Category Archives: Penguin books

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR (September 22)

I’m actually managing to post one of these lists for the second week in a row. Maybe I’ll manage something different before next Tuesday comes around. I’ll just have to wait and see how I get on.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Books On My Fall 2020 TBR.’ I’m not always good at getting through my TBR piles, but I’ll see how this one goes. Some of these are ones that I’ve had a long time, some are recent acquisitions, while others are ones I’ve started before, but not finished. Hopefully I’ll manage to get most of these read by Christmas, although I’m sure others will come across my path to distract me from these. On a brighter note, though, I have managed three of the six books I put on my TBR list for September, so there is hope for me yet!

Here are the ten in no particular order:

  1. Letters from an Astrophysicist – Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is a fairly recent purchase and it is one that I already started. It’s a light read that you can dip in and out of, so I’m slowly enjoying it and getting through it.
  2. Finding Chika – Mitch Albom. I started this one earlier this year, but accidentally packed it for the m ove before finishing it. I’ll get back to it soon.
  3. If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis – Alister McGrath. I’ve had this for a few years, so it’s time to get it read. I started it last weekend and so far so good.
  4. Hrafnkel’s Saga and Other Stories. It’s been a while since I read any of the Sagas and they’re always fun reads, so I’m looking forward to this one.
  5. How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People – Pete Greig. I just got this one in the mail today. I joined the Renovaré Book Club this year and this is the first of the four books for this. I’m looking forward to being a part of this again, as it’s been three or four years since the last time I joined.
  6. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Peter Scazzero. I recently started listening to Pete’s podcast and remembered that this book has been on my shelf for too long, so I decided it is time to give it a read.
  7. The Toynbee Convector – Ray Bradbury. You can never go wrong with a collection of Bradbury short stories, so this should be an enjoyable read.
  8. The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan. The author was a promising young writer with a bright future ahead of her, but her life was cut short by a tragic accident. This collection of short fiction and non-fiction was published posthumously by one of her professors, with the help of her parents.
  9. The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man – Jonas Jonasson. I have no idea why this has sat on my shelf unread for so long, because I’ve enjoyed all of Jonasson’s other books, especially the one that this one is a sequel to. His books are always smart and funny, so I’m hoping for more of the same here.
  10. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road – Neil Peart. I started this memoir, by the late Rush drummer, a couple of years ago, got halfway through it and never got back to it. I really need to finish it now, as it is a very engaging read.

That’s my ten, and I really hope to get all of them read, because I think they all have something different to offer.

Top Ten Tuesday – Covers (September 15)

It has been a long time since I posted anything here and I would hate to see this blog fizzle out completely, so I thought I would try again to resurrect things here. I am hoping to post more often and this is a start.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Cover Freebie.’ Although a book is obviously more than what is on the cover, appearances can be important. An eye-catching cover may encourage one to pick up a book, but if the words inside do not keep one’s interest then it could be seen as just a pretty package. For this week’s top ten I have chosen ten of my favourite covers from ten books that I also really enjoyed. There is no theme here, other than they are all covers that have caught my eye in one way or another.

  1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess. I like the simplicity of this cover and the vibrant colours. All I know about the picture is that it was designed by David Pelham. I have another copy of this book, the cover of which is simply white with an orange circle on it. I like it, too, for its simplicity, but I like this one slightly more.
  2. The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson. This cover was designed by Laura Klynstra, with the illustration by Eric Thunfors. This is one where the cover actually drew me in. I saw it in Costco and had to have it.
  3. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard. I saw this for the first time in a used bookstore and the picture reminded me of Orkney, where I grew up. I read the back cover and figured it might be one I’d enjoy, and it was. The picture is by the author herself.
  4. Book Love – Debbie Tung. A book with lots of books on the cover, what more could you ask for! This is a fun little read and the cover is an illustration by the author, who is a cartoonist and illustrator.
  5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick. All of Selznick’s books have great art on them like this, but I like this one the most. It is also an illustration by the author. The book itself is filled with his art as well, as it is part graphic novel.
  6. Porcelain: A Memoir – Moby. This cover is a picture of the ‘little idiot’,  a character drawn by Moby, that appears as artwork on a number of his releases and projects. Moby is an interesting person and this is a fascinating read.
  7. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell. There are so many different covers available for this book, but the simplicity of this one and what the image evokes make this one of my favourites. It was designed by Carroll & Dempsey Limited.
  8. The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis. This is a book that you never seem to hear much about, but it’s in my top 5 of Lewis’ books. There’s something about this cover that always draws me back in. It’s a photo of a painting in St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, called ‘The Ladder of Judgement’.
  9. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve written about this a lot, but this is my favourite book. I have a few different versions of it, all with (mostly) great covers, but this is my favourite, because this is the first copy I owned. It’s an illustration by Tolkien himself and also contains a number of his other illustrations inside. Unfortunately, this copy is now falling apart, so whenever I reread this story I use one of my newer copies.
  10. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury. This is another one of my favourite reads. Again, what I like is the simplicity of it. The art was by Joseph Mugnaini.

On another day, I may have picked some different covers, but these are the ones I was thinking about today.

Top Ten Tuesday – Short Stories/Essays (July 17)

TTT-Big2It’s been a long time, but it’s time to take part in Top Ten Tuesday again.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Favourite Novellas/Short Stories’. I kind of adapted it a bit and decided to do my top ten favourite short story or essay collections.

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  1. Night Shift – Stephen King. Of all the Stephen King story collections I’ve read this is probably my favourite, although it doesn’t contain my favourite short story of his, The Monkey. It’s hard to pick a favourite from this book, but it is probably between Graveyard Shift and Night Surf.
  2. Five by Endo – Shusaku Endo. This is a collection of five short stories by one of the most under-rated writers of the 20th century. They are all great, but Unzen stood out for me.
  3. Gristle: from Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat) – Moby (Editor), Miyun Park (Editor). I read this book not long after I became a vegetarian and it helped solidify my view that I hd made the right decision.
  4. Winter Tales – George Mackay Brown. An excellent collection of wintry-themed stories from Orkney’s most prominent writer.
  5. The Penguin Book of Russian Short Stories – David Richards (editor). It’s been a few years since I read this collection. I used to keep it in the car, so that I had something to read whenever I was going somewhere or had to wait for something/someone. One of my favourite Russian short stories, The Nose by Nikolay Gogol, is included in this one.
  6. Love Your Crooked Neighbour: Thoughts on Breath, Bread, Breasts and Brokenness – Ron Ferguson. I really enjoyed this collection of sermons, articles, and a short story. It also has an Orkney connection, as the author was the minister of St Magnus Cathedral at the tie of its publication. He also wrote a great biography on George Mackay Brown, which is worth checking out.
  7. The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup – Matt Weiland (Editor), Sean Wilsey (Editor). This collection came out just before the 2006 World Cup and included 32 stories – one on each of the nations who participated that year. Each story has a different writer. Among them are Nick Hornby (England) and the USA (Dave Eggers).
  8. The Cat’s Pajamas – Ray Bradbury. I think that Ray Bradbury was one of the best short story writers of all time. I could’ve half-filled this list with collections of his that I’ve read, but I include this one as my favourite. Highlights of this collection include The House and A Careful Man Dies.
  9. Things As They Are – Guy Vanderhaeghe. I discovered this author, who is from Saskatchewan, when I lived in there about 20 years ago. My favourites here were King Walsh and Teacher.
  10. In from the Cuithes – Howie Firth (Editor). This is a great anthology of writing from Orkney. There are too many favourites in this one to single any out.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books on My Spring TBR (March 20)

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 Book on My Spring TBR’. The following are all books that I would like to read eventually. By putting them on my Spring TBR I’m hoping that I’ll get to them sooner rather than later.

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  1. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer – Richard Rohr
  2. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom
  3. Rosie – Anne Lamott
  4. Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived – Daniel H. Wilson
  5. The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem – Marcus J. Borg & John Dominic Crossan
  6. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  7. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit – Henri J.M. Nouwen
  8. Monster (The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim #2) – Shane Peacock
  9. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Some of these have been on previous TBR lists, others are ones I picked up fairly recently, but really want to read soon. Monster is a review copy from LibraryThing, so I should read it soon. The Last Week is one I’m going to read next week for Holy Week. The rest I’ll do my best to get to soon, although I may be distracted by other shiny books instead!

Top Ten Tuesday – 2018 Bookish Resolutions/Goals (Jan 16)

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It is now being hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Bookish Resolutions/Goals’. Obviously I enjoy reading, but I also like to challenge myself each year by setting a few goals and signing up for some challenges. Some of these are easy to do and help me keep on track, whereas others sometimes take me out of my comfort zone and stretch me a bit, which isn’t a bad thing. Here are some of the reading goals I set for 2018:

1. Read at least 75 books. This is the same goal  I set for last year and I surpassed it by 2 books. I thought about increasing it this year, but in the end decided that 75 is a good number.

2. Write better reviews. One thing I started last year, which was fairly successful, was that I decided to write a short review on GoodReads of every book I read. Some of these were very short and said very little. So, this is something to work on.

3. Take my TBR lists more seriously. At various points during the year I share my TBR lists, but more often than not many of the books on these lists end up not being read. This year I’d like to think that I could read at least 75% of the books on these list. Otherwise, what is the point of compiling them.

4. Read the books I borrow from the library. At a rough estimate, I probably read about a quarter of the books I borrow from the library. Either I need to read more of the books I borrow or cut back on the number I take out.

5. Finally read ‘In the First Circle’. I have owned In the First Circle, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for about 8 years. Each year since I bought it I have put it on TBR lists and vowed that this would be the year I read it. It seems quite intimidating, but I’m determined that this will be the year it finally gets read.

6. Keep up with my reading challenges. Last year I got behind with my challenges and managed to only complete 3 out of 4 that I signed up for. This isn’t the end of the world, but I’d like to be able to keep up with them better this year. It was mad dash in December to try and finish them all and I don’t want that to happen this year.

7. Read more of the books that I own. Like many book lovers, I buy more books than I read. Although I’ll probably never realistically get all my books read, I need to take a look at my shelves and try to read some of the ones that have been unread there for too long.

8. Only request review books that I am going to read. There are so many places out there to get free review books that it can be tempting to over request. This year I need to not be tempted so much, although I won’t stop requesting altogether.

9. Read more of my Penguin Classics. I collect Penguin books, but often I never get round to reading many of them. A few years ago I received the 80 Penguin Little Black Classics as a gift. So far I have only read 9 of them. This year I’d like to try and read at least one of them a month. I also need to look at my Penguin shelf and pick a few out to read.

10. Enjoy reading. This is probably the most important goal on this list. There’s no point in reading if it’s not enjoyable, so I need to make sure that in the midst of all the challenges and goal I have lots of fun along the way. Happy reading!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite 2017 Reads (Dec 12)

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 Favorite Books of 2017’. The following, in no particular order, are the ten books I enjoyed the most (so far) this year, but I still haven’t decided which one was the best:

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  1. Wenjack – Joseph Boyden
  2. Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World – Henri J.M. Nouwen
  3. 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
  4. Letters from Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living – Rob Bell
  6. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love So Much More – Janet Mock
  7. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science – Mike McHargue
  8. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism – Deborah Jian Lee
  9. The Marvels – Brian Selznick
  10. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Top Ten Tuesday – Unique Titles (Oct 24)

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 Unique Book Titles’. Quite often book titles tend to be bland or too similar to others already published.  Although it’s important that the actual content of the book be worthwhile, a unique book title can also draw a person in. Here are ten books from my shelves that have, in my opinion anyway, titles like this:

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  1. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
  2. Optimists Die First – Susin Nielsen
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
  4. 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – Michael Brooks
  5. When Did Wild Poodles Roam the Earth? An Imponderables Book – David Feldman
  6. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 – Joseph Loconte
  7. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession – Allison Hoover Bartlett
  8. The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  9. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius – John Joseph Adams (editor)
  10. Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick deWitt

I haven’t read all of these yet, but for most of them it was the title that first drew me in. My favourites from the list would have to be the ones by Jonas Jonasson and Patrick deWitt, both of which were very funny and unique.

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Child of All Nations (Sept 22)

child of all nationsIt has been about 3 months since I did one of these Friday combo posts, so I thought it was time to get going with it again. This week I’ve chosen a book that I don’t know much about that I picked up at Bearly Used Books last month. It’s a Penguin Modern Classic and I tend to buy these when I see them at a good price, but I was also intrigued enough to want read it. The book is Child of All Nations by Irmgard Keun and GoodReads has the following description:

Kully knows some things you don’t learn at school. She knows the right way to roll a cigarette and pack a suitcase. She knows that cars are more dangerous than lions. She knows you can’t enter a country without a passport or visa. And she knows that she and her parents can’t go back to Germany again – her father’s books are banned there. But there are also things she doesn’t understand, like why there might be a war in Europe – just that there are men named Hitler, Mussolini and Chamberlain involved. Little Kully is far more interested where their next meal will come from and the ladies who seem to buzz around her father.

Meanwhile she and her parents roam through Europe. Her mother would just like to settle down, but as her restless father struggles to find a new publisher, the three must escape from country to country as their visas expire, money runs out and hotel bills mount up.

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 Child of All Nations:

I get funny looks from hotel managers, but that’s not because I’m naughty; it’s the fault of my father. Everyone says: that man ought never to have got married.

I haven’t started this book yet, but it is high on my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon. This opening has got me interested though.

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 Child of All Nations:

‘Does everyone have to write a novel?’

‘No.’

‘Why does my father have to, then?’

‘Because he knows how it’s done.’

‘Do the other people not know how it’s done, then?’

‘Almost never.’

‘So why do they write novels?’

‘Because they don’t know they can’t.’

I kind of like this funny little conversation. I might enjoy this book. Time will tell, and hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR List (September 19)

It’s been a while, but it’s time to get back to this. Top 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 Fall TBR List.’ Some of these I’ve had for a while; others I bought quite recently. Hopefully I’ll manage to get a few of these read before Christmas. Time will tell!

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  1. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo Rovelli
  2. Child of All Nations – Irmgard Keun
  3. My Brother My Sister – Molly Haskell
  4. On a Raven’s Wing: New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allan Poe – ed. Stuart M. Kaminsky
  5. The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith – Peter Rollins
  6. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction – Eugene Peterson
  7. God in the Alley – Greg Paul
  8. The Divine Conspiracy – Dallas Willard
  9. The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King
  10. A Tale of Two Cities (Graphic Novel) – David Zane Mairowitz, Robert Deas, Ryuta Osada (Illustrator)

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – You Will Not Have My Hate (May 19)

This week I have chosen You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris as the book for my weekly meme combo. It’s a short memoir by a French journalist whose wife was among those murdered in the Bataclan Theatre attack in Paris in 2015. I borrowed it from our local library yesterday and it looks like it will be a moving, but inspirational, read. GoodReads has the following description:

you will not have my hateOn 13 November 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène, was killed, along with 88 other people at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, when three men armed with guns and suicide bombs opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd at a rock concert. Three days later, Leiris, a young journalist, wrote an open letter on Facebook addressed to his wife’s killers. Leiris refused to be cowed or to let his 17-month-old son’s life be defined by Hélène’s murder. He refused to let the killers have their way. ‘For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short Facebook post caught fire. It was shared over two hundred thousand times and was reported on all over the world. In his beautiful and moving defiance of the terrorists who had killed his wife, Leiris became an international hero to everyone searching desperately for a way to deal with the horror of the attacks.

You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir about how Leiris, and his baby son Melvil, endured after Hélène’s murder. With courage, moral acuity, and absolute emotional honesty, Leiris finds a way to answer the question, how can I go on? This is the rare and unforgettable testimony of a survivor, and a universal message of hope and resilience. Leiris is guiding star for us all in perilous times.

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 You Will Not Have My Hate:

Melvil fell asleep without a murmur, as he usually does when his Mama isn’t there. He knows that with Papa, the lullabies are not as soft and the hugs not as warm, so he doesn’t expect too much.

This opening doesn’t give too much away, but I think with the events that are just going to happen in Melvil’s life, he’s going to have to settle for Papa’s lullabies from now on.

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.

Page 56 of You Will Not Have My Hate is blank, so I’ll go to the next page where there is text:

The doorbell rings.

I am not expecting anyone.

I’m not sure if this is as ominous as it sounds, but it can be disconcerting when someone turns up unexpectedly. We have to go out of town tomorrow, so maybe I’ll take this little book with me, because I’ll probably have plenty of time to read on the way (if I’m not driving!).

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