torontoc- reading and maybe seeing films in 2021

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2021

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torontoc- reading and maybe seeing films in 2021

1torontoc
Dez 26, 2020, 11:08am

Hi. My name is Cyrel. I am a retired visual arts teacher. I used to travel a lot ( not any more!) and love to read. Now I am on Zoom for meetings and some family get-togethers. I have embraced webinars and YouTube!
Hopefully this will be a better year!

2drneutron
Dez 26, 2020, 11:20am

Welcome back!

3SqueakyChu
Dez 26, 2020, 4:41pm

Hi Cyrel! I really want to stay in touch with you this year. I've starred your thread to help me do this. Happy new year! I hope we'll get to meet up again in safer times. Stay well.

4PaulCranswick
Dez 26, 2020, 8:24pm

Lovely to see you back for another year, Cyrel.

5EllaTim
Dez 27, 2020, 1:12pm

Happy new thread, Cyrel, And a happy new year!

6thornton37814
Dez 27, 2020, 9:57pm

Welcome back and happy reading!

7torontoc
Dez 27, 2020, 10:47pm

thank you! and here is to a better year!

8DianaNL
Dez 31, 2020, 5:57am

Best wishes for a better 2021!

9FAMeulstee
Dez 31, 2020, 6:15pm

Happy reading in 2021, Cyrel!

10PaulCranswick
Editado: Jan 26, 3:27pm



And keep up with my friends here, Cyrel. Have a great 2021.

11torontoc
Jan 1, 4:44pm

I'll use this thread- funny -I couldn't find it earlier( I attribute all mistakes to Covid)

12jessibud2
Jan 1, 5:07pm

Happy new year and new thread, Cyrel!

13Akram123
Jan 1, 5:10pm

This user has been removed as spam.

14torontoc
Jan 1, 11:02pm

Thank you!

15torontoc
Jan 2, 3:50pm

Happy New Year! I started off the New Year with a migraine( yuck!). Today I just finished listening to a " radio" play" from the Tarragon theatre. This theatre converted their whole season into a series of " pod casts" or adaptations of plays that had been produced at the theatre over the past 40 years. I am a subscriber and I get a link about every two or three weeks. I have two weeks to listen to each play. They have been very good!

16SilverWolf28
Jan 2, 8:33pm

Happy New Year and Happy New Thread!

17torontoc
Jan 4, 7:20pm

Thank you!
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen O.K., this season needed a comfort read so I went to my favourite! Also I saw the complete P&P BBC series with Colin Firth last weekend. The writing is really good with wonderful characters and a great plot. What more can I say? P&P helped me get through some of the isolation needed in this pandemic.

18fairywings
Jan 4, 7:28pm

Pride and Prejudice is my all time favourite book. I usually try to read it at least once a year when I need a comfort read too. Always puts me back in a reading mood.

19torontoc
Jan 6, 3:34pm


2. Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler Could I be choosing Covid friendly books to read lately? I think so. This story was a pleasure to read. I liked the plot and the tone of writing but then I have always enjoyed the author's work. Micah Mortimer is someone who follows the same routine every day- he runs his own computer trouble shooting business, functions as the caretaker of a small apartment building and lives a very ordered life. He comes from a disorganized family and has not married. Into his routine world comes a young man,Brink, who claims that Micah is his father. Micah's girlfriend has a crisis and he responds badly. Out of the chaos that these changes bring, Micah learns about caring and how to change.

20ffortsa
Jan 7, 11:13am

Hi, Cyril. Happy 2021!

21torontoc
Jan 8, 4:10pm

Thank you!
3. To Be A Man stories by Nicole Krauss This is a wonderful collection of stories by a master writer. I have found her novels to be a little dense but worth the read. This book covers the surreal, troubled relationships and more. Each story was engrossing.

22torontoc
Jan 11, 12:16pm

4. Little Threats by Emily Schultz This murder mystery was good to read although I did think that the ending was a little weak. However it was a good read for these stressful times. A friend of teenage twins Kennedy and Carter Wynn ( Haley) is murdered and Kennedy is sent to prison for the crime. She never confessed but there was a deal worked out by her lawyers. The narrative is shared by a number of people-all who have something to hide. The begins when Kennedy is 31 and is just paroled from prison. She tries to rebuild her life but the actions of all those who were related to or knew Haley lead to the identity of the real killer and the motive.
I did like the read .

23torontoc
Jan 23, 4:07pm

5. Ridgerunner by Gil AdamsonThis is last finalist for the Giller Prize that I am reading and yes, it too, could have been the winner. I had read this author's first book The Outlander when it was published and this is the sequel. This is an adventure story. Jack Boulton is a young boy who is living with a former nun, Sister Beatrice, in a small town in the Canadian west. The nun has renamed him and watches him closely. Jack's father, William Morland is an outlaw, traveling in the American and Canadian west, stealing and trying to make money for his future. Jack's mother, Mary died and the nun has been entrusted by the parents to raise the boy. Jack can't take the life that the nun has envisioned for him and escapes to the remote cabin where he had lived with his parents. The reader learns about the adventures of both William and Jack, the good friends and the treachery of Sister Beatrice. This was a really good read

24torontoc
Jan 24, 6:40pm

6. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell ( I have no idea why the book has been published in Canada as " Hamnet & Judith".) I reread this novel for my book club meeting tomorrow on Zoom. It is still memorable for the interesting characterization of Agnes or Anne- Shakespeare's wife. The writing and images are wonderful. They give the reader a sense of the pain of losing a child to the plague( so contemporary now) and the tribute that Shakespeare gave to his son.

25torontoc
Editado: Jan 26, 1:55pm

7. The Telling by E. M. BronerThere is actually a subtitle that describes what this memoir/history is about. "The story of a group of Jewish women who journey to spirituality through community and ceremony". The author relates the story of the development of a women's haggadah and the ceremonies for a new type of seder created over the years by some women. The purpose of the new rituals was to include women in as opposed to traditional practices of leaving women out. The group that Esther Broner worked with were prominent in promoting equality for women in many areas. Broner describes the various seders held between 1975 and 1992. The participants were from so many different background from very religious to "not at all". The important practices were for inclusion and community building. Some of the women involved played an important role in women's liberation-Phyllis Chesler, Letty cotton Pogrebin, Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem , and ( Canadian )Michele Landsberg. Broner's descriptions show the difficulties women faced through the last quarter of the 20th century. I remember going to women's conferences and learning about the forgotten women in Jewish history and practice. Now, with women working as Rabbis in the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements, we can sometimes forget how it all came about.

26jessibud2
Jan 26, 2:03pm

>25 torontoc: - I have this one on my shelf but have not read it. It sounds like this book might have been the basis for the documentary film I saw several years ago. I thought the film was called A Weave of Women and I have a book of that title, too, but the film was specifically about the seders and all those women you mentioned were in it.

27PaulCranswick
Jan 26, 3:29pm

>24 torontoc: I am looking forward to Hamnet being available in Malaysia. I haven't seen a bad review of it yet.

28torontoc
Jan 26, 3:37pm

>26 jessibud2: -Yes, the book is about the seders primarily. There is also another film titled " Half the Kingdom" - directed by a Canadian about this seders and these same women.

>27 PaulCranswick: it is such a good book- In Canada it has been published as Hamnet & Judith- you might find it under that title as well!

29PaulCranswick
Jan 26, 4:02pm

>28 torontoc: I haven't seen any Canadian titles over here before, Cyrel. One of my pet hates here are the paucity of books from Canada, Australia and NZ.

30torontoc
Jan 26, 11:06pm

>29 PaulCranswick: That is too bad- you might have to inquire about one of the Canadian bookstores and see if they would mail you books. ( Munro's books in Victoria, BC or Ben McNally in Toronto)
I get books from the UK with no trouble.

31PaulCranswick
Jan 30, 10:51pm

>30 torontoc: When I move back to the UK, Cyrel, that is a distinct possibility. To Malaysia postage is often very cost prohibitive.

32torontoc
Jan 31, 7:13pm

>31 PaulCranswick: Yes postage- I send gifts to my relatives in the US and the postage is...considerable- I also pay for tracking numbers now during COVID.

8. From Memory to Transformation, Jewish Women's Voices edited by Sarah Silberstein Swartz and Margie Wolfe I guess that I was going down memory lane as I picked up this book from my shelves. I was at the conference where many of these stories, memoirs and reports in this book were presented. ( The conference was in 1996.) Things have changed since the publication of this book. There are more women Rabbis, more opportunities for women to fully take part in religious life without feeling as if they were alone, and more books written about women's experiences. These articles cover personal accounts, newly discovered Yiddish women writers, and histories of daughters of Holocaust survivors. When this book was published some of the histories had not been public knowledge. Now there are many books published on all the topics covered. A good reread.

33torontoc
Fev 7, 4:21pm


9. Execution by S. J. Parris Nothing beats a good adventure story. I have been following this series of books about Giordano Bruno. Bruno was a real person and as a excommunicated priest on the run from the Catholic Church, he really did spy for Queen Elizabeth's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. In this novel, Bruno has returned to England from France to impersonate a Spanish priest who is bringing aid to English Catholic conspirators.The plan is to kill the Queen and put her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots on the English throne. In addition to spying on the men involved in this plot, Bruno is tasked with finding out who killed a young woman. This woman, Clara Poole, was a friend of Walsingham's daughter and a sister to one of conspirators who was working undercover. The investigation of Clara's death takes Bruno to brothels and taverns of London. More missing persons figure in the plot and more deaths and betrayals. A really good pandemic read.

34torontoc
Fev 8, 10:49pm

10. The Tailor Project How 2,500 Holocaust Survivors Found a New Life in Canada by Andrea Knight, Paula Draper, and Nicole Bryck. This book tells the story of the
" Tailor Project"-a scheme to bring Jewish survivors of the Holocaust to Canada in 1948-9. The narrative covers the reluctance of the Canadian government to bring Jews to Canada both before and after World War Two. Although official Jewish community groups lobbied the government, only a group of businessmen and union leaders who were involved in garment manufacture were able to advocate successfully for a programme to bring tailors to Canada. Only 2500 were allowed in and fifty percent were allowed to be Jewish. The book alternates between telling the story of the project and presenting the memoirs of fourteen people who were part of this programme. A good history read.

35torontoc
Fev 11, 7:40pm

11. Downfall by Robert Rotenberg. Robert Rotenberg's books feature detectives and lawyers who work in my hometown-Toronto. This book is the sixth in the series. Every time a new book comes out, I read, enjoy and wonder when the next book will be published. The stories are always interesting and I didn't figure out who was the murderer until the end of the book. This book was an enjoyable read. The author is a practicing criminal lawyer and sometimes my friends will try to think of the possible real life people disguised as characters in the novels. I enjoyed this book-it is a good pandemic read!

36torontoc
Editado: Fev 14, 11:57am

Here is my list of best books read ( only fiction) from 2005-2020. I couldn't find my book lists from earlier-so here it is. My criteria-a feeling of "oh, that was good! This is in response to Paul Cranswick's list - mine is shorter.
Good books read 2005-2000

The World to Come by Dara Horn
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick
Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Cloud Atlas by David Michell
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
The Amazing Absorbing Boy by Rabindranath Maharaj
The City and The City by China Mieville
Railsea vby China Mieville
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugan
The Liberated Bride by AB Yehoshua
The Sea by John Banville
The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Quiet Twin by Dan Vyleta
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age by Kenzaburo Oe
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Longbourn by Jo Baker
A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker
Sweetland by Michael Crummey
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
History of the Rain by Niall Williams
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
Judas by Amos Oz
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Autumn by Ali Smith
Warlight by Michael Ondaatjie
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatjie
Go, West, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
Happiness by Aminatta Forna
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Girl, Women, Other bv Bernadine Evaristo
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Son of A Trickster by Eden Robinson
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

37jessibud2
Fev 14, 11:38am

I have only read 8 from your list, Cyrel. If I had the energy, I would do a list of my own. My book log list goes back to 1992. Obviously I read before that, just didn't officially keep track. Maybe one of these days, I'll be inspired to sit down and do it.

38torontoc
Fev 14, 1:41pm

>37 jessibud2: I didn't include the non-fiction books and there were many excellent ones!

39PaulCranswick
Fev 14, 2:00pm

>36 torontoc: Impressive list, Cyrel. Many of them on the shelves waiting for me.

Just one point A Place of Greater Safety was published in 1992. I do note that wikipedia lists it as being published by Viking Press in 2006. This is wrong as I can assure you that I read it in the early nineties. Wonderful book though.

40torontoc
Fev 14, 2:27pm

I think that I read A Place of Greater Safety in the early 2000's - I sometimes will read books that were published years before 2000 but I only bought them later.
I haven't even looked at the non-fiction books on my list!

41torontoc
Fev 14, 10:37pm

12. Vagabond Stars : A World History of Yiddish Theatre by Nahma Sandrow Since it is the first edition, (1974) I know that a lot more has happened with Yiddish theatre since then. But the early chapters were very good. The author shows the beginnings of Yiddish theatre and the progression from spectacle to serious drama. She does concentrate on the countries where Yiddish theatre did develop. Sandrow describes the work of the first actors, directors and writers as well as the theatre companies in Eastern Europe and New York City.

42torontoc
Fev 19, 9:55am

13. The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd This novel imagines that Jesus had a wife and this is her story. It is an interesting view of a time where momentous changes were occurring. Ana is a young teenager who has learned to read and write. Her father is a very important official in the government of Herod Antipas. Her adopted brother is a zealot named Judas. Ana is determined to follow her own path even when her father arranges a marriage for her to a wealthy older man. Ana is supported by her aunt who has come from Egypt where she was part of a Jewish monastic community-the Therapeutae. There are a number of dramatic incidents that eventually lead Ana to meet and marry Jesus. The author manipulates the characters in the life of Jesus to include women into the traditional story. I found this novel to be very interesting in that real events were woven into the narrative. It is a book of historical fiction but I found the premise to be very plausible.

43jessibud2
Fev 19, 11:11am

>42 torontoc: - I bought this book the last time I was in Montreal, last August or Sept. I have loved most (though not all) of Kidd's books I've read and look forward to this one (it's still in the pile of Mt. TBR). Nice review, Cyrel.

44torontoc
Fev 22, 10:52am

>43 jessibud2: Thank you! and now for something completely different!

14. Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore I like to read intensive biographies every once and a while. I previous read the author's book on Stalin's later history- Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. The research into unpublished memoirs of people who knew the young Stalin provide the reader with more of an insight into the behaviour that led to later decisions that shaped the Soviet Union in the 1930's. Stalin was brought up by his mother and educated in a seminary in Georgia. The attitudes and ethics (or lack of them) in Stalin's Georgian experiences do lead to his actions later in life. The reader learns about the lawlessness of the Georgian society and the work of the secret police. The confusion and lack of leadership in Russia certainly led to the revolution. This book covers Stalins life until the revolution in October, 1917. The arrests, the exiles to Siberia, the women, and the gangster and criminal friends all contribute to the development of the future dictator, Stalin.

45torontoc
Fev 24, 6:50pm

15. Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland This is a very sad and interesting story about a family living in Atlantic City in 1934. Joseph and Esther's married daughter, Fannie is in the hospital awaiting the birth of her baby. She is on an extreme bed rest as she is in danger of miscarriage. A terrible event happens to her younger sister, Florence( happens in the very first chapter) and her family deal with keeping the news from Fannie until she delivers the baby. At the same time, Anna- a young woman from Germany is living with the famlily before she goes to college. She is worried about her parents who are unable to get a visa to leave Berlin. Each chapter is narrated by a different member of the family as well as a young man who knew Florence. The story is very touching. The author drew upon the history of her own family for the very unusual plot.

46torontoc
Fev 27, 12:10pm

16. Granta 99 What Happened Next edited by Fatema Ahmed I took this copy of Granta from my book pile.( actually a bin). I used to get excited when I picked up a copy of this publication at the bookstore. ( sigh-that would be nice to go to a book store and browse) There would always be a theme and short stories, photographic essays, excerpts from memoirs, biographies and more. This issue has a brief remembrance by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, stories by Tessa Hadley and Helon Habila as well as other authors. I enjoyed this read although I haven't picked up an issue of Granta for a while. Maybe when life gets back to a sense of normal.

47torontoc
Mar 3, 1:54pm

17. Granta 68 Love Stories edited by Ian Jack This is a great publication- full of good fiction, and memoirs. There is a story by Raymond Carver and one by W.G. Sebald. This was a very satisfying read and I wonder why the book was at the bottom of my TBR bin.

48torontoc
Mar 5, 10:26pm

18. Under Occupation by Alan Furst I always wait for the publication of the next book in this sort of series. The author writes about spies in World War Two. In every book someone passes through one cafe in Paris. I loved the earlier novels but this latest one is good but not great. Paul Ricard is a novelist in 1942 Paris. One night he is handed a drawing of a blueprint of a military weapon. The person who hands it to him is shot. Paul manages to get the drawing to the Resistance. Eventually he takes part in more espionage work. The plot is... competent but of the same calibre as the earlier novels.

I saw( on my computer) the film "Judas and the Black Messiah" - it is excellent. I saw it because I am a member of TIFF( Toronto International Film Festival).

49PaulCranswick
Mar 5, 10:51pm

>46 torontoc: & >47 torontoc: Granta do do excellent collections. I need to read something by Tessa Hadley soon.

I do get the feeling these days that Alan Furst's books are all variations on the self-same theme. Taken in isolation they are invariably good reads but I would always want to space out my reading of them.

Have a great weekend, Cyrel.

50torontoc
Mar 12, 9:53am

>49 PaulCranswick: I liked his first books in the series the best!
thank you!

19. A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War 11 by Sonia Purnell During this pandemic I find myself more comfortable with biographies, memoirs and history books. I was fascinated by this story about Virginia Hall. She was an American woman who worked for the British SOE and then the American OSS in wartime France. Virginia was quite adept in setting up resistance groups in Lyon. However the British had her report to another (and always male) agent although she was the better organizer. Eventually she was identified to the Germans. Virginia did escape through Spain to London and eventually found her way back to France and headed up her own group. The importance of her work in setting up effective resistance was really not known publicly. This biography helps set the record straight on her heroism and key contribution to the Allied effort in France.

51PaulCranswick
Mar 13, 10:24pm

>50 torontoc: Isn't it funny that the pandemic has had such an impact on your reading tastes? For some reason I feel more drawn to history than normal and to fantasy fiction (which I had never had much of a yen for before).

Have a great weekend, Cyrel.

52torontoc
Mar 14, 8:29am

>51 PaulCranswick: Thank you! I thought that I didn't read much fantasy fiction but I read the Harry Potter series, a fabulous Neil Gaiman. I also really like the books of China Meiville

53torontoc
Mar 14, 6:09pm

20.Spring by Ali Smith This book covers so many different themes. The reader learns about the authors Katherine Mansfield, R. M. Rilke as well as elements of Charlie Chaplins' life and the plight of refugees interned in England. The author weaves so many different story lines together. A director mourns the loss of his friend and brilliant scriptwriter. A worker at a " UK Immigration Removal Centre" travels to Scotland on whim to find a mysterious young girl. There is talk of the power of clouds and everything does fit together in the end.This is a wonderful book.

54Deedledee
Mar 16, 8:03pm

>50 torontoc:
I'm with you. Before this I really enjoyed dystopian lit but now it's primarily historical I want to read.

55torontoc
Mar 21, 4:47pm

21. Corby Falls by Robert Carr. This book has so much to digest. Miles is an engineer working for a company that has contracts with various space agencies in Canada and Europe. Part of the novel focuses on the politics of working with public agencies and private companies -all jockeying for grants and the rights to construct sections of vehicles and machinery that will be part of a space programmes. Miles comes from a small town-Corby Falls and he was sure that a doctor in town has killed his first wife. But this idea is based on something he may have seen when he was twelve. Thirty-five years later when he tell friends at a dinner what he might have seen, the ramifications seem to become out of control. Miles also was a confidant of a famous Russian author who ended up in Toronto. At the same time he has to confront changes in his life as his daughter might be moving to France with his former wife. Again- the details keep on coming. I was very interested to see how everything resolved.

56torontoc
Mar 30, 11:12pm

22. Klara and The Sun by Kazuo IshiguroKlara is an AF or artificial friend who the reader meets in the store where she is for sale. Klara narrates this story so the reader sees what she observes and interprets. We follow Klara as she is bought for a young girl named Josie. The society that the author describes has some relation to our own although there seems to be some major differences. Klara has empathy for Josie and tries to help her. Klara's solutions reflect what she knows as an artificial entity.Josie is not well and Klara enlists the help of Josie's friend Rick and later Josie's father. Klara shows optimism and believes that she has helped change Josie's fate. The novel is both sad and uplifting in that the reader learns about the power of love and empathy. I really enjoyed this story.And of course, the language was very powerful.

23. Exodus 1947 The Ship that Launched a Nation by Ruth Gruber. I saw the author when she was over 90 and a guest at the Toronto International Film Festival a few years ago. Her story is quite remarkable. She described incidents in her early life in another book. This book concentrates on the story and fate of the ship Exodus. The author was a witness to the events described in this book as she travelled as a correspondent for New York newspapers in post war Europe and the Middle East. The ship was trying to enter Palestine illegally as Britain and forbidden any immigration of Holocaust survivors. The ship was stopped and eventually all the passengers were sent to Germany. Ruth Gruber took photographs, chronicled this story and reported on the conditions for her American audience. She was a remarkable woman and this story is heartbreaking. ( However all the passengers from the Exodus eventually left Germany and displaced person camps and did get to Palestine just before the state of Israel was established.)

57torontoc
Abr 6, 11:11pm

24. Paper Bullets Two Artists Who risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis by Jeffrey H. Jackson This history really sets corrects the record of two women who were artists in Paris and later created a resistance to the Nazis on the island of Jersey. Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe were friends and then lovers in 1920's Paris. They knew the Surrealists and created photomontages. They were known as Claude Cahun ( Lucy) and Marcel Moore( Suzanne). Claude Cahun has been credited with all the writing and art although Marcel Moore was the writer. The two women were from well off French families. During the late 1930's they both decided to leave Paris and live quietly on the island of Jersey. However with the Germans occupying Jersey, the two decided to mount their own kind of resistance. Lucy and Suzanne created fake newspapers, and posters that were directed to the German soldiers on the island. They encouraged doubt in the German army leadership. Eventually they were caught and sent to prison on Jersey. They were tried and sentenced to death. The German officers on the island were hoping for leniency as they did not want to execute two women. Both Lucy and Suzanne were released just before the end of the war. This book uses diaries and letters of the two women and clarifies the facts of their lives, and contributions to the resistance. I found it a very interesting history.

58PaulCranswick
Abr 7, 2:31am

>53 torontoc: I really must make time for Ali Smith's Four Seasons.

59torontoc
Abr 7, 5:58pm

>58 PaulCranswick: I really liked all the books so far- I am waiting for the last Summer, to be published in paperback. ( touchstones are weird this evening)

60torontoc
Abr 10, 5:36pm

Pandemic Book buying
We are now in a lockdown that has more serious rules ( really, Toronto has been in lockdown since the end of Nov. ) I bought the following with curb side pickup.
Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy by Gary Barwin
Actress by Anne Enright
A Russian Sister by Caroline Adderson- recommended by the wonderful lecturer on a Russian literature webinar
The Light of Days The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos by Judy Batalion the author wrote about her book in the Sunday New York Times and I have heard her speak on a webinar.
I ordered
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
The Bookseller of Florence by Ross King and
The Toronto Book of Love by Adam Bunch- he wrote The Toronto Book of the Dead
I also ordered the new biography of Philip Roth by Blake Bailey for my sister-in-law

61torontoc
Abr 14, 1:54pm

25. Chihuly Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly I decide to look through some of my art books and found this one that I don't recall looking through for a while or ever. ( I call it covid Brain lately) I have seen Dale Chihuly's work at the Victoria and Albert Museum ( oh the days when we could travel) and at an amazing show at the Royal Ontario Museum.(now closed due to Covid lockdown) The book showed examples of the wonderful and fantastic works of art in glass at a number of locations. I must remember to look at this book soon for the forms, colours and great imaginative installations.

62jessibud2
Abr 14, 2:31pm

>61 torontoc: - I first saw a Dale Chihuly exhibit at the museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, and a few years later, the same show at the ROM as you did. A large piece of his also features in the entry of the Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, where I spent 2 days several years ago. I adore his work.

63torontoc
Editado: Abr 22, 11:16pm

26. The Slaughterman's Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits Translated by Orr Scharf I must admit that this book really annoyed me. The beginning was promising. The story takes place in the Pale of Settlement at the end of the nineteenth century. Jews are living in small towns and some are suffering from the forced enrolment of their sons in the Russian army. At the same time there are many husbands deserting their wives. The story seems to focus on one such family. Mende's Speismann's husband, Zvi- Meir, left for Minsk and has not been heard from for over a year. Fannie Keismann, Mende's sister ,resolves to help by travelling to Minsk, locating Zvi and asking him to give Mende a divorce so that she can go on with her life. Fanny asks Zizek Breshov, a mysterious ferryman to help her. So the reader seems to be on a voyage or quest with Fanny and Zizek. Unfortunately, after many adventures ( Fanny has learned to slaughter from her father and uses her skills to protect herself on this trip) the story then turns to the activities of a number of men- Colonel Novaks who is pursuing Fanny and Zizek, the true story of Zizek and a number of assorted Russian army colonels. I kept wanting to hear about the adventures of the women and didn't like the 150-200 pages devoted to the histories of what were minor characters at the beginning of the novel. There you have it- a disgruntled reader!

64SqueakyChu
Abr 22, 4:23pm

>63 torontoc: Not a book I would want to read! :D

65torontoc
Abr 24, 7:52pm

27. The Light of Days The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos by Judy BatalionI heard this author speak and also read some articles that she had written. This history follows a number of young women who acted as couriers for groups in Polish ghettos. The stories follow the years of the war so that the reader doesn't find out the total story of each woman until the end of the book. The main premise of this history is the importance of women who risked their lives to travel between towns delivering false papers, weapons and names of contacts. One woman assassinated German officials. Jewish women were able to pass as Polish for various reasons. Families would send their sons to Jewish schools but then send their daughters to Polish schools As a result, the young women who acted as couriers spoke a better Polish without any trace of Yiddish accents. These women were instrumental in the plans for the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and revolts in other towns. The stories show that these women were very enterprising as they avoided the Gestapo and police. A majority of these couriers were killed during the war. This book describes how Renia Kukielka passed as a Catholic, was captured, tortured in prison and was able to escape. The network of political groups, smugglers and helpers is described as well as the problems that survivors faced after the war ended. This is a really good history and serves to demonstrate that the contributions of these young women have to be acknowledged.

66torontoc
Abr 27, 11:01pm

28. Actress by Anne EnrightThis is a well written story about the narrator and her mother that is more of a character study than an action driven novel. Norah, the daughter writes about her mother's history. Katherine O'Dell is a famous Irish actress . Norah tries to unravel the mysteries of her mother's life. She also does not know who her father is. Norah describes how her mother succeeds and eventually fails at her career and life. The reader learns about Norah's life and her own problems and relationships. I really liked the writing and the descriptions of the people who changed the lives of both mother and daughter.

67torontoc
Abr 28, 4:04pm

29. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud I really didn't like this book. I read another of Messud's books and enjoyed it about two years ago. This book was published in 2006 and has been in my book pile for a while. I guess that I didn't empathize with any of the main characters. They all seemed so shallow. They all started out with much privilege and didn't create anything meaningful in work or relationships. I did put this book down for a while. I found that the author's early style was too wordy for me- her later novel that I read was so much better in my opinion. I also think that my judgment on what is worthy has been influenced by the pandemic and what is important in life.

68torontoc
Abr 29, 11:15pm

I will be watching ( online) documentary film from the Hot Docs Film Festival this week. The first one that I saw today was "The Caviar Connection" . This French film looked at the massive corruption in Azerbajian. The subject of the film was a female journalist who was arrested and sentenced to 7 years in jail. She investigated the way the president's family made money and the role of celebrities in legitimizing the rule of some of the leaders in certain countries.

69jessibud2
Abr 30, 3:23pm

Hi Cyrel. I just purchased a 5-pack pass. I had a hard tie selecting just 5 but I can always do single tickets for others. Did you do a pass or are you just doing singles?

70torontoc
Abr 30, 8:36pm

>69 jessibud2: I just bought a whole lot of films _ I didn't get a pass- I read all the descriptions- You must see "Set!"
I saw two films today at the Hot Docs Festival- ( on my computer)The first, "Cezanne" was paired with "Shanghai Screens"- both were underwhelming- Shanghai Screens was a short film about young painters in Shanghai who copied famous painter's work. So one artist was painting about 25 canvasses of Van Gogh sunflowers. They all painted at night and used their phones to check for the original painting's details. Cezanne was a look at tourists visiting Cezanne's studio. It was as if the film maker positioned her camera in the centre of the small room and filmed the various people who came by in one day.
The second film was the best-"Set!" was about table setting competitions and one specific one at the Orange County Fair. The film maker followed about 6 competitive people who were preparing for this event. It was a delight!

71jessibud2
Editado: Maio 1, 7:55am

>70 torontoc: - I spent a lot of time looking at the trailers for many, and in the end, there were 11 that appealed to me. I guess I could have bought a 10-pack but I bought the 5-pack pass before I started looking at the trailers. I can always get single tickets to the others. I thought the Cezanne would be one I'd want to see for sure but the trailer made me change my mind. And it was all so beige! Weird.

"Set!" might be fun but it didn't initially grab me. In the end, I chose these five:

Street Gang (about Sesame Street!)
Blue Box
Her Socialist Smile (about Helen Keller)
It's Not Over Yet
My Tree

Others I may still get tickets for include:
The Rossellinis
Only I Can Hear
The Death of My Two Fathers
Love It Was Not

and some collections of shorts: Citizen Minutes, and The School of Life

I will start watching today. I have to say, it's so much easier having the festival online, than traipsing all over the city and standing in line, isn't it! ;-) A rare upside to lockdown restrictions!

72torontoc
Maio 2, 4:45pm

>71 jessibud2: My brother saw Street Gang and really liked it! I have tickets for Love It Was Not, Blue Box, and...
I have seen three more films from the Hot Docs Festival
"Come Back Anytime" is a wonderful look at a Japanese ramen noodle place and the owner. This was terrific! I was craving the food.
"The Colonel's Stray Dogs" is a son's look at his father who lived in London for forty years and was part of the opposition to Libya's Gaddafi.
"The Rossellinis" was a grandson's film on the famous Italian director's children and grandchildren.
Oh, "Cezanne" - It was like watching grass grow!

73torontoc
Maio 3, 5:30pm

More films today
"Gallant Indies" by Philippe Beziot shows the rehearsals and performance for an opera in Paris in 2019. The opera was by Rameau ( 1735) and updated by the director to use dancers of popular contemporary styles. It was a really interesting documentary.
"Love It Was Not" is a very compelling story. A young woman who was in Auschwitz worked in the section named " Kanada" where the belongings of those killed were sorted. The Nazi in charge of this section was in love with this woman. He did save her a number of times as well as saving her sister. The story was told by interviews of the survivors who worked in Kanada and they had different opinions- about this relationship.

74jessibud2
Editado: Maio 4, 7:04am

I watched Street Gang this afternoon and absolutely loved it. I would have watched a second one but several phone calls kept interrupting..so tomorrow. I bought a ticket for The Rosselinis. Did you hear the interview on cbc radio this morning with Allesandro Rosselini?

75torontoc
Maio 3, 10:24pm

>74 jessibud2: I did hear a part of it-I did watch the Q & A with the director as well.

30. The Toronto Book of Love by Adam Bunch I read the first book on Toronto history by this author (The Toronto Book of the Dead) and really liked the concept. Each chapter in this new book tells the story of love, scandal or deceit starting from the 1800's and continuing to the 21st century. There were stories about explorers, artists, politicians, and adventurers. There was a lot of scandal and heartbreak in early Toronto. I learned about the lives of people who contributed to the diverse life in the city that I live in.

76torontoc
Maio 6, 6:31pm

More films-
"Behind the Headlines" -This documentary followed journalists from a German newspaper. This team has previously exposed the " Panama Papers". In this film this group looks into an incriminating video of a Austrian politician who is accepting a bribe. After the story is published the Vice-Chancellor of Austria resigns.
"Misha and the Wolves" is about a woman seems to be a holocaust survivor with an incredible story. After a lawsuit with her first publisher, her story is examined by archivists who learn the true story ( not a good one)
"Blue Box" an Israeli filmmaker looks into the life of her great grandfather who was the architect of reforestation in Israel. By reading her great grandfather's diaries , she learns about his doubts about Israeli policy. It is a very interesting story.

77torontoc
Maio 8, 1:40pm

31. The Rock From The Sky by Jon Klassen I know that this book should be considered a book for children but I don't know. I found it a little depressing although it is suitable for the pandemic. Or maybe adults should try to read something more uplifting. Two very adorable animals start a discussion about the better place to stand. ( their spot) An enormous rock descends from the sky and it could have destroyed one of the animals. ( But it doesn't.) This theme is repeated as three animals debate a choice of sitting spots. The colours are grey and we the reader are left to consider choices that we make. This is an ER book sent to me.

78torontoc
Maio 9, 4:59pm

32. William Blake His Art and Times by David Bindman This is the catalogue for the exhibition that I saw many years ago. It is part of my campaign to look at some of my art books that I may not have read through because I saw the art show described by the book. William Blake's work is really interesting. His theories may be somewhat obscure but the art work is truly visionary. This book describes his early career and later work. I enjoyed looking at the combination of print and art.

Films from the last day of the Hot Docs Festival-
"Spirit to Soar" was written by the author of a book on the deaths of seven indigenous teenagers who were in Thunder Bay ( Ontario) for high school. Tanya Talaga narrates the story of what happened after she wrote the book.
" Mary Two-Axe Earley I am Indian Again" is about the struggle of Indigenous women who had lost their rights after they married non-indigenous men. They did regain their rights after many years. Mary Two-Axe Earley was the leader who lobbied the federal government to restore rights.

79torontoc
Maio 12, 10:49am

33. The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated by Susan Bernofsky I had started this book over a year ago and did put it down. i guess that the subject matter didn't appeal to me at that time. However , I think that the structure and plot are very unique. There " five " books or chapters separated by " Intermezzos". Each book describes how the main female character dies- from a baby in the early 20th century Habsburg empire, to a suicide in post World War One in Vienna, to death in Soviet Russia to old age. The intermezzos describe what would happen if death did not occur and what kind of life would the main character live. This book is rich in describing the lives lived and affected by pogroms in Poland, starvation in Austria, and paranoia among communists in Soviet Russia. This is a very unusual story and well worth read the read.

80torontoc
Maio 14, 8:55pm

34. Seven by Farzana Doctor My latest Early Reviewer's book has proved to be very interesting. Sharifa is going to live in India for a year with her husband Murtuza and young daughter Zee. While her husband is teaching at university, Sharifa plans to research the life of her great-great- grandfather and this life. She is curious about the fate of his four wives and descendants. Being part of the Bohra community, Sharifa has let go of most of the rituals. Living in Mumbai gives her the opportunity to connect with her mother's many relatives. One major theme is the fight to abolish the ritual of khatna or female genital cutting that is part of the Bohra tradition. Sharifa learns how this practice influences the lives of her cousins and unlocks her own personal story.

81torontoc
Maio 22, 2:35pm

35. The Bookseller of Florence The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance by Ross King I do like Ross King's take on the history of painters and art. His latest book is about the history of manuscript discovery, scribes, the use of parchment, and the development of the printing press. The history is about a key bookseller in Florence- Vespasiano da Bisticci. However, there is more about the collectors of ancient authors translated from the Greek into Latin and the rivalries between popes and rulers in Italy. It was interesting to me that editions printed on the newly discovered press were not considered as important as the books written and illustrated by hand. As well, one key press in Florence-the Ripoli Press run by a Fra Domenico used nuns as type setters. There is information on the use and making of new colours ( ultramarine is one) and more on the deadly conspiracies among noble families. ( Medici versus Pazzi was a key event) I really enjoyed this detailed history.

82torontoc
Maio 25, 4:26pm

36. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan I thought that this was a very good book, but why was I reading it during the pandemic? There are a number of narrators-each tells the story from a different point of view and it is all grim. Laura has married Henry but didn't expect him to abruptly move her and their two young daughters from Memphis to a small farm with a very primitive house in rural Mississippi.Nor did she expect Henry's father-a very cruel and vicious man- to come live with them. As well , Henry's brother, Jamie comes to live on the farm and he is fighting the demons he has because of his airforce experience from World War Two. The reader hears from the Black family who work on the farm and especially the son Ronsel also returning from serving in the army. Terrible things happen because of bigotry. Issues do get resolved and there is a sort of vengence. I am glad that I read it but it could have waited until after lockdown was ended where I live.

83torontoc
Maio 28, 9:20pm

37. The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley. I am interested in how the pandemic has changed my opinions about certain books. This memoir by a notable fashion magazine editor describes Talley's jobs in fashion at Interview, Woman's Wear Daily,and Vogue Magazine. He knew all the most famous editors and designers in New York and Paris. There are many stories about the very rich and famous. Talley was the favourite of Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld. He knew about discrimination but also benefited from the perks that came with his role at Vogue and his friendship with various fashion icons. The descriptions of gifts, free couture clothes, luxurious hotel vacations and elaborate flowers contrast with the abrupt dismissal that many editors seemed to suffer as a matter of routine. Talley describes all the clothes that he and his friends wore. And I thought about this luxury as I sit reading in my many years old blue jeans that have become my uniform during the past year and a half. Is fashion still important? I don't know but the description of voluptuous flowers and time spent on fittings for balls and couture fashion shows seems irrelevant to me this year. Still, I am glad that I read this book.

84torontoc
Jun 4, 7:57am

38. Pluto Living Welcome to The Plutoverse Hmm . This is a self published little book by the author( owner of this youtube celebrity dog, NJ Wight) and although I did enter it- the touchstones are not working! At the beginning of the pandemic, nature photographer NJ Wight decided to make a youtube video starring her elderly miniature schnauzer, Pluto. The messages were funny and somehow made isolation more bearable. The messages were positive, humorous, and funny. Pluto has quite a following now with a website and now this little book is filled with good advice for pandemic living, and fun photos. Highly recommended for positive thinking about the situation that we are all in now!

85jessibud2
Jun 4, 8:31am

>84 torontoc: - Omg, I remember when I first discovered Pluto! I know I posted some of the videos on my thread. Wight is apparently in Montreal, which I only found out after. Here are a couple and I dare anyone not to be on the floor laughing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpRhey9mm04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u2xMrd8Ydw

:-)

86torontoc
Jun 4, 10:34am

>85 jessibud2: the youtube videos are great and very uplifting!

87torontoc
Jun 16, 8:32pm

39. Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel I so enjoyed this book. It is a long one -over 700 pages and I did spend over two weeks reading it exclusively. The author took on a tremendous task- she told the stories of the five women painters who were making history in their development of post war modern abstract art. Gabriel also detailed the histories of the major painters, art critics and art galleries. There was a lot of information about the lives of the women and the challenges that they faced when married to other artists as well as gaining recognition for their own work. The book is also a history of the cultural development of ideas in the 1950's. I would highly recommend this book. Some of the women artists were not credited with the advances that they made in painting until much later when historians acknowledged their important work.

88torontoc
Jun 18, 2:07pm

40. The Windsor Knot by SJ BennettThis is a very nice summer read- a mystery starring Queen Elizabeth as a solver of crime. She is helped by her new assistant private secretary, Rozie Oshodi. After a night of entertainment at Windsor Castle, a young Russian pianist is found dead in a guest room of the castle. The Queen sends Rozie to look at some of the details of the situation as well as questioning several of the other guests. The murder is solved along with two other ones that relate to the first crime. The Queen sees the mystery of the murder as a big puzzle that she solves but gives others credit for cracking the case.

89torontoc
Jun 19, 2:07pm

41. Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand. O.K. this is really a beach read. My book club put it on their schedule for July. I was in a book store ( for the first time in many, many months) and decided to buy it and read early along with some other books from my wish list. It is a fast read and there are two sequels!. The story is that Irene is living in Iowa. Her husband Russ travels for his work. Her two grown sons live in Texas and Colorado. Irene receives a phone call telling her that Russ was in a helicopter that crashed in the Virgin Islands and is dead. Traveling to St. John, Irene and her sons learn that Russ owned a 15 million dollar villa and had a mistress and daughter. The book really doesn't go any further except for introducing a number of characters who will be part of the next two novels. An interesting afternoon read that is not my usual fare.

90torontoc
Jun 30, 12:29pm

42. A Russian Sister by Caroline AddersonThis is really a beautifully written book. The author has written a story about a very famous Russian author( Antosha), who is modelled after Anton Chekhov and his relationship with his sister, Masha. Masha narrates the story about her very complicated relationship with her brother and his friends. Masha introduces her friend Lika to Antosha and suffers when her friend is badly treated. Masha herself rejects many proposals of marriage and wonders what she offers to the success of her brother.
Antosha is not very good to his sister or for that matter to his friends as their personalities find their way into his stories. And all his friends and relatives, including Masha, seem to be models for the characters in his great play The Seagull. I really enjoyed the recreation of the family life of an important Russian author with the betrayals and problems that occur when Masha sacrifices her life for the success of her brother.

91torontoc
Jun 30, 8:53pm

43. What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand I am hooked for now on this trilogy of books. This is number two in the series. The books are definitely beach reads. Now what is a beach read. My definition is a book that one reads while sitting on a comfy sofa or nice outdoor chair with an ice tea or white wine cooler or something. The plot that was set up in book number one was intriguing, However , the author is taking too much time to let the reader know what happens. In fact the three books could have been combined into one -without all the details of sub plots and characters. So... I am on to the last book and hope to find out what happened to the husband who died in the helicopter crash with his girl friend.

92torontoc
Jul 1, 9:24pm

44. Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand O.K. I had to finish the series to find out what really happened. What I found really irritating was the addition of new characters along with too many details about their lives. I wanted the basic plot/mystery solved. So every time the plot took a very long detour into the lives of characters that muddied up the initial story line , I wanted to scream. Well not really- I shouldn't invest too much time in what I saw as the problems with the plot and just move on to another book. The author tidied up all the loose ends-everyone was happy in the end.

93torontoc
Jul 4, 4:03pm

45. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen I think that readers should make a list of pandemic friendly books and authors. At the top of my list would be Jane Austen. I had seen the film and a series based on this book but had never read it until this week. I really enjoyed the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood and their suitors. The characters and matchmaking schemes were very interesting. The style of writing and the recreation of the 1800's English society appealed to me. The comedy of manners and correct behaviour of the English society middle class revealed the world of the early nineteenth century.

94Whisper1
Jul 4, 7:20pm

>21 torontoc: Hi Cyrel. I've added To Be A Man: stories to my tbr pile.

95torontoc
Jul 4, 7:52pm

>94 Whisper1: Hi! It is a good collection - I heard the author interviewed a few months ago.

96torontoc
Jul 8, 11:12am

46. Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali This is a group of linked short stories that feature the inhabitants of a small Portuguese village, Mamarrosa. There are stories of both young and old, and expatriates and tourists from England. The stories are very sympathetic to the problems of the troubled visitors and the local villagers who are faced with modernization and also issues involving adherence to tradition.I like this author's writing style and have one more of her books on my TBR pile.

97torontoc
Jul 14, 4:56pm

47. Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy by
Gary Barwin Gary Barwin is a poet and his prose in this novel is an important reason why I liked this story. I usually am conflicted about " new" fiction using the Holocaust as subject matter. This story has elements of surrealism and bizarre plot developments. Yet Barwin's work still has humour in spite of the horrible real events that he uses in the novel. Motl is a dreamer living with his mother in wartime Lithuania. His passion is for stories of cowboys. Sometimes his life seems to merge with his cowboy fantasies. At the same time as Motl and his mother leave his small town ahead of the Nazis , the reader learns about the atrocities committed by sympathetic Lithuanians and Nazi soldiers. Relatives and friends are lost to concentration camps and killing in the forests. Motl gains some friends who seem to have more sense than he does. He is rescued by the circus and Canadian indigenous people.( I know -so impossible) Motl and a fellow traveller, Esther, do end up in Canada but life is not rosy. Loss and the inability to live in the world after the war impact the lives of those that Motl loves. This is a very interesting novel.

98torontoc
Jul 16, 4:50pm

48. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Many years ago I attended a conference/ institute on gifted education in Connecticut. I took a four day seminar on the arts led by a wonderful teacher. He recommended that teachers read this book- he thought that it contained some good teaching on education. Well, I never got around to doing that. I read other inspirational books for young people- I liked the work of Shaun Tan, Neil Gaiman and the new illustrations of old stories published by Kids Can Press. I decided that at some point I should read this book and so I did. At first, I thought- it is very old fashioned and dated. Young boys have nannies and get scarlet fever. A fairy appears and helps the velveteen rabbit. I thought about what is important in this book. My list included- the power of love and the belief in good things happening to deserving beings. I think that the teacher who suggested this thought of those things.

99torontoc
Jul 17, 7:35pm

49. The President's Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton I must have read most of this novel in one day. It is a well written thriller and adventure story. The former president, Matt Keating's daughter, Melanie, is kidnapped by a terrorist who wants revenge. Keating has to contend with the president who doesn't like him. She does sabotage the efforts to rescue Matt's daughter. Keating decides to take matters into his own hands as he uses his contacts to locate and rescue Melanie. Melanie herself is no pushover as she also plots to escape. A good summer read!

100torontoc
Jul 18, 1:49pm

50. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous I reread this book and ..it belongs on my list of books to read during a pandemic. Along with Pride and Prejudice it is in the top two. ( I haven't made up the whole list yet.) The author takes the reader from the lowest point in her life to her new reality. The story is one of hope and humour as well as a primer on how to remake one's life in the face of adversity.

101torontoc
Jul 27, 10:59am

51. In the Kitchen by Monica Ali. I just rediscovered this author from my TBR pile/tower. I did like the first part of this novel. Gabriel Lightfoot is an executive chef in a big London hotel. He came from a northern mill town and has ambitions to open his own restaurant with two partners. The reader sees Gabriel deal with a death in the cellar of the hotel which leads him to helping a young woman who may have been trafficked by some of the hotel staff. Unfortunately the plot takes Gabriel to a breakdown as he discovers some of the plots of the suspicious head waiter, sous chefs and his own partners to be. I did like the beginning but was not happy with the ending. Maybe it is just the pandemic which guides my book choices lately.

102torontoc
Jul 30, 8:59pm

52. The Cellist by Daniel SilvaThis spy thriller is the latest in the series featuring Gabriel Allon. The author reintroduces characters from his earlier books. The story is about the assassination of a wealthy exiled Russian in London. The repercussions involve the taking down of European banks that launder Russian money and a conspiracy that links a soon to be past president of the United States and the leader of Russia. I must admit that the story did speed up at the end but I really liked the earlier books better. This is one of the better summer reads.

103torontoc
Ontem, 8:23am

53.A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes The author writes about the Trojan War from the point of view of the women-both the mortals and the goddesses.Each chapter focuses on one woman with the exception of the chapters on captured Trojan women waiting to hear about their fate. I was entranced by the writing and the intensity of the emotions described by each of the women. This is a book that held my interest more than the majority of books that I have read this year. ( except for Jenny Erpenbeck) I highly recommend this novel to those readers who have read Madeline Miller, Annabel Lyon and Pat Barker on the same subject.