Sunday, September 30, 2012

37. Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Richly illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet, this powerful story follows a little girl, saddened by her urban environment, on a quest to find beauty in her community. Upon finding it, she takes action to do what she can to clean up her quarter of the world.

36. Psmith Journalist by P. G. Wodehouse

While holidaying in New York, Psmith meets Billy Windsor the sub-editor of "Cosy Moments" magazine the contents of which are as sappy as its title. While the editor is away, Psmith and Windsor publish stories about a notoriously bad tenement which prompts its owner to hire gangs to stop them. First published in 1915, it has interesting connections to the book "New York" that I read a few weeks ago.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

35. Heart of a Peacock by Emily Carr

\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

34. Klee Wyck by Emily Carr

klee.jpg (150×242) 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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

33. Code Name Habbakuk: A Secret Ship Made of Ice by L.D. Cross

When we visited Jasper, AB I read about Project Habbakuk at the Jasper Yellowhead Museum. A prototype was constructed at nearby Lake Patricia. Eccentric inventor Geoffrey Pyke proposed that the allies construct aircraft carriers made of ice to shield convoys from German U-boats crossing the Atlantic during World War II. As one can imagine, the plan was fraught with technical difficulties.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

32. New York by Edward Rutherfurd

Without a doubt, at 1026 pages, New York is the longest novel I've ever read. Many times I had to resist the temptation to "fact check" this epic story of one of the world's great cities. From the early Dutch settlers contact with the indigenous peoples to the aftermath of the Twin Towers attacks, Rutherford weaves the sagas of the Van Dyk, Masters, O'Donnell and Caruso families through American history with a New York lens. Makes me want to visit New York and see it with fresh eyes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

31. Growing Pains by Emily Carr

A series of autobiographical vignettes spanning from Emily Carr's baptism at the age of four to her declining years in the 1940s. Many humerous and poignant moments from her early life, art training and years as a land lady told from her perspective.

30. Hurry on Down by John Wain

Published in 1953, this novel is a satirical look at post WWII Britain and is somewhat in the "angry young man" vein. Has some good laugh out loud and some "nod your head and smile" moments

Sunday, September 09, 2012

29. Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett by Georges Simenon

First published in 1931, this novel is the first of seventy-five novels to feature Inspector Jules Maigret. The story line, with its organized crime, forged passports, drug and alcohol abuse, and the rift between the haves and have nots stands the test of time. It could have been written today.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

28. The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

Lewis' final Narnia book  introduces an ape called Shift and a donkey named Puzzle who together, through greed and folly , bring about the final battle. All of the main characters from the first six volumes get at least a mention in this conclusion of the series.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

27. Annette and the Mystery at Smuggler's Cove by Doris Schroeder

Annette and the Mystery at Smugglers' CovePublished in 1963, it is one of five titles written by Schroder as companion books to the Disney TV program and teen movies featuring Annette Funicello . Annette and her friends solve a mystery while planning a luau at her aunt and uncle's beach house. Not politically correct; it is a product of its time.

Monday, September 03, 2012

26. The Life of Emily Carr by Paula Blanchard

A thoroughly researched, balanced biography of Canadian  painter and author Emily Carr (1871 -1945). Makes you realize how isolated Victoria and Vancouver were during her life time. Details her early years,  family life, love of animals, education and development as an artist. Doesn't dwell on her supposed eccentricities and volatile temper.