Category Archives: TBR

Top Ten Tuesday – Great Books I Read…But Can’t Really Remember (Jan 23)

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 I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About.’ I read a lot of books, but after a while I sometimes forget a lot about them. Some are probably forgettable anyway, but others are great reads. It’s a little frustrating not remembering the ones that I really liked. I’d love to reread some of them at some point, but with an ever-growing TBR pile this is not always possible. Anyway, here are ten books that I know I really enjoyed at the time, but sad to say can’t remember enough about:

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  1. London: The Novel – Edward Rutherfurd
  2. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
  3. The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton
  4. The Samurai – Shusaku Endo
  5. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization – Franklin Foer
  6. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It
    – Arthur Herman
  7. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard
  8. Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess – Will Samson
  9. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell
  10. Red Moon Rising: How 24-7 Prayer Is Awakening a Generation – Pete Greig & Dave Roberts
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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 – Books I Meant to Read in 2017, But Never Did (Jan 9)

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 ‘Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!!)’ All of the following books appeared on at least one of my many TBR lists last year. I managed to start a few of them, but none of them were anywhere near finished! I’d like to think that I’d manage to get them read this year, but I hope I haven’t cursed them by putting them on another list like this!

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  1. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom. I’ve had this one for a couple of years or more and enjoyed all his other books, so I’m not sure why I’ve left this one unread for so long.
  2. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina – Michael Casey. It’s over three years since I purchased this book about lectio divina. I really looked forward to reading it at the time, but it still remains unread.
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay – J.K. Rowling. I got this round about the time the movie came out. I loved the movie, but haven’t picked this up yet. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a long read. Maybe I’ll save it for this year’s Savvy Readathon.
  4. The Complete Robot – Isaac Asimov. I started reading this one, was enjoying it, then got distracted by other books. The fact that it is a collection of short stories means that I’ll be able to pick up easily from where I left off.
  5. 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. I received this one a couple of Christmas’s ago and had great intentions of quickly getting into it. Hopefully I’ll do just that soon, especially as it’s a book about two of my favourite writers.
  6. Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines – Ray Harris. I’ve started this one a couple of times, but on each occasion I’ve never gotten that far. This will be the year that I keep on going!
  7. The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) – Stephen King. I read The Gunslinger earlier on last year with the intention of at least reading this book, the second Dark Tower book, before the end of the year. I’d even thought I might get round to book three. Lots of people have told me it’s a great series, so I need to try and get on with reading more of it.
  8. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I’ve written about my failure to read this on a fair number of occasions. I’m determined to get it read this year.
  9. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars – Ray Bradbury. This collection of autobiographical essays has sat unread on my shelf for too long. I know it’s one that I’ll enjoy, so I need to read it soon.
  10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. I promised my wife that I’d read this one, so I started it last summer. I got to about page 100 and neglected to finish it. I’m not sure why, because I was kind of enjoying it. I’ll try to get back to it soon, although when I do I may have to restart it. I’ll see how much of what I read I can actually remember!

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Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Dec 27)

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It’s been over two months since I did one of these. Time really must fly when you’re having fun, or maybe the last couple of months have just been too busy! ‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. We survived another busy lead-up to Christmas. With all the busyness, and stress that goes with it, each year where I work, I usually end up feeling fried by the time the 25th comes around. This often ends up in me feeling that my family have been cheated somehow. This year I was determined not to allow things to get to me, especially with things that I have no control over. It seemed to work and the last few days have been more relaxed than in previous years.

2. For a little while there in the fall I thought that I was going to fall flat on most of my reading challenges. I got over the slump and got back on track. I reached my target of 75 on the 50 Book Pledge with time to spare, and I completed two of my other four challenges, with the chance that I may still finish at least one of the other two. The one that I might not finish is the Mount TBR challenge, which I’m not that worried about. I am now trying to work out which challenges I’m going to enter in 2018.

3. For a change this year I gave my family a Christmas wish list of books from bookoutlet.ca to choose from. I was surprised by receiving nine of them on Christmas morning. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them soon. I also received a $50 gift card for Chapters/Indigo, which I’ll get around to spending eventually.

4. Since I last did one of these posts I enjoyed watching two Toronto sports teams win their respective championships. First there was the Argos winning the Grey Cup at the end of November on a very snowy night in Ottawa. This was followed by TFC winning the MLS Cup a couple of weeks later. Her’s hoping the Leafs can go deeper in the Stanley Cup play-offs this year. Speaking of the Leafs, I have a couple of tickets for their game against the Sharks next Thursday, courtesy of a kind friend of ours from up north.

5. I seem to have watched a ton of movies this year, close to 120 movies at this point.  I still have to see the new Star Wars movie and have been trying to avoid any spoilers on social media. We are hoping to see it yet before the end of the year. As far as TV goes, I did manage to watch Stranger Things 2, which was awesome, and have binge-watched half of the first season of This Is Us on Netflix, which has been a lot better than I thought it would be. I started watching The Mist, but gave up on it as I found it to be too disappointing.

6. I haven’t done much blogging this year and at one point considered closing down this blog altogether. Maybe in 2018 I’ll try to get some inspiration and post here more often. One bonus in 2017 was that I wrote a small review on GoodReads of every book that I read.

7. Overall, 2017 hasn’t been a bad year. There have been some highs and some lows, but I think the highs outscored the lows. Our daughter left home to start university and seems to have settled in well. It’s been great having her home for the holidays. She’ll be returning to university next week, but at least she is only about an hour away. Work has brought some challenges, but we have been here over two years now and are starting to find our groove.

Here’s hoping that 2018 will be a good year and, if you have made it this far, I wish you a Happy New Year too!

Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR (November 28)

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 Winter TBR.’ Some of these are books I’ve had for too long, while others are ones I recently acquired. What they all have in common is that I’d like to get them read at some point in the near future!

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1. Everything Belongs – Richard Rohr. This one has been sitting on my shelf for over 3 years now, so it’s time. It comes highly recommended and I’m looking forward to finally reading it.

2. Blue Gold – Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos. I’m slowly working my way through the various Clive Cussler series. This is the next one I have to read in the NUMA Files series.

3. Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality – J. Philip Newell. This is one of the best books on Celtic Spirituality out there. I started it once before, but never got back to it and it got lost among other books during our move a couple of years ago.

4. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming – Henri J.M. Nouwen. I received this for Christmas a couple of years ago and it just seemed to get stuck on the back burner. I always enjoy reading Nouwen and know this will not be an exception to that.

5. Nutshell – Ian McEwan. I picked this one up at a recent library book sale. I’m fascinated by the idea of a mystery story told from the perspective of an unborn child.

6. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina – Michael Casey. This is another book that I’ve had for too long unread on my shelf. It was recommended to me at least three years ago, so it’s time I got round to reading it.

7. 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. This one was also a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. I never grow tired of reading about Tolkien or Lewis, so this should be one I enjoy.

8. A Season to Dance – Patricia Beal. I won this book in a blog giveaway recently. I don’t know much about it, but I’d like to give it a try soon.

9. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins. I picked this up for a dollar at a thrift store recently. I figured that if I’m going to watch the movie, I should really read the book first.

10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. My wife love the Outlander books. I promised that I’d at least try the first one and see what all the fuss is about. I started reading it before the summer, but got distracted by other books. I need to get back to it and get it finished this winter.

The problem with lists like these is that I rarely get them accomplished. Even if I manage half of these in the next few months I’ll be happy. We’ll see how it goes anyway.

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.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Sept 27)

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‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. September seems to have come and gone so quickly. In some ways it seems to have been a fairly busy months, but I’m not that sure if I’ve accomplished that much or not. We’ll be on holiday for a couple of weeks from the end of next week. I’m looking forward not only to the time off, but also the fact that we’ll get to spend the time with family visiting from Scotland.

2. I was under the impression that I was getting back on track with my reading, but I’ve only managed four books this month so far. According to 50 Book Pledge I’m on track for 65, which is a decent number, although I pledged to read 75. I’ve enjoyed doing my book challenges for the year, but of the four I’ve tried I’ll maybe only get two completed. I’ll see how it goes, because there are still three months to go.

3. Although we moved here over two years ago, we only finished unpacking last weekend. We finally managed to sort through the final ten boxes or so that had remained untouched since we got here. I was reunited with a lot of books and CDs, among other things. I also found the ornaments pictured at the top of this post that I had almost forgotten about. They are a reminder that I delivered mail in my previous life before moving to Canada. It’s hard to believe that it is 23 years this month that I moved to Canada and 34 years this December that I started my job with the Royal Mail.

4. We finally got around to watching Silence on Sunday. It was as good as I thought it would be. Now I need to get the book read, as it has been on my TBR pile for far too long. I have also started watching Ozark on Netflix. It’s pretty dark, but I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m hoping to be able to go and see It soon, but I’ll probably have to see it on my own, as my wife is definitely not interested in seeing it. It’s a long time since I read the book, but I don’t have time right now to reread it. I was a little surprised to find out that the latest movie is only part one.

5. I haven’t thought that much about my Christmas book wish list yet. There are a lot of good books due to come out in the next few weeks, but rather than latest releases, I’m toying with the idea of coming up with a list of books available from Book Outlet for my family to choose from. That idea may change, but it’s one I’m seriously thinking about just now.

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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.

Happy Birthday Bilbo and Stephen

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If you’ve been reading any book blogs or visited bookstagram today, you’ll have realised that today is the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit and is also Stephen King’s 70th birthday. The Hobbit is, of course, my favourite book of all time, whereas Stephen King is someone I am slowly rediscovering again. He was my favourite author in my teen years, but I got away from reading him for about 25 years.

I discovered The Hobbit in the early 70s, when Bernard Cribbins read it on Jackanory for a week. I can remember rushing home from school to see it – no VCRs in those days – because I didn’t want to miss a word of it. The same year we read it as a class at school and I was hooked. In the early 80s we got a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer and one of the first games I got was The Hobbit adventure game, which came with the copy of the book pictured above. I don’t think I ever finished the game and seem to remember that things used to go awry whenever I got into Mirkwood. The Hobbit is a book that I read at least once every three years and I never grow tired of it. I haven’t watched the recent movies yet and have written enough about it here and elsewhere, so I don’t need to go over my reasons why again.

My first encounter with Stephen King came when I was about 14 or 15. If I remember correctly, I think the first book of his I read was Salem’s Lot. I had never read anything like it before and for the next few years I read anything of his that I could get my hands on. My favourite book of his at the time was The Dead Zone. I got it round about Christmas one year and read it in less than two days. I read it once again the following year, but haven’t read it since. I’d be interested in reading it again to see how much I like it now.

In the mid-80s I read Skeleton Crew and it is still my favourite King short story collection. Included in it is the story that still freaks me out, The Monkey. A character in one of the Toy Story movies brought back memories of it to me again and I had to search out the story again. Sure enough, it still freaked me out as much as it originally had.  Reading that collection again ignited my interest in King’s books again and I slowly got back to his books again. The problem is that in the ensuing years he has written so much more that I’m having a hard time catching up. My favourite book of his from recent years is the one in the above picture, 11/22/63, which is an awesome read. I haven’t seen any of the recent King movie adaptations yet, but I intend to watch them eventually. I’d like to read The Dark Tower series first and try to reread It as well, because it is so long since I read it.

So, happy birthday to two literary ‘giants’ that have had a huge impact on my reading life. I look forward to catching up on the Stephen King books I have missed and also to many more still to come. I also look forward to many more readings of The Hobbit, but I don’t think it will ever be knocked off the top of my favourites, although there are perhaps Stephen King books that come close.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Sept 20)

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‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. I can’t believe that we’re more than halfway through September. Where has the summer gone? Having said that, with the temperatures we’ve been having this week it almost still seems like summer.

2. I had hoped that I’d do better with my reading during the summer, but I got into a rut there and was hardly reading much at all. Recently I’ve got back to more reading again and, hopefully, I’ll get back on track. I put together a TBR pile for fall yesterday and I’ll be happy if I get at least half of them read. I always get sidetracked by other books anyway.

3. Lately I’ve been a bit more grateful for living in a small town where very little happens. There’s a lot of crazy things happening out there in the big world – hurricanes, earthquakes, crazy world leaders playing games of chicken with deadly weapons – but life here just seems to tick along regardless.

4. We made a quick trip to the Book Outlet store in St Catharines last month, but I was very restrained only picking up five books for myself. I made up for it last week when visiting our local thrift store I managed to pick up ten Clive Cussler books. I’m trying to put together a reading plan for getting through my Cussler collection. I read a few of his books when I was a teenager, but he has written at least 70 books that are part of 5 different series. I think I’ve managed to work out a way forward with them. It’ll take a few years, but it’ll be worth it.

5. We dropped off our daughter to the University of Waterloo for her first year at the start of September. She’s only an hour away, but it’s really strange not having her around and we miss her. Her younger brother has some mixed feelings about the situation, though. She’ll be home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks time and we will also have family visiting from the UK at the same time.

6. I’m still enjoying my foray into #bookstagram and have been enjoying trying to keep up with some daily challenges. You can check out my pictures HERE.

7. Christmas is just over 3 months away, so I’ll need to start thinking soon about putting together my Christmas book wishlist together. I have no idea what to ask for yet, but I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with plenty ideas.

P.S. The picture at the top is from the wonderful meal we had at Pazzo in Stratford to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary in August. It’s a great place to eat if you’re ever in the area.

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