Category Archives: books

Top Ten Tuesday – My Spring TBR (March 14)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR.’ I have so many books waiting to be read, that it might be hard to narrow it down to just 10, but I’ll try my best! I have started some of these, but I really need to get them read, nonetheless.

  1. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren
  2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  4. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  5. Wenjack by Joseph Boyden
  6. Silence by Shusaku Endo
  7. Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy Vanderhaeghe
  8. Grounded by Diana Butler Bass
  9. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
  10. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

WWW Wednesday (March 1)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I have the following three books on the go at the moment:

  1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I didn’t get any of this read during the last week, but I’m getting back to it now.
  2. Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter (various authors). This is one of my favourite books to read during the Season of Lent. It contains writing from many of my favourite authors and is one that I have enjoyed many times before.
  3. Lent With St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek. I haven’t read this one before, but it is the one I’m reading during Lent this year with my wife.

Recently Finished:

I finished the following two books this week:

  1. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This was the second book for this year’s Renovaré Book Club. It was enjoyable being able to read it over an extended period of time, which gave the opportunity to reflect slowly over what was written.
  2. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. This book, along with nine others in the series, was sitting on my shelf unread for too long. It fit in well with one of the book challenges I have signed up for this year. I really enjoyed it and will hopefully get round to reading some of the other books in the series eventually.

Up Next:

I’ll be hopefully starting the following couple of books soon:

  1. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. This is the next book for the Renovaré Book Club and I’m really looking forward to starting it soon.
  2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. My wife bought this for me at a book sale a few years ago, but it didn’t appeal to me at the time. She read it instead and then proceeded to read all the other books in the series. She’s told me for ages that I should give it a try, as I’d probably enjoy it. As it fits in with the theme for one of my book challenges, I now have a reason to try it.

Lent 2017

dscf0601With today being Ash Wednesday it means that we have now entered the Season of Lent. It is a period of 40 days, not including Sundays, leading up to Easter, and can be seen as a time of reflection and preparation. People observe Lent in may different ways and for a variety of reasons, but it is often seen as a time of giving up or self-denial, although it can also be seen as a time of taking things on. There are lots of resources available in print and online to help people on their journey through Lent. The above three books will be my companions on the journey this year.

The following quote (which I have shared on a number of occasions before) is something I read this morning and is from the introduction to Bread and Wine, one of the books pictured above:

First popularized in the fourth century, Lent is traditionally associated with penitence, fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. It is a time for “giving things up” balanced by “giving to” those in need. Yet whatever else it may be, Lent should never be morose – an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, we ought to approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement. After all, it is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges. No wonder one liturgy refers to it as “this joyful season.” (page xvi)

Over the past week or so I have been reflecting on what I would do this year for my own personal observation of Lent. Sometimes it is difficult to come up with things. Previously I have given up things like coffee or meat, but neither of those are part my daily life anymore. After some prayer and consideration I came up with the following:

  • Fast for 12 hours each day following my evening meal. This is something that has become standard for me during Lent for a number of years now. It has been a help in previous years and I’m sure it will continue to be so.
  • Look for the positive in all situations and cultivate a better attitude of gratitude. I tend to be quite negative at times and I also am not always good at demonstrating my gratitude to people, especially in the daily small things that are done for me.
  • Get back to praying the Daily Office. This is something that I have been able to do our the years, but in a more sporadic fashion than I would have liked. I have plenty of resources to help me in this, so I really have little excuse for not being able to do this on a regular basis.

I’ll see how this all goes and, if I can, I may even post a few updates here.

How are you observing Lent this year? Feel free to leave a comment if you like.

Teaser Tuesday – Liturgy of the Ordinary (Feb 28)

tuesdayTeaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

liturgy-of-the-ordinaryI’ve always loved food. I like to make it, to eat it, and to read and talk about it.

From page 62 of Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren.

WWW Wednesday (Feb 22)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I have the following three books on the go at the moment:

  1. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This is the second book for this year’s Renovaré Book Club. This is the final week for this book, so I should be finished it later in the week.
  2. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. This book, along with nine others in the series, has been sitting on my shelf unread for too long. It also fits in with the theme for one of my book challenges this month, so it’s a good opportunity to get it read. I’ve neglected it for a few days, so I should get back to it so that I can finish it and count it toward one of my challenges for February.
  3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I finally started this book and have really been enjoying it so far.

Recently Finished:

I finished the following two books this week:

  1. Han Solo (Star Wars Disney Canon Graphic Novel) by Marjorie M. Liu (Goodreads Author), Mark Brooks (Illustrations). This book, that I borrowed from the library, was a bit disappointing. The story just didn’t seem to live up to the character, Han Solo.
  2. The Marvels by Brian Selznick. This was a great book. It is a combination of pictures and words, and contains two separate stories that come together well in the end. If you’ve read any of his other books I highly recommend this one. Even if you haven’t then check out this one as well as his others!

Up Next:

liturgy-of-the-ordinaryLiturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. This is the next book for the Renovaré Book Club and I’m really looking forward to starting it next week.

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Stardust (Feb 17)

stardustI’ve been meaning to read Stardust by Neil Gaiman for ages now, so I’m finally getting round to it. Because of this, I’ve chosen it for this week’s Friday meme combo. I’m not sure why I’ve left it for so long, because I usually enjoy reading Gaiman. Well, at least I’m rectifying this now.

GoodReads has the following description:

Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria Forester—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone barrier, Tristran learns, lies Faerie . . . and the most exhilarating adventure of the young man’s life.

A tale of the dark and miraculous—a quest for true love and the utterly impossible.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Stardust:

There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.

And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man there ever was or will be could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole of it.

I think this is a great beginning and I know I’m going to enjoy this one!

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Stardust:

By the time they walked through the village and arrived at the gap in the wall, Tristran  had imagined every possibility, except the one which occurred.

I’ve no idea what this is about, but hopefully I’ll find out soon. I might get some of this read over the weekend as Monday is a holiday and I don’t think we have much planned for the day. We’ll see what happens.

 

 

WWW Wednesday (Feb 15)

www-wednesdayI didn’t post a WWW last week as I had been sick for about a week and had barely done any reading, so it wouldn’t have been worth it. Now I’m well again and able to get back to this.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I have the following three books on the go at the moment:

  1. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This is the second book for this year’s Renovaré Book Club. I’m almost at the end of this one and I will be soon moving on to the next book the club has chosen.
  2. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. This book, along with nine others in the series, has been sitting on my shelf unread for too long. It also fits in with the theme for one of my book challenges this month, so it’s a good opportunity to get it read.
  3. Silence by Shūsaku Endō. This is another book that has been unread on my shelf for too long. With the movie out now, I need to read this before seeing it.

Recently Finished:

I finished the following three books (all which I borrowed from the library) since my last post:

  1. Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. I read this towards one of my reading challenges. It was a fairly short read, but had plenty useful information on the subject, along with some personal stories.
  2. We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (artist). This was a fairly enjoyable graphic novel, set about 100 years into the future where the US has invaded Canada after an attack on the White House.
  3. The Last Message Received by Emily Trunko. This book was inspired by the Tumbl of the same name and is a collection of last messages received by people who contributed to the Tumblr. It was a moving and thoughtful book to read, leaving one to wonder about how life can be cut short at any moment and the things that we say (or fail to say) to those who are close to us.

Up Next:

stardustI’m still hoping to get to Neil Gaiman’s Stardust soon. It has been on my shelf for far too long a time, but other things keep getting in the way. Maybe I’ll read it during March break as we will be going away for a few days then.

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 -The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Feb 3)

For this week’s meme combo I’m choosing a book I’ve had on my shelf unread for too long – The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. I’m going to read it towards one of my reading challenges and it may inspire me to read the other books from this series that are also on my shelf. The following description comes from the back cover:

ladies detective agency.jpgThis first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency:

Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets: a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone, and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe – the only lady detective in Botswana – brewed redbush tea. And three mugs – one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need?

I like this beginning. I don’t know what else a detective agency would need, but there’s nothing wrong with a good cup of redbush tea.

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency:

She watched him take the trumpet from its case and fit the mouthpiece. She watched as he raised it to his lips and then, so suddenly, from that tiny cup of metal against his flesh, the sound would burst out like a glorious, brilliant knife dividing the air. And the little room would reverberate and the flies, jolted out of their torpor, would buzz round and round as if riding the swirling notes.

I have no idea what this is about, but I really like how descriptive this is. I’ll try and get started on this book this weekend, as I’ll probably be stuck inside anyway recovering from a flu kind of thing that I’ve been struggling all week to shake off.

WWW Wednesday (Feb 1)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I have the following three books on the go at the moment:

  1. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen. This is the second book for this year’s Renovaré Book Club. I’m only reading small portions each week, but it’s a good way to read Nouwen.
  2. Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. I borrowed this from the library and am reading it for one of my reading challenges.
  3. Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith, John Pattison. I bought this one on Kobo a long time ago and never got beyond the introduction. Last week I listened to an interview with one of the authors about this book on the Renovaré podcast and was inspired to pick it up again.

Recently Finished:

orkney-twilightI finished one book in the last week: Orkney Twilight by Clare Carson. It was a decent read and I enjoyed the many references to places I grew up with in Orkney. It had enough twists to keep it interesting and I just found out it’s part of a trilogy, so I may need to look for the other two books some time.

Up Next:

stardustI’m still hoping to get to Neil Gaiman’s Stardust soon. It has been on my shelf for far too long a time.

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Hidden Figures (Jan 27)

This is the first of these posts I’ve written in 2017 and the book I have chosen is Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I just picked up this book a couple of days ago as I would like to read it before seeing the recent movie of the same name which was inspired by this book. The movie looks good, but I usually prefer to read the book first.

Goodreads has the following description:

hidden-figuresBefore John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Hidden Figures:

Melvin Butler, the personnel officer at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, had a problem, the scope and nature of which was made plain in a May 1943 telegram to the civil service’s chief of field operations.

This is kind of a curious beginning more than anything else. I wonder what the problem is. Hopefully I’ll find out soon.

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Hidden Figures:

Of course, while moving the air over the object was similar to flying through the air, it wasn’t identical, so one of the first concepts Dorothy had to master was the Reynolds number, a bit of mathematical jujitsu that measured how closely the performance of a wind tunnel came to mimicking actual flight.

I’ve never had to do any mathematical jujitsu before, but hopefully it worked our for Dorothy. I’m hoping to start this book soon and may get the opportunity next week as I’ll be away for a few days. I’ll need to remember to take it with me anyway.

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