Archive for January, 2012

A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life

This is such a fun book. It’s huge, and hefty, and is definitely a coffee table book, as opposed to a novel. (If you’re lucky and have a beautiful, large powder room it might even be fun to have it there for guests to poke through.) As soon as I heard about it I put my name on the list at the library, and I had to wait for it, so obviously I’m not the only person out there eagre to learn what to do with all their “stuff”.  A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter is full of beautiful photos, side captions, and bits & pieces of info on how to organize your life and home around clutter, collections, work, kids, pets, and messy husbands. You can pick it up and open it at random and be transported into the lives of others out there who seem to have way of displaying their stuff so it all looks terrific. Though it looks easy since their stuff seems to be all collectibles. Mine seems to be all junk. But there is a photo in the book showing someone’s office and it’s way worse than my hubby’s, which I thought was next to impossible. I chuckled when I read how the author’s mum wrote her important phone numbers on the wall next to her bedside table after she couldn’t keep track of her address book. Now that’s creative, and besides – who cares (the grandkids did think it a bit odd since they’d been taught not to write on the walls) and who sees her bedroom anyway. Leaf through this book at random and I’m sure you’ll find some good advice to help you over the hurdle of that mess I call life. But as the author says on the back cover “Don’t scub the soul out of your home.” Read this… it’s lots of fun!

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The Joy of Books Video

I don’t usually do this… in fact I don’t think  I’ve ever done this before… telling my readers to watch a youtube video is SO not me… but I’m doing it now. Click here to see the sweetest, neatest, most amazing little video. It was shot at Type, a Toronto bookshop at 883 Queen St. W., with the aide of many, many, helping hands. The amount of work involved in producing this just boggles my little mind. If you love books, love to read, and I’m sure you do if you’re reading my blog, you’ll LOVE this short video. You’ll want to watch it over and over again. It will make you happy! Guaranteed!!

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The Lost Daughter

The Lost Daughter is the second book I’ve read by Lucretia Grindle in as many months. It follows a similar path to her first, The Villa Triste - it’s set in Italy, the book alternates between the present and the past, and once again features Alessandro  Palliotti, one of  Florence’s most senior policemen. This time he is called upon to investigate the disappearance of American student Kristen Carson. Thinking she’s just another student gone off on a wild weekend, Palliotti and his team don’t seem too concerned until they discover she has been seeing Antonio Tomaselli, a member of the notorious Red Brigades who has recently been released from prison where he was serving time for his role in the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, one of Italy’s most famous politicians. When her step-mother Anna also disappears everyone sits up and takes notice and Palliotti and his team realize they have to move quickly to find two missing Americans. The story is multi-layered, like her first, and the complexities add to the intrigue and depth of her writing. She’s a “beautiful” writer… I love this sentence “For the poor at least, for those who labour with their hands, childhood is a modern invention.”  and now she’s definitely on my list of favourites. Pick up both of her books and hunker down under a quilt for a great winter read.

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Only Time Will Tell

It’s nice to start a new year with Jeffrey Archer. I’ve been a huge fan of his ever since I read Kane & Abel many years ago. When I heard he had a new book out I didn’t give it a second thought, I just went and bought it. Then I put it aside to read in winter, and now it’s winter. I’m always eager to read what he’s written. He’s a reliable storyteller, easy to read, yet always comes through with something that will grip you til the very end. Only Time Will Tell is no exception. This is the first in a trilogy called The Clifton Chronicles, and I can’t wait to read the next two installments (part 2 is due out in the spring). This book spans from the Great War to the outset of WWII. Set in Bristol, England, it is the story of Harry Clifton from before he was born when his Dad worked on the docks in Bristol, to the moment Harry lands on the shores of New York City at the outbreak of the Second World War. I love how Archer has titled each chapter after one of the leading characters in the book. We get a look at events from that character’s perspective, each chapter adds layer upon layer to the fascinating saga of Harry, from the time he skipped school to accompany his uncle to the docks when he was a wee lad, to his adventure crossing the Atlantic during the outbreak of the Second World War. And leave it to Archer to end the book with a sentence that no one could have seen coming. A definite “now what?!” moment. Don’t peak!! So of course you’re hooked and need to follow up with book #2. Smart thinking, smart writing, smart story. I loved it!

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My Winter Reading List

You probably don’t care, but I’m writing this anyway… the winter is long, cold, and dark, plus icy and… can you tell I’m not a fan? Like a squirrel hoarding away nuts to make sure he survives the winter, I stack books to get me through the doldrums of  despair while I check off the days on the calendar til spring. And this year I’m so lucky because some of my favourite authors recently released new books. So, sitting on my coffee table waiting to be read are: 

  • Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer
  • I’ll See You in My Dreams by William Deverell
  • The Accident by Lynwood Barclay
  • Tell It to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami
  • The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill
  • Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

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