Sunday, June 28, 2015

The girl who wouldn't stop riding the train... even though she should...

For me, this is a solid, average book. I enjoyed it more than Flynn's books (not nearly as dark of a worldview), but this is not quite how I like my crime novels.

It is an interesting novel - but not truly page turning or really compelling.  I can't even say that I passionately cared about the characters, and it felt like there were holes in the how the police investigation took place.  This is where my bias reveals itself, I have loved several series of police procedurals and how the stories and characters are crafted, and the mystery is solved.

I am struggling a bit trying to describe how I reacted to this book in a snappy, quick review.  Did I mention I would give it 2.5 stars out of 5?? I guess what got me that there really wasn't a lot of character growth. The twist that is revealed isn't all that surprising, and it is more just sad how things work themselves out,

I can't quite say that I am going through a reading slump, but I can't say that I have been books that have been knocking my socks off or rocking my perspective either.  Next up, I am playing it safe and reading a book by John Lesrcoart and returning to the world of San Fran.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The post Harry Potter reading world according to an 8 year old

B and I turned the last page of Harry Potter's The Deathly Hallows two nights ago. I am making a point of blogging this to help me remember when I am older, and grayer.

We started reading the HP series at the start of Grade 2, and B's reading skills were pretty average. Book 1 took us almost until Christmas to complete.  Book 2 was a little faster, you get the picture. Now, we are a moments away from Grade 3 being a thing of the past, and we have completed the whole series.  To say I am proud of where he has gotten to as a reader is an understatement. I think back over the last two years, and all the changes, and through HP, B learned how to read.  What a gift.

My favourite time of the day with both of my boys are those moments before sleep, when we read and snuggle together.  This is the golden time.  I will cherish this time forever and HP is a part of it.  With C, we are reading the Chronicles of Narnia and the time is just as rich.

I think of all the hours we spent reading HP together, whether it was my voice or his, and I am filled with joy.  It has been an amazing journey.  If I loved HP before, I appreciate it more now.  What a crowning accomplishment to create this series.  Thank you JK Rowling.  Love it.  That Universal Studios is going to create an HP land out on the west coast... AWESOME.  Great timing!

I am a little sad the series is done.  Like coming home from an amazing vacation, there is a bit of a let down.  I have tried to entice B to read a few other books, and he reads the first page and tosses them away.  "Too boring" he says with a droll voice.  He is tainted forever by a great story.  The true disadvantage of HP is that it sets the bar really high and makes the journey for the next series not all that easy.  I am going to head in to the mall today (say it isn't so) and I will pick him up a copy of Percy Jackson, the Lightning Thief which will hopefully be just as enduring.

If you want your kids to read, especially boys, find what they love and cater to it.  I wholeheartedly endorse this.  I was trying to find my old Black Stallion novels.. but couldn't find them.  I suspect I will need to go through some books.  I tried to entice B with some old Nancy Drew's... for some reason.. he had no interest.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mirror, mirror, what do you see?

I am really not sure whether or not I truly liked this book.  It was a book that would catch my attention and I would read a bunch of pages, and then I would stall out, and feel lost, and wonder whether or not I should finish it.

I have read some book reviews that consider this a modern fairy tale adaption of Snow White, and of her mirror, mirror on the wall that declares her to the fairest of them all.  Even as I type this, I think that this would be an amazing book to discuss and dissect in a literature class. It will be interesting to see what my bookclub friends thought of this, or what they got out of it.

It is interesting to note Boy, Snow, and Bird as different elements of Woman (in an interview Oyeyemi discusses her affection for Hecate and the symbolism/transitions of women as maiden, mother, and crone which I also find fascinating).  How each doesn't see parts of themselves, and what they choose to reveal to others and sometimes miss.  It is interesting how the male characters fade in this book, as does colour, and ultimately even gender in some regards.  It is a fascinating book, and one that would like get richer with further lively discussion.  As I mentioned, at times, I felt like this was a good to "get through" and at times I was utterly fascinated.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Does this count as a guilty pleasure?

This has been the year that I have joined the masses for some big name TV series that have nothing to do with reality TV.

In March, I finally caved in to my curiosity and I started watching Game of Thrones.. first episode, bloody and confusing with all the characters, second episode, things are starting to come together.. by the end of that first season, I was hooked.

Again, thank you local library for having all of the DVDs. It takes me about 5-6 weeks to watch a season (10 episodes).  I am currently just starting Season 4.  They are awesome. I  have been shocked, awed, appalled, thrilled, fist pumping, jaw hanging open, and scrambling to check the clock to see if I can watch another episode before bed. They have been great. Game of Thrones has made up for some of the average books I have read this year and have lead the creation of a few pairs of socks while I sit on the couch and be entertained.

The other great series I have enjoyed is Outlander.  They are doing a good job of it, and I admire the courage of the actors for some of the scenes that they have had to portray.  I hope this also becomes a series on TV that continues on and one... there are at least 8 books to go from... and this is also truly entertaining.  Again, these led to my knitting habit and some beautiful works.

These have been good for my soul.  Very entertaining.  My DH calls it sex and violence.. which it can be... but the stories have been good to.  A bit unreal at times the body counts...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Poetic musings....

I have been trying to find books to read through non-traditional sources for me.  This was one that I found intriguing from the Canada Reads 2015 competition.  In future years, this may be a decent want to find some book club reads as well.

This was an easy, poetic read.  Books like this underscore why reading is so important to me.  Reading can offer a lens to understand different lives, and different experiences.  Reading can help bring people together, and help build empathy.  This is a story I don't know much about - what it would be like to grow up Vietnamese, and then to survive being a boat person and to land in the province of Quebec, Canada.  You can't ask for a greater difference.

This books narrative is more like memory, and I wouldn't say that it is entirely cohesive all the time, but it was enjoyable. This is a good library book for me because it was such a short read. There were lots of passages in which I paused to reflect the deeper meaning. Here are a few of them:

"He was still a hero, a true hero, because he couldn't help being one, because he is a hero without knowing it, without wanting it."

"When I meet young girls in Montreal or elsewhere who injure their bodies intentionally, deliberately, who want permanent scars to be drawn on their skin, I can't help secretly wishing they could meet other young girls whose permanent scars are so deep they're invisible to naked eye. I would like to seat them face to face and hear them make comparisons between a wanted scar and an inflicted scar, one that's paid for, the other that pays off, one visible, the other impenetrable, one inordinately sensitive, the other unfathomable, one drawn, the other misshapen."

It's funny, I don't really want to read any really LONG books right now.  About 400 pages is about perfect in my mind.  Just long enough to sink my teeth in to it, long enough that I get through it quickly and can start looking around to see what else is there.

I was checking through some of the books that I have read this year... and although Shantaram and the Magician's trilogy were both good... I don't really feel like there have been that many books that have blown me away this year.  I feel like my reading has been average... not spectacular.  Interesting how that goes sometimes.

Friday, June 5, 2015

It's okay.

These feel like summer reads.  They are somewhat entertaining (this one felt like what may have happened if Palin had been elected), and they move along pretty quickly.  Eventually I will crack and finish out this trilogy.

I found I had somewhat less patience with this novel, I wasn't all that keen on the unraveling of the female vice president, and how it dealt with depression and somewhat controlling marriage.  It felt like there were a few loose strings in this one.

One of the themes that is interesting throughout these books is about female leadership - not only what we can bring to the table, but how hard it can be as a woman to manage different responsibilities and priorities.  I think of that saying, woman CAN have it all, just not at the same time.  This kind of rings true when you look at the female characters in this novel, and how they all pay a price for their intense careers in their family lives.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A political twist

This was a book recommended by one of our local librarians when I asked for something different.  For me, this is a different read as it deals with U.S. politics and what would happen if a woman was the president.

It is a fairly fast-paced book, and follows the stories of three woman, Charlotte (the prez), Dale (reporter and woman having affair with the prez' husband), and Melanie (Chief of Staff).  This follows a political crisis leading up to the path to Charlotte's potential re-election for a second term.

This is a decent read, with some insights in to how life on the "eighteen acres" of the White House is, and how many players are involved.  I enjoyed it well enough, and have picked up the second book in the series.  While I am not about to start shouting from the rooftops about this book, it is an interesting diversion from what I have been reading. We shall see.