• Betty's January 2009 reads

    Posted by Betty in Smithers, 7 years ago

    The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

    1. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry: I thoroughly loved the book, and want to read it again soon, I’m sure there are many things I missed the first time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who dreams. I would say it suits several genres, mystery, fantasy, history, medical, psyche, abuse, reality and more. Review posted on my profile.

    2. Withering Heights by Dorothy Cannell: Disappearances, sudden “accidental” deaths, a bit of “gaslight” all add up to a delightful light romp solving the mystery. Very entertaining and funny, I loved Dorothy Cannell’s writing, wit, and old-fashioned plot with modern twists. I will definitely read more of her books, especially between “heavy” reads, what a relief she will be. Review posted

    3. The Riverbones: Stumbling After Eden in the Jungles of Suriname by Andrew Westoll: Over all an excellent book, but with so much history I would rather not have him dwell so much on being hungover when has initiated trips into the wilds. I found that a bit of an annoying aside. His interaction with the Surinamese is remarkable otherwise. Difficult to put down, I would prefer to give it 4 1/2 stars for the sheer amount of legend, myth, history, zoology, botany, and political information researched and well-told. Review posted.

    4. Easy Innocence by Libby Hellman: Leads keep turning around, who can she trust? Who can she safely question? Who will the killer strike next? This book will definitely hold your attention. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the characters were well-formed, and grew as the story went along. I highly recommend this murder mystery and will definitely read other books by this author, I loved this book. Review: nightreader-blog.blogspot.com/2009/01/easy-innocence-by-libby-fischer-hellman.html

    5. Artie Lange: Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange: Overall, this was a good story, probably not the last from Artie. For anyone who is a fan of Artie or Howard Stern or stand-up comedy, this is a no-brainer, you will enjoy it and learn a lot from it. For readers like myself, I admit I didn’t want to put the book down, it was a real attention grabber, so regardless of the crudity, I would recommend this book. It may even save someone’s life someday. Review posted.

    6. Buried Lies by Peter Rennebohm: A good mystery, the excitement of the race to solve the mystery and perhaps discover treasure is catching. In a way it is an enjoyable read regardless of bodies dropping throughout. Peter Rennebohm has authored two previous novels, “French Creek” and “Blue Springs” and I will be seeking them to read. I am happy to recommend this focused, yet layered book. Review: nightreader-blog.blogspot.com/2009/01/buried-lies-by-peter-rennebohm.html

    7. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling: A nice little collection of fairy tales for wizards and witches, very much like our own fairy tales. There is even one that is more like a Grimm’s fairy tale, The Warlock’s Hairy Heart, not for the faint of heart. However, the others are enjoyable for any age group. Annotations have been included from Dumbledore’s personal notes.

    8. Rupture by A. Scott Pearson: Pre-release. A. Scott Pearson has written a rapid-fire, engrossing, and timely medical thriller, an amazing accomplishment for his debut novel. As a surgeon and researcher himself, he brings the world of surgery to life in a way others could not accomplish. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, it’s a great thriller, current, scary and believable, and it’s an exciting ride at roller-coaster speed. Review: nightreader-blog.blogspot.com/2009/01/rupture-by-scott-pearson.html

    9. Echoes by Erin Grady: This book was a delightful surprise; Erin Grady aka Erin Quinn has written a fascinating, multi-layered, mystical romance. Time shifting through earlier lives, the two stories blend to a final destination. Each character has a counterpart in both levels, and the shift to past history holds the key to the main story...A great read, passionate, mysterious, steadily building; a story of love, deceit, and jealousy through the ages. The characters are strong and full-fledged within both levels. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more. Review posted.

    I had a very enjoyable January with so many good books to read while sitting by the fire on these wintry days!

  • #'s 4, 5 and 6 -- Three Mysteries

    Posted by Joanna, 7 years ago

    Three Mysteries all well worth a read.

    Exit Music by Ian Rankin ---

    Ian Rankin is a great Scottish Crime writer. In Exit Music Detective John Rebus is nearing retirement and is trying to tie up all lose ends when a dissident Russian poet is found dead.

    The novel takes place in Edinburgh a place which I visited recently and I remember many of the places in the novel; the Grassmarket, the Haymarket, The Caledonian hotel and The Last Drop pub. These memories brought this story to life for me but even without these memories I would have enjoyed this novel. Rankin's novel is well written and entertaining. Rankin's plots, his twist and turns and surprise endings hook you and keep you entertained until the end.

    4 1/2 ****

    #5 ---Dead Cold by Louise Penny. Penny is a Canadian Crime / Mystery writer. Dead Cold is Penny's second novel; Chief Inspector Gamache is investigating a murder in Three Pines a small Canadian (Quebec) village. He is also investigating the death of a street person in Montreal.

    Penny brings the inhabitants of Three pines to life. The reader quickly becomes a part of their lives as the Mystery unfolds and becomes involved in trying to solve the murders.

    A very fun Mystery and I look forward to reading more of Louise Penny.


    #6 --- The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill

    Susan Hill is a British author, a writer of many different kinds of books who has been short listed for the Booker Prize.

    The Risk of Darkness is a Simon Senciller crime novel. Detective Simon Senciller is investigating a child snatching which may be tied to a serial killer.

    The novel is packed with action, adventure and suspense with many surprises for the reader.

    Hill's novel is well written and very readable. I liked that the detective and police department were working on more than the one main case and the way Hill mixes the minor cases into the story. I felt this made the story more real.

    I will definitely read more of Susan Hill's novels.

    Highly Recommend
    4 1/2 ****

  • 8 Books to Start 2009

    Posted by Bookworm, 7 years ago

    1. The Thirteenth Tale-Diane Setterfield- I loved this book. The suspense thorughout the book just kept me reading. 5/5
    2. Lullabies for Little Criminals-Heather O'Neill- I have mixed thoughts on this book, in one hand l like the story and how it kept my interest as what happens in the end, and on the other hand I hated this book, because I felt that it was just way too much to happen to a family. 3/5
    3. The Tale of Beedle The Bard-J.K. Rowling- I found this book totally confusing, as did my son. 3/5
    4. The Shack-William P. Young-This was a wonderful book. 4/5
    5. The Pagan Stone-Nora Roberts-Great finish in the Blood Brothers Trilogy. 4/5
    6. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas-John Boyne-This is an amazing story told through the eyes of a child. Unforgettable book. 5/5
    7. Blindness- Jose Saramago- I did not enjoy this book at all. I found that I started to skip pages just to get to the end of a chapter. 2/5
    8. Dead on Arrival-Karen Vaughen-Karen is from Peterborough and this is her first book. It was a really good, held a lot of suspense throughout the book. 4/5

  • #3 -- The Lost Highway by David Adamas Richards

    Posted by Joanna, 7 years ago

    The Lost Highway was shortlisted for the Governor Generals award; this novel, like the other David Adams Richards that I have read, is very dark and slightly depressing.

    This is the story of Alex Chapman who has spent his life blaming anyone and everyone for the real and imagined problems with his life.

    The novel is full of murder, greed and betrayal, a mystery with characters which are mainly unlikable. I can only think of one of the characters who I found at all likeable and a couple others who we did not see much who may have been likeable.

    BUT this is a well written story which actually holds the readers interest if only to see if the unlikeable characters suddenly develop qualities which make the reader like them

    Well worth reading.

  • #5 - 9: The Rest of My January Reading

    Posted by Wendy Middleton, 7 years ago

    #5 Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend - This novel was pretty slight, but okay for reading by poolside. It is the sequel to The Queen and I, Townsend's 1992 story of the fate of the Royal Family once the monarchy has been banished in Britain. Although it goes against the ending of the first book, the Royals are still living on the housing estate of Hell's Close, with ankle bracelets to monitor their movements. They cannot leave their exclusion zone, and must return to their homes each night by curfew. The Republican Prime Minister has grown tired of his job, so he tries to lose the election by making dog-ownership unacceptable and by telling the truth to the media. The New Con party counters by trying to bring back the monarchy, which leads Queen Elizabeth to contemplate abdication. The story is complicated by the appearance of Graham, Charles and Camilla's love child, older than William, and thus second in line to the throne.
    Townsend, the author of the Adrian Mole series of novels, provides a sometimes amusing examination of an alternate history for Great Britain.

    #6 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald - This was the second book that I had considered not counting this month, since it is a single short story. It has been published alone in connection with the current film with Brad Pitt in the title role of the man who is born seeming to be 70 years old and appears younger as he ages. I had studied a most of Fitzgerald's novels when I was in university and had read some of his stories at that time, but I no longer remember whether I had read this story before. It is an amusing tale of what it must be like to live life backwards, to take the ciruclar journey that we all take, but gaining in strength and knowledge as one grows younger. I had some qualms about the story's style, since most of it is "told" rather than "shown". This style made the story feel dated, and I wondered whether I would have been reading it if the film hadn't brought my attention to the story. I intend to see the film to see whether my reaction is different. I expect that it would be much more interesting to see the process of regression than to be told about it. Also certain characters, such as Benjamin's wife, will be given more prominence in the film than they are in the story, I'm sure.

    #7 The Colour by Rose Tremain - I have liked some of Tremain's novels, but not all that I have read. I had never heard of this one until after I had read her most recent, The Road Home, which I enjoyed most of her books. I was surprised to learn that this story is set in New Zealand, and I was more intrigued by it because of my recent visit to that country. The colour of the title is gold, and the story is set during the goldrush in the 1860s on the South Island of New Zealand. The main characters, Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, have recently married and moved with Joseph's mother, Lilian, from England to farm in New Zealand. Their unfamiliarity with the land and with farming life causes them to make errors in the location of their house and the materials that they used to build it. When Joseph finds some gold dust in the creek on their property, it excites his desire to better himself. He has realized that his marriage to Harriet is a mistake, and he decides to travel to the other side of the island to try his luck at finding a significant fortune in order to change his life. The more interesting and appealing character is Harriet Blackstone, who is twice left behind by her husband, yet eventually makes her way on her own to the goldfields. There she finds more than gold, and her character benefits in a way that enables her to live life as she chooses. I liked this book, but found the contemporary novel The Road Home to be a better novel.

    #8 The Ralph Wiggums Book by Matt Groening - I am not proud of having read this book, although Ralph is my favourite character on The Simpsons. I almost forgot to include it in my list. It does have more words than Looking for Miza, and maybe even more than Benjamin Button. This is a book for fans only.

    #9 La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith - This book took me by surprise. It was an unexpected gift from a friend in Australia, who said that she hoped that I hadn't already read it. I hadn't even heard of the book, and it won't be published in Canada until the middle of February. It is like McCall Smith's other books in that it involves a character, La Stone, who tries to create decency and normalcy in her small English village during WWII. However, the historical setting and even the writing style is different from the other McCall Smith's novels that I have read. I have often been amazed at his prolific output of the various series that he writes, but this novel especially shows signs of needing more polish and better editing. There are some interesting moments in the novel, but the writing is too uneven to make it really good.

  • My January Reads...

    Posted by ChrisM, 7 years ago

    I thought I might be able to squeeze one more book onto this list, but I don't think I am going to finish....

    1. The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
    This is the story of a 12 year old growing up on a horse farm. Her older sister has run off with a rodeo rider, her mother is suffering, it would seem, from a severe case of postpartum depression and her father is distracted by money issues and the rich women who board their horses at the farm. It's a slow-moving novel, but I liked it.

    2. The Enchantment of Lily Dahl by Siri Hustvedt
    A strange book populated by a cast of characters so odd it seems impossible that they should all end up in the same story. Not at all what I expected.

    3. The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff
    This is a book with one purpose: to scare the bejebus out of you and it works on many levels.

    4. The Awakening by Donna Boyd
    The Awakening turned out to be one of the tamest ghost stories I’ve ever read and an even less compelling family drama.

    5. Black Lace Quickies by Various
    A slim volume of six stories has something for everyone and the stories are well-written and extremely naughty.

    6. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
    I probably wouldn't have picked this book up on my own; it was chosen for book club. Still, I liked the book quite a lot more than I thought I would - it certainly paints a different picture of India. And it's often very funny.

    As always, I've posted full reviews.

    • 6 people found this helpful

    #1 -4: My January Reading

    Posted by Wendy Middleton, 7 years ago

    I had actually planned to count only seven of the nine books I read this month, but Chris M. assured someone last week that even a children's book counts as a book, so I assume that an individually bound short story will count too.

    #1 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - I won't need to say much about this novel as so many members of this group have spoken of it already. Colleen first recommended it to me back in September, and when I didn't receive a copy for Christmas as I had hoped I would, I ordered a copy using the Chapters gift certificate, which I did receive. I stopped reading the book that I was reading once it arrived and read the novel very quickly. Everything that everyone else has said is true. The characters take on lives of their own, and we learn of them through their letters and in the descriptions of them from the letters of their friends and neighbours. I have never thought of visiting the Channel Islands when I have been in England, but this book may inspire a side trip the next time that I am there.

    #2 The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith - This was the book that I was trying to complete for the end of 2008, and the one that I put aside when The Guernsey Literary Society etc. arrived. Actually it is the type of book that can easily be interrupted because it involves stories about several people living in Edinburgh written in short chapters. McCall Smith writes each chapter as a newspaper column about the lives of these characters, much as Armistead Maupin wrote The Tales of the City about San Francisco. This is the fourth book in this 44 Scotland Street series, and I think that McCall Smith is coming to the end of his inventiveness for these characters. I had great hopes when I saw that the title referred to Bertie, the 6-year-old prodigy with the unbearable mother, Irene, because he is not only my favourite character, but the one that McCall Smith gets the most mail about apparently. However, there was no more of Bertie's story than usual in this novel and much of his story involved his new (and unfortunately named) baby brother, Ulysses.

    #3 Looking for Miza by Juliana, Isabella & Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu - This was the first book that I had considered not counting. It is written by the same people who wrote Owen and Mzee, which I had quite enjoyed last year. Once again it is illustrated with lovely photographs, this time of a baby gorilla and her family. However, it seemed to me that the writing style was aimed a younger audience than Owen and Mzee, so that it did seem like a story book. It was nice to look at the pictures of gorillas though.

    #4 The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - I read most of this book at the airport in Toronto and on an uncomfortable and delayed flight to Jamaica, and then I finished it sitting out in wonderful sunshine. It is the story of Hanna Heath, a book conservator, who is asked to examine and repair a 15th Century Haggadah (a Jewish prayer book used at home at Passover) in Sarajevo in 1996. Through her research into the various artefacts that have found their way into or onto the pages of this book, Hanna tries to deduce the history of the book and the movement of the Jewish people through Europe in those 500 years. Although Hanna and the book's characters are fictional, some are based on real people who were involved in the history of the real Sarajevo Haggadah.
    During her investigation into the history of the book, Hanna discovers her own history. Interspersed with the modern story are those of the characters who have come into contact with this book through its history, moving back in time until the origin of its unusual, but compelling, illustrations is explained.
    I enjoyed both this book and Brooks' Year of Wonders, which I read in the summer, so now I plan to read her novel, March, but only after I have re-read Little Women, since it tells the story of the girls' father, who has left the family to serve in the U.S. Civil War.

    • 1 person found this helpful

    1 of 50

    Posted by Robert Augustine, 7 years ago

    My 1st book of 2009 is called The Devils Layrinth by John Saul. This my first novel that I have read by John, and I found it to be a very good read. I loved how he writes creepy, gory,and repulsive incidents leading to a nail-biting climax. I am locking forward on reading more of John Saul work.

  • #2. The Book of Negroes

    Posted by BookThia, 7 years ago

    I'm trying to get through the five Canada Reads selections and this is one of them.

    The Book of Negroes tells the horrifying and yet ultimately hopeful tale of Aminata Diallo, born free in Africa, stolen from her family and village at the age of 11 and sold as a slave in the Carolinas. As an adult, she escapes in New York City and eventually emigrates to Nova Scotia after the US War of Independence as one of the Black Loyalists. From Nova Scotia, she travels to Freetown Sierra Leone, but she learns that returning "home" isn't always about where you live. I've hardly touched on the the "meat' of the story, my full review can be read off my profile page.

    This was one of the best novels I've read in a long long time. I highly recommend it.

  • Some January Reads

    Posted by Lisa Voss, 7 years ago

    #2 The Infidelity Pact - I won't bore you with details. This book was awful and a complete waste of time.

    #3 Loving Frank - Nancy Horan. This is a fictionalized account of the romance between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. I can't say I liked Frank and Mamah but, strangely, I did enjoy the book. Their relationship was scandalous and Mamah risked losing everyone she loved, even her children, for a slightly bizarre man.

    #4 Jane Austen in Scarsdale by Paula Marantz Cohen. Anne Ehrlich allowed her family to influence her love life causing her to break up with the only man she ever loved. Now approaching her mid thirties and working as a high school guidance counsellor, Ben Cutler enters her life once again. Can romance blossom again or is it too late? Although I found some of the guidance counsellor stuff a little boring this was an enjoyable light read.

    #5 Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q & A) by Vikas Swarup. Ram Mohammad Thomas is arrested and accused of cheating after winning Who Will Win A Billion? on T.V. As Ram watches a video of his performance he tells the story of his life in India. I went to see the movie the same day I finished the book. I enjoyed the movie but I loved the book. As is often the case the book was better but I would recommend both.

    #6 Come Closer by Sara Gran. This is a creepy little story about a woman who begins to think she may be possessed. I liked this book. I found some things a little funny (a questionaire to determine if you're possessed) and most decidely creepy.

    #7 Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book by a new Canadian author. Audrey (Oddly) is called back home to Newfoundland when her father has an accident. Through flashback we learn all about Audrey and her somewhat unusual life. This book has wonderful characters, including Winnifred the tortoise, and is very funny. Keep your eyes out for this when it comes out (I think in March) if you want something a little different but not too off the wall. I highly recommend this one!

  • 3. The Hour I First Believed

    Posted by Jamie Siddons, 7 years ago

    Usually when I finish a book, I have a definite opinion one way or another. With Wally Lamb's latest effort, though, I am a bit unsure of my response. On one hand, I was swept along with the narrative (even some of the borderline tedious faux primary source 'documents' included). On the other hand, the story was often overwrought and occasionally a bit showy. Lamb's language was fairly plain and straightforward (akin to the main character, I suppose) but the result was a lack of imaginative prose.

    The thought that sticks with me, for some reason, is how did Lamb develop this story. What was the starting point? Was it Columbine? Was it a particular character? An event from the past? The female prison he works at? It would be fascinating to hear Lamb discuss how he pulled these disparate plot points into a cohesive and rather convincing novel. But, and I think we can all agree on this, it could have been a bit shorter. This is the first of Lamb's novels I have read, and I might someday try the other two. (This was our February book club selection.)

  • Closing out 2008

    Posted by Claire Humphrey, 7 years ago

    I know, I'm way behind! All I can say is that I've had a busy month at work, trying to find the best possible bargain books, and at home, catching up with all the personal business that follows the holidays. And of course, reading some good books... I think my goal for 2009 will be to beat my 2008 tally, and read more Canadian books.

    117. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Not as strong as her other titles, but this was a fun urban fantasy about a rock musician who gets involved with a Faerie power struggle.

    118. Self Made Man by Norah Vincent. Vincent put herself in believable male drag for months to write this book, and "passed" in a number of long-term scenarios: a men's bowling league, a sales job, numerous dates, and even a weekend at a men's retreat. I was fascinated by the premise, but quite disappointed by Vincent's shallow take on it. She seemed determined to see the sexes as heavily distinct and biologically determined, and sought out the kind of environments that would bolster her hypothesis. An interesting read but I came away unconvinced.

    119. All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear. Bear continues her tradition of extremely grand, operatic premises, tight prose and believable, damaged characters. This book begins with the end of the world, and gets more dramatic from there.

    120. Jalna by Mazo de la Roche. This book is supposedly a Canadian classic, although I hadn't come across it before. I think it has been justly forgotten.

    121. Freedom & Necessity by Emma Bull and Stephen Brust. Amazing read! I posted about this in another group.

    122. Bloodring by Faith Hunter. Boring urban fantasy; forced myself to read to the end because it was the only book I brought with me on a trip.

    123. Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin. I finally got around to reading this science fiction classic, and I am almost glad I waited this long, because it was a stellar way to end the year. It's about the first contact between a regular human ambassador and a planet of androgynous people. LeGuin excels at the philosophical ramifications of this race's condition, and the slow acclimation of the ambassador to his new home. So much is left unsaid, but deeply felt. This book will stay with me for a long time.

  • 2. Blackstrap Hawco - Kenneth J. Harvey

    Posted by MacFly, 7 years ago

    Blackstrap Hawco, by Kenneth J. Harvey, is a mammoth size book. At over 800 pages, it is an epic novel of a Newfoundland family. Harvey uses actual historic events brilliantly to weave the fictitious story of the Hawco family. The story of Blackstrap’s life is tragic. It’s as if he is watching his life unfold without any control over what will happen to him. The story is told from the perspective of different characters in the novel which gives the read a full understanding of the complexity of the family members. It also goes back to the first generation of Hawcos who arrived in Newfoundland. The book is also not told in chronological order. While this might appear to be disconcerting, it works beautifully and only serves to keep the reader more intrigued in how the story actually unfolds. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone interested in the history and culture of Newfoundland or anyone interested in great Canadian fiction.

  • 1. Interred with their Bones - Jennifer Lee Carrell

    Posted by MacFly, 7 years ago

    Interred with their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell, is a thriller where the characters race against each other to discover a lost manuscript by William Shakespeare. It reads a bit like a Lara Croft movie with lots of action, double crosses and ancient crypts. There is a great amount of detail about the life of Shakespeare including various theories on whether or not he actually wrote the plays that have been credited to him. The book was good although a bit complicated with all of the historical information. Carrell is an author I will check out again.


    Posted by Christine L, 7 years ago

    5. THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS by David Morrell. It was a little late to be reading a Christmas book but I enjoyed it never the less. A cute Christmas story from a little bit of a different angle, and a happy ending. What more could you ask for? I particularly enjoyed the "spy's version" of the nativity. Quite creative!

    6. NAPALM AND SILLY PUTTY by George Carlin. I had this sitting on my shelf for quite a while and never picked it up. While I was sorting through my books recently I decided it was time to read it. As usual Mr. Carlin's sense of humour is amazing. He has some profound thoughts on many subjects and expresses them with typical George Carlin sense of humour. His death was definitely a loss to contemporary comedy.

    7. DIVINE JUSTICE by David Baldacci. Another (could it be the last?) of the Camel Club series. Oliver Stone/John Carr and the usual cast of characters, one by one, end up in a small mining town rife with corruption. As always an entertaining read and at long last (spoiler alert here) Oliver/John finds a little romance along the way.

  • #1-5

    Posted by LindsC, 7 years ago

    2009 has started out to be a great reading year for me! After receiving some great books and a whopping amount of gift cards I am looking forward to some good reading in 2009.
    In the past, though I record one in my reading journal, I have never posted a rating, but I am going to start doing that this year.

    1) Dewey - The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World - Vicki Myron
    Although I love animals (I have never been a big "cat person") I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. It was an easy enjoyable read. (A-)

    2) Belong to Me - Marisa de los Santos - I read Love Walked In a few months ago. It was so-so, however I really liked this on (which is a sequel.) I came to really care about the characters and after finishing the book, I found myself missing them and wanting to get back into their world. The odd thing is that is wasn't like it was a great work, it just got to me for some reason. (A)

    3)The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
    I am not sure what took me so long to read this novel, but it's definitely better late than never. This was a phenomenal book and I highly recommend it. I can't wait to read A Thousand Splendid Suns. (A)

    4) Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography - Andrew Morton
    First, let me say I am not gaga over Tom Cruise or a fan (I could take or leave him.) I also am not one to usually read unauthorized biographies but because TC is so secretive and Andrew Morton seems to be somewhat reputable, I thought I would give this a try. Did it satisfy my curiosity about Tom Cruise and his dirty little secrets? Mostly. However, I found the book so tainted with Andrew Morton's opinions on TC and Scientology that it lost some credibility with me. (B-)

    5) Kit's Law - Donna Morrissey
    I haven't had a lot of luck with Newfoundland fiction in the past (The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Shipping News were not among my favourties) so I wasn't expecting to like this one, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I really enjoyed it and I recommend it. (B+)

  • Book 6- Dead as a Doornail

    Posted by Ligeia, 7 years ago

    When this book arrived I immediately went devouring each page. This series is highly addictive, and I find myself wanting the next one by the time I finish.
    This book was very different from the previous ones- the character developement took a odd turn. One that wasn't completely expected, but still appreciated. For people who are attached to the man people in the book it is odd to see how loyalties are changing. This book is more focused on the mystery then the romance- which is what I thought I was looking for . In reality I think I just want to read more about Sookie and her "romances".

    • 4 people found this helpful

    #4 and #5 and some news!

    Posted by Charity, 7 years ago

    You can actually get this book!

    #4 The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway.
    Oh, I completely bought this title because of the cover. Go check it out.....you'll understand. And you actually have to touch the book, just looking at it doesn't do it justice. It was an okay read. I struggled through it until I got to the part where Harkaway really got into a good writing rhythm and then I struggled to put it down. Bizarre in a Vonnegut sort of style.

    #5 Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, art by Ben Templesmith.
    I read Beddor's original novel "The Looking Glass Wars" because I saw an ad for this graphic novel. Thank heavens I had read the book first because otherwise I would have been entirely lost in this graphic novel. While it doesn't follow the same story that is laid out in the book I at least had a general idea in regards to the basic ideas behind Beddor's version of Alice in Wonderland. I was not a fan of the artwork in this novel and I was also turned off by the additional text trying to assert that the tales of Hatter M were based on real events. The whole thing felt forced and trying too hard to be avant garde and "new".

    For those of you who recall my post about a book I had read last year that I wanted to share with everyone. That book is now available through Chapters.ca! R.L. Prendergast's "The Impact of a Single Event" was one of the better reads I enjoyed last year and I am so happy that he was able to get this listed with us. So, if you were contemplating reading this book, now you can!

  • 9: Oh Mr. King ...

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    Lisey's Story - Stephen King

    Lisa is the widow of a famous novelist dealing with her grief as well as a deranged fan and the instability of her sister's mental health. I did not like it. As usual, I was in awe of King's talent and skill but I did not enjoy this book. I posted a review and was amused to find that of all the reviews posted (12 before mine) 6 LOVED IT! and the other 6 HATED IT! In the case of this particular King title, I think it's all a question of personal taste and experience.

    One fun thing I enjoyed was spotting the similarities between King and his fictional author Landon - both write while blasting music quite loudly, both were addicted to cigarettes at one time, both prefer blue jeans to khakis and both refuse to 'plot out' their books before they start writing - all things I learned about him from his "On Writing".

    • 4 people found this helpful

    8: "Now I've read my ABC's ..."

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    C Is For Corpse - Sue Grafton

    Book Three in this series about Kinsey Milhoune - I LOVED the 'B Story' in this one and I laughed out loud at Kinsey's descriptions of the food she eats at a vegetarian restaurant. As I read this series, I continue to enjoy the quality of reality Grafton brings to her stories - Kinsey goes to bank, treats herself to fast food and has stains on her pants like everyone else - nice to know I'm not alone! ;)

    This provided a great change of pace as I make my way through Stephen King's Lisey's Story ...

  • Book 4- Need by Carrie Jones

    Posted by Liz, 7 years ago

    This is another one of my new teen favourites!I bought the book in a whim, which is unusual for me as I always think about them first, and I'm so glad I did!

    Devastated and depressed after the death of her stepfather, Zara White is sent by her mother to live in Maine with her grandmother, Betty. However, shortly after she arrives, her newfound friends from school tell her that the man that has been following her (and leaving trails of gold dust and then disappearing) may actually be a pixie king and that only "were" creatures can stop him. Now Zara has to figure out why this pixie king wants her so badly and why some of the local boys are disappearing......

    Romance, supernatural, facing fears, and surprises along the way- you'll definitely enjoy the novel!

    • 1 person found this helpful

    6 of 50

    Posted by Amanda Augustine, 7 years ago

    6. Strange Affair - Peter Robinson
    Next in the series of Inspector Banks, weaves a story that goes straight to Banks. A women is run off the road and shot, the only thing identifying the women is the note in her back pocket that carries Alan's address and phone number. But while the murder is taking place, Alan is on his way to London after recieving a call from his estranged brother.
    This book was okay once you passed the half way mark. 3 out of 5

  • 4. Blindness - Jose Saramago

    Posted by Peachy TO, 7 years ago

    Blindness was my first encounter with Jose Saramago, and between being beaten over the head with his allegorical commentary, struggling through the lack of punctuation and quotations, and experiencing some of the most horrifying and disturbing scenes I’ve ever read, I am almost at a loss for words. I can only assume that some of the story was lost in translation, or at least I hope so, because even upon reading and re-reading page-long paragraphs, I still didn’t have a clear picture of some of the finer nuances within this daunting narrative.

    Please see my reviews section for the rest of my thoughts on this disturbing novel.

  • Book 3- Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

    Posted by Liz, 7 years ago

    This is one of my new favourite teen novels!! On the first day of her senior year, Jessica meets Lucias Vladescu, a hot guy who claims he's a vampire prince and that Jessica is his long-lost betrothed Romanian princess. But Jessica doesn't believe him or her parents- how could vampires exist, right?

    So grudgingly, Lucias stays at their house pretending to be an exchange student. Of course, this seemingly dislike of Lucias slowly fades as she comes to accept the possibilty that vampires could exist and that she has feelings for him, but has Jessica lost Lucias before she even realizes what she has? Lucias now seems to be taking an interest in the head cheerleader......

    Sorry, a bit of a long post for this group (and that description probably doesn't serve it justice), but the book had me sucked in from the first sentence!

  • #2 -- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

    Posted by Joanna, 7 years ago

    The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

    Enzo is an old dog who is at the end of his life, he has learnt about the world through his master Denny Swift who is a race car driver and also TV. Through TV he has learnt that in Mongolia it is believed that a dog who has led a good life will return as a man and Enzo has been preparing himself for his next life as a man and hopefully a race car driver..

    Enzo has learnt what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person and can barely wait for his next life to begin.

    The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautiful and moving story about one family’s struggles and happiness as told by their loyal and wonderful dog Enzo.

    This story brought tears to my eyes many times. Through this book we learn about what is really important in life.

    I highly recommend this book.


    • 4 people found this helpful

    #1 -- The Ravine by Paul Quarrington

    Posted by Joanna, 7 years ago

    The Ravine by Paul Quarrington.

    I have not yet read “King Leary” which won Canada Reads 2008 but I have been told it is very funny. His books have been nominated for the Giller and the Governor General’s literary awards and Whale Music won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1989. Quarrington has also won the Stephen Leacock Medal for King Leary. The Ravine, Quarrington’s new novel is also very funny and well worth reading.

    Phil McQuigge’s life has taken a major downturn, his marriage has ended and he has lost his job as the producer of a wildly successful TV series. Phil sets out on a midlife quest to set right an incident (in the ravine) which he remembers from his youth.

    Paul Quarrington is a very funny writer but I would have to re read The Ravine in order to catch all the humor. I did find myself laughing out loud while reading this novel.

    I would recommend this book both for the story and the Humor.


  • Book 3 - The Thirteenth Tale

    Posted by kalliekallie, 7 years ago

    This book was so -so for me. I had a hard time staying interested with it at the beginning. I even put it down for a while. After about half way the story started to unfold and I was more interested. The ending was a little predictable. 3 out of 5

  • #3 Baby Proof, Emily Griffin

    Posted by Eileen, 7 years ago

    To baby or not to baby...

    I read this in response to a recommendation by this group as an introduction to chic lit, and I liked it more than I thought I would. Since she was very young, Claudia has known one thing for sure - no babies for her. She thought her husband felt the same way. When he changes his mind, a split ensues, and Claudia re-evaluates her life and marriage.

    This did hold my interest because of the engaging way it is written. Also I share or have shared some of these concerns, which also include friendship, dating and the relations between the sexes. And some of it is pretty funny.

    The weakness as a novel as I see it is that Claudia is completely self absorbed. She is fleshed out as a character, but the others only appear as they stand in relation to her, so they can be somewhat wooden. Still, an enjoyable read.

  • 8 and 9

    Posted by Virginia, 7 years ago

    Three in Death by JD Robb
    a good quick read, with three "in death" stories in one book. I like the fuller ones better, but this was nice to have a taste while reading a heavier book (The Name of the Wind) at the same time. You know, i never used to be able to read multiple books at one time before i really focused on reading a lot last year:) i like it coz i used to be envious (and feel a little inferior) to my sibs and people i know who can;P back to the book, i can't decide if these are condensed versions of longer novels or written as short stories.... i could not be lazy and look it up i suppose;P

    Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
    I sought out Moore at the library because of some reviews i'd read on here, and i wasn't disappointed:) I was expecting more wit and snappy-ness a la Good Omens, but that's my own fault;P Once i got past that i liked it for his own style:) i'm reading Fluke now, and i thought he's getting better with time and experience:)

  • #2 'A' is for Alibi, Sue Grafton

    Posted by Eileen, 7 years ago

    Introducing Kinsey Milhone, ace detective

    For me, the main attraction of this series is the likable detective, Kinsey Milhone - fiercely independent, straight-talking and tough. Kinsey puts her whole soul into solving the mystery, working obsessively until she has her answer. I cannot get interested in the actual plots.

  • A couple leftovers from 2008 and my first 5 of the year

    Posted by Dusty, 7 years ago

    52) Old Man's War by John Scalzi ((2.5 out of 4))

    Science fiction in the vein of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Scalzi has interesting ideas and his writing is often very funny.

    53) Nothing to Lose by Lee Child ((1.5 out of 5))

    Child's Jack Reacher thrillers are normally highly entertaining adrenaline rushes but I found this one confused, preachy, and dull. Avoid

    1) Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian ((3 out of 4))

    If you've seen the Russell Crowe movie of the same name, you'll have a fair idea what this book is all about. Set on the high seas in the early 1800's, this book ((and its numerous sequels)) follows the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey. I love this kind of historical adventure story so if anyone can ever recommend others to me I'd be grateful. I did find O'Brian's writing style in this first book a little annoying. He focuses so much on character development and setting that I think his plot suffers. Hope that improves as the series progresses.

    2) Hard Truth by Nevada Barr ((2.5 out of 4))

    A mystery novel in Barr's Anna Pigeon series. Both the author and the main character are national park rangers and each mystery is set in a different park. I've highly enjoyed each of the 4 books I've read so far.

    3) The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi ((2 out of 4))

    The sequel to Old Man's War..mentioned above.. Scalzi also writes a very popular and funny blog at www.whatever.com

    4) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ((4 stars))

    One of my all-time favorites. Reading Zafon's Shadow of the Wind back in the fall really gave me the itch to go back and re-read this classic. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel to Shadow of the Wind later on this year and also to Dan Simmon's Drood in about 2 weeks. Drood features Dickens himself as the main character and I have every confidence that Simmons is the guy who can bring the spirit of Dickens to life.

    5) Idlewild by Nick Sagan ((2 out of 4))

    Ho-hum science fiction story featuring children raised in a virtual reality environment after the rest of mankind dies off. Sort of Logan's Run meets The Matrix. This book was chosen for me by a book club I'm in and after the guy who nominated it talked it up so much, I'm feeling almost guilty that I don't actually like it very much.

  • Book 2- Magic in the Mirrorstone, edited by Steve Berman

    Posted by Liz, 7 years ago

    This novel wasn't as good as what I hoped/expected it to be and I found that the cover was kind of misleading. 15 authors, including Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, have written stories that have "magic" in them. I use the quotations because I didn't really find anything "magical" about them. I liked the stories, but still. Anyways, I found it hard to stay connected and by the time I did get into the story or finally understood what was happening, the story had ended. Well, that's what happens, I guess, when 15 stories are fit in a book that's just under 300 pages....

    • 5 people found this helpful

    Book 1: The Isabel Factor by Gayle Friesen

    Posted by Liz, 7 years ago

    Hi! I'm posting this a bit late, but oh well.....
    This is an easy, light friendship- type read that's about a teen named Anna who prefers to live in the shadow of her best friend, Zoe. This year, the girl's were going to Counselors-in-Training at summer camp but after Zoe breaks her arm, Anna is forced to go to camp all alone. It's a summer of self-discovery, where Anna learns to be herself and that she should expect more from herself. She doesn't have to always rely solely on Zoe; she can break free.

    • 1 person found this helpful

    Books 1-4

    Posted by T.C., 7 years ago

    1. Silver Bells - Fern Michaels and friends
    2. Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich - humorous as usual
    3. Love Like That - Amanda Hill - a bargin bin find that was actually quite good
    4. Hearts Divided - Debbie MacComber and friends

  • 4 and 5

    Posted by Amanda Augustine, 7 years ago

    4. The Summer That Never Was - Peter Robinson
    If you've read an Inspector Banks novel, you would know about the guilt he's carried around since his friend disappeared when they were kids. Feeling that the crazy man who tried to drown him by the river, might have been responsible for his friends death, he's never forgiven himself for never telling the police about the man. Now many years later his friends remains have been discovered and Banks goes home in order to help the detective try and solve his case.
    After reading the cover of the book, and learning in the beginning what the book was going to be about, I was really excited to read it. When I was done the book, I realized I could have done without, it's just not the best book I've read by Peter. 2 out of 5 stars

    5. Playing With Fire - Peter Robinson
    Fire on two boats, one's the intended target, the others an innocent victim, who would still be alive if not for the heroin. While trying to solve the mystery of who the intended victim is and was, another fire breaks out, with the same earmarks of a serial arsonist. Annie and Banks fight over the case direction, who should be involved, mainly Annie's new love, and they fight over what I can only assume are the feelings they still carry for each other. While the last book I read by Peter was eh, this book was fabulous. Full of suspense, sexual frustration, and betrayal. The ending is something else, who's the victim of the next fire? And do they make it out alive? 4 out of 5 stars

    • 2 people found this helpful

    3 - Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Last Straw - Jeff Kinney

    Posted by Julie Woo, 7 years ago

    This is my 3 book of the year, and my second "kid" book. What does that say about me.....Oh well,
    This was a fun book, that's the main thing.

  • Friday Fun

    Posted by ChrisM, 7 years ago

    In a rare essay recently re-pubished in 'The Guardian', Virginia Woolf muses about the love of reading and our responsibilities as readers.

    She says: "At this late hour of the world's history books are to be found in every room of the house - in the nursery, in the drawing room, in the dining room, in the kitchen. And in some houses they have collected so that they have to be accommodated with a room of their own. Novels, poems, histories, memoirs, valuable books in leather, cheap books in paper - one stops sometimes before them and asks in a transient amazement what is the pleasure I get, or the good I create, from passing my eyes up and down these innumerable lines of print? Reading is a very complex art - the hastiest examination of our sensations as a reader will show us that much. "

    The whole article can be found here:

    Today's question might be a difficult one to answer- I'm not sure I can answer, although I'm going to give it a try.

    Why do you read? What is it about reading that excites, soothes, frustrates, or gives you joy? Where do you read? Tell me about your favourite place and time to curl up with a good book. How do you keep your books organized?

    I can't remember a time when I *wasn't* a reader. I still remember how much I looked forward to the new Bobbsey Twins books I got every year on my birthday from my Uncle. I still remember how much I enjoyed Trixie Beldon books and Enid Blyton books. I have distinct memories of reading Peter Straub's book 'Floating Dragon' and having to turn the lights on because it scared the crap out of me. I read because I love the written word, a beautiful turn of phrase, an author's ability to transport me to another place and time or entertain me. I love the way my day-to-day brain shuts off and another part of my brain switches on: I don't think about the laundry or the dinner or the litterbox, I just think about the words on the page. Not every book transports me, of course, but I even love the shlocky books (beach reads) and I love that when I start a book I don't know how I'll feel about it in the end. I anticipate greatness, of course, even though there's no guarantee.

    I read every night before I go to bed. Sometimes I only manage a few minutes; sometimes I read until my eyes are burning. On quiet Sunday afternoons, I love to curl up on the couch with my book and a cup of tea with the fire blazing. With two kids in the house, this is a real luxury- unless they are doing the same thing. *g* I love going to the beach with my book.

    I have two book shelves- one is a built in thing in our 'office'. There was a huge closet in there and I made my husband take off the doors and build me shelves. All the books I have read are there, in alphabetical order. My to-be-read books are in another bookcase, also in alphabetical order.

    So, what about you?

    • 1 person found this helpful


    Posted by Valerie Fitzpatrick, 7 years ago

    A very interesting, well detailed book of True Crime. Ann Rule has written 5 true crime stories in this book with Mortal Danger being the main story . I enjoyed the book as I have all of her other books. A good read.

    • 1 person found this helpful

    #3 was more than I expected....and inspiring

    Posted by Charity, 7 years ago

    For those of you addicted to ink like myself this is a great read but may lead to a desire for more art for your own canvas.

    #3 The Tattoo Artist by Jill Ciment
    I read about this book on a blog about tattoos called Tattoosday. My interest was piqued and I found a copy as soon as possible. I knew the basic premise of the book but I was unprepared for how much I enjoyed the author's writing. She has a fluid style that makes you connect with the characters even though their situation and experiences are so vastly distinct.

    I will most likely be writing a more indepth review of this book when I have the chance.

  • #12 - Deadly Secrets by Leeann Burke

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    Leeann Burke is a new Canadian author. I picked up this book when she was at a local book bargain store to promote it. It took her 14 years to write and a portion of the proceeds will go to American Breast Cancer Foundation. The story line is very good but I have to say was very disappointed in the editing/proofreading. A couple of grammatical errors/spelling errors might be considered acceptable but throughout the book there are more than a couple. This type of thing tends to turn me off. At times I felt that maybe this was originally written in French and missed the mark in translation. Another thing I found was she kept repeating certain explanations and at one point had to go back because I thought one of the explanations had changed significantly in the story.

    Regardless, I would read another one of her books because she is Canadian and I did like the story line. I would just keep my fingers crossed that the first time was just that - a first time.

    I am curious to know if other group members feel an author is ultimately responsible for what is published by them or at some point does the publishing house have to take responsibility.

  • 2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

    Posted by Jamie Siddons, 7 years ago

    I love this series. This was another solid entry, and is particularly noteworthy for a gag about Shel Silverstein and his beloved classic The Giving Tree (my wife and I are still laughing about it).

    For those of you not familiar with the series, it is a fictitious journal (with plenty of illustrations) primarily intended for 9-12 year old readers. It is especially good for young boys who don't read a lot as it can serve as an easy gateway into the world of reading. The narrative revolves around a young boy and his struggles within the minefield of middle school.

    This probably shouldn't count as a full entry towards the 50 books in a year since it only took about an hour to read, but whatever.

  • 1. God's Behaving Badly

    Posted by Jamie Siddons, 7 years ago

    This was not a book I would normally choose, but my book club chose to read it. I was expecting charming, cheeky British fiction, but I felt that the plot fell flat. There were a few moments of laugh-out-loud humour, but the novel was a bit of a drag for the most part. It is hard to be overly critical of a lighthearted effort such as this because it isn't meant to be taken 'seriously', but I was constantly second guessing the story line and characters' decisions. A disappointment for me.

  • 3. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

    Posted by Peachy TO, 7 years ago

    Brave New World is yet another book that I managed to avoid in school, that has found its way on to my reading list. It has usurped my energy and left me in a tailspin, and for this I'm glad its over. I'm left feeling curious as to how it would have went over in my impressionable and hormonal years. Just another bullet dodged, I guess.

    All in all a very fascinating book by Huxley, although I do think I enjoyed his ideas and concepts over his writing style. 1984 will remain my favourite of the genre.

    Please see my review section for a more extensive analysis of this eerily familiar dystopian society.

  • Book 5- Dead to the World

    Posted by Ligeia, 7 years ago

    This book is the fourth in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I could drink the whole pot- and then some. The characters develop so well throughout the novels and each plot line is interesting and unexpected. This one was about Eric and Sookie mostly. It showed a different side to both characters, which is something I enjoy immensely in novels. It seems with each book this series gets better and more addictive. Just waiting until I can get my hands on the next in the series.

  • 2 - Forever Princess, Meg Cabot

    Posted by Julie Woo, 7 years ago

    I read this in one night, and i loved it. I believe this this is the end of the Princess Diaries series. It couldn't of ended better. The only parts that were tedious were the excerts of Mia's book. Other than that it was great, funny, light and it made me smile.

  • Book #1 for 2009 -- Shake Hands with the Devil.

    Posted by BookThia, 7 years ago

    Perhaps I should have started with something less ... meaty. Less sobering. More light-hearted. I have been meaning to read L.Gen Dallaire's book for a long time, and started it New Year's Eve Day. It took me 21 days -- 21 days where I thought every day about how the Western World abandoned almost a million people to death, and millions more to a fate worse than death. This book is not for the faint of heart -- but it will change the way you think about the world you live in. And hopefully, your own role in that world. Next up for me -- perhaps suitably so -- is The Book of Negroes.

  • Half of all Canadians can't name a single Canadian writer

    Posted by ChrisM, 7 years ago

    According to an article published in the January 9th issue of The National Post, 50% of Canadians authors couldn't name a single Canadian author, either living or dead.

    "Whose fault is this?" asks the article's author, Philip Marchand. "Canadian authors, for not creating more world-shaking masterpieces, or Canadians in general, for being such ignorant philistines? Would it help if federal and provincial governments gave more money to publishers, literary journals, writers' festivals and other instruments for promoting authors? Or is our glory hopelessly dim?"

    Marchand goes on to say that some critics think that authors, in general, aren't such a big deal anymore, anyway.

    "For some decades now, in English departments across the continent, many academics under the influence of French thinkers such as Michel Foucault ("What Is an Author?") and Roland Barthes ("The Death of the Author") have downgraded the status of the author. He or she is now a "scriptor," a verbal functionary, more the product of his or her "text" than vice versa."

    Marchand wonders how these academics create their core reading lists, calling them a "mixed bag...[where] works are tossed in to satisfy the demands of ethnic diversity, to demonstrate how elastic the definition of literature can be, to accommodate individual hobby horses.

    Marchand goes on to lament that it is "pointless to yearn for greater public recognition of our own authors if we don't have the sense that authors can have permanent importance in the life of a nation or a culture. Teachers should help nurture that sense, but the spirit of the age militates against it. And so we witness in our own case the giants of Canadian literature in one generation fading away as other generations succeed. Whatever happened to the reputations of Charles G. D. Roberts and Ernest Thompson Seton, world-renowned Canadian writers in the early part of the 20th century? Whatever happened to the reputation of Morley Callaghan, who was once every bit as much an icon of Canadian literature as Margaret Atwood? For a while he practically owned The New Yorker, in the manner of Alice Munro. In 1965 Edmund Wilson - at that time the most prestigious literary critic in the English-speaking world - compared him to Chekhov and Turgenev. Yet today he is rarely taught in Canadian literature courses, and his works seldom opened. Are we so sure what happened to Callaghan won't happen to Atwood? (For the record, I do think Atwood is durable, but the question remains a haunting one.)"

    And if Can Lit courses can't cement the names of Canadian authors into the collective psyche of the reading public, shouldn't the Giller Prize be able to?

    "Certainly many of the Giller Prize winners are fine writers. I've always been impressed by the evocative and deeply empathetic writing of Manitoba-based David Bergen, for example, and I highly praised his novel The Time In Between, which won the 2005 Giller Prize. Shortly after, a taxi driver told me he started to read the novel because of all the favourable publicity, but he couldn't stand it. I forget the exact grounds of his dislike, but I also remember that I sympathized with him. For all his literary virtues, Bergen seems to have steeled himself, in the manner of the Mennonite Brethren he grew up with, against sinful literary pleasures such as narrative suspense and touches of melodrama that a British counterpart like Ian McEwan has no scruples employing," says Marchand.

    "My own literary education was saturated with the austere modernism of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, and yet I can't condemn the Common Reader in this country for feeling that much literary Canadian fiction is an emotionally thin and bitter brew. This applies not just to writers with mannered styles but to highly readable authors such as David Gilmour and Paul Quarrington. Our authors seem to lack a popular touch - in part because we live in a grant-driven rather than reader-driven literary culture. "

    "Of course, if we want to up that percentage of Canadians who can name a Canadian author from 53% to something approaching 100%, we can always hope for a Canadian J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. But those writers are freaks of nature, and not to be counted on. At a time when most people's primary source of entertainment is from media other than books, we may be lucky that 53% of the country can still name a Canadian author. Our best course is to ignore these polls and seek out and reward the best Canadian writing we can find. Name recognition will take care of itself," he concludes.

    So here's the question: Tell us about your favourite Canadian author and or book.


  • Book # 2 Wonderful and Captivating

    Posted by Brittney Thiessen, 7 years ago

    The second book i've read was called 'The Vampire Shrink' by Lynda Hilburn, a wonderful new author. I absolutly loved this book from the moment I opened it till I read the last page.It has an original look at paranormal romance and is filled with humor, action, and definitly sexy characters. The love triangle between Kismet/Devereux/Alan was extremely well done, making you want to choose both men in the end. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a really good read.

  • 5, 6, 7: Two Escapes, One Sobering Reality

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    Yuck, I'm behind in my posts. My work has knocked me sideways of late ... anyway!

    The House At Riverton - Kate Morton
    Oh my, how I enjoyed this book. I had added it to my "Plan To Read" shelf thanks to someone in this group (sorry I can't remember who, but thanks so much!). It tells the story of Grace, a young girl who works at a large mansion called Riverton - her experience spans both World Wars and there are the proverbial secrets, romances, passions. I loved this book because of the setting (I'm a huge Gosford Park fan), the story (highly entertaining) and the historical factor. Morton did an incredible amount of research and I appreciated all the little details.

    On Writing - Stephen King
    Making my way through King's works, this was next on my list, his (selective?) memoir and advice to writers on how to approach everything from the search for a literary agent to who to actually write for. I skimmed the most detailed paragraphs since writing isn't my thing, but it did illuminate for me the many reasons I enjoy and don't enjoy various authors' works and I was able to apply quite a few of his observations to my own art. The final section was his account of his near-fatal accident when he was hit by a van. He had almost finished "On Writing" when he was sidetracked by his fight for his life and mobility. It brought me to tears. Definitely this is a great read for everyone - particularly if you write, but also if you're just a King fan; this book illuminates many of the quirks and stylistic choices in his work.

    Honeymoon - James Patterson
    The next in the pile that my girlfriend lent me ... Nora hooks up with wealthy men, figures out their secrets, kills them and takes all their money; so of course the FBI agent assigned to investigate falls for her mysterious charm. Enjoyable, especially the descriptions of how 'the other half lives' but not a must read. I found that the B Story line was clunky and didn't quite fit the rest of the book.

  • 10 & 11

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    10. Family Planning by Elizabeth Letts
    I picked this book up because I mixed this author up with another one I had read previously. I am glad I picked it up. This is a story about one main character (Charlotte), a family planning clinic and a painting of a Madonna and how all three affect the lives of co-workers, family and community. There were times in the book that I had to put it down because the descriptions were so well done that I felt myself getting woozy. I did buy this book at Chapters but cannot find a listing on-line. I would definitely give it a 4 out of 5. I hope Ms. Letts continues writing .

    11. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
    I read this book because my daughter loved the series to date and wanted me to read it. It was a slow starter for me but the last 250 pages flew by. I have mixed emotions about the book. I think it is written for a specific audience (definitely younger readers and those interested in vampires) and not something I would normally pick up to read. That being said, I found the book to have a flow to it and was curious how it would end. I will probably read the next in the series but not right away.

  • not really my thing

    Posted by Virginia, 7 years ago

    My birthday's tomorow, so my boyfriend's present was to take me to Indigo for an hour, and spend $60 on books:D he totally knows how to make my day:D
    and now, onto the counting:P
    6 & 7/115
    Kiss of the Night & Dream Chaser by Sherrilynn Kenyon
    I read these at the insistance of my bf's mom who said "they're really really good!", but they're jsut not my thing. maybe jsut coz i'm in the mood for some meatier fantasy (now i'm reading The Name of the Wind), but they weren't enough for me. i like fluff, but not these. hm, i think it really is coz i wanted something heftier, and not by their own fault. i may try her again when i'm in the mood for lighter ones again:)

  • Book 2 - Eclipse

    Posted by kalliekallie, 7 years ago

    I am off to a great start, for me anyways. I really enjoy this series and I love all the characters. Stephenie Meyer does an excellent job of making you love both Edward and Jacob. This is the third book in the series and my favourite so far. Now I am off to see who Bella picks in the final book Breaking Dawn.

  • Slow start this year

    Posted by Maggie61, 7 years ago

    I have had a slow start this year. I am actually aiming for 100 books this year. I have so many wonderful books yet to read in my piles here at home. Great books come out faster than I can keep up.
    So far, I'm only at 2, which are
    1) Knit Two - this is the second of Kate Jacobs. The first book was Friday Night Knitting Club which I did like a bit better than the sequel, but Knit Two was also good. It's basically a story of a group of women from different walks of life and their lives based around a knitting group that meets once a week. I am a big knitter (I knit and read at the same time - my multitasking at its best) and knitting stores around here do have groups that meet but I've never gone. I loved the story and knitting descriptions, made me want to run out and buy more yarn for more projects. Highly recommend for chicks.
    2) Crossroads - by Belva Plain. It's been a long time since she's had a release. I do miss the more saga types that she wrote in her earlier years. It's a pretty quick read, pretty simple but also enjoyable.

  • **Knock-Knock

    Posted by Peachy TO, 7 years ago

    Hello All,

    I think I shall take this opportunity to apologize to the group for not formally introducing myself. In my haste to make my first entries, I neglected to realize that you may actually want to know something about me before I start imparting all of my opinions and theories upon you. Well, better late than never, as they say.

    I’m 31, from Toronto, where I’ve been living all of my life. I recently returned from a long-awaited vacation in Kalymnos, Greece, where my fiancé proposed to me after a tumultuous yet certain lead-up of 13 years. We are set to be married this September, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m currently working p/t at Indigo in Toronto, while I am busy planning for this momentous occasion.

    Reading has always been a passion of mine, but over the years I was tied up in far too many activities to keep it alive. Now that I spend a great deal more time at home, I have picked up reading with a ferocity that I haven’t experienced since high school. I find that I’ll read just about anything, so it would be easier to tell you the genres that I don’t prefer, to those that I do; sci-fi/fantasy, horror. I’m sure there are books in both categories that would make me change my mind, I just haven’t come across any as of yet.

    I’m excited about finding this group and meeting all of you, and I look forward to many great recommendations and insights from everyone throughout the year.

    Happy Reading!


  • 2. Rhymes With Useless - Terence Young

    Posted by Peachy TO, 7 years ago

    I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of short stories, as I often feel inadequate in my comprehension of what it is the author is really trying to convey. On more than one occasion I finish a story and think, “Did I miss something?” This is not a question that I enjoy asking, nor does it help with my literary confidence. I then will take a step back and process the details, making sure to point out that writing is art, and it can be interpreted in a million different ways by a million different people. In the end I try to convince myself that I am just a person who requires a lot of information and character development to actually get it.

    Rhymes with useless was a little less harsh on my ego, but there were still a few moments where I felt I’d missed the boat. None the less, Terence Young has compiled 13 stories that accent honest characters, living day-to-day, with real issues. From a child’s perspective of her parents’ failing relationship, to a teenager’s first experience with love, to a young couple settling into the doldrums of a marriage, to a middle aged woman’s struggle with her faith, and to an elderly man’s evaluation of his years, the whole spectrum of individuals was represented. Amidst the feelings of remorse and regret, the thoughts of revenge, the hidden desires, as well as the sometimes revolting truths that surfaced as a result of people just honestly being people, it is apparent that Young has an astounding sense of the common man and his/her idiosyncrasies. Those who favour short stories will surely not be disappointed by this Canadian talent.

    • 2 people found this helpful

    Books 5-7

    Posted by Jennifer Sparkes, 7 years ago

    5. Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult
    I love Jodi Picoult's books. I liked this book but it was a little slow at the beginning. Definatly not as good as some of her other books but i still enjoyed it. Usually her books have some sort of teenagers point of view but this one was all adults. I would still recomend it to people tho.
    6. Gingerbread - Rachel Cohn
    I liked this book it was really cute. It was just about a regular girl's life and family nothing special and it's an easy read only about 160 pages i think.
    7. Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen
    I really like Sarah Dessen as an author also. All of her books are really cute stories that are just about normal people's problems. In this book this girl Halley's best friend is pregnant and Halley also meets this guy and it's just about what happens in their lives over a year. I really liked this book and i heard there is even a movie that is partly based on it.

  • #2 Fool by Christopher Moore

    Posted by Charity, 7 years ago

    I think I had my hopes too high. In comparison to other non-Lamb titles this is probably a good read.

    Yay! Advance Reader Copy!
    Moore retells the story of King Lear from the perspective of his Fool. Great read if you are looking to learn some British slang. Funny in spots, but sadly not as good as Lamb (will anything ever be?) I will be posting a more indepth review of the book tomorrow.

    Man, 2 books a month is not going to work out to 60 is it? Although in my current state of exhaust my head actually thought that would work for a little while. I think I thought 30 days in a month meant 30x2=60. Sad.

  • Book 4- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    Posted by Ligeia, 7 years ago

    This book is considered an American classic, and rightfully so. The book was set before the civil war but written after 1865 , which allowed for a lot of foreshadowing in the novel. I immediately felt a connection with Jim, but I found myself taking a lot of time deciding whether I liked Huck Finn. There were so many underlying themes in the book, that it was interesting to really take a deep look into Mark Twain's novel. Though if you take the time, you will not be disappointed.

    I have one issue with this book, and know many people might disagree but I have no compassion or connection to Tom Sawyer. His character bothered me through the entire novel and part of me thought it would have been better if Twain had left him out completely. From reading this novel I will never open the pages of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer- as Tom Sawyer seems to be the worst sort of character.

    • 3 people found this helpful


    Posted by Valerie Fitzpatrick, 7 years ago

    Another great book from Deepak Chopra. What I like about Chopra is that he really does his research before he writes a book...this book is no exception. Well researched and well presented. As one review said "A must-read for everyone who will die" (Candace B. Pert, PhD., Author of Molecules of Emotion.)

  • Friday Fun...

    Posted by ChrisM, 7 years ago

    Here's something to talk about today and over the next few days...

    Let's pretend for a moment that you don't have a single book left on your to-read pile. Nothing. And you don't have a clue what you might read next (i.e. no list, no saved book review etc...). You plan a trip to your local library or book store. Share with us how you'll choose the next book you'll read.

  • First Post for 2009

    Posted by Christine L, 7 years ago

    1. THE ECHELON VENDETTA by Daid Stone. This was my transition book for 2008 into 2009. The main characater Micah Dalton is a "cleaner". He is brought in when a undercover operation goes wrong. This time its personal when a friend dies under mysterious circumstances. There are interesting characters, great locations and enough twists, turns and surprises to keep you interested until the end. It was a first time read of David Stone for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    2. THE TSARINA'S DAUGHTER by Carolly Erickson. Also a first time read of this author. This book gives a unique twist to the story of a surviving Romanoff daughter. Rather than holding with the usual suspicion that it was Anastasia who survived the family's massacre, this book takes the premise that it was the second daughter, Tatania. She is the narrator of the story. It was an interesting read, and gave a nicely balanced view of both life in the royal palace and on the streets of St. Petersburg. It also went into detail about the intertwined (confusing) geneology of all the european royalty at the time. I either never knew, realized or have forgotten how they were all related. Aside from the Russin revolution, the war was family declaring war on family.

    3. ENCHANTMENT by Orson Scott Card. This was a fairy tale version of A YANKEE IN KING ARTHURS COURT. Rather than the princess coming into the 20th century Prince Charming travels back to the 9th. It has all the elements of a fairy tale with a modern twist. The cast of characters from the usual (the princess, prince charming, the wicked witch) to some more obscure characters borrowed from the traditional russian stories (the bear, Baba Yaga) and few references to well know characters borrowed from the likes of The Wizard of Oz and others. It was definitely an entertaining book. I enjoy time travel books, but they always leave me pondering the part where you have to ask yourself the question of "If the character is in the past, does it effect his future? Is he still in the future? etc.?" Despite my personal conundrum with time travel, this was a good read.

    4. THE MIGHTY JOHNS AND OTHER STORIES by David Baldacci. This book contains one Novella and two short stories that are mysteries with a sports theme. The title story by David Baldacci was the one I enjoyed the most but the other two stories, one by Brad Meltzer and one by Ann Perry were also entertaining.

  • Book 3 - Midnight's Daughter

    Posted by Ligeia, 7 years ago

    This book was easy to get caught up in. I really enjoy reading vampire novels, but sometimes find they all have the same plot line. The idea behind this novel definately threw me off- a part human, part vampire trying to capture her uncle in the midst of finding her room mate. Although it seems like there might be too much going on, the author found an interesting way to make everything come together by the end.
    There were components in this book that are in every vampire novel, but also many twists that vamp-lovers might not enjoy. I also found myself at the end not wanting to leave the story- as though it hadn't really ended. The author has a series that she focuses on, and does not seem to be writting another book following this one. This leaves me somewhat dissatisfied as I would deeply enjoy finding out what happens next .

  • First six of 2009...

    Posted by Cathy, 7 years ago

    However, five of the six were started in 2008. Nevertheless...

    1. H is for Homicide -by Sue Grafton
    Enjoyed it as I have every book in the series. What I like about this series so far is that all the stories are unique, yet Kinsey's character remains true.

    2. He Sees You When You're Sleeping -by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark.
    Derivative Christmas feel-good story.

    3. The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly -by Jean-Dominique Bauby
    Memoir dictated one letter at a time by a sufferer of Locked-In Syndrome. Amazing how the author remembers his life without bitterness, and accepts his situation with humour and an ability to look forward.

    4. Stolen Innocence -by Elissa Wall
    A memoir of a woman who grew up in the FLDS and whose testimony put Warren Jeffs in jail. I have a peculiar fascination for stories of this cult, and my only explanation is that they are beyond imagination, stranger than fiction. An interesting book, for sure.

    5. An Abundance of Katherines -by John Green
    If you enjoy teen fiction, this author is worth a try. The narrator of this book tries to use math to predict how his relationships (all with girls named Katherine) will end.

    6. The Book Theif -by Markus Zusak
    Amazing perspective on German people during World War II. Considered teen fiction, this book is for everyone. Well written and (like everyone else in the group who has read it) I highly recommend it.

  • #9 - Quicksand by Iris Johansen

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    I wonder what draws people to books about other people's suffering. I picked up this book because I had read Johansen before and it was listed as a forensic thriller. I like the Eve Duncan character and that has not changed after reading this book. It always amazes me how many well placed people the main character knows. Does the average joe know a doctor, lawyer, police detective, etc...? I would give this book a 3 star rating. I can't say I actually enjoyed the book because the topic is frightenening but I found it interesting enough to keep my attention.

  • 1. An Audience of Chairs - Joan Clark

    Posted by Peachy TO, 7 years ago

    I had selected An Audience of Chairs from the bargain section, as filler to reach the free shipping mark, during one of my many online book-buying sprees last year, and accordingly did not expect much from it. It sat patiently waiting and collecting dust on my bookshelf, in hopes that I would one day give it the attention that it so rightfully deserved. In an effort to finally make a dent in the copious amount of unread books that are taking up the diminishing space on my oversized shelves, I finally picked up this Canadian piece of fiction, and am I ever glad I did.

    Please see my reviews section for the remainder of my thoughts on this pleasant surprise.

  • First Posts of 2009

    Posted by Amanda Augustine, 7 years ago

    1.In A Dry Season - Peter Robinson

    When a boy finds a skeleton buried in a dried-up reservoir built on the site of a ruined village, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is brought in by his arch-enemy Chief Constable Jeremiah “Jimmy” Riddle to head what looks like being a dull, routine investigation. It turns into anything but. With the help of Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot, Banks uncovers long-kept secrets in a community that has resolutely concealed its past. One former resident, now a writer, reveals her memories of Hobb’s End, the village that died before the reservoir was built. Her first person narrative, touched with both innocence and irony, takes us from 1941 to 1945, recreating another age, an era of rationing, of Land Girls, of American airmen, of jitterbugging and movies. And of murder. As Banks and Annie unravel the deceptive and disparate relationships of half a century ago, suspense heightens and the past finally bursts into the present with terrifying consequences. This was a pretty good read, you may think you know who the killer is but you really don't until the end.

    2.Cold is The Grave - Peter Robinson

    In recent years, the career of Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has been stalled-and, in fact, very nearly destroyed-by senior officer Chief Constable Riddle. But when nude pictures of Riddle’s runaway teenage daughter show up on a pornographic Web site, he turns to Banks for help. The trail leads Banks first to London’s Soho, an area of strip clubs and sex shops, then to the upmarket Little Venice, where Emily Riddle is living with a dangerous gangster with ties to world of rock music. At first she refuses to come home, but later Emily turns up at Banks’s hotel, bruised and frightened and asking for his help. Soon she is back with her family, and Banks’s work appears to be done.
    Other concerns occupy Banks’s time. A major reorganization and expansion of Eastvale Regional Headquarters has brought Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot back into his life, and she soon finds demons of her own to face. As they begin an investigation into the slaying of Charlie Courage, a low-level petty crook, a murder occurs at an Eastvale nightclub, filling the tabloids with headlines that scream of scandal, sex and high-level corruption. It is a cold and savage homicide that shakes Banks to his core, and it soon leads to shocking revelations that suggest it is somehow linked to the Charlie Courage affair. The grim discoveries of the unfolding investigation lead Banks in a direction he does not wish to go: the past and private world of his most powerful enemy, Chief Constable Riddle.

    3.Aftermath - Peter Robinson

    One early morning in May, Banks is called to a steep, overgrown street in Leeds, where two police officers answering a domestic call have stumbled on a scene of unbelievable horror. In the cellar of 35 The Hill, two people are dead, a third is dying, and behind a door more bodies lay buried. This seems to be the end of a grisly case Banks has been working on for some time, but ironically it turns out to be only the beginning. It is apparent who the murderer is, but Banks quickly finds out that nothing in this case is quite as straightforward as it seems. Many people are entangled in this crime–some whose lives are shattered by it, and some with unspeakable secrets in their pasts. The dead, Banks learns, are not the only victims, and the murderer may not be the only person to blame. An absolutely great read.

  • Some quick reads - and one longer one!

    Posted by Denise Nielsen, 7 years ago

    January is always a good reading month for me – partly due to new-year-itis, partly because it’s still dark early in the evening and there are not many other claims on my time. It’s good to get a head start on books for the year, because experience has shown me that by summer I’ll be trickling down to a couple a month.

    6. The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness by Edward Hallowell – well, who doesn’t want to know how to ensure their children grow up happy, but this book told me nothing I didn’t already know – love them, let them play, care about what they do…it’s all common sense.

    7. Marketing Your Product by Donald Cyr and Douglas Grey – I’ve been taking on more and more of the marketing at work, so decided spur of the moment to take a course. The course doesn’t start until February, but in the meantime I saw this at the library and read it as an overview to what I may be getting myself into.

    8. Red Plaid Shirt by Diane Schoemperlen – I discovered this Kingston author when I lived in the limestone city (my favourite of Ontario Cities, and second only to Halifax on a national scale), and have a clear memory of reading “The Man Of My Dreams” in The Sleepless Goat café one wintry afternoon. This book is a compendium of some of her best short stories. Her writing is very good, though the subject matter itself can be a little dreary. I find this a common factor in short stories so maybe it’s just me.

    9. Picture Maker by Penina Keen Spinka – Picture Maker is a young native American girl, and this novel depicts her 14th century life after she is taken from her tribe and journeys across Canada and Greenland. Peopled by the inuit and the norsemen of the time, this novel offers some historical details of what life was like for these cultures – the harshness, the clashes between old and new, and everyday life. I found it a tough read, a bit plodding at times, but an interesting book.

    10. How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson – A friend send me this for Christmas. So much more than just a cookbook! I read it for the always luscious, often witty descriptions of the food, which is why I feel I can count it among my books for 2009. And yes I have used it to bake – I made my father in law the most ooey gooey chocolatey brownies you have ever dreamed of.

  • hefty

    Posted by Virginia, 7 years ago

    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
    Very heady and dense. some parts were neat, esp. in context of being written in the cold war, but honestly i think a lot went over my head.

  • 1. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

    Posted by Julie Woo, 7 years ago

    My first book of the year was for book club. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did I couldn't put it down. The novel is written in a style of letters written over 7 nights, it made me feel closer to the main character, Balram.

  • Sex and Religion

    Posted by Denise Nielsen, 7 years ago

    5. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta – This story of Ruth, a sex-ed teacher who comes up against a evangelical religious group, and Tim, a former rock & roller who is now a reformed Christian, was both interesting and easy to read, if slightly predictable in some ways, and a bit heavy on the “born again” aspect of some of the characters. Although religion plays a big part in the book, it’s not a religious book, and I think the author did a pretty good job of marrying two diverse viewpoints. His strength however, is in making you care about a cast of offbeat, slightly quirky, and all too human characters, and he is realistic enough to keep the book a bit messy and unresolved so don’t expect every issue to be neatly sorted out at the end.

  • Book 1 - The Devil in the White City

    Posted by Louis Karaminas, 7 years ago

    Great book. Weaves the story of the planning and building of the 1893 Exposition in Chicago with a serial killer. This is non-fiction but written in fictional style. Highly recommend it.

  • Book 2 The Hidden World

    Posted by Ligeia, 7 years ago

    A book filled with celtic folklore from start to finish. This made it rich but also something I wished to read slowly to make sure I understood. They used traditional Gealic terms in places, but also provided a translation chart at the front of the book. This helped a lot, and also made the book seem more real as characters were actually using their own dialect instead of English.
    A story about a girl who doesn't really know herself but knows the world is against her. She is taken to a land where the Good People rein, and there is trouble ahead. There is mention of Arthur, the Grail, and Atlantis- as well as many other myth and traditions from many cultures. Though it is the endearing character Meave who makes this book worth reading. She is the type of heroine that hasn't been written as often as she should. One who does not need to try to be brave as her nature and good spirit alone can steer her in the right direction.

    A good novel for those looking for a new persepective on their own realities. Bonus: this book is written by a Canadian, and Canada is one of the many settings of the book.

    • 2 people found this helpful

    Books 1-4

    Posted by Jennifer Sparkes, 7 years ago

    the first three books that i read this year were the uglies, the pretties, and the specials by scott westerfeld
    they are really good i found once i finished one i couldnt wait to read the next
    the last two i read in a day because i just couldnt put it down
    i also read before i die by jenny downham
    this is an amazing book and it made me cry but it is such a good book probably the best book i've ever read
    i am currently am in the middle of Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
    i have read a bunch of her books and they're all really good
    especially my sisters keeper

  • #8 - The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    This book is what I would call a comfort read. I cozied up, started the book and did not put down until I was finished.
    The character differences were necessary to really develop the right kind of feel for the knitting club. My favourite character was actually Darwin. All of the characters learn from each other during the time spent at the club but I think Darwin was the most affected. This story made me laugh, think (some of the quotes are great) and even cry. This author was right on the mark about the club in my view. I belonged to a quilting club with 12 women, all very different. It was on a Friday night as well. Before I moved away I felt sad that I would not be there on Friday nights. I even drove 400 miles on Friday so I could attend and 400 miles back to home the first couple of months. The regulars have remained friends. Reading this book was like going back to one of those Friday nights. This book reminds me that women are often their hardest critics and when they pull together amazing things can happen.

    • 3 people found this helpful

    Hello to new members....

    Posted by ChrisM, 7 years ago

    Since we've turned the calendar page, we've had several new members. I'd like to welcome you all to our group and invite you to make a post telling us a little bit about yourself.

    There are no real rules for the group. We read and we talk about what we're reading. If you find interesting book-related links, by all means pass them along. On Fridays I try to post a topic for discussion.

    The most important rule is to have fun! Happy reading.

  • 3) Chocolate Thoughts

    Posted by Virtopia, 7 years ago

    This was a nice, quick read that was very interesting. I've already recommended it to many of my friends and has been moved over to my favourites pile. I enjoyed the style of writing, as I felt like I was reading someone's diary.

  • Book 1 - The Other Boleyn Girl

    Posted by kalliekallie, 7 years ago

    I always love historical fiction. This is the first I have read from Phillippa Gregory and I enjoyed it very much. It was easy to read. I look forward to reading more of her work.

  • Starting of the New Year great...Book 1

    Posted by Brittney Thiessen, 7 years ago

    My first book of the year read was Bite, an anthology of paranormal romances written by some really good and well known authors. It was a really good book filled with action and romance, as well as some great characters.

  • Another Historical Novel

    Posted by Denise Nielsen, 7 years ago

    4. The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory – This was much better than The Constant Princess (which disappointed me earlier in January), and I’d rank it up there with The Other Boleyn Girl. It’s about Mary, Queen of Scots during her imprisonment in England, and was nicely balanced. My mother in law lent me this one, and I have another book on Mary to read as well, which I am looking forward to. BUT NOT YET – I’m feeling historically bogged down and need to change genres for a bit…

  • complementary

    Posted by Virginia, 7 years ago

    Ransom my Heart by Mia Thermopolis with help from Meg Cabot
    a fun, light read. i enjoyed reading it through the filter of thinking of Mia as writing it:)

    The Duchess, Her Maid, the Groom and Their Lover by Victoria Jannsen
    With a title like that, how can you take it seriously?:P Jsut a fun erotic romp that went very well with Ransom my Heart. It did get a little more erotic-romance than romantic-erotica in the last 1/4 of the book, but since i'd gone looking for romance with my erotica, it was only slightly disappointing:P

  • #7 - The Innocent Man by John Grisham

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    I have read many reviews of this book and either it was really loved or not liked at all.
    This book really supports the statement of guilty until proven innocent. There were so many victims in this story. My heart went out to the Carter family. That being said I can read about the anguish that Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz experienced but not truly understand it. It gave me pause to reflect my position on the death penalty and the judicial process. The immediate families of both Ron and Dennis were so deeply affected as well, emotionally and financially. I became frustrated and bewildered how Peterson and other law enforcement people could be so limited in their thinking and show such little character when it was evident they had made mistakes but continued to believe they were right in their actions.
    I am amazed at how people can treat other people and even more so after reading this book.
    Grisham did an excellent job in bringing the details to the public.

  • Oops Historical Miss

    Posted by Bookmason, 7 years ago

    Civil War Fiction

    Just realized as I was cleaning up at home last night that I missed one last book in 2008. Rebel the first book in Bernard Cornwell's Starbuck Chronicles about the American Civil War.

    The story and character aren't as enjoyable/engaging as Cornwell's Sharpe (Napoleonic wars), but good enough in the historical detail and feel that I'll probably read the other three. So In the end I made it to 98 books, 2 shy of what I'd hoped.

  • A Good Start to 2009!

    Posted by emerson entwistle, 7 years ago

    The copy I read was 17 years old!

    My first book this year was the Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle. I loved it! It was beautifully written and a wonderful fairy tale for adults. There will be a review on it soon but it is definately 5 out of 5! Read it if you haven't as it is really good.

    On to #2...

  • And I`m off...

    Posted by girl takes flight, 7 years ago

    Well, I`ve finished the one and only book I received from Santa. I must`ve been naughty this past year :)

    #1 The Tales of Beedle the Bard by none other than J.K.Rowling.

    I just finished posting a review on my profile but at the risk of repeating myself, I was a bit disappointed. I guess that if you enjoyed the Harry Potter series as much as I did than it `s sometimes hard to live up to expectations.

    The 5 little fairy tales were enjoyable and easy to read but I wasn`t really sold on Dumbledore`s dissections.

    I like the idea that proceeds (or a portion thereof) will be used towards bettering the lives of children in need for the organisation "Children`s High Level Group" (www.chlg.org). It should be noted that the exact amount is never disclosed. Still a positive, however.

    And then I`m sure this book will draw in many young fans. My sister wanted me to read it to deem it acceptable for her children or not. 4/5 passed the test for me, with "The Warlock`s Hairy Heart" being questionable due to content.

    So thumbs up, thumbs down. Siscoll and Ebert would be proud...

  • 2) Delta of Venus

    Posted by Virtopia, 7 years ago

    Wow . . . this was an erotic collection unlike no other that I've enountered. This book was an amazing collection . . . some of the stories were morally wrong and disturbing, but Anais Nin's writing has a way of captivating its' readers.

  • #1 A Little Disappointing

    Posted by Lisa Voss, 7 years ago

    The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.

    This is the story of Maureen and Caelum Quirk. The Quirks both worked at Columbine High School at the time of the infamous shootings. Caelum was out of town while his wife was hiding in a cabinet during the school rampage. The book deals with the aftermath of the shooting on the Quirks. Maureen is not physically harmed but has many difficulties recovering. Caelum is not as supportive as he could or should be. I don't want to say much more about the story as I don't want to give anything away. I found the parts of the book dealing specifically with Caelum and his wife and the immediate past to be very good. The part about Columbine was gripping and terrifying. I found the (numerous) sections going back into the 1800's and Caelum's ancestors to be a bit tedious. It just went on too long and some of the revelations about Caelum's family are predictable.

    I did enjoy the book and would recommend it but I do feel it could have been lot shorter.

  • 4: A Fierce (and fiercely talented) Canadian

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    Hitman - David Foster

    David Foster is the wiz behind St. Elmo's Fire, You're A Hard Habit To Break, Streisand's recording of Somewhere, the 1988 Winter Games Theme and The Bodyguard soundtrack, as producer, composer and pianist, sometimes all three. Not to mention the fact that he discovered Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Josh Groban ... and he's Canadian!!

    This is his memoir (which coincided with a PBS Tribute on television where a great many of his friends and contemporaries gathered to perform and deliver speeches) - a great read. Foster reveals himself to be a fierce character with lots of hard edges - no patience for incompetence or mediocrity. He himself admits that his breakneck work pace and schedule ruined many personal relationships and is currently working hard to repair those - I loved his honesty.

    One thing I found interesting was that the book was all about the who, why and where but he barely mentioned his creative process - fascinating considering how many hits he's composed. I look forward to reading an in depth analysis of his work and musical signatures.

    I'm so proud that he's Canadian!

  • Book 1 Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara

    Posted by Unknown User, 7 years ago

    -Message Deleted-

  • Book 1 : Pride and Prejudice

    Posted by Ligeia, 7 years ago

    It was not what I expected it to be, it was better. Definately a book meant for a romantic and someone interested in that period. I couldn't seem to stop reading- I wanted to know how Darcy and Elizabeth would come to terms with each other. I was not disappointed. It seems like the characters just became more intense throughout the book. Excellent read.

  • #6 - Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    The title of this book caught me and so picked up. It was not the best book I have read but definitely not the worst. The emotions described regarding infertility I felt were pretty well bang on.
    The plus for this book is that not everybody lives happily ever after together like the fairy tale but discover that what was right for today may not be right for tomorrow and happiness can be had but sometimes have to separate to have it.
    I don't know if I would read Lolly Winston again - of course I would if I was desperate for reading material (guess that sums it up).

  • 3: I Was Proved Wrong

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    Beach Road - James Patterson

    After my binge on the Women's Murder Club series, my girlfriend lent me four Patterson titles she owned. On the cover, it states in several different ways "You will be so surprised by the twist ending." which instantly made me cynical - I don't like being told how I'll react to a book! Well, I was proved wrong - it WAS every bit surprising as the cover stated.

    The book takes place in the Hamptons - which was interesting in and of itself, learning about the social and racial situations there. After four young men are murdered, a retired basketball player turned lawyer defends the accused. Not a 'must read' but definitely a great escape from the January blahs.

  • New Year Reads

    Posted by Denise Nielsen, 7 years ago

    I love January - it feels like a fresh start. It was a little light on the reading over the holidays, but am slowly getting back into the groove. I had asked for The Guernsey Potato Peel book for Christmas and did not get it, so have that on my list still. Instead I kicked the New Year off with some more historical fiction.

    1. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon - I always enjoy this series of books. Probably the finest historical fiction/romance blend I've ever had the pleasure to read, and "romance" novels aren't usually my thing.

    2. The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory - An okay read, and interesting for me just coming off my Henry VII kick as it's about his first wife, Katherine. I found it a little slow and tedious in places though, and was disappointed after reading The Other Boleyn Girl last month.

    3. Begin To Exit Here by John Welter - Reading this for my book club this month. Engaging novel about one cynical wisecracking reporter who likes to turn the presses upside down by his irreverent angles on news stories. He sticks to facts but doesn't quite put them in the conventional order that his editors prefer. As a former jourrnalist I thought his comments on the absurdity of it all quite clever. This book, as well as being a sardonic take on the media, is also about what happens when his work and private life collide, and about the fine line between wit that is funny and on target, and sarcasm that is hurtful and irreverent. Some of the glib humour made me think I was at a bad cocktail party - other parts made me laugh out loud.

  • Non Fiction Reading

    Posted by Lynne Dennis, 7 years ago

    I'm wondering if non fiction reading counts towards the total. I've been reading quite a few craft and cookbooks in this new year, and not so much fiction. Although I have an impressive list of things to read, lol..

  • Book #1 2009 The Suspect - John Lescroart

    Posted by Valerie Fitzpatrick, 7 years ago

    A mystery/legal novel....wife asks for a divorce....then is murdered in her hot tub...of course hubby is blamed for this and is the main suspect. It was a good light read...but I got really frustrated with the character of the detective who refused to even consider anyone else as a suspect...I found him to be tenacious and arrogant. I also feel the book bogs down half way through, almost as if Lescroart is trying to extend it by reviewing or repeating some of the content. Not the best book I have read for sure...but probably not the worst!!!

  • 2: Ba Ha Ha Ha!!

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    Not Guilty - Debbie Travis

    This book is by Debbie Travis, the "From The Ground Up" and "A Painted House" painting guru. It's about being a working mother and 'laughing through the chaos'. Well, apart from the few sad and moving stories she shared, I never stopped laughing! I started the book yesterday morning before I left for work and then I could not stop until I had finished late last night - I simply didn't want the 'conversation' to end.

    Working mothers everywhere MUST read this book - it won't give you tips about saving time, serving healthier meals or how to get your children to do their homework. It will, however, help you feel that you are not alone (or insane!) in your quest to raise your children.

    Well done Debbie Travis, well done.

  • #1 Starts the new year

    Posted by Charity, 7 years ago

    I thought I wasn't going to cry at the end of this one. I was wrong....

    For those of us aiming to beat last year, last year was a leap year and gave us an extra day so we all better get cracking (but not book spines, thanks!)

    #1 Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
    The second in the Odd Thomas series from Koontz. I really enjoyed this one as well and spent a good portion of today reading, with many, "I'll just read for 30 more minutes" which ended up as 4 and a half hours of reading.

    I remember when I first started reading books by Dean Koontz, I also started reading titles by John Saul at the time too. After a few titles by each author I felt that I could determine their writing styles. Saul's work tends to include more blood and gore, where Koontz focuses more on the fear of suspense which nearly alway includes some form of chase scene. I learnt more about American geography through reading Koontz than I ever did in school. Odd Thomas seemed like he might be the exception to this rule as he has never left the county he was born in. Leave to Koontz to somehow include a chase sequence that keeps you on the edge of your seat even if the characters don't go very far. Am definitely looking forward to reading the next title.

  • 1) Just Between Us

    Posted by Virtopia, 7 years ago

    Great book and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.

    I didn't even make it to 25 books last year, so I have to outdue myself this year!

    I really enjoyed this book . . . I must admit, it took me about 150 pages to get into it, but once I was in, it was hard for me to put down. I'm going to miss the characters.

  • i'll try to keep more on top of it this year:P

    Posted by Virginia, 7 years ago

    1/115 Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
    i picked it up because it was small and i thought i could finish it in a day for my 100th book of 2008 (i didn't quite make it, with all the holiday stuff). it was about what i expected- nothing spectacular, but enough to keep me entertained and interested:)

    2/115 Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
    i kept feeling like this was trying to be more Epic than it was. Maybe coz a lot of the "open your eyes to this POV", i've already thought about? it did engage me almost without me realizing, and i enjoy her twists, but i'm not sure i get all the hype about her.... i haven't read My Sister's Keeper and i've heard that best, so maybe i'll give that a try this year.

  • better late than never right?

    Posted by Virginia, 7 years ago

    i missed my goal of 100 by 1! Bbut that just means i'll have to try harder this year- aww shucks, even more reading time?!:P for sake of space and time, i'll just list these, but if anyone wants to know more of what i thought of a book, just ask:)
    76. The Wreakage by Michael Crummey
    77. The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey
    78, 79. Glory in Death and Rapture in Death By JD Robb
    80 Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block
    81. the Fairy Godmother By Mercedes Lackey
    82. Naked in Death by JD Robb
    83. The Saint of Dragons by Jason Hightman
    84. The Dark Horse by Marcus Sedgwick
    85. Rememberance by Jude Deveraux
    86. Red Lights on the Prairie by James Grey (one of the few non-fiction books i've read this year)
    87. Mind Prey by John Sandford
    88. May Your Days be Merry and Bright ed. Susan Koppleman
    89. The Mother of His Child by Sabdra Field
    90. Cry of the Seagull by Megan Brownley
    91. One Safe Place by Kathleen O'Brien
    92. Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica
    93. The Child Queen by Nancy McKenzie
    94,95. Holiday in Death and Innocent in Death by JD Robb
    96. Trollbridge: a Rock-n-roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and her son Adam (i forget his last name and i gave the book away, so i can't check:P)
    97. Chocolate Dipped Death by Sammi Carter
    98. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
    99. Canoe & I by William Arthur Reddin (my Poppy)

    yeah, there are a lot of "fluff" books at the end, coz i was trying to make my goal;P in fact Canoe & I is only 41 pages, but it's my Poppy's accout of canoeing around PEI, so i count it;P

  • #1 The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kid

    Posted by Eileen, 7 years ago

    Woman finds renewal, inspiration and faces a difficult past.

    Woman has affair with monk! Well, the whole book is not that sensational, but it's an interesting concept. Jessie is feeling stifled in a long term marriage. She returns to the southern island of her birth to take care of her mother, who seems to be going crazy. Falls for monk. Gets artistic inspiration. Mermaids are also involved. I won't spoil the ending for you. Themes of self confidence, relationship, the past haunting the present...

    This may be a kind of chick lit - not totally sure on what the criteria are. Anyway, it may be of more interest to women than to men.

  • #25, 2008, Case Histories, Kate Atkinson

    Posted by Eileen, 7 years ago

    Intriguing characters...

    It's tempting to make this my first of 2009, but I cannot tell a lie, I finished it between xmas and new years. :-)
    Four seemingly unrelated cold cases land in the office of PI Jackson. This book was interesting in that Jackson doesn't do much detecting. Sure, he pokes around a bit, and solves some of them, but this is more of a side issue than following the lives of the survivors of the old crimes. I enjoyed the eccentric characters and seeing how they found some resolution and could move forward. I especially liked Theo, a very fat former lawyer obsessed with his daughter's death whom Jackson befriends. I'd recommend this one.

  • Books 1 & 2

    Posted by Bookmason, 7 years ago

    Well one serious and one not serious book to start the year.

    1. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon - Another truly different book from Chabon. This was his first novel and though not my favourite by him a great read that I finished in less than 2 days. All of his books have a wonderful grasp of characters and situations and though this was not the type of book I typically read I couldn't put it down. Good writing just draws you along 4/5

    2/ Pete & Pickles - Berkley Breathed - This is another kids' book written for parents by the author of Bloom Country (corrected from my error of Calvin and Hobbs, thans DLots). Sorry to Chapters but I read it in ten minutes in the store yesterday and got a few looks from my giggles, thankfully my wife was aisles away. The artwork and the writing in this tale of a mismatched pig and elephant are both whimsical and touching. Highly recommended to any parent who is tired of the mundane to read at bedtime. If only my kids weren't too old for this (13 & 18 puts them past dad reading to them).

  • First 5 of the Year

    Posted by Kay, 7 years ago

    I finally finished or reread these books in the last three days. I am back into reading mode and glad of it.
    1. For One More Day - Mitch Albom
    This is a quick read but definitely had an impact on me. Decisions we make are definitely life altering and this is quite evident in this story. How can you not like Charley a bit - he is after all only human.
    2. The Burnt House - Faye Kellerman
    I am glad I picked up Kellerman again. I was growing tired of series at one point but believe that this is because reading them one after another. Rina, Peter, Hannah and Cindy have all moved on and it was like revisiting old friends. A twist on a murder mystery - trying to solve one case and find yourself brought into a cold case that really has nothing to do with the present day case...or so you think!!!
    3. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
    As mentioned in previous posts, the cover of this book turned me completely off. What a mistake it would have been if I had not read it. Like many others who have reviewed this book, I loved it. Circus life is not for the faint of heart but I do not believe that mattered at all for Jacob. It was informative and while reading kept stopping to say to my hubby "do you know...." about many of the facts that I learned along the way. I definitely will read Sara Gruen again.
    4. The Private Patient - P.D. James
    This is a quick read and if you like James' work you will not be disappointed. At times I found the flow of the book a little bumpy but over all enjoyed it. A silly reason for reading an author but here it goes - P.D. James has a Agatha Christie look about her and when reading can often envision her in a Christie type of role.
    5. Hidden - Victoria Lustbader
    This was a hidden gem. It was a bargain book and I am glad I picked it up. It is not a quick read and in the beginning was going back to family tree to make sure had all the characters straight. Story that starts around the 1st World War. It is the coming together of two individuals who are so different, not only in social status but in beliefs, and develop a life long friendship. This book will play with your emotions (frustrated, disappointed, elated, confused, happy, content) but is well worth the read. This is a first novel for Lustbader and I look forward to her future works.

  • 1: Here We Go Again ...

    Posted by Marion Abbott, 7 years ago

    B Is For Burglar - Sue Grafton

    As previously stated, one of my goals this year is to read all of the 'alphabet mystery series' this year. They all deal with Kinsey Milhoune, a private detective dealing with the various challenges of being a twice-divorced single woman living in her bachelor apartment, not to mention solving the crimes that come her way.

    As a fan of Patterson's the Women's Murder Club series, I love how 'grounded' Grafton's depiction of Kinsey is in comparison. I feel I can relate to her daily struggles and triumphs and I love her dry observations and humour.

    To my husband's dismay, I simply could not turn out my bedside light until I finished this one ... at 1:15am! ;)

  • Friday Fun...

    Posted by ChrisM, 7 years ago

    We all have favourite genres of reading, for example I tend to read literary fiction, but also enjoy suspense thrillers, horror, mysteries.

    The one type of fiction I don't read is sci fi/fantasy.

    So, today, I am inviting everyone to talk about the genre of fic they *don't* read and asking people to encourage them to give that genre, whatever it is, a try. Perhaps you could recommend a book that would ease us into the genre.


    Posted by Christine L, 7 years ago

    76. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY. I loved this book. It was just what everyone said it was, a good read and a story that draws you in. The story is told mainly through letters sent back and forth between the "author" and the members of the literary society. Not a totally original concept, but the author made it fresh. The characters are wonderful and I felt like I was part of their little community. When I turned the final page I felt it lent itself well to a sequel ... I hope there is one forthcoming.

    77. THE ROAD by Cormac McCArthy. This is the story of a man and his son on a journey down "the road" in the aftermath of some global holocaust. After I finished this book I realized that I was a bit of a "gender snob" when it comes to reading. The majority of the men in my life were newspaper/magazine rather than book readers. This book struck me as a "guy book", in the same way we ladies read "chick lit". Don't get me wrong, I thought the book was great, but I personally took away more from the relationship between the father and son than the plot of the story itself.