Yells Mumblings and Musings

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Yells Mumblings and Musings

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 17, 9:59 am

I was going to skip a thread this year (and go back to lurking) but then I realised how handy it is to track what I am reading AND possibly make & follow a plan. I really need to focus on reading what I already own. I have spent the last few years organising and purging stuff. The house looks a lot better and I have half empty closets (woohoo!) but now I need to look at my over-crowded book shelves. I follow quite a few awards and love lists so I will sort things based on that. I've also bookmarked quite a few threads around here and hope to read more stuff from the eastern side of the world.

So, let's see how this goes!

Painting by Dutch-Canadian painter Cornelius Krieghoff

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 17, 10:08 am

Giller Prize

Founded in 1994, this is one of Canada's most prestigious awards. Over the last few years, I have made it a point to try and read at least the short-list, but I have a spreadsheet of all nominees and will try to clear some off the shelves.

Giller Prize website

A few from year's past that I have on the shelf and would like to get to are:

All the Quiet Places by Isaac
Avenue of Champions by Kerr
We Measure the Earth With Our Bodies by Lama
Ridgerunner by Adamson
Polar Vortex by Mootoo

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:31 pm

Governor General's Literary Awards

Established in 1936, this award has taken many different shapes over the years. Today it honours works in seven categories. I really only follow the fiction stuff but might start looking at some of the non-fiction as well. Finalists are usually announced in the fall.

GG Prize website

Some past nominees that I have on the shelf and would like to get to include:

Noopiming by Simpson - read Jan/23
The Baudelaire Fractal by Robertson
Yiddish for Pirates by Barwin - read Feb/23
The Parcel by Irani - read Jan/23
Hungry Ghosts by Selvadurai
The Back of the Turtle by King
Outline by Cusk

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 8:47 pm

Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Award

I never paid much attention to this prize before (mainly because it was sponsored by our local crappy cable company) but now that Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson are involved, I'm in. Finalists will be announced September 2023 and the award presented in November 2023.

AGWT Award website

Some past nominees that I have on the shelf and would like to get to include:

Some Hellish by Herring (the winner last year)
Dear Evelyn by Page - read Feb/23
Fault Lines by Huston
The Assassin's Song by Vassanji
Atmospheric Disturbances by Galchen
Cockroach by Hage

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 7:44 pm

Canada Reads

A battle of the books, Canada-style. Five books are chosen from a longlist of fifteen and prominent Canadian champion it in a week-long debate in March. This year's theme is: The stories we tell, and the way we tell them, can shape how we see ourselves, our communities and the world. This collection of books is an opportunity to broaden our horizons, expand our worldview and think differently about the world around us and our place in it.

Canada Reads website

The 2023 longlist was just announced and they look pretty good:
Revery: A Years of Bees by Butler - read Jan/23
Half-Bads in White Regalia by Caetano - read Feb/23
Blood Scion by Falaye
Hana Khan Carries On Jalaluddin - read Feb/23
All the Seas of the World by Kay
Dandelion Chai Yun Liew - read Sept/23
We Were Dreamers by Liu - read Mar/23
Finding Edward by Murray - read Mar/23
We Spread by Reid - read Apr/23
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Rice - read prior to 2023

Ducks by Beaton - read Mar/23 WINNER
Greenwood by Christie - read Feb/23
Mexican Gothic by Moreno-Garcia - read Feb/23
Hotline by Nasrallah - read in 2022
Station Eleven by St. John Mandel - read prior to 2023

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 7:44 pm

Women's Prize for Fiction

This will always be the Orange Prize to me (I never did cotton on to the Bailey Prize). I have realised over the years that a lot of what I was reading was written by men. I now seek out works by women and this award helps with that goal every year. I've read all the winners except two so hopefully I can check those off this year. I also want to finally finish Mantel's Cromwell trilogy.

Women's Prize website

Glorious Heresies by McInerney
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ozeki - read Feb/23
The Mirror and the Light by Mantel
Salt Lick by Allison
Freshwater by Emezi
Ghost Wall by Moss
Lost Children Archive by Luiselli
Elmet by Mozley

2023 Women's Prize Longlist

The Dogs of the North by McKenzie - read Apr/23
Memphis by Stringfellow - read Mar/23
Stone Blind by Haynes - read Mar/23
Wandering Souls by Pin - read Apr/23
I'm a Fan by Patel - read Jun/23
Glory by Bulawayo
Cursed Bread by Mackintosh
Children of Paradise by Grudova
The Bandit Queens by Shroff -read Mar/23
Homesick by Croft - read Mar/23

Fire Rush by Crooks
Black Butterflies by Morris
The Marriage Portrait by O'Farrell - read Mar/23
Demon Copperhead by Kingsolver - read Apr/23
Trespasses by Kennedy
Pod by Paull - read Jun /23

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 11, 10:57 am

Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize

This is one that I loosely followed for years but over the last couple years, my interest has increased. I still have three from last year that I need to get to (although I am not sure I will ever finish Glory). I find that there is a nice mix of stuff.

Booker Prize website

After Sappho by Schwartz
Trust by Diaz - read Mar/23
The Shadow King by Mengiste
This Mournable Body by Dangarembga
The Mirror and the Light by Mantel

2023 International Booker Prize - not too many available at my library but I did manage to read a few:
Pyre by Murugan
Is Mother Dead by Hjorth
Time Shelter by Gospodinov

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 11, 10:58 am

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List

I've been plugging away at this list for years. I think I had read about 100 when I first starting tracking my reading and I am now up to 634. As the list has been updated over the years, the total with all additions (and including those deleted) is just over 1300. The overall goal is to eventually get to 1001 books from any of 1300 choices. I probably have a hundred or so titles on my shelves so I really have no excuse to not make a sizeable dent in the pile this year.

Herzog by Bellow
Paradise of the Blind by Huong
Steppenwolf by Hesse
Finnegans Wake by Joyce
Rites of Passage by Golding
Pavel's Letters by Maron
Line of Beauty by Hollinghurst
Morvern Callar by Warner
Black Dahlia by Elllroy
Invisible Cities by Calvino
The Magician of Lublin by Singer
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Ugresic
The Drowned and the Saved by Levi
The Year of the Hare by Paasilinna
Nights at the Circus by Carter
Wise Blood by O'Connor
A Bend in the River by Naipaul
Comfort of Strangers by McEwan
Summer in Baden-Baden by Tsypkin
Passion According to GH by Lispector
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Kundera
Infinite Jest by Wallace
How Late It Was, How Late by Kelman
The Life of Insects by Pelevin
Fear of Flying by Jong
Dead Babies by Amis
Nightwood by Barnes
Dictionary of the Khazars by Pavic
Satanic Verses by Rushdie
Myra Breckinridge by Vidal
Another World by Barker
Before Night Falls by Arenas
Carry Me Down by Hyland
La Brava by Leonard
Smiley's People by LeCarre

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 11, 11:01 am

TBR Fiction: Books read and out the door

Herzog by Bellow
Paradise of the Blind by Huong
Rites of Passage by Golding
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ozeki
Morvern Callar by Warner
Invisible Cities by Calvino
The Magician of Lublin by Singer
Nights at the Circus by Carter
Wise Blood by O'Connor
A Bend in the River by Naipaul
Man by Thuy
Summer in Baden-Baden by Tsypkin
Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Ugresic
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Kundera
How Late it Was, How Late by Kelman
Fear of Flying by Jong
Dead Babies by Amis
Nightwood by Barnes
Myra Breckinridge by Vidal
Another World by Barker
Before Night Falls by Arenas
Carry Me Down by Hyland
Uhuru Street by Vassanji

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 11, 11:02 am

TBR Non-Fiction: Books read and out the door

Black Lion by Mbatha - this was an ER book that sat on my shelf for far longer than it should have
The Shelf by Rose
Schadenfreude by Schuman
The Girl in the Picture by Chong
How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been by Bayard (weird touchstone)
Black Dahlia by Ellroy
Packing for Mars by Roach
One for the Books by Queenan
Ben & Jerry's by Lager
Science of Everyday Life by Ingram
Into the Porcupine Cave by Warner
Used and Rare by Goldstone

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 12:57 pm

Other Stuff

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 3:08 pm

And, before I forget, I've read quite a few books already (I obviously have my reading mojo this month). The weather has been cold and dreary so I have been curled up in my chair with a mug of tea and a cat in my lap, reading up a storm.

I am working my way through the Michael Connelly books (Bosch and Haller mostly) and just finished Gods of Guilt and The Black Box. They are great audiobooks to listen to while I work on other stuff. Most were re-reads up until now but I am starting to get to some of the newer ones that I haven't read yet.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:08 am

Revery by Butler

I seem to be really drawn to books about bees so when I saw this on the CR longlist, I was very excited. I immediately bought a copy and read it in an evening. It's a short little thing, only 126 pages, but wonderfully written. Jenna and her husband live in rural Alberta on a small farm and they have a colony of ten hives. The book is her musings on life, the bees and the effects of climate change. My only criticism is that I didn't want it to end.

Non-fiction, set in Canada (Alberta), audiobook
2023 Canada Reads Longlist

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:09 am

Ocean State by O'Nan

This came in as a library hold and I couldn't for the life of me remember why I put it on hold. I've since realised that I was looking over the books of the Tournament of Books list and thought it sounded interesting. Overall it was okay. Right from the start, we know that a young teenaged girl was murdered and we know that two school mates did it. The novel is an explanation of the events that unfolded to get to that point. It was interesting enough to finish but I don't think I will seek out other books by this author.

Fiction, set in the US (Rhode Island), library book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:09 am

The Last White Man by Hamid

I actually had the same idea for a book! Hamid, of course, writes brilliantly and did a much better job than I would have done, so I will forgive him for climbing into my head and stealing my thoughts. :)

On the surface, it's a deceptively simple book. Anders is a white man who wakes up one morning and finds that his skin has turned quite dark. As he struggles with this change, others around him start to change as well. Before long, violence springs up everywhere as white vigilante gangs try to round up the transformed and people are killing themselves or others.

It's a fascinating topic to consider and Hamid does a wonderful job at touching on things but also leaving it up to the reader to fill in the blanks. Highly recommended.

Fiction, set in ?? (the characters are Anders & Oona so I assumed a Scandinavian country but it's never spelled out), library book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:09 am

Black Lion by Mbatha

This is an ER book that I received a year ago and (I'm embarrassed to say) forgot about. I found it while cleaning and re-organising some shelves and immediately stuck on the top of the pile. It's a non-fiction book about a young man coming of age in South Africa. He dreams of working on a reserve but lacks the funds necessary for the schooling needed. The book is a memoir of his struggle to get there and also about the things that he learns about himself and his connection to the environment along the way.

It seemed to me like this was actually two different stories. Part of it is a chronicle of his life and everything he went through to get to that coveted position. And part is a treatise to the natural environment and the importance of maintaining a strong connection to it. I really think that he would have been more successful if he had of stuck with one story and fleshed it out more. I'm sure he has a million stories about his jobs leading hikers into the wilderness but he didn't spend a lot of time talking about that. Good effort overall though.

Non-fiction, set in South Africa, paper book off the shelf (woohoo! I finally read something that I already own)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:09 am

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Gabaldon

I own a copy of this one, but found an audio version on Libby so I switched back and forth over the course of a week. I loved the series in the beginning when they were in Scotland, but now that they have settled in the US, I can't say that I have the same excitement about it. It's an entertaining series but I'll be honest, I'll be glad when it's finally done.

Fiction, set in the US (North Carolina), audiobook/e-book

tammikuu 16, 6:37 pm

Once you decided to start a thread (which I'm glad you did), you hit the ground running!

>15 Yells: I read and enjoyed The Reluctant Fundamentalist years ago, but have never gotten back to Hamid. I picked up Exit West last year, I need to get to it. This one sounds interesting too.

>17 Yells: I loved the early Outlander books too. The later ones are hit or miss. I liked the Roger story line. I have this one, but haven't read it yet. Is she winding up soon?

tammikuu 16, 9:23 pm

Glad you have thread, and cool how much you have read already. Revery appeals. Very interesting to see the awards you're following.

tammikuu 16, 9:33 pm

Glad you started a thread. You've listed many potential reads that sound interesting, many of which I haven't heard of. I had heard of the new one by Mohsin Hamid, but your review made me much more interested in it than I had been.

tammikuu 16, 9:42 pm

>16 Yells: lol, I still have Black Lion unread from an ER win as well. Glad to see you read it and it was readable. I think I liked Ocean State more than you, and it is a bit different than some of his other books. Late Night at the Lobster and Emily, Alone are both better representations of O'Nan's writing.

tammikuu 17, 8:29 am

>18 labfs39: I loved The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I've also read How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (enjoyed it) and Exit West (good but probably my least favourite so far). I have a copy of Moth Smoke on the shelf so we'll see how that one goes.

Is Gabaldon winding down? Dunno. This one ended with a cliffhanger so she has at least one more coming. At this point, they have the benefit of knowing the future so why not go some place with no upcoming war? Go have a nice relaxing life some place warm and conflict free. I know it doesn't make for fun reading but geez people... stop looking for trouble. :)

tammikuu 17, 8:31 am

>19 dchaikin: Revery was a lovely little read. I hope it makes it through to the debate.

I've always been a sucker for lists so naturally gravitate towards the awards. Unfortunately, it means that the shiny new ones usually get read before the ones that I already own, but maybe this is the year to remedy that a bit.

tammikuu 17, 8:36 am

>20 arubabookwoman: Definitely give Hamid a go. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is my favourite overall, but The Last White Man is still in my head. He has a way of slyly suggesting things and then leaving it up to the reader to think it through. He has become an author that I read automatically when new books come out.

tammikuu 17, 8:46 am

>21 raidergirl3: Glad I'm not the only one! Yup, it's definitely readable. I quite liked reading about his relationship with nature and how passionate he is about his connection with the environment. He just needed to pick a focus and go with it. Parts were sparse while other parts were quite repetitive. A better editor would have done wonders.

Well then, I might have to give O'Nan another go. I liked Ocean State but it just seemed like a book that has been written a million times already. And I had a bit of a problem with him writing from the POV of teenaged girls. Birdy was the only one that I bought as a character. The two sisters seemed rather flat. I'll have to check out the other two that you suggest and see how I feel - thanks for the suggestions!

tammikuu 17, 8:53 am

Right now I am in the middle of This Much is True by Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout) and I can't stop laughing. She is 81 and just as feisty as ever. This is definitely not a book for anyone bothered by colourful language or sex because man, this woman has had quite the life and holds nothing back.

tammikuu 17, 4:20 pm

>26 Yells: I thought I would like that but she just annoyed me.

tammikuu 18, 12:10 pm

>27 dianeham: I get that - even she admits that she isn't for everyone. There were a few parts that I found annoying, but overall I couldn't stop giggling, the inner 12-year old inside me that is :)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:10 am

This Much is True By Margoyles

This memoir was quite the ride! Margolyes has no filter and holds nothing back in this book. Several times I found myself reading, mouth agape, wondering if I just read what I thought I read. She is definitely a character and one that I think I'd love to spend an afternoon chatting with.

Non-fiction, set in the UK, e-book

tammikuu 18, 11:46 pm

Hi Danielle! You mentioned Noopiming in another topic. I’m reading now and I am loving it. I think it’s fantastic.

tammikuu 19, 8:27 am

>30 dianeham: I saw your post in the other thread - so glad that you are enjoying it! I had planned to read Roughing it in the Bush and saw your note about the link between that and this book. Once I finish some library books, I think I'll tackle them both. Thanks for the suggestion!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:10 am

The Parcel by Irani

I ended up reading The Parcel alongside The Return of Faraz Ali not realising that they dealt with the same sort of thing (one was on my TBR list and one was a library hold that happened to come in at the same time). The Parcel was a much more disturbing read but I enjoyed both equally.

The 'parcel' is a term used to describe a young child who has been sold into the sex trade. In this case, the parcel is a young girl, sold by her aunt, who arrives at a brothel to be groomed for her new life. Madhu is a transgendered woman who has aged out of prostitution and now makes a living begging and taking odd jobs. She is tasked by the brothel owner with breaking the young girl down so that the child goes willing towards her fate. Madhu doesn't really want the job but she has no choice. Soon, however, she finds herself haunted about her own turbulent past and she isn't sure whether she can complete the task.

This is a very difficult book to read, especially after I realised what the 'parcel' was, but it's also a fantastic look at the human spirit and how resilient we can be.

Fiction, set in India, e-book
2016 Governor General's Literary Awards nominee
2016 Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Award nominee

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:10 am

The Return of Faraz Ali by Ahmad

This one is similar to The Parcel but set in Pakistan. Faraz is the son of a poor prostitute and a wealthy father. He is kidnapped by his father at an early age and given a chance to have a normal life. It's now years later and Faraz, a police officer, is sent back to Mohalla, Lahore's walled inner city and the place of his birth He is now head of the police station there and is tasked with investigating the death of a young girl. As he moves through the investigation, his past also comes back to haunt him.

Fiction, set Pakistan & India (and a little Bangladesh), library book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:10 am

Surrender by Bono

I was a HUGE U2 fan growing up. My first grown-up concert, one where I was allowed to go with friends and no parents, was the magical Joshua Tree tour in 1987. I completely lost interest when Achtung Baby came out and haven't paid much attention to the band since.

This book is okay. It's basically Bono's ramblings about the band's history and his activism with a lot of name-dropping in between. I enjoyed parts of it, especially the stories about the band's beginnings but the rest was like reading Bono's diary where he tries to come to terms with the fact that he became kind of an ass over the years. Enjoyable, but I liked Unforgettable Fire better.

Non-fiction, Library book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:10 am

Noopiming by Betasamosake Simpson

I will start by saying that I am not much of a poetry fan and I rarely like experimental literature, but this book was lovely. The story is beautiful; told through short snippets of prose, it's the story of seven characters. Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator’s will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain. (this part is cut and pasted from Over-riding everything is Mashkawaji, a spirit (?) that lies frozen in the ice.

They all weave in and out of each other's worlds, trying to make sense of the changes that they see. Parts are hilarious (the bit with the doll had me giggling) while other parts are quite sad and depressing (why do we continue to ruin the planet?) I think this is a book that I could read a hundred times and walk away with different thoughts and feelings each time. Very well done.

I will also say that I recognised a lot of places mentioned in the book. I grew up near Toronto and spent many summers in Tommy Thompson park. Ah, the memories...

Fiction, set in Canada, e-book
2020 Governor General's Literary Awards nominee

tammikuu 23, 9:53 pm

With all the posts around this book, I’ve been anticipating your review. 😊
It’s a terrific review. I’m very interested.

helmikuu 2, 12:12 pm

>36 dchaikin: It was a fantastic read. Very different but the style works well for this kind of story. I'd highly recommend it.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 9, 10:02 pm

My long-term 'project' to re-read/read all of the Michael Connelly books is almost done (brought on mostly because I finished watching Bosch/Bosch Legacy). Last year I started working my way through of the Bosch & Haller books and I now have only one more standalone novel to go. Most are enjoyable and it's been fun to read/listen to them again.

Prior to that, I was re-reading/reading Stephen King's books in order so I will start that up again. I am up to The Dark Half.

And, because I'm a masochist, I started reading/listening to Finnegans Wake. I read Ulysses a few years ago (with the help of the fantastic Re Joyce podcast) and loved it. I knew FW would be a different experience, but yowsers, this is another world indeed. I wanted to take my time with it and study along with various resources, but I think this is just one that I will read/listen to and move on. Life is too short to try and make sense of this muddled mess. Ulysses at least had a storyline to follow.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:10 am

Four Past Midnight by King

Loved the first story, didn't like the second story (thanks to Johnny Depp ruining the character for me) and enjoyed the last two. Feels weird calling this a collection of short stories when there are only four novellas and the book is almost 1000 pages.

Fiction, set in the US, e-book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:11 am

The Dark Half by King

Okay story but I didn't really engage with it. I kept thinking of Johnny Depp in the role (different movie, I know) and that coloured the story. I used to read King's books religiously but this period (early 90s) is when I lost interest and only read the odd book afterwards. Dolores Claiborne is next so we will see how that goes.

Fiction, set in the US, e-book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:13 am

Paradise of the Blind by Huong

A beautifully frustrating novel about Hang, a young Vietnamese woman, who longs to live her own life but keeps getting caught up with familial duties. Hang is on a train travelling to Moscow to see her sick uncle. The novel jumps back and forth in time, from the 1950s to the 1980s, so we slowly learn about Hang's childhood. Her mother Que married a landowner who was run out of town when the communists briefly took over. When the Special Section for the Rectification of Errors comes to return property, Que is almost run out of town because of her communist brother Chinh (this poor woman just can't win).

The novel looks at the affects that an uneasy political environment and gender issues had on the family. I don't know much about Vietnamese history, so I will need to do some more reading to better makes sense of some parts of the book. As it jumps around a lot in time, I think having a basic understanding of the politics of the time before reading would have greatly helped.

Fiction, set in Vietnam, paper book
1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

helmikuu 6, 10:37 am

>41 Yells: I read her Novel Without a Name last year and thought it was excellent. I have Memories of a Pure Spring already, but this one looks good too.

helmikuu 6, 5:01 pm

>38 Yells: - re FW: just, good luck

helmikuu 7, 12:40 pm

>42 labfs39: PM me your address if you want this copy. It's a good book and I think you'd like it. I have quite a few books about Vietnam lying around here so I will bump a few up the pile.

>43 dchaikin: I'm listening to Book 3 right now so more than halfway through. Still don't understand much, but there is an oddly satisfying rhythm to the narration that I quite enjoy. That being said, I can't wait to get out of Joyce's mind and enter the real world again. :)

helmikuu 7, 2:10 pm

>44 Yells: Thanks, Danielle.

Which books from Vietnam do you have in the queue? My favorites from the last couple of years are Em and The Mountains Sing, followed by Novel without a Name, The Sympathizer, and Dust Child. I also read the graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do, which was interesting. I have Ru on my read-sooner-rather-than-later shelf.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 4:15 pm

>45 labfs39: I know I have copies of The Mountains Sing and The Sympathizer and keep seeing those titles pop up everywhere (you enabler you). And of course, I love, love, love Thuy and have read Em and Ru. Not sure what else I have but probably a few more. I have a bad habit of seeing something interesting here and immediately buying the e-book. However, I have a ton of paper books on the shelf that I need to pay attention to so that is supposed to be my focus this year.

Oh, totally forgot about The Girl in the Picture - got a free copy of that eons ago.

helmikuu 8, 7:23 am

>46 Yells: The Girl in the Picture looks interesting in that it covers the post-war period as well. I can't imagine that it's an easy book to read though. I'll look for it.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:11 am

Dickens and Prince by Hornby

A cute little novella about Charles Dickens and Prince. A bit of a fanboy homage but also part interesting comparison about two people who I never would have thought had much in common. This was a fun audiobook to listen to - Hornby obviously had fun writing and narrating this one.

Non-fiction, audiobook

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 10:11 am

Finnegans Wake by Joyce

Well, that was an adventure. Listened to the audio while reading along with parts. I don't understand much of it but rather loved the word play. Eyebulbs is now in my vernacular.

Fiction, audiobook/ebook
1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 13, 8:57 am

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ozeki

This is a wonderful book and I'm now kicking myself for not reading it earlier - I actually got an ARC from my library in 2021 and sadly, it sat on the shelf due to its size. It ended up winning the Women's Prize last year and for good reason.

The book is about loss and grief. Benny's father dies in a freak accident leaving Benny and his mom alone in the world. Without friends or relatives nearby, they both struggle. It's now a year later and things have gotten quite bad. Mom is dealing with her grief through hoarding and Benny is hearing voices coming from the objects in the home and around him. As they grow further apart and as the hoarding/voices get stronger, they are at risk to loss everything. But help comes from strange places and the book looks at their journey back.

The story is actually told in parts by Benny but also by the book itself. I loved this devise as it worked well for this type of story.

Fiction, set in Canada (BC), audiobook/paper book
Winner of the Women's Prize 2022

helmikuu 10, 10:18 am

>17 Yells: >18 labfs39: I have only read the first six Outlander books so far, but I feel similar. I loved the first ones, but in book 5 and 6 I mainly loved the plot lines connected to Scotland somehow. I started a reread and hope to read Dragonfly in Amber soon, and then to go on to finally catch up.

>18 labfs39: I read Exit West about two years ago and loved it.

>26 Yells: I just added This Much Is True to my audible wishlist because I was looking for memoirs read by the author. Your comments encourage me to give it a go some time this year.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 8:24 am

Greenwood by Christie

After reading the fantastic The Book of Form and Emptiness, I then picked up this equally fantastic book. This one is on the short list for Canada Reads and its spot is well deserved. It's a sprawling generational novel that starts at the turn-of-the-century with a train wreck & two orphaned boys who grow up together as brothers, and ends in the near future after climate change has decimated the earth leaving Canada with the only trees in the world. Its part adventure story (in the lines of Jeffrey Archer) and part critical look at climate change, but it's never preachy or over the top.

Fiction, set in Canada (all over), library book/e-book (it was so good that I broke down and bought an e-copy).

Canada Reads 2023 shortlist
2019 Giller Prize longlist

helmikuu 13, 8:57 am

>51 MissBrangwen: I've reread the Outlander series a few times (bad memory) and I do enjoy them, but I wish they would just return to Scotland. It's rather bizarre that Gabaldon keeps them in the US with a pending war coming.

If you liked Exit West, keep reading - I haven't read a bad one yet.

Let me know how you make you with Miriam. I'm normally annoyed by loud, out-spoken people but with her, I don't get the sense that she's doing it for attention. She seems like a genuinely odd, loud, likable person and I loved reading her memoir.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 8:34 am

Half-Bads in White Regalia by Caetano

A coming-of-age memoir about a boy growing up poor in cottage country Ontario. Funny and devastating.

Non-fiction, set in Ontario, library book
2023 Canada Reads longlist

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 20, 3:25 pm

Hana Khan Carries On by Jalaluddin

This was a cute Canadian take on You've Got Mail. She looks at issues regarding immigration, cultural identity and racism in a light, fun kind of way.

Fiction, set in Ontario, audiobook
2023 Canada Reads longlist

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 20, 3:24 pm

The Overstory by Powers

I always thought this would be too preachy so despite being interested, I kept putting it off. On a whim, I started listening to the audiobook last week and quickly fell under it's spell. Is it preachy? Not really. I think he does a fair job at keeping that out of a story about climate change. I loved his approach to the structure of the book - he sets it up like an actual tree, with each of the roots being different characters that eventually come together to form the trunk. I thought that was brilliant and definitely a reason why this one rose about similar book to win the Pulitzer.

Fiction, set in the US, audiobook/e-book
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2019
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 20, 2:57 pm

Dolores Claiborne by King

A short Stephen King novel? That can't be right. The entire novel is her conversation with the police after they suspect her of killing the woman she works as caregiver for. Dolores isn't guilty but takes this as an opportunity to confess all her sins. King has an amazing ability to climb into the mind of a person and make you believe that you are in there as well.

Fiction, set in the US, e-book

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 1:52 pm

Yiddish for Pirates by Barwin

Well, what on earth does one say about this book? The narrator is a 500-year-old Jewish parrot named Aaron. From his retirement home in modern-day Florida, Aaron regales us with tales from his life as a pirate in 1492. Together with his sidekick, 13-year-old Moishe, the two travelled around the world, fighting pirates, protecting Jewish relics and falling in love. And becoming friends with Chris Columbus.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did but as much as I enjoy adventure novels, this one had a little too much adventure for me. I loved the Yiddish humour and puns though. It made the deeper message about persecution and identity stand out a lot more, but the capture/escape/capture/escape cycle just got to be way too repetitive after a bit. Probably just me though (I also got irritated with the Lord of the Rings movies for the same reason so what do I know).

Fiction, set all over the New World and Old, e-book

Shortlisted for the 2016 Giller Prize & Governors General Award
Longlisted for the 2021 Canada Reads

helmikuu 20, 7:31 am

>58 Yells: told in the ribald, philosophical voice of a 500-year-old Jewish parrot

well, that's different

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 4:50 pm

The Line of Beauty by Hollinghurst

While reading the first half of this one, I couldn't help rolling my eyes at yet another book about rich people doing stupid rich people things. The only difference this time is that the main character, Nick, isn't really rich but through good luck, ends up rooming with a very rich friend from university. The novel takes place during the Thatcher years in Britain. Nick is gay, partially out of the closet, but also very careful who he shares his secret with. At first, him and his vacuous friends flit from party to party, drinking and doing lines of coke. Oh, and sleeping with the help.

Once I hit the middle, things started to get rather dark and I couldn't get enough of the novel. As someone who also came of age during the 80s/90s, I remember the fear I felt when I first hear about this mysterious incurable illness called AIDS, and I especially remember all the rumours that were thrown around about how it was a 'gay disease'. As things started hitting close to home and Nick finds himself in the middle of scandal upon scandal, he really starts to look at life quite differently.

Fiction, set in the UK, e-book
Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize
1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 9:52 pm

>59 labfs39: I'd love someone else to read this and report back. Different? Very! But something didn't quite come together for me.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 1:54 pm

I have been on an absolute reading tear these days. I have the week off and apparently that means reading everything in sight. But, since I usually read a lot in the winter, it's par for the course. I have also been slowly going through the shelves and purging stuff that I have already read and probably won't want to read again or stuff that I bought years ago and now can't remember why. The rest of the house is in order so this is the year to tackle the overflowing shelves, although I did read that it isn't hoarding if it's books so I could just make that my new mantra and go with it...

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 5:40 pm

Black Dahlia by Ellroy

Yowzers, this is one messed up story. This is a very loosely based fictionalised account of the murder of Elizabeth Short, a young woman from Boston who came to LA presumably with dreams of being an actor and ended up gruesomely murdered in 1947. I'm not sure what surprised me the most - the fictional story of the case of the Black Dahlia (it reads like the craziest crime noir book I've ever read) or Ellroy's afterward explaining what he wrote the story the way he did.

1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 5:40 pm

The Magician of Lublin by Singer

Do you love him or hate him? Yasha is a womanising, lapsed Jewish entertainer who lives a somewhat carefree life in 1880s Poland. He is married to the ever patient Esther, but despite his love for her, he just can't help hooking up with numerous other women in his travels. On one such trip, a series of bad decisions and horrible events rocks him to his core and causes him to look deep into himself and reconsider what he deems important.

1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 3, 1:41 pm

Morvern Callar by Warner

What does one when one wakes up and finds their boyfriend has killed himself during the night? Chop him into pieces, bury him around town and carry on, of course. Sounds very odd and rather cold, but when you learn more about Morvern, it almost sounds like a loving tribute. An oddly interesting book.

1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 6, 3:22 pm

We Were Dreamers by Liu

This is lovely memoir - very humble and honest. Part of it is an immigration story. Simu moved to Canada when he was 4 years old and was raised by two very hard-working Chinese parents who overcame tremendous odds to get there. They wanted the absolute best for him and strongly encouraged him to study hard and go into medicine or law. He started down that path and worked as an accountant for a short while but discovered that acting was his passion. His parents were less than thrilled. He is very open and honest about his strained relationship with his parents during this point in his life. But, it is also a memoir about pursuing ones dreams and, in the end, building a different sort of relationship with his parents.

I had the book out of the library but decided to listen to the audio instead as it was read by him. Very glad that I did that as you could hear the emotion in his voice when he talked about certain times in his life. I laughed and cried along with him.

Non-fiction, set in China/Canada/US, audiobook
Nominated for 2023 Canada Reads

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 12, 12:18 pm

The Illegal by Hill

I enjoyed Book of Negroes but I haven't read anything by Hill until now. I had the e-book but read it in tandem with the audiobook.

It takes place in on two fictional islands east of Africa. One, Zantoroland, is a corrupt dictatorship where people are routinely murdered for speaking out so people are often trying to flee to the relatively calm neighbouring Freedom State. Keita lives in Zantoroland with his journalist father who is brutally murdered one day. His sister managed to escape years earlier by earning a scholarship to Harvard but now she is tricked into returning and has gone missing. Keita, an aspiring runner, uses his talents to escape to Freedomland but is being blackmailed by everyone. He is trying to hide while also competing in races to earn enough money to free his sister and hopefully himself.

It's a thriller of sorts but Hill also tackles racism in many different forms. The people of Freedom State aren't too happy about all the refugees who continually turn up on their shores. They are especially not happy about AfricTown, a small settlement of displaced people on the edge of the community. It was an enjoyable run.

Fiction, audiobook/e-book
2016 Canada Reads winner

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:31 pm

Beyond the Trees by Shoalts

A memoir about a man who decides to tackle Canada's north in a canoe. Against all odds, he not only does it alone but he also travels from Yukon east to Nunavut, the reverse of what others typically do. In all, he travels 4,000 kms through mosquito infested bogs, up raging rivers and through ice floes. Oh, and he has to do it fast as the weather changes rapidly so his window to complete the daunting task isn't very long. Its a fascinating book but I am perfectly happy to read about it rather than attempt it myself.

Non-fiction, set in Northern Canada, audiobook

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:31 pm

Stone Blind by Haynes

I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Haynes. I love her podcast and her books. When I think of Medusa, I immediately think of the Hollywood version of the wickedly cruel woman with snakes for hair who maliciously kills anyone who looks at her. Haynes flips this upside down and looks at her as a misunderstood woman, a mortal who lives with her immortal sisters. Her body changes in ways that she couldn't have ever imaged and her sisters, while comforting, can't really help her deal with these changes. Perseus, usually seen as a hero for slaying her, comes across as a selfish brat who willing kills (with the help of the Gods) just so he can help his mother avoid marriage to a man she doesn't like.

I don't know a lot about mythology but I am familiar with tale (thanks Clash of the Titans!) and I love these re-imaginings, especially ones that are plausible. I loved this book.

Fiction, e-book
Longlisted for the 2023 Women's Prize

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:30 pm

Memphis by Stringfellow

This one will stay with me for a while... wow. It starts in 1995 with Miriam and her two daughters, Mya & Joan, returning to Memphis after a failed marriage. She moves back into the family home with her sister August and August's son Derek. The novel jumps back and forth through three generations of the family and as the story unwinds, we start to learn all their secrets.

This is a tough look at racism, domestic violence and rape - Stringfellow doesn't hold much back. But it's also a look at the importance of family and connection, forgiveness and hope. I can definitely see why this was nominated for the Women's Prize and would be disappointed if it didn't make the shortlist.

Fiction, set in the US (Tennessee), library book
Longlisted for the 2023 Women's Prize

maaliskuu 13, 2:01 pm

>60 Yells: I read The Line of Beauty many years ago and thought it was very good, indeed. I'm glad it eventually took hold for you.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:30 pm

Infinite Jest by Wallace

A month-long audiobook/ebook odyssey is finally done! Not sure I understand it all, but I loved the satire. Parts were absolutely hilarious.

Fiction, set in the US, paper book
1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:30 pm

How Late It Was, How Late by Kelman

Poor Sammy. He's having a REALLY day. Of course, he is his own worst enemy so it's inevitable. After a two-day drinking binge, he wakes up in an alley and promptly gets into a fight with a police officer. Battered, bruised and blind, he sobers up and is released back out into the street. The novel is a stream-of-consciousness book where we get a deep look into Sammy's mind while he tries to figure things out.

Fiction, set in the UK, paper book
1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:29 pm

The Marriage Portrait by O'Farrell

Fiction, set in Italy, e-book
Longlisted for the 2023 Women's Prize

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 2:29 pm

The Life of Insects by Pelevin

Humans as insect, insects as human - very interesting premise. Pelevin uses anthromorphic insects to highlight life in Russia in the 1990s. I really enjoyed this one.

Fiction, set in Russia, paper book
1001 Books to Read Before You Die list

kesäkuu 11, 9:58 am

How is it June already? Despite reading up a storm, I've been rather remiss in logging things. Life is crazy busy but in a good way - new job starts tomorrow, my plan to lose weight is going really well (40 lbs down since February) and the car we ordered a year and a half ago is finally coming in (it's near impossible to get a Camry hybrid these days!). I just had a week off between jobs and spent time relaxing, reading and catching up with friends. Life is good!

I've read a lot of books this year and kind of gave up logging them awhile ago. I'll have to try a bit harder in the second half of the year. :)

kesäkuu 11, 10:04 am

Summary so far:

I finished a little project of reading all the Michael Connelly books in order of publication/series. It was a year-long venture and one that I enjoyed. He makes for some good mindless reading after a long day of work.

The Brass Verdict
The Scarecrow
Blood Work
Void Moon
Chasing the Dime
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Overlook
Nine Dragons
The Reversal
The Black Box
The Crossing
Two Kinds of Truth
The Drop
The Wrong Side of Goodbye
The Burning Room
The Dark Hours
Desert Star
Dark Sacred Night
The Fifth Witness
Gods of Guilt
The Law of Innocence
Fair Warning

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 11, 10:11 am

I have been plugging away on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list and made some decent progress this year:

Herzog by Bellow
Paradise of the Blind by Huong
Steppenwolf by Hesse
Finnegans Wake by Joyce
Rites of Passage by Golding
Pavel's Letters by Maron
Line of Beauty by Hollinghurst
Morvern Callar by Warner
Black Dahlia by Elllroy
Invisible Cities by Calvino
The Magician of Lublin by Singer
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Ugresic
The Drowned and the Saved by Levi
The Year of the Hare by Paasilinna
Nights at the Circus by Carter
Wise Blood by O'Connor
A Bend in the River by Naipaul
Comfort of Strangers by McEwan
Summer in Baden-Baden by Tsypkin
Passion According to GH by Lispector
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Kundera
Infinite Jest by Wallace
How Late It Was, How Late by Kelman
The Life of Insects by Pelevin
Fear of Flying by Jong
Dead Babies by Amis
Nightwood by Barnes
Dictionary of the Khazars by Pavic
Satanic Verses by Rushdie
Myra Breckinridge by Vidal
Another World by Barker
Before Night Falls by Arenas
Carry Me Down by Hyland
La Brava by Leonard
Smiley's People by LeCarre

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 18, 8:16 pm

A few other series:

Jeffrey Archer's Warwick series

Nothing Ventured
Hidden in Plain Sight
Turn a Blind Eye
Over My Dead Body
Next in Line

A fun YA trilogy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games
The Hawthorne Legacy
The Final Gamble (wonky touchstone)

Some from my Read Stephen King in publication order venture:

Dolores Claiborne
The Dark Half
Four Past Midnight
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Rose Madder

And I re-listened to the Harry Potter series - I absolutely love Jim Dale reading them and despite the Rowling controversy, these are now yearly comfort reads.

kesäkuu 11, 10:26 am

And the rest - most are on various short/long lists or random audiobooks that I found on Libby or books that have been languishing on my shelf for far too long:

The Return of Faraz Ali by Ahmad
Brown Girls by Andreades
Yiddish for Pirates by Barwin
How to Talk About Places You've Never Been by Bayard
Atlas Six by Blake
Surrender by Bono
Revery by Butler
Half-Bads in White Regalia by Caetano
The Girl in the Picture by Chong
Greenwood by Christie
Ready Player One by Cline
Homesick by Croft
Trust by Diaz
Haven by Donoghue
Well-Read Black Girl by Edim
The Measure by Erlick
One for the Money by Evanovich
Man's Search for Meaning by Frankl
Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Gabaldon
Used and Rare by Goldstone

kesäkuu 11, 10:35 am

Time Shelter by Gospodinov
The Storyteller by Grohl
The Menopause Manifesto by Gunter
The Last White Man by Hamid
Stone Blind by Haynes
The Illegal by Hill
Dickens and Prince by Hornby
Disorientation by Hsieh Chou
Science of Everyday Life by Ingram
The Parcel by Irani
Hana Khan Carries On by Jalaluddin
News of the World by Jiles
The Phantom Tollbooth by Juster
Demon Copperhead by Kingsolver
Real Sex by Kohut
Babel by Kuang
Stolen by Laestadius
Ben & Jerry's by Lager
The Wall by Lancaster
Superfan by Lee

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 11, 10:41 am

kesäkuu 11, 10:47 am

Pod by Paull
Wandering Souls by Pin
The Overstory by Powers
The Cabinet of Dr Leng by Preston
The Maid by Prose
One for the Books by Queenan
The Employees by Ravn
We Spread by Reid
Daisy Jones and the Six by Reid
Packing for Mars by Roach
Abandoned in Death by Robb
The Shelf by Rose
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Sankovitch
Elsewhere by Schaitkin
Schadenfreude by Schuman
Beyond the Trees by Shoalts
The Bandit Queens by Shroff
Noopiming by Simpson
Memphis by Stringfellow
Lucy by the Sea by Strout

kesäkuu 11, 10:49 am

kesäkuu 11, 10:51 am

Lots of excellent reads in there - I will need to make a separate list of the best of the best at some point. But for now, I can start anew. Happy reading!

kesäkuu 18, 5:08 pm

What an amazing half year of reading, Danielle! So many of these titles are ones I too want to read. How was Go Tell the Bees that I am Gone? I want to reread the last one before starting this and am saving it for a rainy day. I'm also curious about The White Lady as I am a Maisie Dobbs fan. What did you think of Time Shelter? I liked it much better in hindsight than while reading it!