Archive for March, 2010

February

I really enjoyed this book. Lisa Moore’s style of writing is very different, and I like it. Only a very good writer could get her message across using very few words, and she does it really well. Her sentences are sometimes short, and often really not sentences at all, just phrases that made me catch my breath and stop to reread them again. Sound weird? It’s not, I loved how she did this.   February (published by Anansi Press)  is the fictional story of family left behind after the sinking of the Ocean Ranger off the coast of Newfoundland in 1982. Two parallel stories emerge – that of Helen O’Mara, wife of Cal who died onboard the oil rig when it began to sink on Valentine’s Day, and her son John who gets a phone call from a woman he had a brief affair with months ago during which she tells him she’s pregnant. The book flows between the past (the sinking of the rig) and the present (the startling pregnancy announcement), but each chapter has a title and date so there’s no confusion about time and it reads really easily. It’s about ordinary people coping with death and with life. Just the everyday existence of those left behind after a tragedy that totally altered their young lives. The resiliance of the O’Maras and how they carry on. It’s beautifully written and a great read. After all my mysteries and thrillers recently it was a refreshing change of pace.

As an after thought …Isn’t it funny how some books really grab you. February has done this to me. Why, I have no idea. I just can’t put it out of my mind and take it off my table. Every now and then I pick it up and read another passage that I’ve marked with a sticky-note. That’s me!  The post-it-note Queen of the book world!!

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Restless

Wow!! This is a fantastic book! It’s a gripping good read. It’s not new – I think it came out in 2006. It’s a Globe and Mail Best Book. Restless: A Novel by William Boyd (published by Random House) is a first rate spy thriller. I couldn’t put it down. Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian emegre living in Paris, is recruited by the British Secret Service at the start of WWII. When she learns her brother was working for them when he was killed, she feels compelled to carry on his work. Under the guidance of Lucas Romer she learns how to become the perfect spy… multiple passports, safe houses, always looking over her shoulder, this all become part of her everyday life. She works in London, then the US, and finally Mexico where she has to flee for her life, trying to become someone who will never be found. Using an  assumed name she becomes an ordinary Brit, living an idilic life in the countryside. It’s years later that she feels the time has come to tell her daughter her life story, starting with just who is she … Eva Delectorskaya, not Sally Gilmartin. As the cover says, it’s “An utterly absorbing page-turner.”.

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More Canadian winners

Two Canadian writers have been named regional winners in the race to win the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.  They are Michael Crummey for his book Galore (best book in Canada and the Caribbean) and Shandi Mitchell for her book This Unbroken Sky (the region’s best first book). They now go head to head with the winners from Africa, South Asia and Europe, and South East Asia and the Pacific, to compete for the global prize for best book.

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CBC Canada Reads Winner

The 2010 CBC Canada Reads winner was announced this morning on CBC radio. Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner (translated by Lazer Lederhendler) was chosen the winner among the top 5 contenders. The other nominees were: Generation X by Douglas Coupland, Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott, and The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy.

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AND THE WINNER IS….

Congratulations to ERIC PIERNI of Toronto. He will be receiving a copy of The Extraordinary Garden by Francois Gravel in the mail shortly. It is my all time favourite book and I hope he enjoys it as much as I do.

The 5 runners-up will each receive a $10 Starbucks coffee card compliments of CanPub Information Technologies Inc. (www.CanPub.com).

I’ve really had fun doing this, wish I could have sent everyone a book, and am already thinking of what to do next year. Keep reading and sharing your picks with others and let me know what you think of my recommendations. Thanks guys!!

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The Glass Castle

Have you heard about this book? It’s not new… nearly three years on the New York Tmes Bestseller list…a New York Times Notable Book… winner of multiple awards…the “Number One Book Sense Reading Group Pick”. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (published by Scribner) is a definite winner. But somehow I’ve missed the buzz because up to a few weeks ago I’d never heard of it… something is wrong here folks!! I am losing my grip. Anyway, this book is a memoir that elevates the phrase “disfunctional family” to an entirely new level. It is so shocking and so full of extraordinary moments that I just couldn’t put it down. And I couldn’t stop laughing… something that might shock some of you because usually disfunctional relates to abuse and neglect and alcohol and, yes it’s all there, but somehow when Walls relates events, they are so unbelievable that you just have to laugh… like living in an old railway depot and not having any furniture but her mother deciding that they really need a piano, and how getting it into the house doesn’t exactly work as planned. Bizarre, strange, shocking, unbelievable, and sad are all words I’d use to describe this book. Guaranteed it will captivate you and you won’t be able to put it down. I discovered others found it just as funny as I did so be prepared to laugh inspite of all the hardship Walls and her siblings endured. And it’s fantastic material for any book club.

Walls’ second book, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, is now on the shelf at your local bookstore.  It tells the story of her grandmother Lily who we meet in the first book. If it’s anything like her first book, it will be captivating. I haven’t read it yet, but certainly intend to.

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