Torontoc's 2023 Reading and Maybe some films

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Torontoc's 2023 Reading and Maybe some films

joulukuu 30, 2022, 8:46 pm

Hi , I'm Cyrel, a retired art teacher living in Toronto. I used to read more but the pandemic may have changed my reading rhythm. I used to see more films but have kept away from big crowds these past three years. I do go to a pottery co-op that I belong to and really enjoy being creative. I just started reading a biography of the Morgenthay family by Andrew Meier.
I'll review the books that I read here.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 7:47 am

Welcome to Club Read 2023, Cyrel. I'll look forward to following along again this year.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 9:57 am

Wish you a great 2023 Cyrel

tammikuu 1, 9:32 am

>2 labfs39: >3 dchaikin: Thank you! I think that this will be a better reading year for me!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 3, 11:12 pm

1. If An Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga. This novel is on the 2022 Giller Prize Shortlist. I must admit that fact kept me going and finishing this book. I found that the style of writing was very good. The chapters alternated between a young woman who moved to Cairo from the US and her lover a young( but maybe not that young) man who was penniless but had been a photographer during the recent revolution. It is possible that the man was suffering from a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. The young woman was teaching English in the city but her move was managed by her mother who found her the job and the rented apartment. She was trying to find her way in a country that her parents had left for the US. In a way the woman seemed oblivious to the problems of life in Cairo although the reader does get a sense of the atmosphere. The relationship between the two was fraught with tension and much misunderstanding about the differing cultures -American and Egyptian. One of my pet peeves are clueless characters in a novel. There is something about the lack of learning in this book about how things are different when a person moves from North America to the uncertain life in Egypt.

tammikuu 3, 12:56 pm

Interesting book 1

tammikuu 11, 4:31 pm

2. The Candy House by Jennifer Egan This is a wonderful novel. Each chapter is a fragment of a life that will relate to the previous chapter. It is like a giant puzzle. The themes seem to cover our world past and future. The first chapter begins with Bix Bouton, a tech entrepreneur who has discovered a new technology where you can revisit your own memories and eventually others as well. Bix really steals the idea from a professor who disappears into an uninhibited area of a South American country. The reader then moves to the lives of various brothers and sisters. We see the development of technology that intrudes on privacy and supports undemocratic regimes. There are those who thwart these inventions. All the multiple characters have links to one or another. The story is a critique of what might happen in the future and it also shows the consequences of relationships influenced by this technology. A Great Read.

tammikuu 11, 10:06 pm

>7 torontoc: huh. Interesting. I loved A Visit from the Goon Squad, and still think about it.

tammikuu 11, 10:22 pm

>5 torontoc: I've had that one on my wishlist for some time. I'm not sure whether your review makes me more or less eager to read it.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 11, 11:03 pm

>8 dchaikin: I want to go back and reread A Visit from the Goon Squad
>9 RidgewayGirl: I agree with you- I finished the book because it was on the Giller Shortlist.

tammikuu 16, 11:38 am

3. The Spy Next Door Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre I really like Ben Macintyre's books on spies. This one is excellent. Macintyre follows the career and travels of Ursula Kuczynski, a dedicated communist. Ursula was raised in a privileged German Jewish family. Her father , Robert, was a noted demographic statistician. Ursula joined the Communist party in Germany and was eager to take on any active role against the rising power of Fascism. She actually worked in the United States for a while. The Centre in Moscow took on Ursula as one of their agents and she went to Shanghai, Mukden Manchuria, Poland, and eventually England. She had liaisons with famed spy Richard Sorge, and three men who fathered her children. There was training in Moscow and work transmitting important secret documents to the Soviets. Incredibly Ursula or "Sonya" was protected by her sources even when they were captured by the Japanese and later MI6 in England. The material that Ursula sent to the Soviet Union allowed the Russians to build their first nuclear bombs. As well, Ursula was able to flee from England and go to East Germany when she was about to be identified and captured. Her next career was as a novelist in East Germany. The stories are so interesting. Macintyre makes the point that undercover Russian agents in MI5 andMI6 was able to deflect any interest in her activities. British authorities dismissed the idea that a woman with young children could be a spy.

tammikuu 16, 11:43 am

I haven't read anything by Jennifer Egan. I will have to remedy that.

tammikuu 16, 12:13 pm

>12 japaul22: I was just thinking the same thing. Every time I see her books!

tammikuu 16, 3:29 pm

>11 torontoc: great review. A missing link in my nuclear bomb history.

tammikuu 16, 6:40 pm

>11 torontoc: I read this as my last book of 2022. I loved it too.

tammikuu 16, 7:49 pm

>12 japaul22: >13 johnxlibris: State with A Visit from the Goon Squad
>14 dchaikin: >15 labfs39: I have to find his next book on Russian Double spies!

tammikuu 22, 8:50 am

4. Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld. I really like Tom Gauld's work. All of these cartoons have an interesting take on novelists, the lockdown due to the pandemic, and of course, comments on those of us who have a " many books in our house' affliction. There is much needed humour in these cartoons. The themes gives those of us who are bookaholics a change to laugh at ourselves. Definitely recommended.

tammikuu 22, 9:08 am

>17 torontoc: That's a definite book bullet! Adding to both my TBR and my Wishlist!

tammikuu 22, 9:10 am

>17 torontoc: I looked Tom Gauld up and realized that I have seen some of his cartoons that became memes on The Goodwill Librarian. I'm going to request the book from ILL. Thanks!

tammikuu 24, 4:56 pm

>17 torontoc: Ooh - my library has it. Must check this one out...

tammikuu 25, 5:28 pm

>17 torontoc: I looked at it, my library had the ebook and it really did nothing for me. But I didn’t see any librarians mostly writers.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 25, 5:48 pm

>21 dianeham: - I don't understand why graphic books are even in e-format at all. The whole point is the visuals! I have asked my library to purchase real copies of graphic books because the e-book is pointless and they have! Maybe if you ask, and explain why, they will do it. I bet they have no idea!

tammikuu 25, 6:57 pm

>22 jessibud2: the format on libby was good. It wasn’t the formatting. I just didn’t find it funny.

helmikuu 3, 11:43 am

>11 torontoc: Adding to Mount TBR.

helmikuu 3, 4:51 pm

5. Masaryk Station by David Downing This is the last in the series featuring John Russell. The story take place in post war Berlin where John and his Russian spy friend Shchepkin are trying to figure out how to untangle themselves from the spy business. This is the time of the Russian blockade of Berlin. ( all trains and highways are blocked-the Americans bring all goods on planes)There is also the issue of helping a few spies for the Americans. There are complicated plans as Shchepkin obtains an incriminating video of Beria committing murder. I think that the earlier books that dealt with spying before and during World War Two were more thrilling. I had a lot of difficulty finishing this novel- I don't know why although a book seller that I know attributes it to the pandemic.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 5, 3:48 pm

6. Run Towards The Danger by Sarah Polley. Sarah Polley is a Canadian actor, writer and directer. She directed Women Talking and is nominated for the Oscar's Best Adaptation of an Existing Book. (or something like that). This book of essays is autobiographical. Polley was a child actor and she remembers how she hated the exhausting work and the lack of supervision by anyone on the set. This includes her parents and directors. She discusses her time at Stratford, in films and in TV series. Polley writes about her encounter with an infamous radio personality who was charged with sexual assault by three women. He was acquitted because the court did not take into account behaviours after the women had experienced trauma. She chose not to come out publicly with her story after listening to the advice of friends and lawyers. Her health issues of scoliosis, endometriosis and problems with birth are subjects as well as her concussion. The essays are very personal and told with empathy for those who helped her. This is a very thoughtful book and I highly recommend it.

Her autobiographical documentary film "Stories We Tell" is worth finding!

helmikuu 6, 7:56 am

7. Leopoldstadt by Tom Stoppard Leopoldstadt is the name of an area in Vienna where poor Jewish people lived. This play takes place in Vienna at the home of a wealthy Jewish family and spans the years from 1899 to 1955. A number of the family members have married non-Jews. The grandmother seems to be the only member of this family who wants to keep Jewish religious customs. There are discussions about feeling more Austrian than Jewish while still confronting barriers to social life because of discrimination. The scene that takes place in the early 1920's shows the problems with changes in the political system after the loss in world War One. Family members have been affected and there is conflict as some of the sons and daughters have different alliances in politics and religion. And the scene after the take over of Austria by Germany is fairly brutal as those in the family who stayed in Vienna suffer. This play shows a very large family with many cousins. The last scene should remind the audience and reader about the consequences of complacency to the political world. ( Tom Stoppard has his own interesting background. I believe that he found out very late in life that he was Jewish- he was born in the Czech Republic and his family did flee from the Nazis. )

helmikuu 6, 10:19 am

Very nice review of Leopoldstadt, Cyrel.

helmikuu 6, 5:05 pm

I agree with Darryl. Also of Sarah Polley’s autobiographical essays.

helmikuu 7, 7:13 pm

>28 kidzdoc: >29 dchaikin: Thank you! I just had supper with a friend who saw the play Leopoldstadt and said that the staging and of course the dialogue was excellent.

The next book that I am reviewing was from Early Reviewers. I was supposed to receive the book in the mail but instead got a word file that my computer was not happy with. I did finish the book.
8. Color Capital of the World Growing Up with the Legacy of a Crayon Company by John Kropf I must admit that I was expecting more of a history of the making of Crayons. The author does describe the development of crayons and chalk in the 19th century and his family's part in this work at the American Crayon Company. As a former art teacher, the story of how crayons came into being and the role that they played in elementary school curriculum is very interesting to me. This book does cover this history but the author also creates a memoir of his family and the town where the factory was built- Sandusky, Ohio. Kropf describes the various industries that helped the town grow and prosper. This is also a story of how manufacturing was developed and later shut down in the town. Kropt's family is very important to him as he relates the stories of great grandparents, grandparents and their role in the company. The selling of the American Crayon Company and the changes that came about demonstrate how the loss of manufacturing altered Sandusky. In fact the descriptions show how vital towns and cities lost an essential element that had made them important to the economic life of the country.

helmikuu 8, 5:35 am

>27 torontoc: I would love to see this! I missed it when it was on in London but am considering getting tickets when I am in New York later this year.

helmikuu 8, 9:56 am

>31 wandering_star: my friend saw the production in New York. There were plans to produce the play in Toronto. Unfortunately the producers cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

helmikuu 10, 2:14 pm

9. Morgenthau Power, Privilege and The Rise of an American Dynasty by Andrew Meier
Whew! This biography of three men of the Morgenthau family ( Henry Sr., Henry Jr. and Robert) covers important times in American politics. ( The book is over 1036 pages with notes and index and 892 pages of main text)Lazarus Morgenthau arrived from Germany to the United States in 1866. His son Henry ( Sr.) was the first to make an important name for himself as he was influential in his relationship with Woodrow Wilson. Henry Sr. was appointed Ambassador to Turkey before the beginning of World War One. He saw the effects of the Armenian tragedy and the change in Turkish politics. Henry's son , Henry Jr. worked with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as Secretary of the Treasury. Henry Jr.'s family were close to both FDR and his wife Eleanor. Robert after serving in the Navy in World War Two becomes District Attorney in New York. This history details all the work that the three Morgenthau family members did in their professional lives and how their work was important in the telling of US history. There is much detail in the manoeuvres that each man had to do in their public service roles. This is a very long read but I did enjoy the work of the author.( and I learned a lot!)

helmikuu 11, 11:14 am

>31 wandering_star: >32 torontoc: I saw Leopoldstadt in NY last fall and recommend it if you can get there. Really powerful production (though someone would have worked hard to make it NOT powerful, given the book), beautifully done. If you do see it, I recommend splurging on the best seats you can, because it's such a character-driven play, with repeating characters and actors (not necessarily in the same roles) that it's great to be able to see their expressions. If that can't happen, it's absolutely worth seeing no matter what.

helmikuu 13, 10:17 am

>34 lisapeet: I'll try to make arrangements to see this play.

10. Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza and translated from Spanish by Thomas Bunstead. This slim volume of connected chapters can read as a group of short stories. The narrator from Argentina gives the reader glimpses into her life as she grows up. Each chapter references an artist who is somehow is placed into her story. Maria is somewhat eccentric in her behaviour and seems to collect similar friends. I found the writing about artists interesting and appreciated the creation of unusual characters.

helmikuu 15, 8:48 pm

11. One Hundred Saturdays Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World by Michael Frank The author sat down with Stella Levi in New York when she was in her 90's. The stories that she told described her life in the Jewish section or Juderia on the island of Rhodes. Her community had been in Rhodes for hundreds of years. Stella Levi describes her life on the island as the Italians and later the Germans take charge. The descriptions show a world and customs that disappeared when all members of the Jewish community were taken to Auschwitz. Although Stella describes the hardships that she and her sister and friends endured, perhaps the lasting impressions that I had were of the life that she led when she was young. This memoir/history shows the customs of a long lost Sephardi community.

helmikuu 17, 5:54 am

>34 lisapeet: Thanks - that was the push I needed (although wow - the price of tickets in NYC is pretty eye-watering compared to London!)

helmikuu 17, 1:37 pm

12. Kit's Law by Donna Morrissey There are so many interesting writers who have written about life in Newfoundland. Donna Morrissey is one of them. I read this book because it is on my book club's list. It is very well written and does give an account of life in an isolated Newfoundland outport or small village by the sea. I found the story a little melodramatic although affecting. Kit is a young girl living with her grandmother and mentally handicapped mother in a small house that is isolate even from the town. Kit doesn't know who her father is. There are villains in this novel. The Reverend in the town is always scheming to send Kit and her mother, Josie, to institutions in St. John's. ( the capital of the province) There is a man who is accused of killing another who is on the loose. The Doctor in the town protects Kit and her family. After some (very) dramatic events , the reader see how Kit matures and learns to live her own life.

helmikuu 20, 11:25 am

13. Department of Mind-Blowing Theories cartoons by Tom Gauld I went with my niece and her family to a great graphic novel/ comic book store. And of course, I checked to see if there was a Tom Gauld collection that I didn't have. This book is very funny. Gauld mocks scientists, researchers and all things science. He uses the same style and kind of humour that I saw in his books that focused on writers, librarians and book-alcoholics. This was a fun read.

helmikuu 22, 3:19 pm

14. Shy The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green. This is a really fun book!. Mary Rodgers is very direct about her relationships with her parents, sister, husbands and children. She also provides great gossip about the many composers, lyricists and show business people that she dealt with in her varied career. I didn't realize that Mary Rodgers also wrote children's books in addition to her composing and musical theatre show that I know her for-Once Upon a Mattress. Her opinions about her now life as well as her friends and co-workers are funny and very direct. I would recommend this book for Broadway junkies and affectionados.

maaliskuu 1, 5:49 pm

>40 torontoc: This sounds like it might be fun. I’m adding it to my wishlist.

maaliskuu 1, 9:30 pm

>41 NanaCC: It was fun!( I still don't know why Rodgers hated Arthur Laurents)

15. This Time, That Place Selected Storiesby Clark Blaise This selection of short stories has a forward by Margaret Atwood. The reader then approaches these finely crafted stories knowing that some of the information comes from the author's own life. Each story relates to a different personality dealing with adversity, poverty, strained relationships between French and English Canadians in Montreal and Florida, as well as the many issues with Indian and American ways of life. Blaise is a master of writing.

maaliskuu 4, 11:32 am

16. The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen I had read The Sympathizer so I knew about the main character's past history. The reader is really not given his real name but we know what he is doing in Paris. ( In his past life, he was a communist spy sent to the US to observe the people opposed to the regime in Viet Nam.) Eventually he was sent back to Viet Nam to a reeducation camp and then sent to Paris with his friend Bon. Bon was determined to assassinate communists. They both ended up working for a Vietnamese gang that dealt in drugs. However this is a story of betrayal. It is also damns all sides of the conflict as well as the effect that the many colonizers had on the people of Viet Nam. The accusations have references to French writers, theorists and the politics of 1980's. This is a brilliant book and it made me think of the massive effects of colonialism.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 7, 8:54 am

Nice review of The Committed, Cyrel. I haven't read it or The Sympathizer, which I own, yet, so I'll try to get to his first book sometime this year.

maaliskuu 7, 8:25 am

I've wanted to get to both of Viet Thanh Nguyen's novels on my shelf for a while now. Thanks for the good review, which has bumped them both up a few levels.

maaliskuu 7, 10:53 pm

>44 kidzdoc: >45 lisapeet: Thank you- I would advise reading The Sympathizer first.

17. What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad This novel won the 2021 Giller Prize. The focus is on a boy who has been on a ship filled with refugees who try to reach a Greek island. The story has alternating chapters that tell the story of life on a vessel on the Mediterranean Sea and the attempt of a young girl on the island to help the boy. The situation of the migrant crisis and the people who try to find a better life is a focus of the novel. However, I found the backstory of how the boy gets on the boat puzzling. The writing is good but I guess that I wanted a more cohesive plot.

maaliskuu 15, 8:35 am

18. Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit This is sort of a memoir by the author. I say sort of as Solnit does not give the reader a concrete list of all episodes in her life. She concentrates on the things that helped her development as a mature person and accomplished writer. The reader learns about the importance of her first modest apartment, her worries about injury to herself both physical and mental and the effect that friends and colleagues had on her life. We also learn about her early escape from a dysfunctional family, and her tenacity as she champions important causes. I especially liked the chapter on how reading and books enrich her life. A must read.

19. The Hour of The Star by Clarice Lispector and translated by Benjamin Moser. I don't know. I have read how readers love this author. I am not a fan. (why read-because my book club chose this book for our next meeting) This very slim book relates the story of a very poor, uneducated young woman in Brazil. The narrator has trouble with this account as well with constant oberservations. Hmm. I am moving on.

maaliskuu 17, 7:56 pm

20. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai. This novel is a cheerful read- the reader is introduced to the Chawla family in the small Indian village of Shahkot. The son of the family , Sampeth is not happy in his job. He eventually leaves home and climbs up a guava tree where he is determined to stay. His mother , Kulfi, dreams of cooking all sorts of delicacies for him. Mr. Chawla eventually moves the whole family out to the guava orchard in order to mange the crowds of people who come to see and listen to Sampeth. Sampeth's sister, Pinky is very annoyed with all the fuss about her brother. And finally the monkeys who have been bothering the villagers in the local market move to be with Sampeth, disturb everyone and feast and drink and their new obsession- liquor. How the various officials try to figure out what to do is fun to read. I enjoyed this imaginative story.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 20, 3:09 pm

>47 torontoc: The Hour of the Star was an odd one. We read it for my book club, talked about it for a good 45 minutes, and were still puzzling out what her intent was, as a writer, when we were done. In my review I summarized it as "writing about a writer writing about writing."

maaliskuu 21, 9:34 am

>49 lisapeet: My book club had a guest speaker who presented a talk on the book and author. She talked about it being " meta fiction". She was also more interested in the process of the narrative and the role of the narrator. The speaker said that she read the book three times in order to process the various themes. Personally, for me, once was enough. I think that I am more interested in fiction and non-fiction with what I would call dynamic narratives.

maaliskuu 25, 12:52 am

I would hate having a lecturer at a book group meeting.

maaliskuu 25, 10:01 am

>51 dianeham: We have the lecturer once a year- she is very good. It was easier to initiate conversation when we were all in one room ( before the pandemic). Zoom is harder for discussion.

maaliskuu 27, 8:06 pm

>48 torontoc: I read this a long time ago, so it’s very vague in my memory, but I remember liking it too!

maaliskuu 27, 8:35 pm

>53 wandering_star: The book was fun to read!

huhtikuu 3, 9:32 am

21. Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra.I must admit that I wanted to like this novel more than I did. The story takes place in 1941 and later. Maria Laguna is working in Hollywood for Mercury Pictures and her boss is Artie Feldman. Mercury specializes in making inexpensive films that sometime mimic more well known features of other bigger studios. Maria was born in Italy and managed to come to the US with her mother just before World War 2. Her father is being held in a remote village in Italy as a result of his work defending those who opposed the Fascist Italian government. Maria thinks that she had a role in her father being captured. Vincent Cortese is an ambitious Italian who managed to come to the US but went back to Italy to rescue his mother. The story of how he figures into the escape plans of photographer Nino Picone is central to the plot. I found that the narrative switched to a number of people- from miniaturist Anna Weber who helps the US figure out how to bomb Berlin to Eddie Lu- a Chinese American actor who can only get stereotyped roles. I really wanted to follow that story of Maria.The story touches on a number of issues in pre and post war United States. The narratives of the movie studios were really interesting. I knew something about the issues in Italy. I really liked the writing style. I just wanted more of a role for the first main character.

huhtikuu 10, 11:59 am

22. In The Serpent's Wake by Rachel Hartman. I usually don't read novels that take place in an alternate world of talking dragons, warring tribes and mysterious serpents. This one certainly held my interest. The author has written three earlier novels about this incredible world that she created. However, the reader can start with this story as earlier actions and characters are explained the in the narrative. There are four main characters in this story. Marga is a sword welding countess who is taking a ship on an exploration expedition. Spira is a dragon on another ship on a similar mission. Jacomo is a priest coming along with the adventure with Tess who has a difficult task. Tess is a young person who frequently makes mistakes. She want to take Pathka, a quigutl, to the Polar Serpent. There are encounters with conquering tribes, powerful tigers, watchers and more. This novel is full of adventures and interesting connections between different peoples creatures and languages. I really enjoyed this read.

huhtikuu 10, 3:32 pm

>56 torontoc: I usually don't read novels that take place in an alternate world of talking dragons, warring tribes and mysterious serpents.
Got a chuckle out of this, but wondering how you wound up reading one this time. Had you read the earlier novels?

huhtikuu 10, 5:03 pm

>57 SassyLassy: This is an Early Reviewers book- I think that I thought I was signing up for a graphic novel! I hadn't read the earlier novels.

huhtikuu 11, 6:06 pm

>56 torontoc: I read the first in this series (Seraphina) awhile back when it was nominated for the Norton and remember liking it a lot (especially considering that it was Hartman's first novel) and planning to return to the series (looking at my record, it had been a decade since then - that's impossible...). But then I just looked at the list of awards and nominations for that first novel and as much as awards can be weird, you do not get as many with a bad book.

huhtikuu 15, 9:35 am

>59 AnnieMod: i might try to find that first book in the series!

23. The Glass Pearls by Emeric Pressburger This well constructed story was written by a man who used some of his own experience as a refugee. Pressburger was a noted film maker in England after World War 11. This novel is one of two that he wrote in the 1960's. The story is unique. The main character, Karl Braun is a piano turner who appears in London in the 1960's. The reader is very sympathetic towards Karl as he lives his modest life in a boarding house and makes some friends. There are hints that he is not who he pretends to be. in fact Karl is an infamous doctor who conducted horrible experiments on concentration camp inhabitants during the war. He has been hiding for over twenty years. His downfall occurs when he accesses hidden money in a Swiss bank account. This is a well written novel.

huhtikuu 18, 4:46 pm

24. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel I reread this novel because my RL bookclub is discussing it next week. It is still a very compelling story involving time travel and the issues of pandemics. Highly recommended.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 28, 8:49 am

25. What She Ate Six Remarkable Women & the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro This was a very interesting history/biography as the author relates how six very formidable women dealt with food. However it is also a capsule account of their lives. I found out why the food at the White House during the time of the Roosevelts was so bad. (Eleanor was not really interested and also had a grudge with FDR for his relationship s with other women. )Food stories were more important in the chapter on Rosa Lewis-the woman who inspired the book The Duchess of Duke Street and the series. Dorothy Wordsworth, Eva Braun, and Barbara Pym were described more about their own relationships than the food. The chapter on Helen Gurley Brown was more about not eating and her own career. I found the book interesting in the way the author described the lives of the six women and how food intersected in their stories.

huhtikuu 28, 8:48 am

26. All The Colour In The World by CS Richardson I really liked the format of this novel. Each page read as a mini poem. The main character, Henry, becomes an art history lecturer, and eventually joins the army during World War Two, He suffers trauma when fighting in Italy. He has undergone many tragedies in his life and the reader sees how he copes. His knowledge of artists and art history is interspersed with his actions to deal with his demons. This was a quite wonderful read for me.

huhtikuu 28, 1:06 pm

>56 torontoc: Rachel Hartman is an author I need to look into.

>62 torontoc: What she ate sounds fascinating and sent me down a rabbit hold looking for books intertwining food and history.

>63 torontoc: Taking book bullets like mad. All the colour in the world sounds good and I'm also curious about the form.

huhtikuu 28, 9:13 pm

>63 torontoc: I think I live down a rabbit hole. I was trying to find that CS Richardson book on Amazon and couldn’t. So I was looking at The End of the Alphabet by him and amazon says I bought that in paperback in 2012! I didn’t catalog my books on LT until 2015 and that book isn’t in my catalog. So where is it? I’m pretty sure I didn’t read it but who knows. I have no memory of it. It sounds interesting and has a character named Zipper Zephyr.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 8:44 am

>64 markon:,>65 dianeham: CS Richardson is a Canadian author- one of my friends gave me this book. I hadn't read anything by him until now. I was intrigued by the format. The book was delivered to me by one of my favourite book stores in Toronto- Ben McNally.

huhtikuu 29, 1:23 pm

>65 dianeham: Disappointing - it looks like The end of the alphabet is available in Kindle or used hard copy, and The emperor of Paris is available in paper at Amazon US, but not All the colour in the world (yet.)

huhtikuu 29, 2:00 pm

Once again, I am an outlier here. I started but never managed to finish any of the 3 titles mentioned by Richardson. He just doesn't resonate with me. Oh well...

toukokuu 4, 7:42 pm

27. Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood. I really like Margaret Atwood's recent collection of short stories. Some could be labelled science fiction and some of them could be read as a dedication to Atwood's late husband ( or partner- I don't know how they labeled their relationship) Graeme Gibson. The stories about the lives of Nell and Tig reveal the tender relationship of a husband and wife as they age and Nell's life after the death of Tig. The stories that refer to past history ( an interview with George Orwell, a description of the death of Hypatia of Alexandria, a slice of the life of Martha Gellhorn) are succinct and informative. There is humour in the daughter's search of evidence about her mother . ( is she a witch?) There is variety and great style. A very welcome addition to the work of this great author.

toukokuu 9, 11:17 am

28. Stateless by Elizabeth Wein This ER novel is an adventure story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This " Young Adult" book can be appreciated by all readers. The story takes place in 1937. There are already many tensions in Europe over the rise of Fascism in Germany and Italy and the effects of the Spanish Civil War. There is an air race competition that features very young people from European countries. Stella North represents Great Britain. She is the only female pilot participating. During the first leg of the race , Stella witnesses one of the competitor's plane forced down by a mysterious second plane. This leads Stella to think that one of the flyers or chaperones is intent on sabotaging the race. More incidents prove her right. Stella befriends Tony who is flying for France and slowly learns about his complicated history. A surprising ally, Sebastian, flying for Nazi Germany, also helps thwart the unknown saboteur. This is a good book for readers to gain knowledge about the world events before World War Two.

toukokuu 12, 11:39 am

29. Heat Wave A Paradise Cafe Mystery by Maureen Jennings As the weather becomes warmer and spring/summer is arriving- I feel the need to read a mystery. Maureen Jennings is the writer of the very popular Detective Murdoch series. ( and equally popular Canadian TV series )This is the first book in a new series featuring a private investigator, Charlotte Frayne. In 1936, Charlotte is working for a very small firm in Toronto. Her boss, Mr. Gilmore soon becomes a suspect in the beating/death of his wife. Charlotte has to investigate and try to clear Gilmore. At the same time she is asked to look into the case of missing money at the Paradise Cafe. The cafe is run by four men who survived a prisoner-of-war camp during World War One. There are also mysterious letters arriving at the office that are threatening and antisemitic. Jennings captures the problems of poverty during the Depression as well as the political issues of the time.

toukokuu 13, 9:03 am

>63 torontoc: Liked the sound of this book as you describe it, and thenI heard the author on the radio with John Ralston Saul. However, I came in at the very end, so will have to go back and find the interview online. They described Richardson as a book designer at the end, and it sounds as if that and the book bring out both sides of him.

toukokuu 22, 11:53 am

>72 SassyLassy: I hadn't read any of this author's previous work but now I will be on the outlook for his novels.

30. In The Wings by Carole Corbeil This novel is about theatre people and the progression of the casting and rehearsals for Hamlet. The story is set in Toronto and there is a lot of writing about the tangled relationships of actors, the director and a theatre critic. Alice Riverton is a noted actress set to play Gertrude. Her lover, Allan O'Reilly will be playing Hamlet. Each one has their own tortured past. In addition, the theatre critic, Robert Pullwarden is grieving over his wife's decision to leave him and take their young son to Vancouver. There is a lot of space given to hopeless love and passionate affairs. The best part of the story , in my mind, is given to the interpretation of the play and the description of how the themes of the play are teased out during rehearsals. This was an interesting book to read. The late author was a noted arts journalist in Canada.

toukokuu 23, 8:03 am

>73 torontoc: I haven't cracked my copy yet, but Isabella Hamad's Enter Ghost is about (among other things) a production of Hamlet in Palestine's West Bank. It sounds really interesting, though I can't vouch for it either way, and that last review of yours made me think I should pick it up.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 31, 12:35 pm

31. An Odyssey A Father, A Son and An Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn I reread this book for my in person book club meeting the end of June. It was so nice to realize that the book was so good. I enjoyed the rereading of the author's description of his father's participation in his seminar on the Odyssey at Bard College. Jay Mendelsohn was opinionated in many ways as his son, Daniel told the stories of his father's life. The reader also benefits from a thorough discussion of the Odyssey. The author took his father on a cruise of the sites of the epic. The reactions and interactions between father and son were so touching to read. Again, highly recommended.

kesäkuu 6, 8:51 am

32. Funeral Songs for Dying Girls by Cherie Dimaline. This ER novel is considered an " young adult" book. I think that it covers a lot of topics. Winnifred is a young teenager who lives with her father in a building in an old cemetery in Toronto.( her father works in the crematorium) Her mother died when she was born. The reader sees a young girl who has a tremendous amount of concerns that direct her life. She has only one friend- Jack- who betrays her as only a teenager can do with no regard for consequences. Although Winnifred's mother was Indigenous, Winnifred only had contact with her Aunt Roberta. Roberta's daughter , Penny , never liked Winnifred and eventually she turns on her. There is a crisis at the cemetery when a company that specializes in ghost tours plans to stop there. The fact is that Winnifred has met a real ghost, Philomena or Phil and may have inadvertently told Penny about her. There is one ghost, Winnifred's attempts to stop the tour, her father's issues with dealing with the loss of his wife and the economics of a failing cemetery. There is definitely many themes to digest as well as see the problems of a young girl who has no one to help her with her own issues.

kesäkuu 28, 1:35 pm

33. Kiss The Red StairsThe Holocaust Once Removed by Marsha Lederman I heard the author speak a few weeks ago and bought her book. I must admit that I wasn't prepared for the focus which was less of a memoir and more of a very intense examination of her life as a child of Holocaust survivors. Lederman is a respected journalist covering arts for the national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Her parents were survivors who eventually ended up in Toronto. Her father had been a worker on a farm in Germany, disguised as a Polish peasant. His whole family was killed in Treblinka. Her mother was a slave labourer who was lucky that she had her sister with her. She had moved from Auschwitz to various camps before being liberated by American troops. Marsha Lederman was the youngest of the family's children. Eventually she married, moved to Vancouver and had a son. After a divorce that she wasn't expecting, the author dwelled on her own emotions as a child in a family that seemed different than that of her neighbours. The research that is discussed in this book looks at the attitudes of children of Holocaust survivors and how they process the world around them. The author comes to understand how the lives of her parents has a major impact on hers. There are details of her parent's actions and her own as she reconciles past and how to deal with her present circumstances. The book was not what I expected to read but I did find her research very interesting.

kesäkuu 28, 2:09 pm

>77 torontoc: - I have heard 2 interviews with her about this book and I do want to read it at some point.

kesäkuu 28, 11:05 pm

>78 jessibud2: ( You can borrow my copy!)

heinäkuu 1, 9:04 am

>77 torontoc: Interesting. I have wanted to read more about this after reading Maus and Second Generation: The things I didn't tell my father.

heinäkuu 1, 11:42 am

>79 torontoc:- Thanks, Cyrel!

heinäkuu 7, 1:46 pm

34. Snow Road Station by Elizabeth Hay Elizabeth Hay is one of those writers who always delivers very readable stories. The prose is so good and the issues very believable. Lulu Blake is an actress who blanks on her lines in a play that she is starring in. ( actually Beckett's Happy Days) She leaves the theatre and and drives to the one place that makes her feel safe- a rural area in Quebec where her brother and her best friend Nan have farms. Lulu has had a relatively successful career but has never had the starring roles that would bring financial stability. She does own her apartment in Montreal. During Lulu's stay in the "Snow Road Station" area for the ling weekend, she interacts with old friends and their children. There is one horrific encounter with Nan's ex husband. Lulu is dealing with her problems with her current acting job as well as trying to solve issues with her family and friends. The writing is great and makes me want to read another Elizabeth Hay book soon.

35. Street Gang The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis I have seen the documentary film that was made about this history as well as the one about Caroll Spinney -the person behind Big Bird. ( see both) This history traces the beginnings of Sesame Street . The reader learns about previous children's programmes, and all the people who had an important role in developing this very important programme. Joan Ganz Cooney and Jim Henson and the Muppets are key to the creation of Sesame Street . But the producers , directors composers, puppeteers, writers, stage and puppet designers and actors all contribute to the success of this remarkable show.

36. Instructions for the Drowning Stories by Steven Heighton This set of short stories are sometimes pessimistic, or very sad but always beautifully written. There are frightening discoveries and terrible endings in many of the works. I feel sad as the writer died quite recently.This book showcases a major talent whose life ended too soon.

heinäkuu 10, 10:08 am

>82 torontoc: - I also saw that doc about Carol Spinney (and was there for the live, in-person Q&A after it). I have a different book, Sesame Street A Celebration of 40 Years on the Street. It's a coffee table sized tome. Could I also borrow your copy of Street Gang. We need to meet up one of these days! ;-)

Also, did you happen to catch the week-long series on TVO, a round table discussion with 4 writers on reading and writing? One of the panel was Elizabeth Hay. The others were Vincent Lam, Thea Lim, and George Elliott Clarke (who I found a tad annoying, if I am honest. He's a bit full of himself, lol). Interesting discussions, though. I have read only Lam's first book, I have Lim's in my suitcase to take on my next trip to Mtl, I have tried but not had success in getting into Hay though I have tried. She is interesting to hear speak, though, so I may try again. And I haven't read Clarke though I have heard him speak before. Wasn't he a poet laureate at one point?

Here is the link, if you missed it:

heinäkuu 12, 8:34 am

>83 jessibud2: I was away for a week. I did give the book Street Gang to my niece to read but I will ask her to send it back to me when she is finished reading. ( she is living in Ottawa) I was away from TV as well. Clarke might have been poet laureate at one point?
thanks for the link!

heinäkuu 12, 8:34 am

37. Ducks Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton This is a terrific but complex graphic novel/memoir by the author. After graduating from university, Kate Beaton travelled from her hometown in Nova Scotia to Alberta to work in the oil sands industry. She encountered harsh weather and working conditions, loneliness and the plight of being a woman in a male dominated working environment. The narrative reveals the sexual abuse that Beaton suffered. Beaton also talks about the men who have to leave their family and homes in Atlantic Canada where there are few jobs in order to make good money in the oil sands industry. She covers the problems of mental health, environmental concerns and the view of the Indigenous people who live in the area. Definitely a book to read!

heinäkuu 15, 12:13 pm

38. The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk and translated by Jennifer Croft This novel covers the life and actions of the " second" Jewish False Messiah - Jacob Frank. The stories and descriptions were narrated by a number of characters from adherents who lived with Frank to Catholic nobles and clergy in the Poland of 1757 and on. I was fascinated by the geography of the time where merchants travelled from towns in Poland to Turkey. The story is quite heartbreaking. The times were not good from Jewish living in small towns. The first " false messiah Sabbatai Zevi had converted to Islam years before. Jacob Frank devised a theory of why Jews should convert to Catholicism. His band of followers supported his lifestyle from imprisonment in Czestochowa to lavish life in a town near Frankfort. The ( to my eye ) perversions that Frank imposed upon his followers led to the destruction of lives and small communities. This book took me a long time to read as it weighed in at 961 pages. I was glad that I did spend the time absorbing the history and theories of this era.

heinäkuu 22, 12:43 pm

39. Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book by Bill Richardson I had a need to reread a very comforting and funny book this past week. ( doctors' appointments that turned out ok, and the replacement of two cantankerous toilets) This book is hilarious laugh out loud and great to read. Bachelor Brothers Hector and Virgil are running their bed and breakfast and along with the narrative about the people and animals that are part of their lives offer book lists and recipes from their clients. The best book to read( and reread) when real life is tense.

heinäkuu 23, 11:42 am

40. The Good Wife of Bath by Karen Brooks This historical fiction novel imagines the life of the "good wife" of Bath from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I think that it is written with a " 21st century sensibility". In this story, Eleanor is married when she is very young( about 12 years) to a very old man. The reader follows her as she marries five times and goes from being very poor to wealthy and then back to poverty. She is a friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. Sometimes he is not happy with her choices but does help her in times of danger and distress. Eleanor is smart and has to withstand the rules of the time that limit the freedom of women. She makes both good and bad choices in life. The reader certainly gets an education in the times during the reign of Britains' King Richard 11. This is a very readable history and does give the point of view of the problems of working women. Highly recommended.

heinäkuu 24, 11:21 am

>87 torontoc: It's nice to have those comfort reads to hand for when they are needed.

heinäkuu 28, 2:52 pm

41. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese I have had this novel on my book pile for a while. I am glad that I have finally read it. Marion Stone is a twin born in Ethiopia. He and his brother, Shiva were lucky to be in the Missing Hospital where the staff struggled to save them. Their mother, Sister Mary Jospeh Praise died in childbirth and their father. Dr. Thomas Stone promptly disappeared. Raised by doctors, Hema and Ghosh, in the hospital compound. the brothers were witnesses to the rule and fall of the Emperor and the generals who tried to take over the country. The narrative is by Marion. His brother, Shiva, although talented, remains a bit of a mystery to him.Both brothers become doctors and Marion is forced to leave Ethiopia because of a false accusation regarding helping Eritrean revolutionaries.The reader learns of Marion's time in the United States and his discovery of his father. This novel is more than a good story- the history of recent Ethiopian politics and the details about operations and surgeon's work were educational to me. Again , highly recommended.

elokuu 2, 5:28 pm

42. Prisoners of the Castle An Epic Story of Survival and Escape from Colditz The Nazis' Fortress Prison by Ben Macintyre I really enjoy the work of Ben Macintyre. This history details the stories of the men who were imprisoned in Colditz Castle, their captors and the many ways that they tried to escape. Some of the attempts were successful and most were not. Macintyre also recounts the issues of class-those who were entitled and those who were not. The details of how the many British, Polish, Dutch and French soldiers worked on tunnels and plots to escape are astonishing considering the location of the castle. There were those soldiers who were spies. They worked out a scheme to communicate with agencies in England through seemingly innocent letters. Parcels delivered through the Red Cross and their families provided more food and material for escape. Like all of Macintyre's books-this one is highly recommended.

43. Toronto Between the Wars Life in the City 1919-1939 by Charis Cotter. This book was given to me by the daughter of one of my friends who died a few years ago. It was a favourite of hers. The author uses many photographs from the Ontario Archives and the City of Toronto Archives. Each photo is used to describe the lives of people in the cities well as show some of the interesting architecture of the times. It is a very interesting photographic history of the city.

elokuu 7, 9:38 am

>91 torontoc: I really enjoy the work of Ben Macintyre Me, too. I don't have this one yet—it sounds great.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 12, 5:37 pm

>93 torontoc: it was !

44. Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast by Bill Richardson. After I read the Bachelor Brothers Pillow Book I had to find the first one that Bill Richardson wrote about the endearing twins Hector and Virgil. This story is not " laugh out loud" like the second but it is sweet and lovely and a great comfort read. There are a few lists of recommended books and one recipe for banana muffins that I would like to try. ( if I spoil 6 bananas- hmmm)There are some funny parts and the origins of the parrot Mrs. Rochester and the cat Waffle are explained. This novel won the 1994 Stephen Leacock Award for Humour-well deserved!

elokuu 12, 9:04 am

>93 torontoc: That's not my usual genre, but you make a good case for it. Added to my tbr. Thanks for sharing your review!

elokuu 12, 9:31 am

>94 Julie_in_the_Library: I agree, but unfortunately these books don’t seem to be available in electronic format. Too bad!

elokuu 12, 9:40 am

>95 FlorenceArt: I actually prefer to read physical books over ebooks, anyway. I'll see if my library system has it for inter-library loan. My library may even have a copy itself, who knows?

elokuu 12, 5:40 pm

>96 Julie_in_the_Library: >95 FlorenceArt: I ordered this book from my " good" independent book store. The " second book" Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book is out of print-sadly.

elokuu 12, 7:08 pm

>97 torontoc: - I used to own the Pillow book but sent it to a friend who lives in the States. I've read them both, of course, and have 6 other titles by Richardson on my shelf! I love that I can *hear* his voice as I read his books. I miss him on the radio (aging myself, of course, since it's been eons since he had his own radio program....)

Muokkaaja: elokuu 13, 9:39 pm

45. Private Palaces Life in the Great London Houses by Christopher Simon Sykes This history had great photographs, drawings and paintings of the very big and elaborate houses built from 1665 to the early 20th century. It is very hard to call these buildings houses as they were enormous places with ballrooms capable of holding hundreds. The author writes about the patrons and the architects who worked on these city estates. There are excerpts from diaries that describe the events and the owners. I enjoyed this book but wondered- these houses displayed the enormous wealth of the nobility in the 18th and 19th century. Most of these places were destroyed in the 20th century and replaced with new streets and apartment buildings. The society of the very rich was replaced with a very different group of people. The history was more than a listing of estates. In a way once the reader put aside the photos and drawings, you could see how life and the geography of the city changed after World War 1.

elokuu 14, 8:25 am

>97 torontoc: That's a shame. Still, there's a chance my library system has a copy.

elokuu 24, 11:17 am

46. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. I really loved this novel. And I have really liked every book written by Ann Patchett. This story takes place on a Michigan cherry farm. Lara and her three grown up daughters, Emily, Maisie and Nell are helping to pick the crop. With her husband Joe, Lara has been providing a place for the girls to live as the pandemic has disrupted their school plans.As they work, Lara has been telling her daughters about her early life as an actress and her relationship with a famed actor, Peter Duke. The girls and we the readers, learn about Lara's role as Emily in Thorton Wilder's Our Town. Lara goes to a small town in Michigan to act in a theatre festival in Tom Lake. There is much to tell about relationships, and choices that are made . The reader finds out what really happens in Lara's life and it is really thrilling and Patchett reveals surprises. I can't say enough about this novel. and I am going to find a copy of Our Town and read it again.

elokuu 24, 5:53 pm

>101 torontoc: I have only read Bel Canto, which I loved, and Run, which I didn't, by Ann Patchett. I own Patron Saint of Liars and Dutch House, I should give her another go.

elokuu 24, 6:51 pm

I recently purchased Tom Lake, Cyrel, but haven't got to it yet. I have to admit, I tried only one other title by her (can't even remember which) and didn't finish it. But she gets so much love and respect on LT, I am willing to try this one.

elokuu 25, 9:24 pm

>103 jessibud2: I really liked the story!
47. Our Town by Thornton Wilder I had to reread this play after I read Tom Lake. It is a little dated but there is wisdom in the words of the Stage Manager. I was in an amateur production of this play many years ago. The last act is very touching. The role of Emily is key to the story but I appreciated the actions of the Stage Manager the best. It is a story ( play) about hard times and optimism. It is both sad and hopeful. I think that I will revisit some of Wilder's other work as well.

elokuu 26, 11:05 am

>104 torontoc: I don't know if you can get your hands on Paul Newman's version of Our Town -- it doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere, unfortunately. It was made for TV (in the theater where Newman performed the play on Broadway in 2002). He was the best Stage Manager I ever saw, and I have lost track of how many live and film versions of this play I have seen (including one in the 60s starring a talented young man I was kinda in love with at the time). It was featured on PBS's Masterpiece Theater series, and there is a DVD.

elokuu 26, 11:15 am

>105 laytonwoman3rd: - I posted about this Newman version on Cyrel's other thread! (the 75ers, I guess). I borrowed a copy from my library.

elokuu 26, 11:25 am

>93 torontoc: Good to see Bill Richardson still holds up. A friend and I were talking about him a couple of weeks ago and wondering where he was now. Reading you review led me to look him up just now, and I found this Marsha Lederman 2022 interview with him: - so thanks for mentioning him!

elokuu 26, 11:43 am

>106 jessibud2: Oh, too funny. Well, great minds, and all that! I didn't realize Cyrel had a 75ers thread too.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 26, 5:22 pm

>105 laytonwoman3rd: I will have to look for that version!
>107 SassyLassy: Thanks for the link!

And now for something completely different..... a book that I had to read and was not so thrilled with.( My current Early Reviewers book)Then I am back to more Thornton Wilder plays.

48. Cleveland Noir edited by Michael Ruhlman and Miesha Wilson Headen I understand the themes presented by the " Noir" series of short stories about a specific city. Each short story seems to mention the sights and neighbourhoods and in this case, the city of
Cleveland.Noir seems to imply that the subjects are about the underside of life in these cities. I have never been to Cleveland and there are indeed many references to landmarks and important sections of the city. I found many of the stories were about desperate people tricked into behaviours that resulted in them being caught. There is graft, planned murders, and horrible disappearances. I think that I expected some of the stories would have more redemption for the characters but that could me looking for more happiness since the pandemic. The stories are all well written but after reading a few I was waiting for the bad things to happen.

elokuu 27, 11:14 am

49. Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes The author writes about Greek myths, Gods and Goddesses from what I have been calling a " 21 century" point of view. No longer are women in these stories portrayed as monsters or shown without any personality. In this story, Haynes retells the story of Medusa. She still has the capacity to turn any living creature to stone is they look at her and her hair of snakes. However, her back story shows this young woman as the loving sister of the Gorgons who are quite humane. Perseus, who cuts off her head, is described as a rather clueless young man who needs the help of a number of gods if he is to be successful in his quest. The other stories in this novel are about the birth of Athena, the crisis when Andromeda is nearly sacrificed for her mother's bad behaviour and the issues with Poseidon. The dialogue is really refreshing.I highly recommend Haynes retelling of the many Greek myths and legends.

50. A Florence Diary by Diana Athill This is a published account of the author's first trip to Florence with a friend of hers in 1947. It is a charming diary that the author rediscovered in later life. Her trip is very much a nice reminder of the charms of travel by train and the wonderful city of Florence.

syyskuu 4, 7:28 pm

51. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. Nina is a young woman who works in a book store. She leads a satisfactory life with commitments to book clubs and trivia teams. Her mother is world famous photographer and her father- not mentioned and not in the picture. Nina's world is upended when she fall for a man who doesn't read much. She also has to deal with her father's complicated family and the reading of his will. And her beloved bookstore might be closing. This is a nice read for the summer.

52. The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder. Well, after rereading Our Town I had to read another play by Wilder. Produced in the US in 1942, I can see all the allusions to the state that the world was in at the time. I wonder if today's readers could understand all the biblical references in the play. It is also very surreal in the structure.

syyskuu 6, 5:00 pm

>111 torontoc: I remember seeing a college theater production of The Skin of Our Teeth as a freshman, and I think I was quite bewildered by it.

syyskuu 9, 8:29 pm

>112 laytonwoman3rd: The stage directions are very surreal!

I finally have gone back to seeing films at the Toronto International Film Festival- not as many as before the pandemic but a few.
So far
"Lost Ladies"
Directed by Kiran Rao
This is both a comedy of errors and a feminist primer. Two brides are switched when a nervous groom takes the wrong bride off of a crowded train. The brides are both wearing the same opaque veil and saris. One bride is abandoned at a railway station and the other is brought by the nervous groom to the wrong family. The film follows both women as one learns to believe in herself and the other shows how to be independent. There is a policeman who is both corrupt and eventually honourable. The story is fun and was enjoyable to watch.

"One Life"
United Kingdom
Directed by James Hawes.
This film related the story of Nicholas Winton and how he save 669 children from the Nazis. Winton was a stockbroker who travelled to Prague in 1938. He saw the wretched conditions that Jewish refugees were living in the city as they had fled from the Nazis. Winton returned to England worked with friends and his mother to bring Jewish children to the UK and matched with foster families. He managed to bring children on 8 trains to England, found foster homes for them and fundraised to support the demands of the British government. The story shows Winton( played beautifully by Anthony Hopkins) in the 1980's as he tries to find a home for his scrapbook detailing this work. No one knew this story of rescue and Winton was very modest.A British TV show united Winton with the children he had rescued. It is a very touching film showing the 1980's and 1938-9. What was so wonderful at the Q & A after the film was the surprise for the audience. The director introduced one of the children that Winton had saved
( now in her late 80's or early 90's) who was in the audience. As well there was a large group of people in the audience who were descendants of the children saved. They stood up and held up photos of the children who were their relations.
I recommend seeing this film!

syyskuu 11, 7:48 am

and my next film -seen yesterday
Irena's Vow
Canada/ Poland
Directed by Louise Archambault
This film is also taken from a true story-that of young Polish woman Irina Gut who saved over 12 Jewish men and women during the Nazis occupation of Poland. Irena was so upset over the brutality that she witnessed as Jews were being rounded up that she was determined to do something. After a year of forced work in a factory she was given job of overseeing the laundry and tailoring for the Nazi officers in her town. When she found out that all Jews working for the Nazis were going to be taken away, she planned to save those she worked with by hiding them. Irene was going to be the head housekeeper for a top Nazi officer in a large villa. She found a hiding place in the cellar and and managed to move them there. The film shows how she managed and how she eventually had this group moved to the forest and the partisans.She had a sacrifice to make for this to happen. It was a very gripping story. And the Q and A at the end of the film was very emotional. The actors were both Polish and French Canadian. ( They were able to be at the film opening as they did not belong to the American Actors' Union. ) Irena's daughter was there and as well a man who was the baby of two of the Jewish people who Irena saved. I also recommend this film as well.

syyskuu 11, 5:01 pm

Are you seeing any other effects of the strikes on this year's TIFF? (I saw the reference to the Polish and Francophone Canadian actors being present).

The films you've reviewed all sound excellent.

syyskuu 11, 8:54 pm

>115 SassyLassy: There are still crowds but few stars in town. All the films that I have seen so far had full houses.
The Pigeon Tunnel
United Kingdom
Directed by Errol Morris
This documentary featured the director interviewing David Cornwell ( known to readers as John le Carre.) The structure of the film was interesting - there were close up shots of David Cornwell as well as excerpts from films adapted from his books and photos of the people in his life. Cornwell talked a lot about his con artist father and his betrayal as well of those he knew as a spy for MI5 and MI6. ( Kim Phiby was discussed). it was a very engrossing work! ( Cornwell's two sons were at the Q and A and were producers of this film)

syyskuu 12, 1:27 pm

>113 torontoc: on - I would like to see several of these. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Interesting that your theaters have been full. The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival moved to streaming movies during COVID, and started doing a hybrid of streamed and in person movies in 2022. I prefer to see them on the big screen, and our theatres are not full. Maybe half full at best, with a few exceptions for movies that aren't streamed.

syyskuu 13, 8:48 am

>117 markon: I have been to a couple of films in person ( not part of the festival) and the theatres were not full.
53. I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai Rebecca Makkai is an interesting author. I had read The Great Believers and really liked it. In this novel the narrator , Bodie goes back to her boarding school to teach two week seminar on podcasts and film. The reader learns that she made a few good friends then but was harassed by one of the boys. She was not part of the in crowd. Her own personal life in California has been changed by an online attack against her former husband. Bodie focuses on the murder of her former roommate Thalia when she was at school when her students look for a topic. Bodie does believe that the man convicted was innocent. With her help, Bodie's students start to investigate the circumstances of the murder and the shoddy work of the police in the small New Hampshire town where the school is located. Bodie is obsessed by one teacher who she believes may have been responsible. Her students continue working on their podcast after the session ends. Later there is a legal procedure to request a retrial that brings Bodie back to the east. Her discoveries alert the reader to the possible real killer. The story certainly held my interest as the reader learns about Bodie's own obsessions and discoveries.

syyskuu 14, 1:35 pm

another film
Widow Cliquot
Directed by Thomas Napper
The festival wouldn't be the festival for me if I didn't see a film that was a French 19th century costume drama! This one was in English and beautifully filmed. The story follows the work of Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin who marries Francois Cliquot. Francois died quite young and Barbe- Nicole finds her self a widow in her twenties. She struggles to continue the work of her husband and his vineyard in Champagne country in France in the early 1800's. The film begins with the death of Francois and shows the relationship between the married couple. Barbe-Nicole changes the way champagne is produced. In fact at the Q and A the director told the audience that she lived until age 89, never left the vineyards and indeed her methods of producing champagne are still used today.The film really concentrates on the problems that Widow Cliquot( as she was called and how her champagne is named today)had with the surrounding growers and the Napoleonic Code that forbade women to manage vineyards.This is a wonderful film.

syyskuu 15, 12:56 pm

Next Goal Wins
Directed by Taika Waititi
I was really looking forward to this film. After seeing it, I think that it is a good film but not a great one. The American Samoan football team( that is soccer to us North Americans) had never scored a goal. In their last international game they lost 31-0 to Australia. The managers really want the team to score just one goal. The team's coach is fired and an American who has seen better times is brought in. The film follows the development and training of the team as they prepare for the tournament that would qualify them for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.The story is funny and inspirational. One player is a person who identifies as non-binary.( and was on the real team)It is worth seeing.

syyskuu 16, 8:59 am

>120 torontoc: This reminds me of a Korean movie I watched recently about the South Korean soccer team winning the Best Newcomer Award at the 2010 Homeless World Cup. Although there is supposedly a documentary about it, Dream is a fictionalized version.

syyskuu 22, 4:24 pm

>121 labfs39: Sounds interesting!

54. Belles Saisons A Colette Scrapbook assembled with commentary by Robert Phelps I find that the pandemic or end of the pandemic ( who knows?) interfered with my reading. I am not reading as much and do tend to put books down and return to them after a while. I guess that this book was more of an" intermission" between serious reads. The intent of this books is really a series of photos and drawings about the life of French writer Colette. I did get an understanding of the events in her life. I was interested in the different people who were part of her life.

Tänään, 1:08 pm

55. Babel by R. F. Kuang Wow! This is an amazing story. The author has created an alternate society where the most important tools in the working of society are enchanted silver bars. The bars are activated by the use of translation and the connection between words and their meanings. Set in 1828 onwards, the reader meets Robin Swift, a young boy born in Canton, China. After being tutored in English, he is taken to England by the man who is his guardian, Professor Lovell. Robin is tutored in Latin, Greek and Chinese.After a few years, he is enrolled in the Royal Institute of Translation at Oxford University. Robin meets the other students in his year-Victoire, Letty and Ramy. All, except for Letty, are different than the rest of the Oxford Students. Robin is half Chinese, Ramy, Indian, and Victoire Haitian. Their gifts are their fluency in their own languages. The description of the classes and the development of words and their origins is fascinating. Robin and his friends learn slowly why they are being educated and how their skills will be used to increase the power of the English empire. They do fight back at first tentatively and later in revolution. The story held my interest and the author introduces issues of power and revolt that seem contemporary. Highly recommended.