torontoc reads books from her shelves

Discussão2023 ROOT CHALLENGE

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torontoc reads books from her shelves

Dez 31, 2022, 10:50 pm

Hi, I'm Cyrel and I want to read 30 books from my bookshelves this year. My definition of a book that qualifies is - it has been sitting on the to be read pile for at least 6 months.

Dez 31, 2022, 11:05 pm

Welcome back!

Jan 1, 6:18 am

Good to see you back again!

Jan 1, 11:06 am

Howdy! Welcome back!

Jan 1, 11:07 am

Happy ROOTing!

Jan 2, 1:38 pm

Welcome back!

Jan 5, 5:52 am

Great to see you're back!

Jan 5, 10:36 am

Happy New Year, Cyrel. Happy ROOTing in 2023. Glad to see you back.

Jan 8, 10:45 am

Thank you, all! I started the year reading shiny new books but I do have a pile of books that I have had for over six months.

Jan 8, 1:16 pm

>9 torontoc: "a pile of books that I have had for over six months."

Just for fun, see if you can pull out the bottom one without tumbling all the others across the floor, and read that one first. Or, to put it another way, Happy Books off the Shelf Year!

Jan 25, 4:01 pm

I will be reading from my book piles but-- Jan is my birthday month and I received a lot of wonderful new books. I will be reading from my older books-honest!

Jan 28, 4:11 am

Happy belated birthday wishes!

Jan 28, 8:28 am

Hope you're having a great birthday month!

Fev 3, 4:52 pm

1. Masaryk Station by David Downing This is the last in the series featuring John Russell. The story take place in post war Berlin where John and his Russian spy friend Shchepkin are trying to figure out how to untangle themselves from the spy business. This is the time of the Russian blockade of Berlin. ( all trains and highways are blocked-the Americans bring all goods on planes)There is also the issue of helping a few spies for the Americans. There are complicated plans as Shchepkin obtains an incriminating video of Beria committing murder. I think that the earlier books that dealt with spying before and during World War Two were more thrilling. I had a lot of difficulty finishing this novel- I don't know why although a book seller that I know attributes it to the pandemic.

Mar 7, 10:54 pm

2. What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad This novel won the 2021 Giller Prize. The focus is on a boy who has been on a ship filled with refugees who try to reach a Greek island. The story has alternating chapters that tell the story of life on a vessel on the Mediterranean Sea and the attempt of a young girl on the island to help the boy. The situation of the migrant crisis and the people who try to find a better life is a focus of the novel. However, I found the backstory of how the boy gets on the boat puzzling. The writing is good but I guess that I wanted a more cohesive plot.

Mar 17, 7:58 pm

3. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai. This novel is a cheerful read- the reader is introduced to the Chawla family in the small Indian village of Shahkot. The son of the family , Sampeth is not happy in his job. He eventually leaves home and climbs up a guava tree where he is determined to stay. His mother , Kulfi, dreams of cooking all sorts of delicacies for him. Mr. Chawla eventually moves the whole family out to the guava orchard in order to mange the crowds of people who come to see and listen to Sampeth. Sampeth's sister, Pinky is very annoyed with all the fuss about her brother. And finally the monkeys who have been bothering the villagers in the local market move to be with Sampeth, disturb everyone and feast and drink and their new obsession- liquor. How the various officials try to figure out what to do is fun to read. I enjoyed this imaginative story.

Abr 18, 4:47 pm

4. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel I reread this novel because my RL bookclub is discussing it next week. It is still a very compelling story involving time travel and the issues of pandemics. Highly recommended.

Maio 22, 7:35 am

Hi Cyrel! I've been neglecting my fellow ROOTers in the last few months. And now visiting some of the threads to make up for that and see what everybody has been reading. I hope you are doing fine and have been reading some nice books since your last visit here.

Maio 22, 8:45 am

>18 connie53: I know- I have too many nice recently acquired books. I will catch on reading my books that have been on my bookshelves for a while!

Maio 22, 11:56 am

5. In The Wings by Carole Corbeil This novel is about theatre people and the progression of the casting and rehearsals for Hamlet. The story is set in Toronto and there is a lot of writing about the tangled relationships of actors, the director and a theatre critic. Alice Riverton is a noted actress set to play Gertrude. Her lover, Allan O'Reilly will be playing Hamlet. Each one has their own tortured past. In addition, the theatre critic, Robert Pullwarden is grieving over his wife's decision to leave him and take their young son to Vancouver. There is a lot of space given to hopeless love and passionate affairs. The best part of the story , in my mind, is given to the interpretation of the play and the description of how the themes of the play are teased out during rehearsals. This was an interesting book to read. The late author was a noted arts journalist in Canada.

Maio 31, 12:36 pm

6.. An Odyssey A Father, A Son and An Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn I reread this book for my in person book club meeting the end of June. It was so nice to realize that the book was so good. I enjoyed the rereading of the author's description of his father's participation in his seminar on the Odyssey at Bard College. Jay Mendelsohn was opinionated in many ways as his son, Daniel told the stories of his father's life. The reader also benefits from a thorough discussion of the Odyssey. The author took his father on a cruise of the sites of the epic. The reactions and interactions between father and son were so touching to read. Again, highly recommended.

Jun 20, 12:48 pm

You've had so many good ones lately!

Jul 1, 7:04 am

Yes, - but I haven't been able to add to my ROOT list because I am reading a new 900 page book this month!

Jul 22, 12:46 pm

7. Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book by Bill Richardson I had a need to reread a very comforting and funny book this past week. ( doctors' appointments that turned out ok, and the replacement of two cantankerous toilets) This book is hilarious laugh out loud and great to read. Bachelor Brothers Hector and Virgil are running their bed and breakfast and along with the narrative about the people and animals that are part of their lives offer book lists and recipes from their clients. The best book to read( and reread) when real life is tense.

Jul 23, 11:43 am

8. The Good Wife of Bath by Karen Brooks This historical fiction novel imagines the life of the "good wife" of Bath from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I think that it is written with a " 21st century sensibility". In this story, Eleanor is married when she is very young( about 12 years) to a very old man. The reader follows her as she marries five times and goes from being very poor to wealthy and then back to poverty. She is a friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. Sometimes he is not happy with her choices but does help her in times of danger and distress. Eleanor is smart and has to withstand the rules of the time that limit the freedom of women. She makes both good and bad choices in life. The reader certainly gets an education in the times during the reign of Britains' King Richard 11. This is a very readable history and does give the point of view of the problems of working women. Highly recommended.

Jul 28, 2:53 pm

9. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese I have had this novel on my book pile for a while. I am glad that I have finally read it. Marion Stone is a twin born in Ethiopia. He and his brother, Shiva were lucky to be in the Missing Hospital where the staff struggled to save them. Their mother, Sister Mary Jospeh Praise died in childbirth and their father. Dr. Thomas Stone promptly disappeared. Raised by doctors, Hema and Ghosh, in the hospital compound. the brothers were witnesses to the rule and fall of the Emperor and the generals who tried to take over the country. The narrative is by Marion. His brother, Shiva, although talented, remains a bit of a mystery to him.Both brothers become doctors and Marion is forced to leave Ethiopia because of a false accusation regarding helping Eritrean revolutionaries.The reader learns of Marion's time in the United States and his discovery of his father. This novel is more than a good story- the history of recent Ethiopian politics and the details about operations and surgeon's work were educational to me. Again , highly recommended.

Ago 2, 5:29 pm

10. Toronto Between the Wars Life in the City 1919-1939 by Charis Cotter. This book was given to me by the daughter of one of my friends who died a few years ago. It was a favourite of hers. The author uses many photographs from the Ontario Archives and the City of Toronto Archives. Each photo is used to describe the lives of people in the cities well as show some of the interesting architecture of the times. It is a very interesting photographic history of the city.

Editado: Ago 13, 9:40 pm

11. Private Palaces Life in the Great London Houses by Christopher Simon Sykes This history had great photographs, drawings and paintings of the very big and elaborate houses built from 1665 to the early 20th century. It is very hard to call these buildings houses as they were enormous places with ballrooms capable of holding hundreds. The author writes about the patrons and the architects who worked on these city estates. There are excerpts from diaries that describe the events and the owners. I enjoyed this book but wondered- these houses displayed the enormous wealth of the nobility in the 18th and 19th century. Most of these places were destroyed in the 20th century and replaced with new streets and apartment buildings. The society of the very rich was replaced with a very different group of people. The history was more than a listing of estates. In a way once the reader put aside the photos and drawings, you could see how life and the geography of the city changed after World War 1.

Ago 20, 5:36 am

Hi Cyrel! Here I'm again.

>23 torontoc:, Now I'm curious what this Big Fat Book is called and if you did finish it?

Ago 20, 10:25 am

>29 connie53: The book is The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk and I did finish it- it is very good. I hadn't read anything about Jacob Frank-the second " false messiah" in Poland in the 1750's

Ago 21, 2:39 am

>30 torontoc: Excellent. I never even heard of Jacob. Interesting.

Ago 25, 9:25 pm

12. Our Town by Thornton Wilder I had to reread this play after I read Tom Lake. It is a little dated but there is wisdom in the words of the Stage Manager. I was in an amateur production of this play many years ago. The last act is very touching. The role of Emily is key to the story but I appreciated the actions of the Stage Manager the best. It is a story ( play) about hard times and optimism. It is both sad and hopeful. I think that I will revisit some of Wilder's other work as well.

Ago 27, 11:16 am

13. Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes The author writes about Greek myths, Gods and Goddesses from what I have been calling a " 21 century" point of view. No longer are women in these stories portrayed as monsters or shown without any personality. In this story, Haynes retells the story of Medusa. She still has the capacity to turn any living creature to stone is they look at her and her hair of snakes. However, her back story shows this young woman as the loving sister of the Gorgons who are quite humane. Perseus, who cuts off her head, is described as a rather clueless young man who needs the help of a number of gods if he is to be successful in his quest. The other stories in this novel are about the birth of Athena, the crisis when Andromeda is nearly sacrificed for her mother's bad behaviour and the issues with Poseidon. The dialogue is really refreshing.I highly recommend Haynes retelling of the many Greek myths and legends.


Set 4, 7:31 pm

14. The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder. Well, after rereading Our Town I had to read another play by Wilder. Produced in the US in 1942, I can see all the allusions to the state that the world was in at the time. I wonder if today's readers could understand all the biblical references in the play. It is also very surreal in the structure.

Set 22, 4:26 pm

15. Belles Saisons A Colette Scrapbook assembled with commentary by Robert Phelps I find that the pandemic or end of the pandemic ( who knows?) interfered with my reading. I am not reading as much and do tend to put books down and return to them after a while. I guess that this book was more of an" intermission" between serious reads. The intent of this books is really a series of photos and drawings about the life of French writer Colette. I did get an understanding of the events in her life. I was interested in the different people who were part of her life.