Monday, December 31, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Precious Ramotswe and her secretary/assistant Grace Makutsi solve cases that involve their friends with the help of their mentor Clovis Anderson, the author of "The Principles of Private Detection". Garage mechanic Fanwell, Mma Potokwane matron of the orphan farm and Mma Makutsi and her new husband Phuti Radiphuti, all find themselves victims of dishonest people who seek only personal gain. One by one, the cases get solved and hard working, honest people prevail.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
I ordered this thinking it was the book we're reading in my church book group. Turns out it's a very nice companion volume with great photos, quotes and top ten lists. Some great ideas like not wearing a watch on Sundays. I think I'll try that this week.
The Spuddy is a grey-black mongrel who is befriended by a mute boy named Andy. After his mother walked out, Andy is left in the care of his Aunt and Uncle, in a Hebridean fishing village, by his father is away with the Navy. The exciting climax results in a surprising ending.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
A charming story that features all of my favourite Thrush Green characters including the curmudgeonly Albert Piggot who retires as church sexton and the redoubtable Ella Bembridge who is suffering from macular degeneration and then falls and breaks her wrist.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Another enjoyable read filled with eccentric and lovable characters. Beckwith has, by now, thoroughly adapted to her new life in the Hebrides and finds it difficult to contemplate going back to town life in England. She's working, eating and dressing like a local and using their idioms too.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Philosopher Isabel Dalhousie is asked to help facilitate the return of a stolen masterpiece to its rightful owners. McCall Smith implies that in many real cases, thieves return works of art for ransom payments. They know that they can't sell the paintings on the open market and claim reward money from owners or insurance companies. I'm still puzzling over which suspect was the true culprit in this novel.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
"Miss Peckwitt" has got into the Hebredean habit of bringing a piece of rope when she goes out - in case. It comes in handy more than once in this book of amusing anecdotes and observations about working a croft, local customs, belief in the supernatural and superstitions in the fictional Scottish island of Bruach.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Friday, November 09, 2012
Liza, at the age of sixteen, runs away to live in a caravan with her boyfriend after her mother has been arrested for murder. Liza has been witness or has knowledge of three. During her upbringing in the gatehouse of "Shrove" a secluded mansion, Liza was home schooled by her mother who sought refuge from a troubled history. Although not street smart, Liza can read and speak French and Latin and is a voracious reader of classic fiction.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Saturday, November 03, 2012
I'm not sure whether to classify this novel as Science Fiction, Horror are a bit of both. An epidemic of sudden blindness, where the victim sees only a milky white fog, brings out the worst in humanity. It's interesting how none of the main characters are given names and are referred to as " the girl with the dark glasses" or " the boy with the squint". A disturbing and yet compelling tale.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
First published in 1915, this novel follows the rise of a Swedish-American girl to international stardom as an opera singer. Not your typical rags to riches story, Cather paints a more realistic portrait of Thea Kronborg and the passion and sacrifices that shape her life. Beautiful descriptive passages of the people and places of the fictional town of Moonstone, Colorado create memorable vignettes.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Told in the third person by the young Jesus of Nazereth, between the ages of 8 and 12, this novel seeks to explore what every day life would have been like for the Holy Family. Rice, better known for her vampire novels, has researched and read the skeptics as well as the gospels to fill in the gap between Christmas and Jesus at age thirteen.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Very kid-friendly biographies of Impressionist painters and descriptions of their works. Excellent art activities and ideas
Madeleine's atypical Grandmother travels the world and periodically stops to visit. In each successive visit, we see that time has passed and Madeleine has grown up. Grandma compares her granddaughter to the things she has seen in the remote corners of the world.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Gildiner, a Toronto clinical psychologist writes about her teen and college years in the 1960s. The adjustments she makes from living in Buffalo, NY to college life in Athens, Ohio are testimony to her resilience and depth of character. I really enjoyed her accounts of the donut factory fiasco and sorority life at college.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
In this third book of the series, Griffin gets framed for stealing a super bowl ring that was given as a gift to his school. A stint in the "Jail for Kids" and an electronic monitoring anklet can't keep the "Man with the Plan" from trying to clear his name.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Published anonymously in 1778, Evelina was the highly successful debut novel of Frances "Fanny" Burney. Originally released in three volumes it is written as a series of letters between Evelina Anville, her guardian and various relatives, friends an acquaintances. It is part romance, part mystery and a whole lot of social commentary on Georgian society.
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Beautifully illustrated in watercolour by Lisa Smith, a fun look at colour, fruit and word play.
This second book in the Griffin Bing series is as wacky as the first. This time Griffin and the gang plan a "zoobreak" to rescue Savannah's pet monkey who has been kidnapped by the unscrupulous owner of a floating zoo. Mayhem ensues.
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Reading this autobiography, which retells Dora Saints early years and school experiences, I found myself nodding and smiling when I realized how she had used those experiences and characters in her fiction writing. Both the Fairacre and Thrush Green series are set in English villages similar to Chelsfield, Kent where Saint's family moved from London when she was four years old.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
In this novel, we return to Wrykyn a year and a half after The Gold Bat. It centres around the sport of boxing rather than cricket or rugby. In today's terms, we'd say the theme was bullying. The morals of the story are "believe in yourself" and "hard work pays off."
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I'm learning a lot more about life in a turn of the 20th Century English "public school" as well as rugby and cricket while reading these Wodehouse novels. The moral of this story is if you plan to fail you'll most likely be successful.
Monday, October 01, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
\This collection of short stories by Emily Carr focuses on her love of animals and her experiences travelling to remote aboriginal villages. One can learn a lot about Carr's formative years and family relationships but very little directly about her art. You do, however, get a sense of what made her tick and inspired her.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Carr's first book, published in 1941, is a collection of vignettes she wrote about her experiences in native villages of Vancouver Island. It won the Governor General's Award and has been in print ever since.