Lori's Book Nook

Posts Tagged ‘books

Yikes! I’m 23 days into the #95books challenge (my first post on that), and only 7 books in…and no real theme to my reading. But that’s not new – and I fully intend on following my nose from book to book.

Continuing the list:

#5 – Julie Powell‘s Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. I enjoyed the movie – the pseudo-biopic with the delightful Meryl Streep as Julia Child – so thought that reading Powell’s memoir of cooking through Child’s classic cookbook would be fun. It feel off a thrift store shelf into my hand, so that was an easy decision, honestly. In the end, it an amusing bit of trifle, with a lot of honesty and personal anguish: “And as the week progressed the throbbing of my biological clock syncopated with my crepe anxiety until they formed one jazz rhythm.”

#6 – Carol Shields’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Unless. Again, a novel that dropped off a shelf in the thrift store that I’d been meaning to read. Shields’ prose is smooth, deceptively simple, the story carrying the reader along until you realize that you’re deep into it, unable to leave it. The link above is to a Salon review that has a line that struck me as being very descriptive of the experience:

Shields’ fiction has always had this sort of stealth spikiness, like soft fish that, when bitten into, turns up a web of bone, or like that sweet middle-aged lady next door when you were growing up, who turns out to have been watching you more shrewdly and understanding you more completely than you ever suspected.

#7 – Kurt Busiek & Cary Nord’s graphic novel of Richard E. Howard’s stories Conan: The Frost-Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories. Yes! A graphic novel is a book. An early set of stories by Howard, this lovely collection of comics was a hardcover gift to my husband at Christmas. It’s a good yarn, and the story reminds us to beware of what we wish for – always a good lesson.

So…what’s next on the pile to be read? I’ll let you know soon enough!

I’ve not been doing a lot of reading lately. Odd, I know, for someone with a book blog. But, as I’m sure you’ll see, the blog has been quiet for a couple (few?) years. It’s time to change that.

Book lover and writer Jonathan Ball wrote of his #95book challenge a couple of years ago – and I like it! He’s got some good, basic tips to stay focused, and I’m inspired. I’ve already started – my year will be from December 26, 2015 to December 26, 2016.

It is my intention to write here periodically with lists of the books I’ve read – and thus revive the blog as well. Revive my reading habit, revive my writing habit…and hopefully revive my brain!

Books suggestions always welcome!

 

So the other day, I was alone in a little restaurant near my work, having a late lunch…and I was bookless! And notebook-less, and newspaper-less…I’m sure you get the picture.

The guy sitting a couple of tables over was also eating alone…[DIGRESSION: I was told once that the friendly Philippine people will go out of their way to ensure that a friend/co-worker/what-have-you does not eat alone. Then there are cultures where people turn away when they’re eating or drinking, for privacy. What a lovely odd world we live in.]

So, this guy was eating alone…no, I did not join him. He was completely en-booked. He didn’t need anyone. But he was not just reading, he was reading, margin-note-taking, notebook-note-taking…rather frantically.

And there was me, so bereft of reading material that I frantically tried to see the cover of the paperback he was perusing so thoroughly, just to read something!

Do I want to read like that? No. I may take the odd note, and if I were to get an ereader, I’d want one with note-taking capability, but I have no need to be obsessive about it. What I resolve to do is to ensure that I’ve got a book (or something!) with me at all times. I can’t believe I’ve come to this point, where I have to remind myself to carry reading material!

Plus, I want to blog more — about books and reading, obviously. Perhaps not the Post-A-Day challenge, but at least the Post-A-Week. We’ll see how that goes.

Read on!

Where do you pile your books? My hubby and I have piles on our bedside tables mostly, then some in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room…and they all live in the basement library/movie/party room (technically the ‘family room’).

The other day I was tidying the bedroom, and emptied the already-read and not-going-to-get-read-soon books off the two bedside tables:

Putting books away...

Then, I pulled books from the living room and kitchen to complete the tidy:

More books being put away..

This post for your voyeuristic enjoyment.

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I’ve bleated on enough about the last package of books I received to review, so I won’t go into that again.

Without further ado, in no particular order (other than the order they are piled on my desk), here are some Canadian books published in 2008 that you should keep your eyes peeled for:

Anything by Shauna Singh Baldwin. I have in my pile two books of short stories — the re-published English Lessons and Other Stories (with Readers’ Guide), and a new collection called We are not in Pakistan. Both are wonders of cross-cultural exploration, lovely stories of very real people. I see from her website that she has also written two novels…worth checking out.

Under the Holy Lake: A memoir of Eastern Bhutan by Ken Haigh is a highly readable introduction to Bhutan, a country that the average person knows little about. Haigh spent a soul-searching 2 years teaching in Khaling, a small village in the far eastern reaches of an already inaccessible country. This book will leave you with a lasting impression of the country and its people.

Shirin and Salt Man by Nilofar Shidmehr is a book that takes you by surprise. [By the way, a note to all authors…ensure that you or your book has its own dedicated page somewhere — in the Internet age, you need to stand out and be linked to!] It’s a novella in poetic form, tying the legends of Iran to the modern day. I read it through the first time, fascinated by the poetry and the images; the second time, fascinated by the story; and the third time sent me to the Internet to research the legends of Shirin and the discovery of the Salt Man in the 80s.

I’ll leave you there, with more to come. Plus, I will point out a couple of books to avoid…there are days when I despair at the state of Canada’s publishing! (Do I despair or rejoice in the knowledge that anyone can get published?!?)

My faithful readers (all 3 of you!) will have noticed the lack of new posts recently. My apologies for that. It’s part laziness, part the pile of books I received for review a while ago.

Now, I’m an amateur reviewer…’amateur’ in the classic sense in that I don’t do it for money, but enjoy composing my little reviews for CBRA. Up until this last batch of books, all of the reviews I wrote sat in a hardbound annual in libraries across the country…likely very few people actually read them. Now, however, these reviews are going online, where they will (theoretically) be searchable by anyone looking for information on a given book.

And now I’m hesitant. When I blogged the list of books I received, I realized something I’d not thought about seriously before — the author may read my review of her/his book. Oh, I’m sure they did before, in the hardcover annual, but now, they truly will.

And they might respond.

In this day’n’age of tracking mentions of yourself/your book/your cause célébre online, I’m sure every single person attached to the books I received hit my blog.

Two responded.

This is exciting if you’re offering up praise. How every cool to be in touch with someone whose work you admire.

But what if the work is awful? What if it makes you cringe at the state of the book publishing industry in this country?

I will have to decide…to post my opinion, for good or for bad, as it is my opinion. Honest and true-as-I-see-it. It’s all I can do.

And I won’t ignore my blog anymore.

Thanks for listening.


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!