Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Testaments

The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)The Testaments 
by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This sequel to The Handmaid's Tale was a page-turner. I didn't think it was as beautifully written as some of Atwood's novels, but the story was absolutely compelling. 
There were some good lines though.
"The flame of my life is subsiding, more slowly than some of those around me might like, but faster than they may realize." (p. 31)
"You'd be surprised how quickly the mind goes soggy in the absence of other people. One person alone is not a full person: we exist in relation to others. I was one person: I risked becoming no person." (p. 148)
This book counts toward the Canadian Book Challenge as Atwood is a Canadian author and much of this novel is set in Canada. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Reverse Readathon

Starting at 8pm tomorrow (at least where I live) and running until 8pm on Saturday is the Dewey Reverse Readathon  and I am ready to indulge in a super-bookish weekend. I have my bingo card ready, my bookstack selected, and snacks and beverages on hand. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Spinning the Classics #24

Classics Club is hosting another spin. I participated in the last one and succeeded in removing a book from my list that I realized I have no desire to ever finish. 
Hopefully this time I will actually read the book (by 9/30) that is chosen on August 9th. 
Here is my list:
  1. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, 1860
  2. The Spy who Came in from the Cold, John le Carre, 1963
  3. Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens, 1844
  4. The Deep Blue Goodbye, John D. MacDonald, 1964
  5. Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens, 1839
  6. New Grub Street, George Gissing, 1891
  7. Where Angels Fear to Tread, E. M. Forster, 1905
  8. The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer, 1950
  9. The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio, 1353
  10. Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales, the Brothers Grimm
  11. Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854
  12. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen, 1937
  13. Double Indemnity, James M. Cain, 1936
  14. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin, 1969
  15. Rabbit, Run, John Updike, 1960
  16. Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis, 1955
  17. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir, 1949
  18. The Turn of the Screw, Henry James, 1898
  19. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins, 1868
  20. The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant, 1926

Monday, July 6, 2020

Canadian Book Challenge

I have completed the Canadian Reading Challenge each year since #6. This past year I only managed to read 7 books for the challenge. In my defense it was a very challenging year for me and I am running out of Margaret Atwood novels that I haven't read yet.

I am going to try again with the 14th challenge, which is being hosted at Canadian Bookworm and has levels identified by Canadian provincial flowers. Getting hold of books may be a problem this year, but my public library has reopened for curbside service so I am hopeful that I will manage.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Assassin's Song

The Assassin's SongThe Assassin's Song 
by M.G. Vassanji
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Set against the backdrop of the violence and conflict of 20th century India this is the story of Karsan Dargawalla, a boy who want to be a professional cricket player but is expected to follow in his father's path and become lord of the shrine of a medieval sufi. 
Karsan's journey takes him to Cambridge in the 1960s and various Canadian provinces. Ultimately this novel, which is very well written and full of interesting historic tidbits, is about the search for individual identity. Is our identity predestined or can we make choices that will change who we become? Vassanji examines this question through the character of Karsan. 
The author lives in Toronto. I am counting this book toward the Canadian Book Challenge. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Casino Royale

Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like most people, the James Bond I was familiar with was the one from the movies. He is suave and imperturbable (and Pierce Brosnan was my favorite). This James Bond is quite different. He is a bundle of prejudices, fussy behaviors, and insecurities. Some terrible things happen to him in this book which is much darker than any of the films are. 
“Like all harsh, cold men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment.”
Stepping back from the comparison to the movies this is a good novel. The cars are fabulous and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the gambling. 
“Above all, he liked it that everything was one's own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared”

The writing style reminded me a bit of Dashiell Hammett who wrote about 20 years earlier.

This title is on my Classics Club list.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Readathon - 9pm update

I completed a few more squares on my bingo card ( and I finished another book. Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis. I also made progress on my audio book (Casino Royale) and on Mysteries of the Middle Ages
I don't expect to be up all night reading, but I think I will get through a good chunk of another book tonight. 

Readathon - 1pm update

I have finished my first book: Murder Must Advertise by Dorthy L. Sayers. I had started it before the readathon, but it is still a finish.
I also began a book that has been on my shelf for a really long time and decided it is not for me so it is now in the "donate" pile for when my public library is ready to take donations again.

I also generated a bingo card to play:
The details of the bingo game are in the GoodReads group. My Dorthy Sayers novel got me 5 bingo squares (physical book, finished it, set in the big city of London, policeman is an "essential" job, and D is in DEWEY).

Next up is a chapter of Mysteries of the Middle Ages by Thomas Cahill and then I think a C.S. Lewis novel.

Readathon - Opening Survey

Today is Dewey's 24 hour readathon. I have my stack of books, my snacks, and comfy clothes so I think I'm all set.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
         I am reading in Manchester, NH, USA.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
          The Poetry Home Repair Manual

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
            Not sure, I have several good ones on deck including home-made beer bread.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
              I'm a librarian and a quilter and I judge beer competitions. 
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
              I have participated in this read-a-thon before, though not the last one, and for the most part it has gone well. I shopped ahead of time for my snacks this time and will sleep when necessary.
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