Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Monday, January 18, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
6/100 I just love it when I borrow a book from the library on a whim and it turns out to be a cracking read - and I'm happy to say that "The Paris Architect" by Charles Belfoure falls very much into that category. The book is set in Paris of 1942, and the (reluctant) hero is Lucien Bernard, an architect who takes on a commission from a rich French industrialist to build a secret invisible hiding place in an apartment. He does it at first purely for the money, then for the sheer challenge of it (even though he's terrified of being caught by the Germans) and, finally - when something goes very wrong with one of his constructions and people die - because he suddenly realises that the Jews who have been hiding are actual people, not vermin to be wiped out. The tension ratchets up for the reader, with the Gestapo getting ever closer to catching up with Lucien, even as Lucien himself changes from a selfish, self-centred, self-serving coward to someone who helps others from the goodness of his heart despite the danger. It's a lovely book, so go read it, go, go!
Saturday, January 16, 2016
5/100 Still only on book#5. It's not that I haven't been reading, but while I liked most of the books I've read since my previous post, I couldn't honestly say that I truly loved any of them - not enough to write about, at any rate. Until this gorgeous little book by Tom Michell, called "The Penguin Lessons", It's not a novel, it's all true and that makes the story even more wonderful! The book is about a little penguin, rescued by the author from an awful death by oil slick in Argentina. He names the bird Juan Salvador (John Saviour) - sometimes called Juan Salvado (John Saved) - and the book is basically about how the bird brings laughter, wonder and love to those he comes across. I just loved this book. Totally worth reading,
Friday, January 15, 2016
4/100 I can't remember if I saw the movie (IF there is a movie - I haven't bothered to check) but while I was reading Jonathan Tropper's "This Is Where I Leave You", I kept getting the feeling, on and off, that some things in the book seemed familiar in a nebulous sort of way. If it indeed has been made into a movie, and I indeed did see it at some point, suffice it to say that I won't be bothering to refresh my movie memories. Not because the book is bad, but because it isn't. Book lovers will probably find this a familiar sentiment, but if I read a book that's been made into a movie and I like the book, I don't bother to watch the movie. It's pretty much a given that it will never be as good as the book.
Anyway, I did like "This Is Where I Leave You", because it's a good mix of funny, touching, sad, shocking and entertaining all the way through. The family - dysfunctional, of course - have gathered to mourn their father's death, and the events take place over 7 days (the Jewish period of formal mourning). What I liked most is that the protagonists start out dysfunctional at the beginning of the book and stay dysfunctional throughout. I won't say that things don't get resolved, because they kinda sorta do... but the resolutions are not cut-and-dried and tied up with a pretty ribbon at the end.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
3/100 Anna Quindlen is an author that I came across only very recently, and the book that I first read (a novel called "Black and Blue") I liked enough that I did what I usually do when I find an author I like - I went and chased down all her books that were available at my local library and reserved them. "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" was the next book I read, purely because my reservation came through on it before any of the others - it's a collection of her essays on ageing. She has a lovely conversational prose style, eloquent, gently humorous and very, very wise. I enjoyed this book too, so I'm looking forward to the other books when they become available. Oh, and I might write about "Black and Blue" next time.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
2/100 Have you heard of Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones"? That's not the book I'm going to write about, but "The Life I Left Behind" by Colette McBeth has, at its very basic level, a similar premise. It's a psychological thriller, where a woman who was nearly murdered but survived, has to find the murderer of the woman who tried to find the original assailant but didn't survive the assault. The story is told by turn from the viewpoint of the woman who survived, the woman who didn't and the detective inspector who is investigating both cases. A very good read, because I lived and breathed this book for the duration - nothing short of surgery would have parted me from it till the finish!
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
1/100 Ever since I watched my first episode of M.A.S.H, I've been a huge fan of the series. I fell in love with practically every character on it - BJ, Trapper John, Father Mulcahy, Frank Burns...but most of all, Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda. So when I came across his book "Never Have The Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned" in the library by chance, I just GRABBED it! It was such a good read! This man is (was?)funny, intelligent, honest and loyal and a good writer to boot...I'm in love with Alan Alda and I don't care who knows it! If you're a fan of his, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. And now I'm off to track down the other books he's written.
I've been doing quick reviews of books I've read recently, and posting them on Facebook for the #100bookpact. A dear friend of mine suggested that I post them here as well, so that they are easily accessed (FB tends to be arbitrary and mysterious in how some posts disappear completely and cannot be traced, yet others from years ago suddenly resurface). Anyway, I thought her idea was a good one, because it takes some effort to write even mini-reviews and why drop the fruits of that effort into FB's giant uncaring maw? Plus it also helps to keep my blog going!
Sunday, January 03, 2016
Character in a TV drama describing a teenage boy who's been making out with her daughter: "He looks like a scruffy little hormone!"
I'm still laughing every time I think of it!
Saturday, January 02, 2016
I've resolved to try and be more positive this year - or at least less cynical. Is that the same thing? Well, if it isn't, what I have resolved is to find more positive things to write about on my blog, and not just rant. It's going to be hard, because the older I get, the more easily I get pissed off. But an easy resolution isn't worth anything, so... keep your fingers crossed for me, won't you?
Friday, January 01, 2016
On New Years Eve, when possible and depending on the weather, my husband and I go for a midnight walk in our neighbourhood, oohing and aahing at the various fireworks popping off everywhere. Tonight was perfection, a clear, cold night with the frost only just letting up and a beautiful half-slice moon among the million of stars visible intermittently where they were not outshone by movement sensor lights and general night lights on the outside of residences. Even with all that the night was gorgeous, As Pete said, it was a symbolic walk together into the new year, which I hope will be better than this year for us and for everyone else. Happy new year 2016, dear readers!