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 - http://www.cbc.ca/canadareads/ . 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.