The Year in Books – January, 2016

Fresh new year to try and achieve my Good Reads goal of reading 20 books.  I failed last year and did not read 24 so yes, I did lower my standards a tad!  Once upon a time there was no Internet and no car, thus long bus rides.  A lot.  A LOT.  A LOT more books were read.  Then came children, house stuff, faffing on the Internet.  Next thing you know, reading one book a month is a challenge.  This needs to stop.  I have always loved reading.  Way back in elementary school, my friends Lynne and Kathy and I spent more time in the library than anywhere else.  I’d love to know just how many books we read in that itty-bitty Boucherville Elementary School library.  Lynne and I read every single Chica D’Oro book the school had (call them Nancy Drew on horseback, if you will) I had to look up some titles as they were long gone from my memory:  Linda Craig and the Palomino Mystery was the first.  The palomino in question was called Chica D’Oro.  And of course, we read all the Black Stallion books.  Okay, Lynne may have been the instigator of all books horse as she was MAD about horses.

Kathy and I quickly moved into Harlequin Romance stories (don’t even!).  That girl was the fastest reader I have ever known! I could never keep up with her rhythm. We would sit in her backyard and read away the day.

Eventually I moved into historical romance – to this day my favourites are still Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (The Wolf and the Dove, The Flame and the Flower, Shanna! These ladies were something else.  I swear, if I had had a daughter, her name was definitely going to be Shanna.), Bertrice Small (the Skye O’Malley series… yum), Rosemary Rogers (Sweet, Savage Love…oh my…) Yes, there were many of that sort, I canna lie!  I gobbled them up.  We shared books.  Books went the rounds: from my mother, to me, to my sisters, to my friends.

After a while, I grew tired of these types of books – though I am not adverse to reading one here or there – as they started feeling redundant.

I discovered James A. Michener and his sweeping tales, giving me a history lesson woven into a wonderful story:  Texas, Chesapeake, Tales of the South Pacific, to name but a few.  Too difficult to name a favourite.

Boyfriends and other friends introduced me to such books as Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, A Trilogy in Four Parts, books I would NEVER have thought of reading!

Since then, I have touched on many genres and loved, cried, laughed, sighed, hated so many along the way.  I am now open to reading almost anything, quite frankly.  Having gone to a French high school, I felt I missed out on the classics, so I decided to start reading some of them.  For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemmingway (totally hated it, by the way – I know, I know, heresy!) is one of them! The Brönte sisters, Jane Austin, etc.  I could go on and on.  Actually, I have gone on and on.  Apologies!

Now I have become part of this fabulous world in the Blogosphere.  I am constantly amased by the circles created.  You discover one blog, comment on it, read the other comments, check out the commenters blogs.  New circle formed.  Somehow, I cannot even tell you how, I have ended up in a circle of published authors.  Or rather, a few circles with published authors amongst them.  The first book I read by bloggers I followed – The Great Jollyhoombah (so sad they no longer blog) was The End of Wishing Our Days Away, by Tammy and CJ Renzi, a lovely, hilarious couple who shared in the blogging duties and co-wrote the book.  Was a most enjoyable read.

The second time I read a blogger’s book was Timesmudger, by Gillian Smellie.  I love young adult lit as much as anything else and I truly enjoyed this one.  A click on the link will bring you to my review of said book.

2016-01-07 21.43.05

This was the start of something!  Now that I’ve rambled on and on, allow me to introduce my reads for the month of January.  Yes, I am feeling very optimistic and will read not one but two books this month!  Both are women I met through my weekly Friday Fictioneers “Club”.  The first is Claire Fuller’s Our Endless Numbered Days.  I’ve barely begun it and am already drawn in.  I think I’ll be gobbling this one up!

My second choice is the long-awaited (by me) sequel to Please Say Kaddish For Me by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields that I read back in JuneFrom Silt and Ashes is the continuing story of Havah, her husband, Arel and some family members as they flee the pogroms in Russia to the supposed liberty in United States.  I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this one!

Laura, over at Circle of Pine Trees is the hostess of this group of readers.  Unfortunately she no longer has the link up for our posts, but she can still be found here.

 

The Year In Books: May 2015

Well this month is slightly better than last!  At least I’ll have a good twenty days to read this month’s book!

April’s choice was another Jodi Picoult novel.  Lone Wolf.  Not the best choice I could have made considering my past four months… Once I started reading it and realized it would touch on the issue of whether or not one should pull the plug on a patient who is brain-dead, I could have stopped.  I’ve always been a little bit of a masochist though!  In my case there was no opposition to the choice being made but I can only imagine how hard it would be if, as in the case of this book, two siblings have differing views.

As per usual, Picoult delves into a most difficult subject with much research, empathy and heart.  Once again the story is told in a multitude of voices:  The Lone Wolf himself, Luke Warren, who is the patient in question; his son, Edward; his daughter, Cara; his ex-wife, Georgie; the lawyer representing the son, Joe; and a couple of others.  Each chapter is a new voice which weaves the story together.   It was a fascinating read ~ Luke Warren studied wolves in great depth, including living with them in Quebec for a period of two years:  hunted with them, lived with them, participated in whatever rituals, etc. So very interesting.  His telling of his relationship with the wolves is woven into his relationships in the human world which also helps the reader understand his view of life.  As in most families, each member has their own image of other members of the family.  It is not always in synch with the others.  This is the case in this story, both the son and the daughter are convinced they know their dad best and that their choice is best.  I’ll leave it at that and let you enjoy it!

IMG_9984

This month I am going in a whole ‘nother direction!  I have been writing Friday Fictioneers for about a month or so now, and the hostess of this fun Friday activity is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  She just published a book and I thought why not encourage someone I am blogger friends with? So I pre-ordered the book and lo and behold, it arrived three days ago!  Perfect timing.  Please Say Kaddish For Me is the name of the book and is the story of a Jewish girl who, at the age of 16, escapes the brutal massacre by the Czarist tyranny that destroys her home and slaughters her family on a frigid November night in 1899.  It is the story of a time and place rarely spoken of, and romance and courage so profound as to be rarely experienced.

As a big fan of historical stories, I am looking forward to digging into this one!