Category Archives: TBR

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.

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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.

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)

Top Ten Tuesday – I’ve Started, So I’ll Finish (June 6)

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 ‘10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR List.’ Rather than choosing a particular genre, I’ve chosen ten books on my currently reading list at Goodreads. These are books that I started a long time ago and for some reason or other I never got back to them. So I’ve made a separate TBR pile for them and hopefully this might inspire to pick them up and start reading them again. For some of them it’s been so long ago that I started them that I’ll have to go back to the beginning and start all over again. Here are the ten I picked:

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  1. If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis:Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life by Alister McGrath
  2. Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
  3. Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs
  4. Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy Vanderhaeghe
  5. The Story of Kullervo by J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines by Ray Harris
  7. In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  8. George MacKay Brown: The Wound and the Gift by Ron Ferguson
  9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  10. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

It seems like a daunting list, but hopefully I’ll get some of them read soon.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 11)

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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. Although I only finished a couple of books in the last week, I did a lot more reading than I have in a long time. Although I seem to be enjoying reading again, the downside is knowing what to read next – my TBR pile just grows and grows. Summer is coming, sticio hopefully I’ll get more down time to be able to attack that pile.

2. I participated in a Kairos Blanket Exercise this week, organized by our local Ministerial Association. It’s the second one I’ve participated in and it was a very moving experience. If you ever get the opportunity to participate in one then do so. The more people that are able to do this, the more hope there is for real change to take place.

3. We managed to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last weekend. It’s a great movie and every bit as good as the first one, maybe even with some deeper themes running through it. I had to watch the first one again the night before going to see the second one, as it had been almost three years since I saw it and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.

4. My latest favourite thing to make is mushrooms that taste like bacon bits. They’re easy to make and addictive. Also, they are probably a lot better for you than bacon, which I haven’t had for over 8 years now anyway.

5. I’m looking for something new to binge watch on Netflix after last week’s disappointing experience with the unavailability of Better Call Saul. I only have two more episodes of Father Brown to watch and I’m caught up again. I’m open to any suggestions anyone might have to offer.

6. We’re trying to work out a visit this summer to our favourite used bookstore, Bearly Used Books, in Parry Sound. When we lived up north we used to pass through there more often, but no it’s a little out of our way. It’s worth visiting and we still have a fair bit of store credit to use up there. You never know what you are going to find and I’ve picked up some great bargains there over the years.

7. I had to buy a new copy of 1984 today as my old, well-read copy is starting to fall apart. Our daughter borrowed it for school, but it was in such poor shape that I thought I’d better get another one.

8. U2’s Joshua Tree Tour 2017 kicks off tomorrow night in Vancouver, which means it’s only 43 days until we get to see them in Toronto. I’m interested to see what their set is tomorrow night and also what the stage set-up looks like.

WWW Wednesday – May 10

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?

I was doing well for a little while there, but it’s almost two months since I did one of these posts. So it’s time to get started again! Here are my answers for the past week:

Currently Reading:

Three books that I have on the go at the moment are:

  1. How to be Here by Rob Bell. I’d wanted to read this one for a while, but only picked it up last month. It’s a great read so far.
  2. Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth. I received a review copy of this from LibraryThing early reviewers and am hoping to get it read soon. It’s been pretty good up to this point.
  3. Liturgy of the Ordinary by Trish Harrison Warren. I got a little behind in my reading for the Renovaré Book Club, but I’m almost caught up now and should be finished this one soon.

Recently Finished:

wenjackThe only book I finished in the last week was Wenjack by Joseph Boyden. It’s a sad little book based on the true story of Chanie ‘Charlie’ Wenjack, an Ojibwe boy runs away from a North Ontario Indian School, not realizing just how far away home is. He never made it home. It’s a book every Canadian should consider reading, in order to educate ourselves about the dark aspects of our history that should never be allowed to happen again. I also recently read the graphic novel Secret Path, by Good Downie and Jeff Lemire,  that is another adaptation of the life of Chanie Wenjack. It’s worth checking out as well.

Up Next:

I’d like to get into any of the following books next:

  1. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue. This one has been on my TBR for a while. I got it for my birthday last mont and am looking forward to reading it soon.
  2. Silence by Shusaku Endo. I had stared this one, but got sidetracked. I’d like to get back to it as one of my book challenges for this month is to read a book that has been adapted into a movie. Once i’ve read it I’ll try to see the movie, as it has just been released on DVD.
  3. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell. I just picked this one up and really want to read it soon.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 4)

IMG_0603I seem to have hit a kind of wall lately when it comes to updating this blog. I’m always looking for ways to kickstart it again and found this weekly meme, which might be a way to get things going again. It’s called ‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ and is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It just seems to be a list of updates and things from the previous week, some about books, some not. So I think I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

1. After a couple of slow months I think I’ve got my reading back on track again. I started off the new year pretty well, but somewhere in March things started to slow down a bit. Currently I’m enjoying Rob Bell’s How to Be Here, and am also finishing off a few others. I’m a little behind on a couple of my book challenges, but there’s nothing to worry about yet. It won’t take too much effort to catch up. The main thing is that I’m enjoying my reading again.

2. U2 announced yesterday what their special subscription gift is this year. It’s going to be The Joshua Tree Singles Vinyl Collection: 1987 & 2017, and it’ll be shipping out later this year. I’m looking forward to getting it then. Plus, it’s only 50 days until I see them in Toronto.

3. Finally Netflix put up some episodes of shows that I had been waiting for. I binge-watched season two of Better Call Saul in less than a week and I’m current getting through seasons 3 and 4 of Father Brown. I was disappointed that Netflix won’t be showing season 3 of Better Call Saul until next year, but I just discovered that the first four episodes are up on the AMC website for free (so I know what I’ll be watching for the next couple of days). *EDIT: I was only able to watch the first episode of the season for free. In order to watch the rest I would have to be subscribed to the channel on my cable service. Frustrated!*

4. Although my TBR pile keeps on growing, there’s a few good books coming out in the next couple of weeks that I’ll have to add to that pile. One that I’ll be getting for sure is Rob Bell’s What is The Bible? by Rob Bell. Hopefully I’ll be finished How to Be Here by then.

5. Today is, of course, May The Fourth day, when we celebrate all things Star Wars. With it being a week day we decided to hold off on watching anything Star Wars. Tomorrow night we are planning to at least watch Rogue One, which is fine because tomorrow is becoming known as Revenge of the Fifth day.

6. It was exciting watching the Leafs in the play-offs this year, even though they only lasted six games. Better days are ahead, I think. I’m not sure how much further the Raptors are going to go, as they are already 2 games down to the Cavaliers. Thankfully TFC are starting to find some rhythm now after a shaky start. They’re on a three game winning streak at the moment and it’s been great watching them recently. Thankfully Rangers first season back in the Scottish Premiership will be at an end soon. It’s been torture watching them recently, especially last Saturday’s game. Things can only get better and we’ll see if Pedro is the answer or not after the summer transfer window opens.

7. I decided to try a bookstagram challenge on Instagram this month. It’s a Seinfeld themed challenge hosted by The Nocturnal Reader’s Box. If you want to check out my feed I go by @wcs53 on there.

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