Thursday, September 27, 2012

a different story

I bought this book a few years ago and it has been sitting on my shelf.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, and I think I bought it on a lark because it was Canadian literature.  I can't really say what drew me to pick up the book (sale, perhaps?), or why I have held on to it for years without reading it, but I finally took the plunge and picked it up.

Now I am kicking myself I didn't pick it up years ago.  Hodgins is a wonderful writer, and his prose is a delight.  Broken Ground is a story about a returning soldier's settlement on Vancouver Island shortly after the close of WWI.  This isn't your average tale of the great war, and I found it very profound at times how the "broken ground" reflected the broken lives of the soldiers as they came from all over Canada to this community on the wild west coast and tried to carve out a new life.  Through this novel is the thread of hope, of creating a new life, of the ghosts of the past.  Lives are perfect, and the characters are quite compelling.  At times I found the narrative a bit hard to follow in terms of characters (the narrative voice shifts chapter to chapter between residents of the settlement), but once I caught on, it was fine.  I found that the end wrapped up almost too quickly, however, this is a great read - however, not really a quick read.  I will most certainly read more of Hogkins writing.  I feel a bit naive - here I am trying to read more local literature and here is a very accomplished BC writer that I was totally oblivious too. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It feels like miles to go..

September is storming past me.  I cannot believe how fast these three weeks have flown by.

These have been hard fought weeks.  Work has been so busy.  I was trying for a new job, I didn't get it, but I do get to make a really positive sideways move that should really work out.  So, from this lemon, I can make some margaritas.  I blew my transmission the other day on the way to work.  At least I didn't have my kids in the car, and I wasn't heading up the hill (small miracle), I was heading to my alternate location.  If I am able to successfully shake the money tree, time for more margaritas.

We have successfully transitioned both kids up on the hill for their new locations.  B is a happy grade 1, and C seems to really enjoy it up here.  Except I now drop him off in the morning.  If I get a really happy kid in the afternoon, I am leaving behind a kid with tears streaming down his face, breaking his mom's heart because I have to leave him to go to work.  Nothing like sitting in your car, trying to compose yourself because you have to go in to work and pretend it is easy to be constantly on the go and you know your child will be okay when they can no longer see you. I will admit it, I have called a few times and I can hear him happily playing away, but I still have to pull myself together after.

The weather has been amazing - we got out camping last weekend.  It was great... except we made a bunch of rookie mistakes.  You know, things like killing your battery trying to blow up your inflatable mattress, running out of propane, not having jumper cables, and then not bringing the goods for breakfast because you figured you would just do that first thing in the morning.  Rookies.  Camping was great - the boys were in their glory, and it was so nice to be outside.  The campfire, watching the sun set, doing something different.

I think I have been feeling a bit frayed, and I can hear it in my voice at times.  I need to deep breathe, practice patience, and spend enough time with my loved ones.  I also need to find more time to watch some sunsets too.

I have been thinking about this poem (see below) lately.  I loved it when I first read it as a kid, and now, as an adult, I see something different (no less compelling in it) within the poem.  A timeless emotion captured here:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost 1874–1963 Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Light and very fluffy.

 I am going to make my life easy, and lump this series in one.  I just finished reading all three books in this series, Charmed and Dangerous, Charmed and Deadly, and Charmed and Ready.  I will not post all three book covers because blogger just isn't formatting it nicely for me.

If you are looking for a total, different kind of escape, this is the series for you.  I read all three in a week (can't remember the last time I did that) and they were fun.  They were light, amusing, and nothing really all that intellectually stimulating.  For semester start up when my life is totally crazy and I have to answer way too many questions all the time.... perfect. 

I would recommend this series if you are looking for a light and funny escape.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Welcome back, Inspector Banks!

Well, this time around I am not all that keen on massaging my timeline so my recent reads appear more or less about the time that I completed them.  If I get my way, I will complete a whole bunch of posts today and get more or less caught up.  This of course is a lofty goal because it is September, and life is busy.

I got to meet PR at a recent Writer's Festival.  What a lovely man, and a great writer.  I loved that he was signing his books with a dram of whiskey on the table beside him!  Although I am now spoiled for lesser writers in this genre.  Yesterday I tried a Reichs that I hoped I hadn't already read, and I got about three pages in and I couldn't do it.  I really loved her writing when I first got in to the crime novels, but they just don't do it for me anymore.  The story lines just don't seem to be going forward enough for me, and seem a bit something (lacking, perhaps?).  That being said, I almost wish PRs story lines didn't have Inspector Banks aging through the cases because eventually he will end up "retiring", so to speak!

This was another great addition to the series, and it was a treat to hear PR tell some of his stories around the writing of this book.  The location was also a bonus (Sunshine Coast), as was the company I was keeping at the time.  All in a all a satisfying read.  The only drawback is that again I must wait while PR gets busy and writes more books! (although there are a few in the series I haven't read, but I am trying to space them out)

Adventure time

A month has blasted past and I have a stockpile of books that are backlogged to make comments about.  This is where I tell you, my devoted reader, that I have crafted some prolific posts in my head.  Unfortunately, with semester start up and both kids transitioning in care and school, those posts have evaporated.

Alas! Alack! Here we go anyways.  This was a surprisingly good read.  If you want a swashbuckling adventure story that pretty much started the genre out 140 odd years ago, this is your story.  I would say many an action movie, or lost world movie/book owes a few nods in this books direction.  I wasn't all too sure of it when I started out, but this was a good read.  For it's time, I couldn't help but compare it to Agatha Christie's, And then they were none.    AC's is a book that has been sterilized over time because of the controversial word choices and how certain peoples were described.  In this book, the author chooses to tell us, the reader, that he will refuse to use the term (use your imagination here) because it is not respectful and does not denote the wonderful people that he has met.  Interesting comparison considering this book was written in the 1890s and AC was more turn of the century.  Attitudes have never been uniform.  KSM also includes a biracial love story, which I feel is pretty ballsy considering the time.  That this relationship is not able to be truly consummated, it is painted in very respectful terms. 

I like that this was an adventure story, looking for that lost city of gold in the middle of nowhere.  In an era of gold rushes, and the world shrinking, this would have been a timely novel.  I like that some social conventions are bucked, and that all ends well enough. One of these days I will have to search out some of the classic movies inspired by this tale and see if they measure up.  Either that, or time to watch Indiana again.