tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Have had a very quiet couple of days. Watched some movies and television, finished a couple books. It's just nice not having to go to work. It's the only "vacation" i take where i'm not actually going anywhere or doing anything specific. My nephew gave me an iPod dock/speaker/clock and I got that all hooked up and working and it sounds great. I'm going to leave it in the living room so i can use it as a mini-stereo rather than as an alarm clock in the bedroom. Graham and I will see in the new year online on webcam tonight as we usually do.

Last book post of the year to finish off the 2012 books below the cut
Read more... )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Three weeks from today, Christmas will be over! Eek!
I am looking forward to it, though.

I've not posted book stuff in awhile. I didn't read that much in November due to the traveling. Even though I bring my book or ereader when i go away, i don't really get much chance to read other than maybe on the plane or in the airport waiting. In this most recent group of books, I've not had a lot of luck. There have been a couple of them that i did like but mostly they were meh and one i couldn't even get into so i didn't even try to finish it. That is not included in the group below because i didn't get very far into it. It just wasn't for me. Another i did get through but i didn't like it at all. Coincidentally (?) a few of the books i've read recently are paper books. Two of them were given to me, one i bought and one i received for early review. I have another paper book to read too, a Diana Gabaldon book of 4 novellas that are Outlander character stories. It was only available in the UK and it was released just before I got there. I have all her other books in hard back so it was no contest.

I've started one now that I'm going to like and I'm still picking at a biography of Cleopatra. I'm going to pick up the next in the Gabaldon Outlander books, two more to read to finish the series again. I think i've only ever read the last two once each. Her next in the series should be out sometime early 2013.

2012 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Catching up on 2012 books. Not read very many this month because of my two week vacation with Graham. The first three below were finished before he came and the last two after he left.

Read more... )
tvordlj: (Dime)
Mostly for my own records, I found a dime this morning. I was sitting on the bed thinking about a book i'd finished last night, thinking about how to describe it in a little review for etc the book is about how everyone has a story and is also about the love of books. More on that another time. But i was thinking about that, and i noticed a dark object on the floor out in the hallway just in front of the bedroom. Dark because the only light on was in the bedroom and the object wasn't under any light. I thought.... hmmm is that what i think it is? Yep. A dime. It's now in my pocket. It's been a little while since i found a random dime so i did get a bit verklempt for a minute.

My sister asks for signs and finds dimes. My mother finds them in particular when she's been thinking about Dad. I just find them randomly when i'm not thinking about him. It's always a nice little surprise and maybe just about when i need to find one only i don't know it.

So yes, i finished a book, (32)  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Very good book. Recommended. A woman, Margaret who is the daughter of a man who owns an antiquarian bookshop, is engaged to write a biography of a well known but reclusive aging writer. The woman tells her her story from childhood to about the age of 16. The story is about twins, sisters, dysfunctional families, stores, words and the love of books as well. That theme runs all through it as well as the twin theme. The writer has never before given the true history of her past until now and Margaret unearths all the layers within that story.
tvordlj: (Movies)
Weather back to normal. Quite cold and windy today.

Mom, Sis, niece and i went to see The Hunger Games at noon. Good time to go as it wasn't really crowded. We all enjoyed the movie and felt it kept fairly close to the book. The cast was all great, especially Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. Excellent choice. Some topics and scenarios that are more detailed in the book are only touched on here, as you would probably expect from a movie adaptation but it was enough to get the idea across. There were only little brief bits about the past and the lead heroine, Katniss's personal history and the history of her more deprived district so you really didn't get a good sense of why she is the way she is or who she is. That's a lot to do with trying to fit the events of the book into a movie though. If you hadn't read the book you might not have found the movie as engaging. If you have, then you can fill in the blanks.

I didn't like some of the camera work, that hand held shaky, too-close-up, too quick editing during action scenes. Makes me dizzy. You really didn't get to know the other Tributes much because over half the movie was the set up and training and by the time the Games were on, there wasn't time to go into great detail or character development for the other combatants. I did like that you got a bit more of the "behind the scenes of the Games" in the large control room, watching how they manipulate things.

After the show, Mom and i had lunch at Montanas and then we went up to Staples. I had seen a netbook on their website and wanted to see if they had it in the store. They did but the Operating System was different than described online. Lo and behold, the website has been changed between yesterday and today so they now match. (Windows 7 starter, which i think is going to be the case on all or most netbooks from my research. It's not as good but it can be upgraded). I asked about getting more memory in it as it can go up to 2gig instead of the 1 that comes with it. Apparently it's a bit tricky to install in the netbook so it would have taken a couple of hours. They were also uncertain whether Windows 7 would have recognized the extra memory before a full install or not. Might have been fine, might not. They charge extra for the installation (Windows is loaded but you have to go through the registration, service pack and patch update process apparently and they soak you to do that if you are too nervous to do it yourself. I could do it but if it didn't recognize the new memory stick and froze up i'd have to take it back to the store, probably pay for them to do the installation before adding the memory after. Pain in the arse, that. He didn't know if it *would* be a problem but said some netbooks are like that and some are not and their tech wasn't sure if this was one of them.

Anyway. Now i find myself rethinking. Do i want a netbook or a tablet? I'm still leaning to the netbook and i considered that i could just buy it out of the box with 1 gig of memory and go from there. Maybe the 1 gig would be fine most of the time. I'm not planning to do anything really heavy with it, any more than maybe light photo editing and i could get software that isn't big and ugly to do that. In fact, PicMonkey looks like it might be pretty good and it's online and not an install and there's no registration required. I tried it but not with a larger resolution photo. You drag the photo or upload it, do the work on it and save it back to your puter. It's one of the suggested replacements for Picknik which is going away. It seems to have all the basic editing needs i would require for on-the-go stuff.

As for the netbook and 1 gig memory, I can always take it back and buy the upgraded memory and pay to have them install it since it's a bit tricky on that model as to the ease of getting to it. Decisions, decisions.

2012 books....more detailed review through the links
30. Madame Bovary - Gustav Flaubert
A classic that i read in school and hated. Emma Bovary was bored, I was bored, then she topped herself. I thought i might reread it to see how my tastes had changed and how i viewed it. Much better this time around. I don't remember much else from it when i first read it but i realize that she is a woman that pretty much lives in a fantasy world and can't cope with the realities of day to day life. She wanted romance, adventure, a white knight to sweep her off her feet. Life isn't like that, toots.

31. The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht
Apparently winning a lot of awards, i found it a bit less riveting than all the reviews are screaming about. It was good, well written, but not a lot of character development so when you read the description that says you know what the recently deceased grandfather is by the two tales/legends that are told in the book, you don't know at all really. There's a few other characters introduced in those stories and the author takes you back to their whole history which seems unnecessary. Still, i did enjoy it overall.
tvordlj: (Default)
I've joined LibraryThing, a site for readers where you can record books you've read, review them and even get a chance to review new books. You apply to get a free copy, it could be paper or an ebook, and when you get it, you *should* post a review though you aren't obligated. There are forums and groups and things, none of which i've really explored yet. I've been adding some books that i own but mainly adding the new ones i've read so far this year. Good place to go and find real reader reviews of books you might want to read, though.

We had a family birthday meal on the weekend, combining my birthday (actually tomorrow) and my nephew Ryan's which was last Saturday. Pressies, cards and good food including a chocolate ice cream cake! Yum! Having lunch with my mom and auntie tomorrow, dinner and a movie with a friend Friday night, and there's a surprise birthday party on Saturday for a second cousin who's 50th birthday is the day after mine.

2011 books
18. Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson
This is an older book and I've read it before some years ago. I remember enjoying it a lot though this time around I didn't quite as much. Overall, though, it was still enjoyable and, having been to a few more places around the U.K., I could identify with it a bit more than last time around.

Bill Bryson is an American that landed in England as a young man and stayed, married, and raised a family. Before moving back to the U.S.A. he decides to travel around the country for one last look. He uses busses and trains and does a lot of walking as well and describes the foibles, pitfalls and wonders of those modes of transportation in this country.

Then there's the little villages, towns, larger cities, the hotels and B&Bs, both good and grim, and best of all, the people he meets. Bryson has a marvellous turn of phrase and a sharp sense of humour. He observes the British/Scottish/Welsh people and culture from an American point of view, a culture that, even after 20 years, can still baffle him, delight him, and frustrate him. You can tell he loves Britain and all of it's good and bad points, though, no matter how often he might describe how rapidly things seem to have gone downhill in many areas, mainly things that have been affected by "progress" and the shifting interests of the modern people. i.e. thriving seaside resort towns which are now nearly vacant.

Some of his narrative is autobiographical, some is a travelogue, some is a bit of a rant about the state of things, history, politics. Overall, i preferred the travelogue and his personal stories and i loved his use of language and phrase is a delight.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
And just a note for myself for ...2011 books )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
2010 books

25. Hold Tight - Harlen Coben
Reading this book felt more like watching a tv drama about a group of families who all live more or less in the same area, sort of Desperate Housewives but without the sex. I think it's because there was a lot of dialogue rather than long descriptive paragraphs. You got told what was going on with not meandering. There's a family with a son that's been getting in with the wrong lot. Another family lost their son to suicide. A third family has a son that desperately needs a kidney transplant. There's a child who's teacher made an unthinking remark about her appearance on a bad day and regrets it but the child has been teased and bullied non stop. There's also a man that's been abducting and violently beating women to death. Two of them that we are witness to. All of these stores are interconnected in some way. It wasn't a bad read. It was certainly a quick one.

26. Disordered Minds - Minette Walters
In 1970, a teenage girl was gang raped by three other teens, witnessed by her best friend and the friend's little brother. Nobody tells what happened. A few weeks later, the girls get into a fight at school. The girl that was raped gets suspended and shortly thereafter goes missing. A few days after that, an elderly woman gets killed by her grandson. Or so it seems. He is a bit slow and is scared and confesses but recants. Too late, the prosecution twists things so that they can get a conviction and he goes to jail. A few years later he kills himself. It wouldn't seem the two things are related but as the book goes on, we find that they are. In 2003, a man has written a book about wrongful convictions and the case was one he mentions. He is intrigued and is contacted by someone who also thought the conviction was wrong. They get off on the wrong foot but end up working together to unravel all the clues to prove that the grandson didn't in fact kill his grandmother and they eventually figure out what happened to the missing girl. Not bad, i kind of had a lot of it figured out but the writing was good and it was a mix of styles. You'd get emails, reports, newspaper articles, excerpts from a book, letters, as well as the regular prose and dialogue. It's not based on a true story, but you could see how something like this could happen back then.

Quiet day, been doing a bit of housework. It was actually chilly outside, there was a cold breeze coming in. Haven't decided for sure if i'm going to go to the air show tomorrow or not. Probably be a last minute thing if i do go. Or i could just be lazy and relax. My feet would probably thank me for it.

New trainer is good. A bit tougher than the last one but i like her.

and.....21 sleeps!!!
tvordlj: (Default)
2010 Books:
19: Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
In preparation for a tv series of the book, i reread it. I haven't read it for years and there was a lot in it i had forgotten. It's the story of Tom Builder and his step son Jack, of Prior Philip and Bishop Waleran Bigod and the other villain is William Hamleigh who is a right nasty piece of work who, as you would expect, will come to a sticky end but it's almost an afterthought. It chronicles the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge during the 12th century, much of the time during the civil war between King Stephen and Queen Maud. This causes political power shifting and setbacks at various times. Also thrown in there is the downfall of Thomas Beckett as witnessed by Prior Philip which almost seems just thrown in there. The book is long and maybe it's a bit too long and puffed up by that point. I did love the story up to the last part which then just kind of drags its feet to the end.

It will be interesting to see how it comes out on the telly, what they put in and what they leave out. It seems like some decent casting for the 8 episode series. Ian McShane plays Bishop Waleran and in the trailer i saw last night I think he'll be spot on. Rufus Sewell is Tom Builder and Andrew MacFadyen is Prior Philip. He's got the right look though not so sure about a middle aged Philip, same with the person playing the villain, David Oakes so perhaps it's not going to cover quite as many years. Anyway I think it might be good and is on the Movie Network here in Canada starting July 23 with two episodes and the rest in August i think.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Time to start a new list of books read. Last year i managed 31. I really do want to try to read more at night before bed. Currently i mainly read on the bus to and from work, sometimes while i'm having lunch at work as well. I do read at home in bed but not as often as i really would like to so maybe that can be a resolution of sorts.

2010 Books. #1 The Third Circle by Amanda Quick.
Starting off the year with a bit of a disappointment. I don't usually read much of her (aka Jayne Anne Krentz) but this hard cover was on the cheap shelves and those are usually cheaper than paperback prices these days. It's a historical romance/suspense about a woman who can manipulate the power of crystals and a man that does mesmerizing and hypnotism. They are both after the same powerful crystal and both break into a mansion where they suspect it's been hidden by the man that stole it. In the process, they find a woman who's been killed. Seems there's a serial killer on the loose who may or may not also be working for the crystal thief. (Oh, we're in Victorian London). The couple do manage to find the crystal but they both want it. She says it was hers via her family and he says it should go to the Arcane Society, an organization of people with psychic abilities of various types, who owned it for centuries. She has it but it gets re-stolen and they must find it. The Third Circle seems to be an elite group of people from the Arcane Society who are corrupt and power mad and need the crystal for their own nefarious purposes but that doesn't seem to come up at all until near the end of the book so why the title is that, i have no idea. The plot is pretty loose and full of holes and i didn't really buy into the romance all that much for some reason. All in all it was a bit flat really.
tvordlj: (astronaut cat DOH)
The office has half-emptied out this week. Next week, there will be a skeleton crew on board and I won't be one of them. I haven't worked Christmas week for years and having some seniority would generally mean I can get the time off if i want it. It's very quiet, too. Not a lot happening.

Just have to get through this afternoon, then a session at the gym after work. Don't really feel up to is as i'm a bit tired, though. I woke up at 4 and really didn't get back to sleep properly, though dozed a bit. See, yesterday i bought a small bag of "chicken bones" as seen in this photo here. A New Brunswick company, Ganong, makes the best. They are a brittle candy shell of cinnamon with chocolate inside as the "marrow" and oh God they're good! They only bring them out at Christmas time, or at least, that's when you see them around a lot more, so it is one of those treats that really typify the season. We always had them in the house growing up, those, and the buckets of hard candy in various shapes including ribbons and the clear sugar gylcerine "toys", shaped like animals, clowns, all sorts of fanciful things. Anyway, sucking on those chicken bones can make your tongue bleed from the sharpness of the brittle candy shell or.... which is what i think i did, the hot cinnamon "burned" my tongue and the roof of my mouth a bit. My mouth hurt when i went to bed but when i woke up at 4, it was very tender, felt a bit swollen and i had a hard time getting back to sleep. It's not so bad now, just a little tiny bit sore. Guess i learned that lesson!

2009 books:
30. Once in a Lifetime by Cathy Kelly
She's an Irish writer and i've read a few of her books. I quite like them. This one is mainly about one woman, Ingrid, who's a well known political interviewer on television. Her husband, David Kenny, runs the family owned posh department store, Kenny's. There are a few other characters, mainly women who all have a connection either to one or both of this couple or to the store and we get to know some of them as well, and their problems and solutions. David Kenny dies suddenly and most of the book is about the aftermath, dealing with that, how she copes (not very well at first but that's got a lot to do with a "shocking" discovery she makes. Standard plot really, but i won't spoil it for you). The other characters' stories aren't given a huge amount of detail but enough that make it interesting to read. What was a bit odd, though, is when they take a fairly minor character and jump back into their past and describe it all in detail. It doesn't seem to really go with the rest of the flow. It might have been better if it was about Ingrid rather than someone that's really not a major player. I think i would have enjoyed it more if all of these secondary and minor characters had more connection to each other or to Ingrid in the end. Some of them did, but not all of them. Having said that, I still enjoyed the book. Cathy Kelly writes decent books. She's no Marian Keyes, whose books i really like a lot, but she's not bad.

2009 books

Dec. 9th, 2009 03:37 pm
tvordlj: (Default)
28. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mandell
This just won the Booker prize for 2009. Since i haven't read any of the others, i can't say if it was better than those. I did like it. It's the story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell in Henry VIII's court, with a bit of his brutal childhood, his life with Wolsey and Wolsey's downfall and Cromwell's rise to a position of power. It ends in 1535 at the height of his power and wealth. I wonder if she's going to write a sequel about the fall of Cromwell as well. The style of writing was a bit different. It's fictional, and it's written sort of in the third person but as if he himself were writing it about himself in the third person. That's the only way i can describe it. Cromwell is slippery, silver tongued and ambitious but isn't underhanded, at least not maliciously so. It portrays Henry as more than just a brute with a temper. He's almost naive, definitely spoiled and self centered, tempermental of course. He portrays Anne Boleyn as calculating as well as her sister Mary. His friends, such as Charles Brandon and Henry Norris are the "entourage" hangers on but loyal as well. It's a different take on the story, a different point of view.

Got both flu jabs today and they put them right in the shoulder muscle. I'm sure i never got them that high before, they were always further down my upper arm so of course the shoulder muscles are a bit tender. I'm supposed to have a gym session after work. We'll see how they fare. If they're too sore, i'll just stick with lower body and maybe do some extra time on the bike.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and boy, what a spread! Both turkey and roast beef with veg, mashed potatoes, gravy, two kinds of stuffing and both pie and cheesecake squares for dessert. *groan* everyone contributed something so Mom didn't have to do it all. It's getting too much for her to do it all anyway but we have the celebrations there because she's the one that has room for us all.

Friday i got my hair cut and coloured as i mentioned and it's too dark for my taste to i've washed it twice so far, hoping to start the fade out process a bit sooner. I don't really want to drench more chemicals on it so soon. It doesn't look bad, i just prefer it a bit lighter and redder.

Today's chores were laundry, reorganizing a few dresser drawers, washing floors and sorting out the recycling. All done.

2009 Books:
24: Echo in the Bone - Diana Gabaldon
Book 7 in the series about Jamie and Claire Fraser. I thought it was going to be the last book but clearly not. And i think there has to be at least 2 more. We continue the adventures, with characters getting into dire straights and having to be rescued. We are following the battles of the American Revolution in 1777 and 1778 and Jamie's illegitimate son, William Ransom, Earl of Ellsmere has been brought onto the canvas as more of a major character. There are two new characters, a Quaker doctor and his sister. The action also follows Briana and Roger in 1980 as they get on with their lives and follow that of Jamie and Claire through a group of letters in a chest that was delivered to them. I can't remember but i think it was sent to a bank or trust company to be delivered after a certain date when Claire had hoped Briana and Roger would have made it back to the future successfully. All they know is that the time traveling through the portals jumps about 200 years but it's not an exact thing, give or take a few years. The book is long and winding and and possibly long winded in places but there's so much to pack in! Fans of the series won't mind and we are all going to have a long wait for the next book as she takes awhile to get it all written and put together. It's usually 2 or 3 years in between publications. There's a lot of loose ends to tie up though she's already done some, but then leaves others out there to pick up.

She's been known to say there will of course be a happy ending but not without a few tears. There's always been talk about a movie or mini series but i don't think you'd ever cast it to satsify most of the fans. Everyone has such a carved-in-stone idea of what the main characters should look like and you couldn't cast anyone known i think. You'd have to go with unknowns. That's probably the only way it would work. And even just filming the first book (Outlander) would take in so much scope that a lot of what was written would have to be dumped. Her books are very well researched and her characters are very charismatic and so well drawn out that they really do seem to live. The romance is spicy, not schmaltzy and is just as hot now that Jamie and Claire are in middle age. Quite refreshing for us middle aged fans!

And on that note, the author is in Halifax tomorrow night for a speaking and book signing engagement. It looks like i shall be going and my friend Tracey will be meeting me there. I'll have to make sure to bring my book and my camera! It'll be crowded because she's quite popular. I remember the first book signing in Halifax. It was for her third book i think and it was in a small bookstore downtown. The place was heaving with people and everyone kept saying they thought they were the only ones that had heard about the series and author!

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