Tag Archives: reading

On my bookshelf

11 Apr

I currently have two stacks of books.

There’s the Morris Award pile of books I’m reading, or have received and meet the basic Morris criteria. That stack is getting bigger and I don’t have to read all of them. We divvy those out, but we all have to read any we decide to nominate. This one sits on a table on the east side of my living room.

On the west side, I have the stack of library materials I want to get to. This is mostly books, but also Audiobook CDs and a DVD or two. Here is a picture of that shelf.


It is a snapshot that captures this moment today. It s a shifting shelf and might look different tomorrow. Currently, there are no picture books.

The four I am most excited about are

Prairie Fire by E. K. Johnston, a sequel to The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trondheim

Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place  by Julie Berry (audiobooks CD narrated by Jayne Entwhistle)



10 Aug

The highlight of my trip to Ottawa was visiting the Canadian War Museum. It  presents Canada’s military past and how it shaped the country.The exhibits explain Canada’s rich military history from earliest times to the present, featuring the experiences of people on the battlefields and at home.

It was extremely well done and made me cry more than once.

The weekend I was there marked the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, so being there was especially poignant. I was especially touched by the display of the Vimy War Memorial.

IMG_1647  IMG_1650

If you don’t know much about the Vimy War Memorial, I recommend reading The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart, who happens to be one of my favorite Canadian authors for adults.


The book was originally published in 2001, but really captures the passion and heartbreak of war and the power of art to transform.

From the publisher: Set in the first half of the twentieth century, but reaching back to Bavaria in the late nineteenth century, The Stone Carvers weaves together the story of ordinary lives marked by obsession and transformed by art. At the centre of a large cast of characters is Klara Becker, the granddaughter of a master carver, a seamstress haunted by a love affair cut short by the First World War, and by the frequent disappearances of her brother Tilman, afflicted since childhood with wanderlust. From Ontario, they are swept into a colossal venture in Europe years later, as Toronto sculptor Walter Allward’s ambitious plans begin to take shape for a war memorial at Vimy, France. Spanning three decades, and moving from a German-settled village in Ontario to Europe after the Great War, The Stone Carvers follows the paths of immigrants, labourers, and dreamers. Vivid, dark, redemptive, this is novel of great beauty and power.

If you’ve never read anything by Jane Urquhart, I highly recommend that you do. She is a beautiful writer.

Stepping off the Path with Neil Gaiman

23 Jan

Have you read Neil Gaiman’s article in the Guardian entitled Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming ? It made the rounds in the library and FB world. Perhaps it landed within your universe, too. If you haven’t read it, please do.

I must admit that I haven’t loved everything Neil Gaiman has written. I don’t think one has to love everything an author writes. But I am currently  listening to Neil Gaiman’s  book  The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I am entranced.


 At first, I thought it was Alan Rickman reading. I love Alan Rickman’s voice. But it wasn’t him.


I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was Mr. Gaiman himself. I like hearing authors reading their own work well.

Can I just tell you that this book has me entranced. The story is a little scary for me, but here’s why I can keep listening: Gaiman isn’t graphic. He takes aspects of real life and twists it just enough to make it eerie. Even though I know the events in the book can’t really happen, it seems like they could, especially if I were 7 years old, like the narrator. Gaiman really captures the essence of his unnamed protagonist. Another character has one of my favorite names in a long time: Lettie Hempstock. I like how it rolls off my tongue.

And then there is Gaiman’s beautiful prose. I loved this line the best:

Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.

When was the last time you stepped off the path?

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