question asking: ”I nodded tolerantly. Most of us have hobbies.”. There is even a romantic sub-plot with one of the potential suspects – who just happens to also be McKnight’s current love interest. This came across as a bit of added fluff and distraction to Lawrence’s “search for the killer” focus, but a distraction that did not cause any annoyance for this reader.

Overall, a delightful golden age mystery read and I will now keep an eye out for more Mary Robert Rinehart books to read.

160lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 11:59am Top


Book #91 - The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Nine (9) in the title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: February 12, 2008
Acquisition date: December 3, 2011
Page count: 432 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Charlotte Taylor lived in the front row of history. In 1775, at the young age of twenty, she fled her upper class English country house and boarded a ship to Jamaica with her lover, the family's black butler. Soon after reaching shore, Charlotte's lover died of yellow fever, leaving her alone and pregnant in Jamaica. In the sixty-six years that followed, she would find refuge with the Mi'kmaq of what is present-day New Brunswick, have three husbands, nine more children and a lifelong relationship with an aboriginal man. Using a seamless blend of fact and fiction, Charlotte Taylor's great-great-great-granddaughter, Sally Armstrong, reclaims the life of a dauntless and unusual woman and delivers living history with all the drama and sweep of a novel.
Review:
What kind of story would you expect a journalist, documentary filmmaker and human rights activist to write as their first foray into fiction writing? For Armstrong, the answer was simple: Write a fictionalized account of a strong-willed, resilient and independent-thinking woman straight from Armstrong's own family tree. As many book reviewers tend to note, a good historical novelist has to not only present the facts and tell a story, but also has to be able to communicate the feel of former times, transporting the reader to that earlier place and time. Armstrong does a fabulous job bringing to life the harsh, frontier world of 18th century New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The story captures an interesting period in Canadian - and American - history: The return of Acadians previously ex-pulsed from the area by the British; the conflicting points of view of the Loyalist and the pre-Loyalist settlers and the plight of the native Indian populations as their traditional hunting lands were being taken away from them. While the historical information is well researched, Armstrong does tend to skim over certain events that I wish she had provided more details about. That being said, it is Charlotte's multi-dimensional character, her tenacity, her resourcefulness and her determination to adapt to the harsh environment and make a living that made this such a wonderful read for me.

Overall, a wonderfully written story about the first female settler on the Mirimichi and a great read for anyone with an interest in 18th century Canadian Maritimes history.

161lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 11:59am Top

.
Book #92 - The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of René Descartes by Andrew Pessin
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: eBook
Original publication date: May 23, 2017
Acquisition date: June 30, 2017
Page count: 508 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher? Turns out: nearly everyone. In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in the United Provinces, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October. Shortly thereafter he was dead. Enter Adrien Baillet. A likeable misfit with a mysterious backstory, he arrives just as the French Ambassador desperately needs an impartial Frenchman to prove that Descartes died of natural causes. But solving the mystery of Descartes’s death (Baillet soon learns) requires first solving the mystery of Descartes’s life, with all its dangerous secrets ... None of it is easy, as nearly everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. But Baillet somehow perseveres, surprising everyone as he figures it all out—all the way to the explosive end.
Review:
Interesting blending of history, mystery and intrigue. Pessin has taken the real life debate as to whether Descartes died in 1950 of natural causes and turned it into a mystery novel, tasking the young and inexperienced Jesuit Adrien Baillet with investigating the circumstances surrounding Descartes untimely demise. The fact that the Swedish court's Chancellor expects Baillet's report to confirm natural causes is only one of many hurdles Baillet faces. The story is really two stories in one... the book alternates between following Baillet investigation and portraying Descartes life. The Descartes chapters make for good historical
reading but I have to say I really enjoyed the fast-paced, twisty plot of suspects and events of the Baillet chapters. Filled with everything from swordplay to secret societies and political /religious intrigue, this is quite the packed historical fiction read. Granted, the author has taken some literary license in giving his characters some more contemporary turn of phrase and mannerisms, but I found these helped enhance my reading pleasure and gave the story some entertaining moments, lightening the dark, sinister atmosphere of shadowy figures, long nights and freezing cold of Pessin's Stockholm.

Overall, an entertaining mystery thriller and an informative glimpse into the life of René Descartes.

162lkernagh
Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 12:03pm Top


Book #93 - Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narratted by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: 10th book in a series
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2009
Acquisition date: May 3, 2015
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 24 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Precious Ramotswe faces problems both personal and professional. The first is the potential demise of an old friend, her tiny white van. Recently, it has developed a rather troubling knock, but she dare not consult the estimable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni for fear he may condemn the vehicle. Meanwhile, her talented assistant Mma Makutsi is plagued by the reappearance of her nemesis, Violet Sephotho, who has taken a job at the Double Comfort Furniture Shop, whose proprietor is none other than Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Makutsi's fiance. Finally, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has been hired to explain the unexpected losing streak of a local football club, the Kalahari Swoopers. But with Mma Ramotswe on the case, it seems certain that everything will be resolved satisfactorily.
Review:
An okay read but not as entertaining as some of the previous books in the series have been. I do enjoy the reoccurring characters - in particular, Violet Sephotho - as providing some intrigue to these stories. While Mma Ramotswe's musings are usually enjoyable, I am starting to find her decisions to not adapt with the times to be a bit tiring, like clinging to a vehicle for sentimental reasons when it is obviously on its last legs is not the best decision to make. I did enjoy the excitement young Puso displays at going to see the Kalahari Swoopers game with Mma Ramotswe and the use Mma Ramotswe makes of the observant nature of children as she works on the case.

Overall, an okay read but not one of the better stories in the series.

163lkernagh
Oct 19, 2017, 9:26pm Top

It has been a very wet week on the island - a good reminder of the winter weather we usually experience. On the weekend I treated myself to a cast iron dutch oven. One of these:



I have already made one pot roast in it - sooooo good! - and the other half is already drooling at the thought of a winter filled with comfort foods like lamb stew, braised short ribs, etc. I am really looking forward to the meals as well!

164lkernagh
Oct 19, 2017, 9:27pm Top


Book #94 - Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris - audiobook narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with October, Marigold or Opal in title or author/main character name"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2002
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 288 pages / 5 hours, 27 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Who knew love could be so amazing-and stupefying? Not Christian. He was clueless when he started spying on the royal family through his telescope. He lives in a cave with a troll for a dad, after all. If his dad had only warned him about all that mind-boggling love stuff, maybe things wouldn't be such a mess. But then, maybe, Princess Marigold would be dead. But Christian wasn't warned. And now that he's fallen for the princess, it's up to him to untwist an odd love triangle-er, rectangle -and foil a scheming queen who wants to take over the kingdom, even if it means bumping off her own daughter. With echoes of William Goldman's modern classic The Princess Bride, Jean Ferris's hilarious parody of Once upon a time . . ." overflows with oddball characters and sage observations-and ends with a slapstick happily-ever-after that's full of surprises.
Review:
Quirky and adorable is how I would describe this one. Possibly more Shrek than The Princess Bride. I found this to be a fun, entertaining read. I enjoyed how Ferris takes the fairy tale basics – an evil stepmother, a doting father, three older sisters, a hero with a mysterious past and a curmudgeon troll with a heart of gold – and put her own spin on things. I loved the p-mail (correspondence via carrier pigeon), the way in which Ed the troll misquotes a lot of familiar sayings and has an axe to grind with the tooth fairy (who seems to be having a lot of difficulties overseeing the gathering of teeth and the remittance of coin). While somewhat predictable – given the fairy tale formula being utilized – I still enjoyed following the characters as Christian and Marigold’s friendship grows into a romance along with Queen Olympia’s determination to marry Marigold off and get her out of the way in Olympia’s quest to rule the kingdom.

A fun, light, entertaining read for children... and adults like me.

165BLBera
Oct 20, 2017, 9:35am Top

Hi Lori - >160 lkernagh: >161 lkernagh: both sound great; I've added them to the list.

166LittleTaiko
Edited: Oct 21, 2017, 5:16pm Top

>163 lkernagh: - Excellent treat! I do love cast iron skillets and dutch ovens. I use my dutch oven primarily to make a baked risotto with shrimp. Yum!

ETA: Talking about it made me hungry for it so that's what we are having for dinner tonight.

167lkernagh
Oct 22, 2017, 9:34pm Top

>165 BLBera: - I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, Beth!

>166 LittleTaiko: - I have had a cast iron skillet for a couple of years and I am with you.... food tastes sooo good cooked in caste iron cookware! Baked risotto you say..... are you able to share the recipe? Risotto is my all time comfort food (as you will see below) but I have never attempted to make risotto in the oven before. Sounds like a worthwhile and tasty experiment!

168lkernagh
Oct 22, 2017, 9:34pm Top

I see by the calendar that another week has passed and .... no.... I don't have a walking update for you, except to comment that the walking has been minimal this past week, with the various fall rain storms passing through the area. This weather has been great for one thing: Focusing my mind on comfort foods. Tonight's dinner is one of my "go to " favorites for comfort food:

Asparagus, Leek and Mushroom Risotto:
Here is an image of tonight's dinner (my second serving)!



... and here is a link to the recipe I use:

http://www.bemindfulbehuman.com/index.php/asparagus-week-asparagus-leek-and-mush...

So... do any of my visitors have a favorite comfort food and if so, please do share here. I am always on the look out for more comfort food recipes!

169LittleTaiko
Oct 23, 2017, 10:14am Top

>167 lkernagh: - I got the recipe from food and wine - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/baked-shrimp-risotto. We use a jalapeno cilantro pesto to drizzle on top because we like the extra spice but I'm sure any pesto would be great.

170lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:04am Top

>169 LittleTaiko: - Thanks you so much for sharing the recipe here! Must try this recipe out!

171lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:05am Top

So glad to see it has been quiet around here, considering I have been a pretty much absent threat host. Life is ticking along. My other half is having to deal with some HR issues that are basically sucking the life out of him - and me in the process as a sounding board - which is not good. I have a huge issue with people who manipulate the system to their advantage and don't care how many co-workers are impacted in the process. A lot of hours are being consumed to investigate and mediate these on-going allegations.

Thankfully, the storms of last week have cleared and the weather has been rather balmy for October. I am still prepped for a potential onslaught of winter, but in the meantime, enjoying the ability to be outdoors with spring weather clothing.

My work and personal development training courses continue and it looks like I won't see a relaxation in the course work until mid-November, but that is okay. Reading also continues so you are in luck that I do have a couple of book reviews to post - along with the long anticipated walking update (I did not realize until today that it has been 4 weeks siince my last walking update!).

Given the craziness of RL, today was personal retail therapy day. Treated myself to a pair of Blowfish boots. Unfortunately, Librarything isn't cooperating with posting the picture, so you will just have to accept the fact that I love the boots, without you being able to see them.

Wishing everyone a fabulous and safe Halloween. Always fun when Halloween falls on a weekday... that means the parties happen the weekend proceeding the holiday. Lovely to see some costumes out in force this afternoon for parties happening this evening. :-)

... now for those reviews and the long overdue walking update.

172lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:06am Top


Book #95 - Strawberry Fields by Marina Lewycka
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Yellow cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2007
Acquisition date: May 3, 2015
Page count: 320 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
On an idyllic patch of English countryside a handful of migrant workers spend their days picking strawberries and dreaming of a better life, and their nights in two tiny trailer homes—one for men and one for women. All is harmonious in this cozy vale until Farmer Leaping’s wife comes upon him and the berrypicking boss, Yola, in a compromising position. Fury ensues, the police are called, and the migrant workers pile into one of the trailer homes and hightail it out of their little Arcadia, setting off on one of the most enchanting, merry, and moving picaresque journeys since Chaucer’s pilgrims set off to Canterbury.
Review:
It is obvious that Lewycka decided to experiment with shifting formats, producing a unique blending of first and third person narration, including epistolary (Emmanuel’s narration takes the form of letters written to his sister) and the all caps grammar-deficient monologues of a stray dog. Part romance, part adventure, part social commentary, Lewycka attempts to tackle a number of serious social issues – illegal immigration, worker exploitation, environmental activism, factory farming, – from an almost tragicomic perspective. The migrant workers dreams of “freedom” and the ability to earn good money is quickly shown to be a thinly veiled illusion, which would have made for completely depressing reading except for the naïve innocence of some of the characters, with a focus on humour first, social commentary second.

Overall, as much as I enjoyed the growing romance between Irina and Andriy and the use of fractured English and the language barrier to produce comic moments, the manner in which Irina continues to encounter the sleazy Eastern European gangster/exploiter Vulk (in the most unlikely of places) is fanciful in the extreme. That and the fact that some of the story just comes across as rather ‘odd’. An okay read but IMO, not as good as Lewycka’s debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian.

173lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:06am Top


Book #96 - Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of October" and "Books with October, Marigold or Opal in title or author/main character name"
Source: GVPL
Format: Hardcover
Original publication date: 2002
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 160 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Over six terrifying, desperate days in October 1929, the fabulous fortune that Americans had built in stocks plunged with a fervor never seen before. At first, the drop seemed like a mistake, a mere glitch in the system. But as the decline gathered steam, so did the destruction. Over twenty-five billion dollars in individual wealth was lost, vanished, gone. People watched their dreams fade before their very eyes. Investing in the stock market would never be the same. Here, Wall Street Journal bureau chief Karen Blumenthal chronicles the six-day period that brought the country to its knees, from fascinating tales of key stock-market players, like Michael J. Meehan, an immigrant who started his career hustling cigars outside theaters and helped convince thousands to gamble their hard-earned money as never before, to riveting accounts of the power struggles between Wall Street and Washington, to poignant stories from those who lost their savings—and more—to the allure of stocks and the power of greed.

For young readers living in an era of stock-market fascination, this engrossing account explains stock-market fundamentals while bringing to life the darkest days of the mammoth crash of 1929.
Review:
This was a quick and informative read. Blumenthal captures not only the events that lead up to the 1929 stock market crash, but she includes information boxes that explain everything from what a stock exchange is and how it operates, bull versus bear markets, stock splitting, as well as a good explanations of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, bonds and what it means to purchase stocks with a margin account. Filled with pictures, newspaper clippings and cartoons from the era, Blumenthal captures how the meteor-rising stock market in 1928 and the first 9 months of 1929 was a beacon to Americans from all social and financial classes as the path to wealth. The book goes into great detail to explain the key players involved and how activities like special stock deals, syndicate pools and rampant insider trading (all deemed illegal practices in our post-1929 stock market world) played a role in the stock market crash.

Written for the middle school audience, this book was an interesting and informative read for this adult reader.

174lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:07am Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 117, 118, 119 and 120 UPDATES: I know, I have an entire month worth of walking to post.
Kilometers walked this session: 135.74 - Looks good until I break it down into weekly totals (Week 117=43.18; Week 118=19.78; Week 119=23.27; Week 120=49.51)
Kilometers walked in total:5,159.67
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Northeast of Drummondville and due west of Victoriaville, heading for Quebec City.
Points of interest along the way: More of a personal note this time than any comments about locations on the map. October has been an interesting walking month for me. My last trip home to Calgary, I decided to grocery shop for my Dad the same way I do in Victoria: as a combination of walking and city transit. I should probably mention for those of you who don't know, I gave up my car 11 years ago and have never looked back - it is very easy to live in Victoria without a car. End result: I was pleasantly surprised that with a little bit of ingenuity and planning, one can get around and do things like grocery shopping in Calgary without a car - even when you live in the suburbs - and not find yourself restricted to just the shops in your immediate area. I was rather excited to discover that a 2.6 KM walk, with a short C-train (light rail transit) ride had me at one of my favorite grocery stores and with my 90 minute transfer from the C-train ride, I was able to shop and then walk a short distance and use the still active ticket to catch a bus that stops one block away from my dad's house. My family thinks I am crazy that I get excited about things like this but they all rely rather heavy on their vehicles to get them everywhere. I found it an informative way to get some exercise in and happy to see that one can "potentially" live in even the suburbs of Calgary without a car. ;-)

175rabbitprincess
Oct 29, 2017, 10:54am Top

>174 lkernagh: That's awesome that you were able to use public transit in the suburbs of Calgary! I love being able to use the bus to go places. My BF just got a car after nearly 10 years without one, and while it will be handy for things other than his commute, I'm still going to take the bus as much as possible, and whenever we decide to get a house, we're going to get one in an area that is well served by public transit so that I'm not dependent on him to get around.

176VivienneR
Oct 29, 2017, 3:51pm Top

>164 lkernagh: Ahh! A bullet just found its mark!

Good for you to give up your car in favour of public transport. Out here in the boonies we don't have that choice although I walk as often as possible, much to the astonishment of the locals.

177lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 10:58pm Top

>175 rabbitprincess: - I know! So exciting when the "I need a car" arguments can be debunked. ;-) Glad to see I am not the only one who love to go place using public transit! My other half still wants a car, so I think at some point there will be a car in the household, but I think it will be used more for weekend travel trips and when we need to do a large grocery run.
Such fun.

>176 VivienneR: - I do hope you enjoy the story as much as I did! I can see the need for a car when living outside of an extensive urban transit system. I love that you are "astonishing" the locals by walking places. ;-)

178lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:11pm Top

Two weeks just seems to fly by like no tomorrow! Still super busy but thankfully, the work drama for my other half has diminished so stress levels are going down. *Whew!*

Today I took in the Remembrance Day cenotaph services. The jet fly by was followed by an unexpected fly by of four Canada Geese. The artillery fire probably disturbed them, but it looks like they were a bit surprised to see all the people covering the ground around the cenotaph, so their ended up diverting their approach to the legislature lawns. Of course, this second fly by had bystanders ducking and weaving to avoid any potential "gifts" delivered by the Canada Geese flying overhead. Given the artillery fire, I am always amazed at the number of people who bring their dogs to the service, although there was one very well behaved Border Collie near me. He was more fascinated with the 2-year-old boy in his line of vision. I am sure the dog wanted to go play with the boy, instead of standing patiently beside its owner. It was great to see such a large crowd for the event.

... now for some reviews and a walking update.

179lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:11pm Top


Book #97 - The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - audiobook narrated by John Lee
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books page count (901-1,000 pages)"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 1989
Acquisition date: May 11, 2014
Page count: 973 pages / 40 hours, 54 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known . . . of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect—a man divided in his soul . . . of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame . . . and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state and brother against brother. A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England.
Review:
Whoever said that a writer of spy thrillers should not attempt to write a historical fiction piece, especially one of such an epic format at The Pillars of the Earth? According to Follett, his editor, for one. Always nice when a writer goes against the grain. In Pillars of the Earth, Follett relies on the things he knows – how to pace a story to build suspense, how to create multi-faceted characters, and his personal love for cathedrals – to write a highly readable epic tale (spanning 50 years) of political upheaval, corruption, greed, and self-discovery. This story will not appeal to all readers. Follett detailed descriptions of the cathedral build appeals to my love for architecture as do the descriptions of the 12 century English feudal system and the strong role of the church and its pageantry. Follett does not present some “cookie cutter” view of medieval England and there really is an awful lot of that time period not to like. Even so, it is the characters that really drew me in and kept me enthralled. Follett’s characters are so “real”. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Follett has included some very strong, independent women as key characters in this story.

On a downside, I am not sure what exactly was running through Follett’s mind in wrapping up the story - I am guessing that it written as a stand-alone novel and only due to its publication success that it morphed into a trilogy – but the ending came across as just a little to “tidy” for me and ended up ending on a slightly lower note after 900 pages of riveting reading.

Overall, a fabulous story, rich in history, strong on drama and filled with memorable characters. A book I can highly recommend to readers who have enjoyed Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies.

180lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:12pm Top


Book #98 - The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries - audiobook narrated by the authors
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Eleven (11) in the title"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2000
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 192 pages / 3 hours, 7 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the harpercollins.ca book listing webpage:
As we move into the twenty-first century the most important question for businesses everywhere is: What are we going to do about the Internet? The two most qualified people in the country to answer that question may be Al Ries and Laura Ries. Not only are they the authors of the BusinessWeek bestseller The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, they are also consultants to dozens of Fortune 500 companies. This book is the result of their hands-on work with both large and small companies as well as Internet start-ups and established Internet brands. Brash, bold, and mercifully succinct, The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding is the definitive text for businesses eager to jump on the Internet expressway.
Review:
When I noticed that this book was published in 2000 – 17 years ago – I was interested to discover if any of the advice (and predictions) of the Rieses still hold true today. Some of their advice continues to make a lot of sense, like understanding if you intend to use the internet as a medium (to communicate and act an “up to the moment” catalogue of your available products and services) or if it is to be an internet business (think Amazon and Shopify) which has no ‘bricks and mortar” storefront. Coming up with short names for your online presence (i.e: the Hudson Bay Company website is www.thebay.com) continues to be a good idea as is anything that shortens keystroke entry.

Some of their predictions for the online world were fascinating. Amazon and Walmart’s current work towards a service that will deliver and put your groceries away for your while you are at work was predicted by the Rieses… but they thought that would happen by 2010, 7 years ago. Even back in 2000, they predicted Amazon’s dominance of the online book business, but their idea of “first out the post” dominance is not the guaranteed predictor of long-term success they communicate as Google has now completely dominated what back in 2000 was Yahoo’s domain as supreme search engine.

While I question the use of the word “immutable” to qualify their “laws” of internet branding, they do make some good arguments for unique brands for distinct product and service lines and the importance of understanding your business and your customers, in both the physical and online worlds and that all businesses will benefit from an online presence of some type, even if it is just to provide contact information for way to connect with the company.

Overall, a quick and interesting read that I would recommend more for its interesting historical view of the Internet in its infancy and the recommendations provided at the time for businesses seeking to make that first leap into the online world.

181lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:13pm Top


Book #99 - The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "11th book in a series"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2010
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 22 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.90 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi head to a safari camp to carry out a delicate mission on behalf of a former guest who has left one of the guides a large sum of money. But once they find their man, Precious begins to sense that something is not right. To make matters worse, shortly before their departure Mma Makutsi’s fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti, suffers a debilitating accident, and when his aunt moves in to take care of him, she also pushes Mma Makutsi out of the picture. Could she be trying to break up the relationship? Finally, a local priest and his wife independently approach Mma Ramotswe with concerns of infidelity, creating a rather unusual and tricky situation. Nevertheless, Precious is confident that with a little patience, kindness and good sense things will work out for the best,
Review:
The previous two installments in the series had left me liking but loving the books. Happily, this installment is an improvement. With three different cases to noodle over, the focus is really on the personal lives of our lady detective, her associate and the delicate cases that can come knocking at one's door in the form of a friend seeking assistance. I can see that the author has a lot of fun with his re-occurring character, Violet Sephotho, who can only be described as Mma Makutsi's arch rival. Always interesting to find out what Violet has been up to! Love the road trip to the safari camp.... nice to see the author providing further glimpses into a country he obviously holds dear to his heart.

Another fun, relaxing and contemplative installment in this cozy mystery series set in Botswana.

182lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:13pm Top

.
Book #100 - Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: Trade Paperback / ARC
Original publication date: October 3, 2017
Acquisition date: August 17, 2017
Page count: 416 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.65 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.
Review:
For a Christian historical fiction and a debut novel, this story has a lot of positives going for it. I am always a sucker for books set in 19th century England. I love that period. So perfect for books steeped in mystery, intrigue and romance. Some Gothic elements are present in the description of Lynhurst Manor and the author plays on the single-minded nature of the gentry of the time period. The details about debtor's prison are vividly portrayed.While I never really connected with Aurelie as a character, I loved the "story within a story" approach and the drama that ensues at Lynhurst as the family starts to wonder who is spying on their activities. Silas is a mystery and I did like how certain pieces of the story - Why is Silas spending the summer at Lynhurst and just who is Lady Jayne? - came together at the end.

A couple of downsides to the story: I was dissatisfied with the lack of resolution regarding some of the characters and as mentioned previously, I just could not connect with Aurelie as the heroine of this story.

Overall, a good book I can recommend for readers who love the Victorian England setting, enjoy a good a romance, and likes to encounter some unexpected plot twists.

183lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:15pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 121 and 122 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 98.21 (Week 121=51.08; Week 122=47.13)
Kilometers walked in total: 5,257.88
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due south of Saint Nicolas and heading for Levis.
Points of interest along the way: I just realized that the Trans Canada Highway does not pass through Quebec City. Instead of crossing the St. Lawrence River, the highway stays on the south side. Oh well....

184lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:43pm Top

Craft Update:
Some of you may recall that I like to make my own Christmas cards. Making use of the craft materials I had purchased last year (and did not use), I have come up with the following for this year's holiday card:





Yes, I am all ready for Christmas. ;-)

185MissWatson
Nov 12, 2017, 7:04am Top

The design is gorgeous. And it's never too early to prepare for Christmas!

186rabbitprincess
Nov 12, 2017, 8:46am Top

>184 lkernagh: Beautiful!!

187lkernagh
Nov 12, 2017, 11:39am Top

>185 MissWatson: and >186 rabbitprincess: - Thanks Birgit and RP! Christmas is going to be low-key this year but I am still getting all excited to start baking. ;-)

188dudes22
Nov 12, 2017, 6:55pm Top

>184 lkernagh: - I like those a lot. Not making any cards this year.

>187 lkernagh: - Funny - I was just thinking about starting to bake myself.

189VivienneR
Nov 12, 2017, 8:18pm Top

>179 lkernagh: The size of that book has always discouraged me, but your excellent review will push me to read it especially as you advise pairing it with Mantel's book (that I have around here somewhere).

>184 lkernagh: Beautiful card! Mine always turn out looking homemade and go into the recycling before ever reaching the post office.

190clue
Edited: Nov 12, 2017, 8:36pm Top

>184 lkernagh: I wish everyone still sent Christmas cards. When I was growing up sending and receiving cards was a great part of the season. I still send some and still receive some but not many. Your cards are beautiful and I'm sure your friends will appreciate them!

191lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 10:32am Top

Thanks Betty, Vivienne and clue. I do find it relaxing and a lot of fun to come up with a card design.

>188 dudes22: - The downside to wanting to start baking is I have limited freezer space and November is the month where I go on a quasi-diet (no baked goods or junk food) in preparation for the holiday feasting that is the later half of December. I have been busy saving some ideas on Pinterest and will be in baking mode in a couple more weeks.

>189 VivienneR: - Book sizes tend to discourage me to.... I always feel as though I am not making any reading progress unless I can check off a book as finished. Listening to the audiobook helped a lot! The story was easy to follow while walking and doing chores around the house. The downside to "listening" is that I noticed that I read at double speed compared to listening, so audiobooks take longer for me to get through. Go figure. :-)

>190 clue: - I have noticed a decline in Christmas cards over the years, too. My nieces, and some friends prefer sending e-cards, which, while great to receive, cannot be placed on the mantle shelf for all to see. :-(

192lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 10:42am Top

Today is day three of a four day weekend for me. With the winter weather descending upon us, this weekend has involved giving all of our sweaters, etc a wash to freshen them up after a summer of storage. I am toying with some ideas for some new Christmas ornaments so I will probably spend some time crafting.

On the reading front, I have the following books currently on the go:

Audiobook:

World Without End by Ken Follett - Book two in the Kingsbridge trilogy

eBook:

The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins - an LTER book

Physical Book:

Five Days in November by Clint Hill - Book about the JFK assassination told by one of the Secret Service agents assigned to Mrs. Kennedy

193mamzel
Nov 13, 2017, 11:18am Top

Lori,
I'm trying to catch up with everyone's threads. So glad to see you've accomplished so much - reading, travel, walking, and growing herbs!

194thornton37814
Nov 13, 2017, 6:32pm Top

>192 lkernagh: I'm sure your ornaments will be lovely! It's a perfect way to spend some time relaxing while you are "snowed in."

195lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 9:56pm Top

>193 mamzel: - Glad to see I am not the only one woefully behind with thread visits! Thanks for stopping by!

>194 thornton37814: - Thank Lori! I was distracted this afternoon but I have a free day tomorrow for crafting and I am looking forward to it!

196lkernagh
Edited: Nov 13, 2017, 10:03pm Top


Book #101 - Five Days in November by Clint Hill
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of November" and "Books with November, Chrysanthemum or Topaz in title or author/main character name"
Source: GVPL
Format: Hard cover
Original publication date: 2013
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 256 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
On November 22 , 1963, three shots were fired in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the world stopped for four days. For an entire generation, it was the end of an age of innocence. That evening, a photo ran on the front pages of newspapers across the world, showing a Secret Service agent jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in a desperate attempt to protect the President and Mrs. Kennedy. That agent was Clint Hill. Now Secret Service Agent Clint Hill commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy with this stunning book containing more than 150 photos, each accompanied by Hill’s incomparable insider account of those terrible days. With poignant narration accompanying rarely seen images, we witness three-year-old John Kennedy Jr.’s pleas to come to Texas with his parents and the rapturous crowds of mixed ages and races that greeted the Kennedys at every stop in Texas. We stand beside a shaken Lyndon Johnson as he is hurriedly sworn in as the new president. We experience the first lady’s steely courage when she insists on walking through the streets of Washington, D.C., in her husband’s funeral procession.
Review:
This is a highly personal, insider account of those historical five days as Hill details the events while acting in his role as Secret Service for Mrs. Kennedy. While the text is highly charged with Hill's emotions and his duty as a Secret Service agent, the text coupled with the photographs provide a unique account of the events that have been hashed and rehashed by numerous individuals before him. Yes, it gets a little tedious to have Hill explain, innumerable times, of the enormous task the security detail faced, not just during the trip to Texas, but the delivery of the body back to Washington D.C. and the funeral services, but one can not help but appreciate just how personal the events are for Hill, even fifty years later. I do like how in the epilogue he points to one picture that he says should refute the "grassy knoll" shooter debate.

Overall, a lovely commemorative book to mark that historic event.

197mathgirl40
Nov 14, 2017, 8:40pm Top

It's nice seeing your progress through the Mma Ramotswe books. I need some inspiration to get back to the series, as I've got two waiting for me on my shelves.

Too bad you won't go through Quebec City on your virtual walking tour, but at least you got close to it. It's one of my favourite places to visit. A restaurant there that I love, for the food as well as the name, is "Le Hobbit".

198DeltaQueen50
Nov 14, 2017, 11:45pm Top

OMG Lori, your Christmas cards are gorgeous - truly a work of art. I am always envious of people who are able to craft such wonderful things, I am pretty much all thumbs when it comes to crafting!

199lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 3:29pm Top

>197 mathgirl40: - My category challenge has been a great help in progressing through the Mma Ramotswe books. That, and my local library has the audiobooks available for instant download and listen.... no waiting for holds to clear.

I would love to visit both Montreal and Quebec City at some point. My brother and SIL have been a couple of times - an easy trip when they head to Toronto to visit their grandchildren - and they have been encouraging me to make the trip. I love the name of that restaurant! I see by the website they have a sizable wine list, to go with the good food. ;-)

>198 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Judy. Sometimes simple makes the biggest statement! I am no great artist but give me paper, ribbon, scissors, glue and I will attempt to come up with something. I don't always get the greatest results (I don't tend post my craft failures here) but it is a fun way to occupy myself while listening to audiobooks. :-)

200lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 3:30pm Top



I love this time of year. Craft fairs are happening every weekend and the positive energy of the approaching holidays is in the air. Always gets me excited, even if the weather is dreary and miserable. Every year I promise to go "low key" for the holidays and every year, I fall under the spell of the season and go a little crazy. Already have everything I need for mincemeat tarts - a holiday MUST in this household, along with shortbread - , but I will hold off on any actual baking until December 1.

Is anyone else starting to get excited for the holidays?

On the reading front, I continue to try and work through my backlog of LTER books - I still have 4 more to read and review - and keep up my walking, although that has dropped a bit over the past few weeks (it is too dark in the evenings to do any walking).

201lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 3:31pm Top

.
Book #102 - The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: eBook
Original publication date: September 5, 2017
Acquisition date: August 31, 2017
Page count: 400 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.45 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
1821: After the landlord of Lugdale Estate in Kerry is assassinated, young Art O’Neill’s innocent father is hanged and Art is deported to the cane fields of Jamaica as an indentured servant. On Mangrove Plantation he gradually acclimatises to the exotic country and unfamiliar customs of the African slaves, and achieves a kind of contentment.

Then the new heirs to the plantation arrive. His new owner is Colonel Stratford-Rice from Lugdale Estate, the man who hanged his father. Art must overcome his hatred to survive the harsh life of a slave and live to see the eventual emancipation which liberates his coloured children. Eventually he is promised seven gold coins when he finishes his service, but he doubts his master will part with the coins.

One hundred years later in Ireland, a skeleton is discovered beneath a fallen tree on the grounds of Lugdale Estate. By its side is a gold coin minted in 1870. Yseult, the owner of the estate, watches as events unfold, fearful of the long-buried truths that may emerge about her family’s past and its links to the slave trade. As the body gives up its secrets, Yseult realizes she too can no longer hide.
Review:
I love the idea of telling the story in two parts - the first part set in 1800's Jamaica, the second part set in 1900's Ireland. Makes it easier for readers who like to focus their attention on the story without a lot point of view and time period "jumping around". Down side to this approach means that readers itching to dive right in to uncovering the mystery of the skeleton at the start of the book will have to wait. Each half, on its own, is a good story. Each 'reveal' - there is more than one mystery/family secret to come to light - is subtle and easy to miss. The characters are well drawn and I do love the idea of a story that weaves a tale of a family secret/curse over generations. It wasn't until near the end that I clued in to what was happening with Yseult. Collins does a great job providing hints that on their own don't amount to much but when pieced together, unveils the sinister plot occurring.

Overall, a compelling family saga that provides an interesting glimpse into a period of Jamaica's and Ireland's history.

202lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 3:33pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 123 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 34.97
Kilometers walked in total: 5,292.85
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Continuing to hug the southern aspect of the St. Lawrence River, currently due south of the western tip of the Île d'Orléans island.
Points of interest along the way: Interesting bit of history, the Île d'Orléans island is considered by some to be the "cradle" of the French civilization of North America, being one of the first areas to be colonized by the French, even though it was long inhabited by indigenous First Nations tribes. Images online show this to be a very quaint, pastoral place:

.

Definitely adding this island to my "To Visit" list if I make a physical trip to Quebec City!

203mathgirl40
Nov 19, 2017, 5:05pm Top

>199 lkernagh: Yes, Le Hobbit had excellent beer and wine as well as food, but the atmosphere and service were friendly and casual, not pretentious at all. I hope you make it there, or at least to other parts of Quebec City, one day!

204lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 8:17pm Top

>203 mathgirl40: - Sounds perfect to me!

----------------------
Soooooo..... I have inadvertently stumbled upon my Christmas present. Other half - for some inexplicable reason that I am unable to fathom - thought it would remain safely hidden in, of all places, the trunk where I keep all of my crafting supplies. Silly man. Maybe he thought I was done crafting once the Christmas cards were made. Not that the gift is going to be a surprise (I asked for a new Kobo Aura ONE e-reader with sleep cover) but I know he is waiting for the tree to go up so that he can place it, wrapped, under the tree to tease me until Dec 25. I do love the holiday season!

205Jackie_K
Nov 20, 2017, 5:42am Top

>204 lkernagh: Ooh, cool present though! Even if it isn't a surprise. What was he thinking though? You might have to confess after Christmas that you found it and encourage him to find somewhere else for next year!

206VivienneR
Nov 20, 2017, 10:18am Top

>204 lkernagh: Your crafting supplies trunk must have seemed the ideal hiding spot. You'll have to come up with a good line to indicate you will be crafting again to give him time to relocate the gift - "Hmm, I think I'll make more cards tonight...". But can you keep the secret until Christmas?? That would be asking the impossible of me.

207DeltaQueen50
Nov 20, 2017, 4:15pm Top

Great present, Lori. Now you have to practise your acting skills. ;) I think we are going to be going with very practical gifts this year, a small freezer for the apartment and I already know my hubby is having a wardrobe built for me for extra clothing storage.

208lkernagh
Nov 21, 2017, 9:03pm Top

>205 Jackie_K:, >206 VivienneR: and >207 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Jackie, Vivienne and Judy! I have an older model Kobo that is limping along on its last legs. I have had to resort to reading ebooks on my phone, so I cannot wait to be able to start using the new ereader! The good news is that we don't do surprise gifts any more (the Kobo was the only item on my wishlist for this year), but he stills like to do the "not until December 25". ;-) I think I will still need to let him know that the craft supply trunk is not a good idea, should he want to surprise me with something (I have a milestone birthday next year).

209VivienneR
Nov 22, 2017, 1:00am Top

>208 lkernagh: Ah, so your discovery isn't too serious, that's good! Finding a good hiding spot is tricky. My favourite for small items is to wrap the gift in foil and put it at the back of the fridge. Never failed.

I read ebooks on my phone, convenient because it's always with me. I've never considered (or tried) an ereader. I imagine it has options not available on a phone.

210christina_reads
Nov 22, 2017, 5:05pm Top

>209 VivienneR: Haha, your "back of the fridge" hiding spot is PERFECT!

211lkernagh
Nov 24, 2017, 7:32pm Top

>209 VivienneR: - Yes, thankfully we have done away with "surprise" gifts. Nothing I hate more than time and effort going into a gift that needs to be returned... I hate returns.

Love your hiding spot!

I do read ebooks on my phone and for the most part it works well but the last two ebooks I won through the LTER program, the file format made it impossible for me to increase the text size. Every size up it just increased the line spacing, not the text size. Very annoying, let me tell you. I did not enjoy holding my phone so close to my face just to read the book! It looks strange when you do that while wearing glasses. ;-)

As for options on the ereader.... I will probably find out on Dec 25.

>210 christina_reads: - *nods head in agreement.*

212lkernagh
Nov 24, 2017, 7:32pm Top

So, how has everyone's week been? I know it is the Thanksgiving long weekend in the US so Happy Thanksgiving to all my southern located LT friends!

My week started out on a frustrated note. I won a book from the October LTER batch that was in print (not ebook) format. Usually, that is not a problem as most publishers have been sending the books via USPS so I receive the delivery notice in my mailbox and I just go retrieve the package at the local pharmacy in my neighbourhood. Easee Peasee! This time, the publisher used CanPar couriers, which, when entering Canada, uses the courier company Loomis Express. Loomis attempted to deliveries while I was at work and I had to go out to their depot to pick up the parcel in person, which ended up becoming a 1.5 hour rush hour round trip event because they are only open Mon-Fri with typical office hours. At least I picked up my parcel but it involved working through my lunch so that I could leave early to do so, so minor *grrrr* about that.

On the health front, I got my flu shot last Thursday so, of course, 5 days later I am now sick with a head. Worked from home yesterday and today and hoping to take things easy this weekend to recover.

Still reading books but slowly as I have been more interested in watching shows than reading.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

213clue
Nov 24, 2017, 9:18pm Top

>212 lkernagh: I hope you feel better soon. I seem to be lucky with flu shots, I've never had any repercussions from them.

I've had a "bird" week this week. I keep one of my friends birds a couple of times a year when she takes a trip. The birds are 5 cockatiel and 1 African Gray Parrot. They aren't a lot of trouble but sometimes I get tired of their chatter, screaming and talking ("I'm a dirty bird" from the parrot every 10 minutes when he's wound up). I didn't have Thanksgiving dinner at my house and that was a good thing! Tomorrow they go back home and I'm ready for them to. I've already committed to a week in January but I should be ready for another go then.

214lkernagh
Nov 24, 2017, 9:26pm Top

>213 clue: - Oh, how fun, even if they can be a bit noisy! A former work colleague of mine had a parrot - not sure which type - and I vividly remember her bringing it into the office the day before she headed out on vacation (she did this so that she could drop the bird off at the animal care place while she was away). Anyhow, she placed the bird cage in the reception area and every time the phone rang, he called out "Helloooo!". Absolutely precious, although a bit annoying for the receptionist.

Glad to see your Thanksgiving was a manageable event! I don't like stress during the holidays. Best to avoid and remain calm.

215BLBera
Nov 25, 2017, 9:33am Top

>202 lkernagh: I'll meet you there, Lori!

>184 lkernagh: Lovey card. My sister also makes cards; I do needlework but am not good with the paper stuff. I do like to decorate for the holidays, and my granddaughter also loves to decorate, which is really fun.

216Chrischi_HH
Nov 25, 2017, 6:01pm Top

>201 lkernagh: BB taken. :) And hooray for the holiday season, I love it, too. Tomorrow baking mayhem will take place in my kitchen, I think.

217lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 4:54pm Top

>215 BLBera: - Fantastic! I am itching to decorate but it still seems a little early in the season. Maybe next weekend I will get crackin.... ;-)

>216 Chrischi_HH: - Yay for BB and double YAY for holiday baking!

218lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 4:59pm Top

My head cold continues to linger so I have been taking advantage of the dreary weather to stay indoors and get some reading time in. I am currently reading - well, listening to - the second book in Follett's Kingsbridge trilogy. Not as good as the first book, but too far into it to not finish it.

In the meantime, one book review and a very minor walking update coming up.

219lkernagh
Edited: Nov 26, 2017, 5:10pm Top


Book #103 - Benito by Francois Gravel
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Orange cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: 1987
Acquisition date: September 20, 2012
Page count: 161 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Benito - thirteenth child of an absent-minded father and amnesiac mother - grows up in a comfortably undemanding anonymity, and spends his childhood contriving ways to remain inconspicuous. But in time he discovers that his carefully cultivated anonymity casts an extraordinary spell over other people: If they so much as meet his eyes, they are irresistibly compelled to pour out their innermost thoughts. They can then go on their way relieved and unburdened - even if Benito has been lost in daydreams and hasn't paid the slightest attention to their confessions. Listening - or rather, not listening - becomes Benito's life work, but despite his growing fame he remains a bemused and innocent observer of the world around him.
Review:
An interesting blending of quirky existentialism and fanciful satirical insight, this little gem brings to mind books such as Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, Voltaire's Candide and the dreamlike magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A hard book to describe so I will just reproduce the comment found on the book's back cover:
"A droll and charming tale of the power of love, and the miracles it works; behind its gentle comedy lies a shrewd and pointed vision of human folly."
Gravel has a keen eye and uses his pen to point out - in a light, humorous manner - some of the crazy things that happens in society. An author worthy of a wider readership. Love the advise a 6-year-old Benito receives from his father:
"Now listen to your father: life stinks but there's nothing can beat it. Work is the key to success. Beware of monopolies, and respect women. Any questions?"
Note: This may be an obscure book for non-Canadian (and non-French speaking readers) to grab a copy of. My copy is an English translation.

220lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 5:01pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 124 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 20.21
Kilometers walked in total: 5,313.06
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Continuing to hug the southern aspect of the St. Lawrence River, and heading for Montmagny.
Points of interest along the way: Nothing except that head colds really do impact one's ability to get out and log some walking time!

221lkernagh
Nov 28, 2017, 8:00pm Top


Book #104 - World Without End by Ken Follett - audiobook narrated by John Lee
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books page count (1,001-1,100 pages)"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2007
Acquisition date: May 10, 2014
Page count: 1,014 pages / 45 hours, 30 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from various sources:
Two centuries after the townspeople of Kingsbridge finished building their exquisite Gothic cathedral, four children slip into the forest and witness a killing... and event that will make Kingsbridge once again the centre of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge. As the children grow into adults, so to does their world drastically change into a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, with intrigue and tension quickly reaching a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race — the Black Death.
Review:
Not as good as The Pillars of the Earth, but still a solid read for anyone interested in feudalism, religion, architecture and medical practices of the late Middle Ages. The only hold overs from book one is the location - Kingsbridge - and some minor references at the start of the book to identify certain descendants of some earlier characters. Beyond that, this book could be read as a stand alone, and maybe it should. I can understand that a writer may feel compelled to reproduce a successful story plot formula, but short of making use of the Black Plague as a mechanism for some interesting plot dynamics (Who lives? Who dies? Who runs and hides?), Follett reproduces a number of his themes from the first book. Same/similar themes, different characters. I guess if I had read Pillars of the Earth when if first came out and then had to wait 17 years for the sequel (instead of reading the two books almost back-to-back as I did) I probably would have been enthralled, and not noticed the plot/theme similarities. The violence found in the first book continues in this one - actually, I think this one is a bit more violent - so be forewarned if you tend to shy away from books that contain vivid descriptions of killing for revenge (or just for the sake of killing). That, and I have to admit that I found Caris to be an annoying character, which detracted me from fully enjoying the story... I was too busy being ticked off by some of her "entitlement" behaviour. As he did with the first book, Follett wraps everything up in the end with a nice, tidy bow, maybe thinking he was stopping with the sequel. Kind of makes me wonder whether the third book, A Column of Fire - published 10 years after World Without End - will be another bit of "same old, same old". Might just have to bite the bullet and find out.

Overall, Follett does write a good story, even if parts of this story come off as being annoyingly familiar.

222mamzel
Nov 29, 2017, 10:42am Top

45.5 hours!!!!!!!! That took some dedication!
I loved TPotE and actually read it twice. I agree that WWE wasn't quite up to the bar that was set.

223lkernagh
Nov 29, 2017, 9:31pm Top

Ha, it helps that I listen to audiobooks while doing things like laundry and when I am out and about running errands. It did take me 17 days to make it through the audiobook but epics seem to work better for me as audiobooks... I like being able to "continue" the story over a period of weeks, kind of like an old fashioned serial read or even better, a weekly/serial radio program.

I can see reading TPotE more than once! Not WWE. ;-)

224VivienneR
Dec 1, 2017, 1:17am Top

>221 lkernagh: Nice review! I'll get to Follett sometime but it looks like everyone else will have read him first!

>223 lkernagh: That's a good way to get through those long, long, books! I like to listen to audiobooks when I'm working around the house, and when exercising the time just zips past. I even watch sports on tv without sound and listen to a book - although I have to be ready to click "stop" at exciting bits of the game.

225lkernagh
Dec 3, 2017, 8:52pm Top

>224 VivienneR: - Thanks Vivienne! Audiobooks have become my salvation when it comes to the big brutes! I have never tried to watch sports with the sound off, but I guess one could. As you said, you can always turn up the volume if the game gets interesting. My sports watching tends to be limited to Olympics or watching sports when I am home visiting my Dad. Dad PVR all of the games so that he can fast forward through the commentary and slow bits. ;-)

-----------------------------

I hope everyone has had a fabulous weekend! My was great, for the mere reason that I am now "officially" over my head cold. Yahoo for that! The week has been a good one. Taking in a lot of the festive events happening around town. Friday I took in the Gingerbread Showcase, an annual fundraising event for the local branch of Habitat for Humanity, currently in its 9th year. The hand crafted, 100% edible displays focused on the theme "Celebrating Canada". My favorite out of the bunch, entitled "Growing up Canadian":



A slide show of entries can be viewed at the following Habitat for Humanity website: https://www.habitatvictoria.com/gingerbread-showcase.html

I am holding off on decorating until next weekend. In the meantime, I do have a review for a rather quick, enjoyable audiobook and a walking update.

226lkernagh
Dec 3, 2017, 8:54pm Top


Book #105 - Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose - audio recording of a live performance by the LA Theatre Works
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Twelve (12) in the title"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: Originally broadcast as a television play in 1954
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 96 pages / 1 hour, 25 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 5.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the penguinrandomehouse.com book listing webpage:
A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases. Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to form of them—and of America, at its best and worst.
Review:
Cylla Von Tiedemann, paraphrasing slightly from her published theatrical review, sums this one up better than I can:
"a buffet of juicy male character types, circa the 1950s. Here we have such classic specimens as the timid bank clerk, the wisecracking sports nut, the shrewd stockbroker, the polite immigrant, the blustering bigot. Heck, there's even a glib ad executive who could be pitching slogans with the younger version of Mad Men's Don Draper...all about seeing beyond stereotypes."
What I love about this one is that I can see how it remains a powerful story, even to this day. I am sure it would be just as equally powerful to read it as it was to listen to the audio recording of a LA Theatre Works live performance. Things to love: It is short (a mere 96 pages / 1.5 hours listening time): the story is intense, with some refreshing comic moments; the anonymity of the characters - they are referred to by Jury number, not name - allows one to focus on the drama and the details as they unfold. I am a huge fan of old fashioned radio plays, which makes the audio recordings of LA Theatre Works performances such a fantastic experience for me.

Nothing like a good courtroom - okay, jury room deliberation - drama to distract me from the holiday craziness. Loved every minute of this one!

227lkernagh
Dec 3, 2017, 8:55pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 125 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 22.13
Kilometers walked in total: 5,335.19
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due east of Montmagny.
Points of interest along the way: Too busy with work, head cold and the craziness that is the start of the holiday season to pay attention to anything exciting to report on my walks, except to say that "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." as per this photo taking on my way home from work one evening last week:

228VivienneR
Dec 4, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>225 lkernagh: Wow! That looks wonderful! I especially love the Robert French/English dictionary, the Hudson's Bay Company blanket and the CBC logo on the small screen.

>226 lkernagh: Excellent review! I seem to remember a movie of that story - with Jack Lemmon as Juror Eight?

229DeltaQueen50
Dec 4, 2017, 2:31pm Top

Lori, I love the picture above of the Victoria harbour with the decorated ships, Christmas tree and the Parliament Buildings. Definitely makes me think of Christmas!

230christina_reads
Dec 4, 2017, 4:21pm Top

>226 lkernagh: >228 VivienneR: There's an excellent movie starring Henry Fonda -- well worth watching!

231BLBera
Dec 4, 2017, 7:54pm Top

>227 lkernagh: Love it - how beautiful.

232pammab
Dec 7, 2017, 12:21am Top

>173 lkernagh: I'm quite late to the party, but your review of the stock market book caught my eye -- sounds excellent!

Also, I have to weigh in on the holiday cards. How elegant! I love the idea of keeping hands busy with crafting while listening to an audiobook. I mostly find myself doing puzzles, if not housework...

233lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 8:23pm Top

>228 VivienneR: - They did such a fabulous job with that one, Vivienne! Here is another angle of the entry:



There appear to have been more than one adaptation of Twelve Angry Men. Would make a really good movie... although the must have had to stretch the storyline a bit if it was a full length feature film.

>229 DeltaQueen50: - Thank Judy. Yes, I am getting into the holiday spirit. I was working from home today and spent any enjoyable afternoon working on spreadsheets while listening to Christmas tunes on Spotify. ;-)

>230 christina_reads: - Thanks Christina! I must see if I can track it down... my library system might have it available.

>231 BLBera: - I do love where I live. Makes for great photos. ;-)

>232 pammab: - There is no such thing as too late. Glad to see I caught your interest with the stock market book! Yup, audiobooks are conducive to doing other things at the same time, which is why I love them so much! I can totally see listening to a book while working on a puzzle!

----------------------------
Happy end to the work week and start to the weekend, everyone! This weekend I will be in full on holiday mode. I will be putting up the tree, decorating the place and getting some holiday baking done. I have been spending way too much time lately on Pinterest but I have come away with some new holiday baking ideas I want to try out, like cranberry pistachio white chocolate shortbread.

Work had RL has been busy but not unmanageable.... I even managed to finish reading a book... .well, an audiobook but it still counts as a book read, IMO. ;-)

234lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 8:23pm Top


Book #106 - The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "12th book in a series"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2011
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 21 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Precious Ramotswe faces two confounding cases: the mysterious fate of some cows, and the ghost-like reappearance of her dear old white van.
As Mma Ramotswe investigates the deaths of cows at a cattle post outside Gaborone, she finds herself also pursuing other mysteries closer to home. One of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s apprentices appears to have gotten a girl pregnant, and has run away to avoid marrying her. Meanwhile, Precious sees her beloved old van—sent to the junkyard long ago—trundling around the city again. Has the van been miraculously revived, or is she hallucinating? Further complicating matters are Violet Sephotho’s newly launched campaign for a seat in Botswana’s parliament, and Grace Makutsi’s growing fears that she’ll never be able to marry her fiancé Phuti Radiphuti if she can’t find the perfect pair of wedding shoes. As ever, Precious will draw on her trademark grace and wisdom as she helps unravel all these tangled threads.
Review:
Another delightful episode, filled with sigh-inducing events for some repeat characters. I like how the characters have fully developed and a visit to Precious Ramotswe's Botswana is like a return visit to a favorite town/village. The fact that I could totally see the "shoe catastrophy" coming - and groaned at some of Charlie's cringe-worthy statements - is what makes these stories such a fun read.

235lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 9:02pm Top

Sharing a bit of my IP geeky side. You know how easy it is to say "I will Google it" or "I am off to the store for Kleenex" when you are really just going to buy what ever brand is on sale? I came across this YouTube music video - Don't Say Velcro (created by Velcro company) and I have to say, I found it to be a hilariously brilliant consumer education campaign tool.

It must be working.... it even warranted a mention on Anderson Cooper's RidicuList.

236lkernagh
Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 11:14pm Top

It has been a great weekend. Tree is up. Front door is decorated (door as wrapped present with gift tag theme) and I even managed to get in some baking time:



From left to right:
- Brown Sugar Orange Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread - my own recipe. Ran out of white chocolate so improvised.
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies - adapted from this Sally's Baking Addiction recipe
- Mincemeat Tarts - this recipe ;-)

In between all of the holiday fun, I managed to re-dye one of my favorite work skirts. Some clothes - thankfully! - suffer fabric colour fad without suffering any other "wear-and-tear". I will be darned if I am going to get rid of a perfectly good, well fitted/flattering skirt just because the color has faded with repeat washings. One of the spend thrift traits I picked up from my mom.

.... of course, this means that I have done zero reading this weekend. If I can finish the book I am reading right now before Dec 31st, than I will be happy. Going for the low goals now. ;-)

At least I have a walking update... such that it is.

237lkernagh
Dec 10, 2017, 11:42pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 126 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 35.38
Kilometers walked in total: 5,370.57
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due east of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.
Points of interest along the way: I got nothing for you. Too busy with holiday season preparations.

238LittleTaiko
Dec 11, 2017, 12:56pm Top

Wow - what a busy and productive weekend! Your cookies look delicious and beautiful. I'll be right over to help you eat them. :)

239Crazymamie
Dec 11, 2017, 1:02pm Top

Your baked goods look delicious, Lori! Abby and I did a bunch of baking this weekend, too, but it was for the coffee house where she works - they are featuring our lemon coconut biscotti with white chocolate for the month of December.

And you are doing great with the walking!

240VivienneR
Dec 11, 2017, 2:46pm Top

No need to worry about the zero reading for this weekend, your baking more than makes up for it! Everything looks scrumptious!

241christina_reads
Dec 11, 2017, 4:36pm Top

I need those peppermint mocha cookies, like, right now! Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

242dudes22
Dec 11, 2017, 6:15pm Top

I can sympathize with your "going for low goals right now" in reading. I'll be lucky if I finish my Nov Random book before the year ends. It's interesting - I'm just not reading except for a couple of minutes when I get into bed. I too have been busy baking cookies - some I'm freezing unbaked and will bake them closer to Christmas and some I'm baking now and freezing. I've also done some small fruitcakes and also orange-cranberry breads. I think I'm doing pretty good this year. Must be that extra week we had after Thanksgiving. I love those mincemeat tarts - might have to add them to the list.

243mathgirl40
Dec 11, 2017, 9:37pm Top

>225 lkernagh: What a wonderful gingerbread display!

>226 lkernagh: Great review. I took a BB for this one.

244pammab
Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 9:53pm Top

> 236 Your cookies look amazing. My mouth is watering for the peppermint chocolate kind in particular -- so glad you already posted a recipe! :)

Edit -- but no! The recipe link goes back to this thread rather than to the ingredients list. Please help me bake this weekend?

245lkernagh
Dec 11, 2017, 11:18pm Top

Quick poke in to fix the link to the peppermint chocolate cookies..... >244 pammab: - Thanks for letting me know the link was wrong! FYI, I replaced vanilla with peppermint essence.... I love peppermint!

Will be back to post responses at some point, just not tonight.

246pammab
Dec 12, 2017, 12:03am Top

(Thank you! =D)

247lkernagh
Dec 12, 2017, 9:33pm Top

>238 LittleTaiko: - It was a very productive weekend, Stacy and thanks! I don't do that much baking anymore - outside of muffins and bread - because we are trying to not eat so much goodies so helpers on the consumption end are always welcome! The Peppermint Mocha cookies were a mistake to make... I cannot stop eating them! They are like eating a bit-sized decadent chocolate cake. Soooo good!

>239 Crazymamie: - OMG... lemon coconut biscotti with white chocolate... all of my favorite flavours in one cookie! Thank goodness you are not an easy day commute for me! I will just twitch here for a few minutes, eat "yet" another chocolate cookie and then settle down.

.... good thing my walking is on the upside. All these baked goods are not good for waistline. ;-)

>240 VivienneR: - Thanks Vivienne! My other half is not a big a baked goods fan as I am so unless we can start giving out some gift bags to friends and neighbours, I might be finished my baking for this year.

>241 christina_reads: - They are fabulous, Christina, especially if you do like I did and substitute peppermint essence for vanilla.... so decadent! Like I mentioned to Stacy, there are like eating a bit-sized decadent chocolate cake.

>242 dudes22: - I figure, If I can meet my minimum monthly goal I set at the start of the year, then I have a chance of completing my challenge. And I still want time for some fluffy reading, although the way I scheduled my challenge for next year, I can spend all of January on fluffy reading. ;-)

Christmas is not Christmas without mincemeat tarts, IMO. I love your baking strategy. I wish we had room for a deep freeze... nope, scratch that... I probably should NOT own a deep freeze. I would just fill it and there is only two of use to consume everything. ;-)

>243 mathgirl40: - The displays were fabulous this year. I wish I was even half as gifted as the baking community I live in.

>244 pammab: and >246 pammab: - Thanks again for the wrong link report and Happy Baking!

248lkernagh
Dec 12, 2017, 9:36pm Top

Starting off with a fun story to share:

My other half is big on chocolates. Hilariously, he asked me on Sunday if we were out of chocolate. I should mention that we usually have chocolate almonds or some Lindt chocolate in the fridge, so he was a bit put out that the "fridge was bare". He gave me a strange look when I said, "There is chocolate under the tree". Once the tree goes up, all of the Christmas chocolate - Terry's oranges, Quality Street, After Eight mints, Ferrero Rocher and his personal favorites: Guylian seashells and Guylian Opus - are all put under the tree. I even had to point him in the direction of the tree. I guess he is not quite in Christmas mode.... must be the head cold he has developed.

... Yup. I am healthy and now he is sick. It is shaping up to be one of those winters. I have already informed him that our 're-gifting" ban includes any and all viruses or other seasonal illnesses. Somebody (not me) is getting an extra strong toddy this evening... maybe even two.

249Jackie_K
Dec 13, 2017, 5:10pm Top

Oh dear, I hope you manage to avoid passing the cold continuously between you all winter! Better stock up on those tray bakes, I'm sure they have medicinal properties.

250pammab
Dec 14, 2017, 12:30am Top

The real question is whether all that chocolate is wrapped and under the tree, or sitting there calling out to be eaten already. I have to say that it almost definitely wouldn't last in my home; I would be eating it every time it caught my eye unless it was hidden away beneath paper or a gift bag/box!

251lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 2:29pm Top

>249 Jackie_K: - So do I, Jackie, so do I! The scotch infused hot toddies seem to have done the trick, so fingers crossed we are finished with our winter illnesses for this season.

>250 pammab: - The chocolate is still in its cellophane wrapping but no, it is not hidden behind wrapping paper, so there is some temptation. ;-)

252lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 2:30pm Top

Taking things easy today. The weather is wet and dreary so a good day to stay indoors. Besides, I have a sewing project I am going to tackle this afternoon. We have an old duvet that we keep in the living room for snuggling under on the couch when reading or watching shows/movies. The duvet is very old - I am afraid that if I wash it one more time, all the down stuffing will come out - so I bought a new duvet two weeks ago. Sewing project today is to sew a duvet cover (the new duvet is a different size than the old duvet so that can't use the old cover for the new duvet.

On the reading front, I am STILL working on my current read I started near the end of November. I am determined to finish it sometime this week, but until then, all I have for you is a walking update.

253lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 2:30pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 127 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 49.64
Kilometers walked in total: 5,420.21
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Northeast of Saint-Pascal and heading for Sainte-Helene-de-Kamouraska.
Points of interest along the way: Happy see my walking distances are climbing again!

254dudes22
Dec 17, 2017, 7:06pm Top

>252 lkernagh: - I too have a book I started in Nov (early Nov!) that I probably won't finish until next year at the rate I'm reading it.

255MissWatson
Dec 18, 2017, 6:13am Top

>253 lkernagh: I recall a French-Canadian book titled Kamouraska that came to my notice a while back. Could it be set in Sainte-Helene-de-Kamouraska?

256lkernagh
Dec 22, 2017, 11:43pm Top

>254 dudes22: - YAY, I don't feel so bad now! I do hope I will finish it before we ring in the new year, but no promises on that score!

>255 MissWatson: - While I have not read Kamouraska, I do believe you are correct as to the setting for the story. Now I am intrigued to read it. ;-)

257lkernagh
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 12:10am Top

Hello my friends! I hope no one has succumbed to the stress and strain that this holiday season can have on people. While walking in to work today, I was saddened by overhearing one individuals very loud, and very angry, cell phone conversation. 7 am is way too early for that much vitriol. Three blocks further along, I then got to witness the stupidity (a.k.a. Darwin's Law) that some people engage in. I could not believe what my eyes were taking in: An individual (male) in his 40's I would guess, parked his car on the side of the road at the start of a bend in the road, got out of the car, proceeded to the center of the road where he then stopped - yes, stopped in the center of the road - and pulled out his smart phone and started to either take pictures or a video of his parked car. While all this is going on, cars are trying to drive around him. I should also point out on top of positioning himself in a potential blind spot for northbound traffic, he was not wearing any high visual clothing - dark colours and no reflective strips - for some strange reason, this didn't bother him. he was too busy focused on whatever he was doing with his smart phone. It takes all sorts. At least I was able to see him safely leave the flow of traffic and return to his car, but still.... a really dumb thing to do!

Good news is, I am now off until the 28th and I am looking forward to a stress-free time. Some last minute grocery shopping tomorrow and I can hunker down and just enjoy the usual holiday activities of sleeping in, eating good food, watching Christmas classic movies and maybe, just maybe will also get to see a dusting of snow of Christmas eve. My kind of holiday season. ;-)

On the reading front, I am at the same spot in my current read as I was last week, and the week before. My current time suck has been finishing all of the Doc Martin episodes and the start of a new TV series that I completely enthralled with: A Place to Call Home. If you are not familiar with the show, it has been described as an Australian Downton Abbey. You can view the trailer for A Place to Call Home here: http://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi2855185945

Suffice to say, I am hooked! Of course, I am going to have to be a bit flexible in how I watch the series. Acorn TV can only offer Canadian views the first two seasons (BBC Canada has the exclusive rights for seasons 3, 4 and 5 - bugger). Luckily, my local library has season three on DVD that I can borrow, I can watch season 4 via my library subscription to Hoopla so that is good but still... frustrating to not be able to just continue streaming the show. sighs

... I know...a first world problem. ;-)

258lkernagh
Dec 22, 2017, 11:44pm Top

As I plan on spending the next 5 days off-line, below please find my holiday greeting for all of my thread visitors:


259Jackie_K
Dec 23, 2017, 5:29am Top

Merry Christmas to you and yours - I hope you have a lovely break!

260Crazymamie
Dec 23, 2017, 8:06am Top

Lori, hoping that your holidays are full of fabulous!

261rabbitprincess
Dec 23, 2017, 8:27am Top

Merry Christmas, Lori! :D

262lkernagh
Dec 23, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>259 Jackie_K:, >260 Crazymamie: and >261 rabbitprincess: - Thank you Jackie, Mamie and RP for the holiday wishes! As you can see, I not off-line, as anticipated. Other half has had to head out to help a friend with an electrical problem so I will try to visit threads while he is busy. ;-)

263VivienneR
Dec 23, 2017, 9:19pm Top



Hope your Christmas is merry and bright, Lori!

264VioletBramble
Dec 23, 2017, 11:53pm Top



Lori- Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2018 !

265Roro8
Dec 24, 2017, 12:49am Top


Merry Christmas Lori

266mathgirl40
Dec 24, 2017, 2:36pm Top

Merry Christmas Lori!

I enjoyed following your cross-country walk this year.

267Kristelh
Dec 25, 2017, 8:17am Top

Stopping by to wish you the best of the end of 2017 and the start of 2018.

268jonesli
Dec 25, 2017, 12:29pm Top

Merry Christmas Lori!

269dudes22
Dec 25, 2017, 3:38pm Top

Lori - My wish for you this Christmas:

270andreablythe
Dec 25, 2017, 5:17pm Top

Happy Holidays! Wishing you all the best and many new, glorious books to read!

271mdoris
Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 6:49pm Top

Hi Lori,
Dropping by to wish you a wonderful 2018 and the fantastic reading in the next year!

272lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:34pm Top

>263 VivienneR:, >264 VioletBramble:, >265 Roro8:, >266 mathgirl40:, >267 Kristelh:, >268 jonesli:, >269 dudes22:, >270 andreablythe: and >271 mdoris: - Thank you Vivienne, Kelly, Ro, Paulina, Kristel, Lisa, Betty, Andrea and Mary for the holiday messages! The holidays were wonderful. We went low-key and even though I knew what my present was in advance, it was still a lot of fun to open and load my ebooks onto my new ereader. We did have snow on Christmas Day - got my White Christmas wish! - but it was all melted by Boxing Day, as per the Christmas Day/Boxing Day comparison pictures below:


Christmas Day


Boxing Day

Boxing Day was a relaxing day of online shopping, eating and book reading. For the most part, the holidays were filled with food, fun and sleeping whenever I felt like it. I am a huge fan of naps!

On the reading front, I also managed to: 1) finally finish a book a started 5 weeks ago; and 2) read two quick reads. Good news is that with these books read, I have "technically" completed my challenge by reading a minimum of three challenge reads per month, so super happy about that!

Walking review will wait for the weekend and then I will do a final 2-week update to close off 2017.

I have two books on the go at the moment - both LTER books that I am overdue for reading and reviewing - and I hope to get both of those books finished before chiming in 2018.

273lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:34pm Top


Book #107 - You have to be careful in the land of the free by James Kelman
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Eleven-Word title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: 2004
Acquisition date: May 16, 2010
Page count: 410 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Jeremiah Brown, a Scottish immigrant in his early thirties, has lived in the United States for twelve years. He has moved as many times, from the east coast to the west coast and back again, all in the hope his luck would change. To add to his restlessness and indecision, he now has a nonrefundable ticket to Glasgow to visit his mother for the first time in seven years. The question is, will the visit help him get over the pain of separation from a woman he met and loved in New York and with whom he had a little girl, or will it make it worse? In this rich, funny, superbly crafted novel, Kelman has once again created a memorable character-compulsive, obsessive, self-doubting, beer-loving, and utterly engaging-and a singular portrait of an immigrant's America.
Review:
I struggled through this one. In fact, I struggled with the book for 4 weeks before finally finishing it. I like the idea of the experiences and perspectives of a "furnir" as he analyses both his experience of living in America (as a Red Card class III immigrant, aspiring to Green Card status) and what he finds to be his failures as a partner, father and son. Why the struggle, you might ask? Well, for starters, every time I dipped into the book, I had to reacquaint myself with chosen words written in a phonetically accented Scottish tongue, with "huis"="house"; "Skarrisch"="Scottish"; "Uhmerka"="America"; "mair"= "more"; etc, etc.

It also didn't help that our narrator has the attention span of a bunny rabbit, with a habit of embellishing his stories, only to make retractions later. Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting found this to be a "brave and provocative" that will delight Kelman loyalists and should win him many converts among Americans..." is probably deserving praise, but as I have never read Welsh's works, there is a good change that I am not the target audience of their works. Even if this one is "A beautiful embodiment of moral, social and political outrage portrayed on the most human level", it was a darn challenge to find any quote-worthy phrases that did not contain profanities or other derogatory expletives. Below are the two rare exceptions worthy of mentioning here:
"Naw, I said, sometimes life can be beautiful. But sometimes things are the opposite of that, if there is an opposite of that: being honest I don't think there is; just there can be bad times, we get these bad times. You says ugly there Rita, odious stiff like that; but I'm no sure if they are opposites. To me beautiful is out there on its ayn lilke if it's there in yer life, if beautiful's there in yer life. Nothing can touch that. There isnay nothing else."

"Ye know what like it is when ye hear something greeting be it a dumb animal or a child, it breaks yer heart. That is if ye are a genuine person. A lot of bodies arenay genuine persona aarh jack lad they be persons by proxy, they have trained themselved no to be genuine persons, their morality becomes a politics and the actual argument has to do with whether or no morality exists or whether or no an individual has an obligation to be moral."
Overall, a struggle of a read for me. While the story contains some wonderful literary references and some fantastically insightful moral and social commentary, the whole airport "persian bet" aspect of the story just left me baffled.

274lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:35pm Top


Book #108 - The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America by the Survivors of Troy by Duane Gundrum
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Twelve-Word title"
Source: TBR
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: April 3, 2013
Acquisition date: February 17,2014
Page count: 218 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
The Greeks had their Iliad and Odyssey, the Romans had their Aeneid, and the British had their Britannia and those continuously changing King Arthur stories, starring wannabe Shakespearean actors slumming it until something better came along. But America got nothing. Until now. Finally, an epic has emerged, from the lost annals of time (whatever that means...just go with it...it sounds scholarly), that tells the true story of America's foundation. The Ameriad tells the story of the Trojan warrior Amereaus, who has been chosen by the gods to found a new land somewhere across the Great Sea (capitalized because it's that great a sea). Running away from his domineering wife Democrita, Amereaus travails the many forgotten lands of yesterday to battle new gods and new evils (because the old ones were boring), leading to a new land previously occupied by other people until Amereaus kicks them out. For the glory of a new land that will one day be called Amereausland (placeholder until a better name comes along). So join Amereaus, his much smarter assistant Lyddius, and a cast of many others (because it's a novel and just having two characters would have been really boring), including a translator of the epic who really should have never quit his day job but just so happened to be in the right place at the right time to become the greatest translator of all time (Editor's Note: Please do not let this guy write any more of his own back copy!).
Review:
This was a rather fun read. While I was never a devout reader of Greek mythology, I have read enough to understand that this one is a parody of The Iliad and The Aeneid and I was able to enjoy the elements borrowed to create this “what if” American mythology story. Gundrum dials up the satire/humour with descriptive monikers for various mythological gods (Amereaus’ parents are the god Head Honcho and the goddess Fluffy) and lesser gods like Beer and Shop Teacher. The names alone should give you an idea of the type of story this is. Through the story, Gundrum pokes fun at everything from powerful corporations, economic globalization (the Trojan Horse is discovered to display an undecipherable text: “Made in China”), the atom bomb, junk food to modern morals and ethics. Some of the satire was easy to pick up on but other aspects were more obscure to identify. The section where Amereaus meets Socrates is fabulously done but I never did figure out why the focus on “The Pillars” or its significance as a satirical element for the story. Just have to chalk that up to an aspect of American history / modern culture that I do not have much knowledge / understanding of.

Overall, a fun, quick read and one I can recommend to anyone who with a basic understanding of Greek mythology and happens to likes their comedy to be of the Monty Python / Mel Brooks style or for readers of Marie Phillips’ Gods Behaving Badly.

275lkernagh
Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 9:36pm Top


Book #109 - Death in December by Shonah Stevens
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of December" and "Books with December, Poinsettia or Turquoise in title or author/main character name"
Source: TBR
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: February 2017
Acquisition date: March 16, 2017
Page count: 74 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
When headmaster James Leibinger finds one of his teachers dead, the police write it off as suicide. After all Dorian Jones had plenty of problems. However James is convinced Dorian was murdered, but how can he prove it? The he remembers a chance encounter with a female private detective – Jayne Belmont. Would she be able to solve this mystery? Jayne is faced with an entire staff of teachers and an ex-wife who would all like to see the back of Dorian. What's more they all seem to have had opportunity. Jayne slowly narrows down her suspects, but when another body falls to their death and all the suspects were in the same room, the case becomes impossible to solve. Or does it?
Review:
For a first novel – sorry, novella given its short 74 page length – this is an interesting light (dare I call it a cozy?) murder mystery set in a remote, small town area of Australia. The lead character, our novice female private investigator, has more of a bubbly cute personality that a gritty, determined one, but seems to work here given that even Dorian’s ‘hard as nails” ex-wife Janis ends up showing a surprising soft side. The plot and the complex web of interrelationships of some of the characters is well written and probably would have, with some work and editorial guidance, made a rather intriguing full length novel. The novella format tends to means that certain details are minimized or left out and that was the case with this one. I would have liked to have seen the setting expanded upon and more character developments, but for the short format, Stevens does a good job giving the reader multiple suspects and a couple of surprising plot twists.

Overall, a light-weight murder mystery (and first in a currently four book series) that may appeal to readers of the cozy mystery sub-genre looking for a series set in Australia.

276Roro8
Dec 29, 2017, 2:11am Top

The difference between your Christmas and Boxing Day photos is amazing! I'm happy to hear you had a nice Christmas.

277davidcruise
Dec 29, 2017, 2:24am Top

This user has been removed as spam.

278Crazymamie
Dec 29, 2017, 8:55am Top

Love the photos, Lori! I am also a huge fan of naps. Your Christmas sounds lovely. Good luck getting those last two books finished before you run out of 2017.

279lkernagh
Dec 29, 2017, 8:11pm Top

>276 Roro8: - Thanks Ro! I swear, I had to keep looking at the Christmas Day photo the next day. Kept on wondering if I had dreamed the snow! ;-0

>278 Crazymamie: - Thanks Mamie! Naps are the bomb! Fingers crossed, I will get them both finished. Now, if I can just focus on reading and not have shiny distractions, I should be able to finish both.

-------------------------------
Wow, last weekend of 2017. While 2017 was not the emotional roller coaster ride 2016 was, I am still looking forward to closing the door and welcoming 2018 with open arms. Of course, the weather is miserable - wet and rainy - so curling up on the sofa this evening is the plan!

280lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:46pm Top

I only managed to finish one more book before settling in to ring in 2018. Very happy with 110 book read for 2017 and looking forward to more reading (and walking) and whatever else crops up in 2018! One more review, my last walking update for 2017, a very condensed year end summary and... of course... the Year End Book Meme!

281lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:47pm Top

.
Book #110 - Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: September 19, 2017
Acquisition date: October 5, 2017
Page count: 412 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia. Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets. Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?
Review:
As far as historical fiction reads go, this is a bit of a gem. Love the WWII and post-WWII setting. Love the intrigue as we learn more about the powerful socialite circles with fascist leanings an the disturbing information that unfolds as Joe recovers his memories and learns about the family he is now joined to. If you are looking for complex character development, this is not the book for you. The characters do come across a bit flat but there are still some interesting suspenseful moments to carry the story through. While this is a historical suspense read, it is more a story about family and they bonds they hold. Favorite quote:
"Keep strong in this era of bloodshed and pain, for time soon flies and our darkest times will one day bring us all a divine redemption."
Overall, a good WWII styled story, potentially geared towards the YA reading audience.

282lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:47pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 128 & 129 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 66.67 (Week 128=37.02; Week 129=29.65)
Kilometers walked in total: 5,486.88
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due East of Couturier and heading for Saint Louis-du-Ha-Ha.
Points of interest along the way: Cold and rainy weather put a crimp in my walking the past two weeks. I keep forgetting that winter tends to do that. ;-)

283lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:48pm Top

2017 YEAR END SUMMARY:

# of Books Read: 110
Largest book read: World Without End by Ken Follett at 1,014 pages
Smallest book read: Cupcakes by Daniel Kelley at 26 pages
ROOTs Read: 56
# of Pages Read: 36,498
Best Reading Month: June (12 books finished / 4,173 pages read)

Top 15 Reads:
....../.......

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - 5.00 out of 5 /
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - 5.00 out of 5 /
When I Was Young and In My Prime by Alayna Munce - 5.00 out of 5 /
Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - 5.00 out of 5 /
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose - 5.00 out of 5 /
A Peacock in the Land of Penguins by BJ Gallagher -
4.80 out of 5 /
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox - 4.80 out of 5 /
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - 4.60 out of 5 /
Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Rising by Jonathan Littell - 4.60 out of 5 /
The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson - 4.60 out of 5 /
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - 4.60 out of 5 /
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons - 4.60 out of 5 /
Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - 4.60 out of 5 /
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson - 4.60 out of 5 /
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden - 4.50 out of 5 /

284lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:49pm Top

It is that time of year once again.... the End of Year Meme! I had to get a bit creative with a couple of my responses but overall, I like how my 2017 reading filled out and fit most of the questions. ;-)

End of Year Book Meme: Books read in 2017

Describe yourself: The Irrationalist

Describe how you feel: A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

Describe where you currently live: At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Paris

Your favorite form of transportation: The Ion Raider

Your best friend is: Daisy Miller

You and your friends are: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

What’s the weather like: World Without End

You fear: Twelve Angry Men

What is the best advice you have to give: Laugh and Live

Thought for the day: You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free

How you would like to die: Involuntary Bliss

Your soul’s present condition: The Full Cupboard of Life

285lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:49pm Top

Wishing all my LT friends a wonderful New Years! Looking forward to following your reading (and other adventures) in 2018!


286andreablythe
Jan 2, 6:00pm Top

Happy New Year!

Some great reads in your wrap up — I also loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — and some I need to check out.

Group: 2017 Category Challenge

132 members

24,176 messages

About

This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

Touchstones

Works

Authors

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,063,059 books! | Top bar: Always visible