Monday, December 22, 2008

Now ... on my bookshelf

The library giveth and the library taketh back. I was 100 pages away from finishing Mercy Amoung the Children and enjoying the main character Kyle describe his family life as it continues to change and well ... deteriorate. Oh well, perhaps the whole set of Canada Reads will be on its way in a few days to take with me to Florida. In the meantime I am reading 2007 Giller Prize Winner Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay. I thought for sure that I had read an Elizabeth Hay fiction before, but reviewing her biography, I cannot find something that seems familiar. Of course, I can hardly be relied upon for this. My memory of authors, books and movies ends shortly after I have read/seen them. Merry Christmas and the Best of the Season to my fellow readers. See you in the new year!

Monday, December 8, 2008

On My Bookshelf

My Holiday Sale and Open House was this past weekend and now that the stress of that is done I am hopeful that I can get back into reading. Of course I still have pieces to make for my show in Florida in January and I am still open for sales up until Christmas, however I plan to create more time to read in the evenings. On my bookshelf right now is Canada Reads 2009 selection Mercy Amoung the Children by David Adams Richards. I also have The Outlander however I worry it will have to be returned to the library before I can get to it. No worries though, I have asked for all the books for Christmas so I can take them with me to Florida as I will have more than enough time to read there. It took me some time to get into this book as I was only able to read a few pages at a time, however I am now sufficiently hooked and reading the story of Sydney and Elly as told by their son Lyle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Waiting for Canada Reads 2009

I am anxiously awaiting 11am today to hear the 5 picks for CBC Radio's Canada Reads 2009 - What will they be??? I am bookless at the moment and hope to pick something up, preferably from the list, before they become so requested that I become number one million on the list .... I just put a holds at the library for this year's Giller Prize winner, Joseph Boyden's Through Black Spruce (I am 166 on the list) and the 2007 winner - Elizabeth Hay's Late Nights on Air (I am 6 on the list). Here is the link for CBC's Canada Reads - . I suppose I could buy the books, but then I would have to keep them somewhere in the house.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review - Sweetness in the Belly

Sweetness in the Belly, by Camilla Gibb was my seventh read for the "Challenge" and was a wonderful read. It follows the story of Lilly, who is taken in by Sufis and trained/educated as a Muslim by the Great Abdal after she is orphaned by her British-born hippy parents who travel with her and are killed when a drug deal in Africa goes wrong. It is divided in sections looking back to the 70's in Harar, Ethiopia and to the present day (which is the early 90's) in London where Lilly has immigrated to and lives in supported housing with other Ethiopian refugees. While I am not familiar with the politics of the 70's in this area of Africa, I was fascinated with this aspect of the work and learning about a time I did not know about. It is part romance, part struggle with poverty, part fitting in when you don't really fit in and much more. The character development of Lilly and the other supporting characters is fantastic. A much quicker read than my previous read as it was really enjoyable. It is a fantastic story set in actual history that I just adored to put it simply.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Review - Not Wanted on the Voyage

I have finally finished reading Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley. Overall I think it is a good work of fiction, well written, good character development, interesting story. I think it took me longer to read this than previous books I read as I was, as you will see from my previous posts, having some trouble with the portrayal of Noah and the Great Flood as compared to his holier and more pious persona as described in the modern translation of the bible and what I grew up believing. I am not naive in thinking that religious men and women of the past were all good. In fact we know that they were not and many terrible things were done to people in the name of religion ... in many, if not all religions, Christian and non-Christian and some of these traditions continue today. But I guess I didn't want to spend the little time I have to read this story dramatized and turned on its end. I did enjoying following the more "sane" and good characters in the story, particularly the cat Mottyl who's picture on the cover of the version of the book I read and who was the one I think was the one that was "not wanted on the voyage" reminds me of a fiesty neighbourhood cat Smokey who likely would have the same tenacity and characteristics. And I liked the ending ... even if it left me a bit confused which is all I will say about that so as to not spoil it for other readers. I haven't yet started on my next book but will do so very soon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Noah .... in this story a big bully

I am really starting to "dislike immensely" (not hate, as my mom always said that we shouldn't hate anyone) the character of Noah as portrayed in Timothy Findley's Not Wanted on the Voyage. He is mean. Not just mean, but I would say probably evil in his carrying out of what he believes to be God's work. I don't want to give away the plot, but I just finished a horrible scene involving Noah and one of his daughter in laws, that has left me a bit disturbed. It makes me wonder about the author's feelings on religion. He seems to be portraying the characters, particularly Noah as a fundamentalist with a skewed perception of how to carry out God's will. But, perhaps it was just like that, who knows. I am still engaged and reading, so it is a sucessful strategy on the part of the author. I think I'd like to read something lighter for my next read, however I am not sure if the book I have waiting on my bedside table "Sweetness in the Belly" will meet that desire.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not your regular Noah story

I am about 1/3 into "Not Wanted on the Voyage" having read some more of it on our recent trip to the Pelee Island/Kingsville area of Essex County on Lake Erie to visit some wineries. So far, what I can say is that it is a bit of a "trippy" story about Noah and his family and the lead up to the big flood ... at least I think we will eventually get to that point. Right now a weary Yahweh is visiting Noah and his family, telling him of the terrible things he and his group of angels have seen in their journey across the world. Yahweh has brought with him a caravan of animals which I suspect will end up on the Ark. While completely based in fiction, Findley weaves an interesting and mysterious story about Noah, who is, according to Noah's wife's cat Motyl, who does some of the narration in the story, doing experiments with her kittens. He doesn't sound like the Noah of my bible studies. More soon ...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

King Leary

King Leary by Paul Quarrington was my fifth read for the challenge. This book was the winner of CBC's Canada Reads 2008. It took me some time to get into this novel that chronicles the life of Percival "King" Leary, a well known hockey player in the early 1900s. We find Leary in the present at a nursing home when he embarks on a journey to Toronto to film a ginger ale commercial. Throughout the story Leary looks back at, and sometimes hallucinates back and re-lives, things that happened to him on his life journey. He comically interacts in the present day with friends who have long-sinced passed away. Initially I found the hockey-theme rather boring but about 1/3 into the book this aspect became almost the side-line to the interesting story of Leary and his mates that captured my interest and attention. In the end I am pleased I read the book and I can see why it received its honour. The book's characters are apparently based on real people, however, not knowing much about hockey, this was lost on me.

Canadian Fiction Rules

Back in September I joined the "Great Canadian Book Challenge Eh" and began officially documenting my Canadian reads. I have been reading almost exclusively Canadian fiction for about 2 years and was pleasantly surprised by this challenge and this great blog ( lists so many great Canadian books that I can add to my own list of must reads. As part of the challenge you must post a review of the books you have read. I put this on my regular blog at, but the list was getting long, so I have branched out and started this new blog. I will soon transfer over my reviews over to this site. Until then, keep reading. My current read is Timothy Findley's "Not Wanted on theVoyage", winner of CBC's Canada Reads 2008.