Thursday, January 31

Book Review: Two Solitudes

Title: Two Solitudes

Author: Hugh MacLennan

Pages: EBook 431

Summary: “Northwest of Montreal, through a valley always in sight of the low mountains of the Laurentian Shield, the Ottawa River flows out of Protestant Ontario into Catholic Quebec. It comes down broad and ale-coloured and joins the Saint Lawrence, the two streams embrace the pan of Montreal Island, the Ottawa merges and loses itself, and the main-stream moves northeastward a thousand miles to sea.”

With these words Hugh MacLennan begins his powerful saga of Athanase Tallard, the son of an aristocratic French-Canadian tradition, of Kathleen, his beautiful Irish wife, and of their son Paul, who struggles to establish a balance in himself and in the country he calls home.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: For the most part, it was an enjoyable read, a book that wasn't my favourite, but still worth reading.

There were times I felt the book moved slowly and felt that some of these parts were a bit stretched out. Not a lot happens in the book, but it does do an excellent job at examining its characters, and while I enjoyed this aspect of the book, some parts were very slow to move through. I also found a lot of the characters hard to like, well written, and they did have a good development throughout the book, I didn't like any of them, I think for some of those characters I did disliked, was possibly the intention of the author to help highlight the "tension" between the French and English. However, it I think my dislike for most of the characters made the book from a great read to a good read.

The writing of the book made it well worth reading. I really enjoyed the author's style and narrative throughout the book. Even in the slower parts the author managed to keep my attention and made me want to keep reading. I also enjoyed how he wrote a book that spanned through a long period of time as well as he did. He managed to write each section and move toward the next very well. It being a story over a span of time (1917-1939), I was worried there might be big gaps in the character development and natural flow of the story, but I didn't find that with this book.

I may not have read this book if it weren't for Canada Reads, but now I'm, glad I did as in the end it was a good read. Would I recommend it to read: I would, not a favourite, but well written and the story wasn't bad. I don't think it's a book for everyone, but it's worth reading.

What to read next: The other Canada Reads 2013 contenders - Age of Hope, Away February, Indian Horse, and the author's other works too.

Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Book Review: Out For Blood

Title: Out for Blood

Author: Alyxandra Harvey

Pages: 292

"Hey, Buffy."
I froze. "My name's Hunter."
"I know." Quinn grinned. "But you've got the whole Buffy thing going. Though I think you're cuter."
I was not going to giggle. I wasn't that kind of girl.
And hunters didn't giggle at vampires.
It was an unspoken rule.

Thanks to her special friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter Wild - star student at the Helios-Ra Academy - receives a secret invitation to Helena Drake's coronation. For the first time she sees the difference between vampires who must be hunted and vampires who are friends . . . and maybe even more. When students at the academy begin falling victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter is shocked to realize that she must rely on Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire, to help save the future of the institution that is his sworn enemy. Who said senior year would be easy?

My Rating: 6.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the book, I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous books in the series, but it also had a few intriguing parts to it.

As usual, I found it hard to get into the book, because it's a young adult novel, and sometimes I find it to be annoying, reading the voice of a young adult, and the whole package that comes with it. The focus of their lives, the immaturity - it just doesn't grip me in a novel. Sometimes I can get through it, like in the previous two books I've read, and sometimes I want to give up and chuck the book at the wall - and for this book it was a close call. I till enjoyed the overall story, it has a lot of potential, and setting aside all of the young adult stuff, the focus and mystery I guess you could call it throughout the book was an interesting one, and there were times I wanted to figure out what was happening and the story behind the mysterious sickness. In fact, it was my favourite part of the book, and the author did a great job at exploring it naturally and managed to surprise me when it was revealed who was behind it.

Overall, it wasn't a bad addition to the series, not my favourite, but it does carry the larger story on, and I will finish the series.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. I didn't love it, but I know a lot of readers who love this genre and compared to some of the other books I've read in the genre, this one is one of the best.

What to read next: The final books (there's two or three more I believe) in the series, Kelley Armstrong YA books.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Book Review: Between the Acts

Title: Between the Acts

Author: Virginia Woolf

Pages: EBook 183

Summary: Outwardly a novel about life in a country-house in whose grounds there is to be a pageant, "Between the Acts" is also a striking evocation of English experience in the months leading up to the Second World War. Through dialogue, humour and the passionate musings of the characters, Virginia Woolf explores how a community is formed (and scattered) over time. The pageant, a series of scenes from English history, and the private dramas that go on between the acts, are closely interlinked. Through the figure of Miss La Trobe, and author of the pageant, Virginia Woolf questions imperialist assumptions and, at the same time, re-creates the elusive role of the artist.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book had both good and some not so good qualities to it, but as always, I found myself reading on due to Woolf's writing style and writing style alone.

I loved the writing in the book - although with Virginia Woolf, how can you not love her writing. I always find I can lose myself in her style and narrative no matter what book of hers I pick up, and this one was no exception. This particular story was both good and bad. I like the main idea behind the story, the characters were well done, especially when examining their inner thoughts and emotions. Woolf managed to create a very eclectic cast of characters and managed to get a close look at some of their inner turmoil, emotions, and thought process all while coming together to the pageant - and managed to tie these characters and their development and their personal journeys, into the side story of the pageant.

Where the author lost me was the pageant. While I didn't mind reading how they created and planned for the pageant, I thought the parts about the mini little acts of the pageant to be boring. There were many times I found myself zoning out and having to go back and read those passages over again, just to find out what was happening in the story. Perhaps it's because I don't know a lot about English history and all the background information on it and how it would have affected the character, hence why they decided to re-create it as entertainment, but I just found it impossible to read through it all at times. The between the acts part of the book was well done, which's where the book gets its name. The characterization and examination of them was excellent, but the focus of that felt chopped up due to the pageant.

Overall it was a enjoyable read, but there were a lot of parts throughout the book, that made it hard to read through.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a quick and pleasant read and it has Woolf's usual style.

What to read next: Mrs. Dalloway

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-a-latte challenge

Sunday, January 27

Book Review: On Chesil Beach

Title: On Chesil Beach

Author: Ian McEwan

Pages: 166

Summary: For Edward, falling in love with the accomplished, shy and sensitive Florence - and having his affections returned with equal intensity - has utterly change his life. Their marriage, they believe, will bring them happiness, the confidence and the freedom to fulfill their true destines. The glowing promise of the future however, cannot totally mask their worries about their wedding night.

My Rating: 3/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The writing throughout the book was good and it was pretty much the only thing about the book that made me want to continue reading. The storyline of the book and it's characters bored and frustrated me throughout the book. I felt both character where completely unlikeable people and next to impossible to like too. Even trying to get into the heads of people in general during the time period the book was set , I still found it difficult to enjoy the characters or even care about their story.

The story itself was boring - a couple on the wedding night, and their lack of being able to consummate the marriage. This entire aspect of the plot is like watching a train wreck, and was a bore to read. Evening the parts that moved back to the past, showing how they came together didn't bode well for me. It felt completely forced and I'm not sure what the author was intending to do with the story, because the entire time, the story didn't see to not be heading anywhere and there didn't seem to be any kind of resolution or ending to it either. At the end of the day, not a good book.

Would I recommend it to read: No I wouldn't.

What to read next: I enjoyed Atonement by the author, otherwise not sure what I'd recommend

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Book Review: The City and the city

Title: The City & the city

Author: China Miéville

Pages: EBook 287

Summary: Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad finds deadly conspiracies beneath a seemingly routine murder. From the decaying Beszel, he joins detective Qussim Dhatt in rich vibrant Ul Qoma, and both are enmeshed in a sordid underworld. Rabid nationalists are intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists dream of dissolving the two into one.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book started out strong for me. It had an interesting premise, and the author brought the reader into an unusual world which had a lot of possibilities.

I was originally very interested in the book, not so much the who-done-it aspect of the murder mystery, but the story behind why it happened and the story behind this unusual world. Unfortunately I never quite got that. The murder mystery was resolved, but my biggest problem with the book - which took the focus from everything else in the book - was that nothing was ever explained to the reader. There wasn't even an attempt, pieces from the two parallel worlds are thrown at you as are words like Breach. Things are talked about and hinted at, but nothing is ever explained to the reader, or shown. It's all in limbo and as a reader you're trying to piece together what little information you are given to make sense of the story.

In the beginning I loved the idea of having little information give and I had to piece it together as I read on - but it got complex, which again was great in the beginning, but in the end, when nothing came together and I still had no clue to what the heck was happening, I couldn't say it was a good reading experience for me. I may try the author again, as the author, but this particular book just didn't work for me in the end, which was a shame, as in the beginning it had such great potential.

Would I recommend it to read: I 'm not sure I would. It does have an interesting premise and the combination of speculative and mystery would be something that a lot of readers would like, but it's execution is what prevents me from recommending the book.

What to read next: I'm at a loss for this one. I suppose the author if you liked the book, would be worth checking out again.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mystery/Crime Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Friday, January 25

Book Review: Indian Horse

Title: Indian Horse

Author: Richard Wagamese

Pages: EBook 191

Summary: Saul Indian Horse is dying. Tucked away in a hospice high above the clash and clang of a big city, he embarks on a marvellous journey of imagination back through the life he led as a northern Ojibway, with all its sorrows and joys. With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he's sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement.

Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man. Drawing on his great-grandfather's mystical gift of vision, Saul Indian Horse comes to recognize the influence of everyday magic on his own life. In this wise and moving novel, Richard Wagamese shares that gift of magic with readers as well.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Good quality of writing and a good story, but it's far from my favourite read of the year.

Saul was one of my main issues with the book. I couldn't connect with him at all and this book is one you need to be able to connect with the character to really appreciate it. I didn't feel an emotional connection and he didn't seem to stand out from anyone else who has faced the same hardships as him. He wasn't a very likable character and I found there were times he was a bit of a jerk, especially for those who were his friends. I think the author was trying to show how Saul was reacting psychological to the hardships he faced, but how the author choose to highlight this in Saul's personality didn't mesh well for me.

The descriptions of playing hockey and the hockey games got boring and repetitive very fast. It was the same thing over and over again and for such a short story, I wish there was more dedicated to Saul's internal struggles, like his addiction, than on descriptions of hockey. The part on the residential schools was okay, but I felt I was being told about the harsh realities, rather than shown. The author still managed to tell the readers about the horrific realities of the residential schools, but how it was executed affected me as a reader and it didn't have the effect that should have drawn me into the book or into Saul as a character.

The writing was well done. It was simple and to the point, but it was written quite well. I usually prefer the more lyrical and prose writing but this was done well enough, that I did enjoyed this type of writing style quite a lot. As the writing was part of what kept reading even through the slower parts for me.

Overall, it was a good book. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't love it either, there were a lot of little things here and there that just didn't come together for me as a reader.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would. I didn't love it and I don't see the hype about it, but clearly something about the book is making people read it. It's good writing and it's a style of writing that appeals to a lot of readers - as is the story.

What to read next: Away, February, Age of Hope, Two Solitudes, Half Blood Blues

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI EBook Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-a-latte challenge

Book Review: The Purchase

Title: The Purchase

Author: Linda Spalding

Pages: 352

Summary: In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagon full of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family's strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I can definitely see why it was on some of the award lists for 2012, as the writing was fantastic and at times I was drawn into the story. But, I did begin to lose interest in the end which made the difference from a good read to just an okay read.

Considering, I don't usually like books with plots who focus on Quakers, so I was surprised on how hard it was to put it down at times when I first started reading the book. The writing was superb and I didn't want to have to stop reading it because of how the writing flowed throughout the book. Unfortunately, the book began to drag and by the last third of the book, I was bored with the story and its characters. Nothing seemed to move forward and the characters development began to stand still. The last few pages things started to pick up, but for me, it was pretty much too late. It just became tedious to read by the end. I still enjoyed the authors writing style and narrative, but the plot didn't work out for me.

The characters were another issue I had with the book. Mary was hard to even like for the first half of the book, although I did like her more in the end. I also enjoyed her development throughout the course of the book, but she seemed to be the only one who had any kind of development. Some characters all but disappeared during the second half of the book, like Ruth. As for Daniel, he just seemed to be at a standstill throughout the entire book and I was never able to warm up to him as a character. I think others would enjoy the characters, but for me. I was fairly bored with them all throughout the book.

Overall, it was an okay read. The writing alone kept me reading and the book is worth reading on that merit alone.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. I didn't love the book, but the writing was excellent, and I think a lot of readers would enjoy the plot a lot more than I did. I know for sure this book is right up a lot of my fellow readers alley - so it is worth recommending to others.

What to read next: A Complicated Kindness, The Imposter Bride

Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, New Author Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Wednesday, January 23

Book Review: February

Title: February

Author: Lisa Moore

Pages: EBook 189

Summary: In 1982, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a Valentine's Day storm. All eighty-four men aboard died. February is the story of Helen O'Mara, one of those left behind when her husband, Cal, drowns on the rig. It begins in the present-day, more than twenty-five years later, but spirals back again and again to the "February" that persists in Helen's mind and heart. Writing at the peak of her form, her steadfast refusal to sentimentalize coupled with an almost shocking ability to render the precise details of her characters' physical and emotional worlds, Lisa Moore gives us her strongest work yet. Here is a novel about complex love and cauterizing grief, about past and present and how memory knits them together, about a fiercely close community and its universal struggles, and finally about our need to imagine a future, no matter how fragile, before we truly come home. This is a profound, gorgeous, heart-stopping work from one of our best writers.

My Rating: 9.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A stunning and at times haunting read, which had be lost in some of the passages throughout the book. It will easily be one of my favourite reads of the year.

There were many times I was completely lost in the writing and the passages throughout the book, the author is a spectacular writer and I found myself constantly making notes on many passages throughout the book - sometimes two or three on the same page. It was absolutely stunning and it helped the reader get inside Helen's mind and almost feel the emotions and psychological turmoil she was going through. The author did a fantastic job at showing this heartbreak and loss of her husband, its affect on the world around Helen and those around her. I found it to be an emotional book and I was becoming invested with Helen and how her life would turn out. The parts focusing on her husband and the oil rig were haunting - I almost wish there had been a little more on what had really happened when the oil rig went down. Although I do prefer the way the author choose to mainly focus on Helen. Helen's voice telling the story, her reactions, what went through her mind and was a fantastic way to tell the story and I think it probably made it that much more intriguing, as there is always the unknown lurking in the readers minds on what happened in the last moments of the oil rig. It also created a well developed character in Helen, which added to the whole reading experience.

John's parts were one of my only issues for this book. His storyline kind of slowed the natural flow down, and I didn't exactly like him as a character. I wish the focus on him was less than it was, and more on Helen's story but he was still a character who was well developed, I just wasn't a particular fan of him.

In the end, it was an excellent read which has me looking forward to reading more works from the author.

Would I recommend it to read: I would! Even the slower parts make it a book well worth reading. Between beautiful passages, strong plot, and some good characterization it has elements for all readers to enjoy.

What to read next: Indian Horse, Away, Age of Hope, Two Solitudes, Fall on Your Knees, more by the author.

Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, EBook Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Book Review: Away

Title: Away

Author: Jane Urquhart

Pages: 356

Summary: A stunning, evocative novel set in Ireland and Canada, Away traces a family's complex and layered past. The narrative unfolds with shimmering clarity, and takes us from the harsh Northern Irish coast in the 1840's to the quarantine stations at Grosse Isle and the barely hospitable land of the Canadian Shield; from the flourishing town of Port Hope to the flooded streets of Montreal; from Ottawa at the time of Confederation to a large-windowed house at the edge of a Great Lake during the present day. Graceful and moving, Away unites the personal and the political as it explores the most private, often darkest corners of our emotions where the things that root us to ourselves endure. Powerful, intricate, lyrical, Away is an unforgettable novel.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While it took me some time to warm up to the book, I ended up becoming lost in Urquhart's lyrical prose and storytelling, which created a very enjoyable read.

The beginning was slow and a little odd, it was a combination of folklore and magical realism - or perhaps a mental illness. Either way you look at it, it was an odd beginning of the book and an odd way to introduce the cast of characters. Despite an odd beginning, the author pulls it off, and pulls the reader into her lyrical writing style and storytelling. Once things picked up, there were many times the book was hard to put down, as I was well involved with the story. I enjoyed how Urquhart highlighted the immigrant experience when the book moved to settings from Ireland to Canada, especially when they initially arrived and the characters first nights living in their new home was rather haunting, Urquhart captured that experience perfectly. Even at the books more weaker points, I found myself lured in by the prose, which was stunning.

Characterization had some issues, although I did enjoy the eccentric and flawed characters the book had, I didn't love them. They carried the story forward, but when I was finished reading the book, I wasn't left with a character who left an imprint on me. Also the first half of the book was rather unusual, and while it had some interesting folklore tied into it, I found it didn't tie into the rest of the story as well as it could have. Otherwise it was an enjoyable read, with lovely prose.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. The book isn't for everyone, I know a lot of readers wouldn't like the style of writing. But it is a book I'd highly recommend.

What to read next: February, Indian Horse, Age of Hope, Two Solitudes, Under this Unbroken Sky, Natasha Stories.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, Ireland Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Sunday, January 20

Canada Reads 2013

With Canada Reads just a few weeks away, I've finally sat down to write a post about it, and of course my thoughts on who might win. This year the theme is turf wars - where they divided Canada into five regions and selected books from each of those regions. Which I liked - I'd rather have the individual books take place in the different regions, rather than the author of the book being from that place, but I think it's an interesting theme and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out during the debates (February 11 - 14). Go to the Canada Reads website to find out all the details on how to watch and listen to the debates.

The Finalists, their regions and their defenders"

Region 1: British Columbia and the Yukon:
  • Book: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
  • Defender: Carol Huynh

Region 2: Parries and the North
  • Book: The Age of Hope by David Bergen
  • Defender: Ron MacLean

Region 3: Ontario
  • Book: Away by Jane Urquhart 
  • Defender: Charlotte Gray

Region 4: Quebec
  • Book: Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennen
  • Defender: Jay Baruchel

Region 5: Atlantic Provinces
  • Book: February by Lisa Moore
  • Defender: Trent McClellan 

So there are the contenders for this years Canada Reads, an interesting collection. I haven't read any of them until they were released, and I've only read one authors (Urquhart's) work before, so I'm looking forward to see which book will me my favourite and how it does in the competition. I have a few predictions based on first impressions from the descriptions from the books, who the books defenders are and reactions on Twitter and other social media.

Who I would like to win: Before I even read any of the books, I wanted Away. Solely because I've read the author's other works, and enjoyed them.

First Impressions based on descriptions: Age of Hope I'm not entirely sure this is one I will like, but based on previous winners and those who have done well, this oen seems to have a good chance.

Defender wise: I think Rob MacLean has the best chance. He is constantly going up against Don Cherry on hockey night in Canada, so he can carry a good debate, and I think he may be a hard person to go against.

Social Media/Other Hype: Indian Horse seems to be the favourite so far this year, by a lot of people in the blogverse, twitter and what not.

I'm currently reading the books, and I've read three of them. Once I've read the other two I'll let you know which ones I think will do well and who I think will be voted off first. But I cannot wait for the debates. I'll have to avoid twitter during that week on my lunches, until I get hope and watch the debates for my self - I wonder if I\ll manage that!

Saturday, January 12

Book Review: The Sometimes Lake

Title: The Sometimes Lake

Author: Sandy Bonny

Pages: EBook - 139

Summary: The stories in Sandy Bonny’s collection The Sometimes Lake will transport readers from the Arctic Circle to Alberta’s badlands, and from the waters of the Georgia Straight to the deep lasting space of the prairies. The characters that readers meet in these places will be oddly familiar or perhaps familiarly odd. There are children who live in the magical territory between their imagination and their parents’ realities; road builders from China and Australia who know the ghostly secrets at road’s end; men who shape their lives with the predictability of beehives; others who are confused by cultural shift or troubled by the security of cults; women who try to grieve for their unborn children, and others who play at suicide.

At the vortex of the surprising plots churns Bonny’s keen interest in science and its unexpected effect on human action and emotion. Her curiosity and scrutinizing intelligence as well as her ever playful wit guide the reader through close encounters with physical and psychological landscapes and then reveal the uncommon denominators in them that make people unique.

Open Land
The Jasmine Springs Road
Tango Medio
A Live Flames Will Start

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: For the most part, this collection wasn't the book for me. The writing itself was good, but how it was executed didn't exactly work for me. The author has her own unique flare for writing short stories, but I didn't exactly like it.

The Jasmine Springs Road was the best story in this collection. In fact, it was an excellent story, with excellent characterization, and a very intriguing plot. I just wish I could have enjoyed the rest of this collection as much as that individual story. This individual story captivated me, was the saving factor of the book, and shows the authors own writing talents, I really wish the rest of the book fell into this category.

While most just didn't connect to me plot wise, two stories in particular just didn't work for me at all. (Marrow and Tell). In both cases, I felt that the plots didn't have any flow to them - it felt like a splash of thoughts, and words that didn't come together to tell a story. Mind you those splashed of thoughts and words were well done, the quality of writing was well done, just not the execution or how the author chose to tell the story. There were many times, I felt like the flow of the individual short story was off.

Two other short stories worth noting were: Nogha and Traplines, which were fairly good reads. They did stick out to me as interesting, and both stories had some good plot/ character development. The endings of both stories were rather interesting in their own unique way, but overall, I was somewhat disappointed in this collection.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure I'd recommend this collection. There was a lot that didn't seem to work well in it.

What to read next: The Last Salt Gift of Blood, This Cake is for the Party

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-a-Latte Challenge

Friday, January 11

Book Review: The Beginning of Spring

Title: The Beginning of Spring

Author: Penelope Fitzgerald

Pages: 246

Summary: It is March 1913, and dear, slovenly Mother Moscow, her windows still sealed against the cold of winter, is stirring herself to meet the beginning of spring. Change is in the air - uncertainty too - and nowhere more than at 22 Lipka Street, the home of the English printer Frank Reid. Frank returns from work one night to find that his wife has gone away; no one knows where or why, or whether she'll ever come back. All Frank knows for sure is that he is now alone and must find someone to care for his three young children. Into Frank's life comes Lisa Ivanovna, a quiet, calming beauty from the country, untroubled to the point of seeming simple. But is she? And why has Frank's bookkeeper, Selwyn Crane, gone to such lengths to bring these two together? Who is the passionate Volodya, who breaks into the press at night - a thief, an agitator, a would-be murderer? Frank sees, but only dimly, for he is a rational man in Moscow, a city where human experience - of love and friendship, of politics and power - is always at its most unfathomable.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I love the way the author writes. Even if when the content of the story wasn't that interesting, I still found myself becoming lost in the writing and how the narrators voice came off the pages. I also enjoyed some of the imagery throughout the book along with the ending. Although, I think the metaphor at the ending, was a bit lost on me, I did enjoy the ending, surprised but I enjoyed it.

Overall, the book was average story, but lovely writing style. I found it was easy to be bored with the plot and I also found that the flow of the plot was a bit disjointed, pieces here and there just didn't seem to fit into the story as a whole. Which made for a bit of a choppy read at times. The plot had some interesting tidbits in it. Especially considering the social and political issues going on during the time it was set, but I found it was lost at times of where and how everything pieced together. At times there did seem to be something missing just to connect everything together more.

Not a bad read, but lovely writing style that pulls you in until the end.

Would I recommend it to read: The story itself was average with not a lot happening, (I'm sure you could analyse it to find the social and political movements and points throughout the book if you wanted), but the writing was what makes it worth reading. So I'd say it may be worth checking out.

What to read next: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-a-Latte Challenge,

Book Review: Things Fall Apart

Title: Things Fall Apart

Author: Chinua Achebe

Pages: 209

Summary: Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Originally, I was pulled right into the book. I thought the writing was excellent and I was enjoying the story and characterization. I didn't exactly like Okonkwo, but I thought the author did a fantastic job at shaping him. He created a very realistic, proud, angry character, who adds an interesting dynamic to the book - I don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much if were a passive character, instead of being quite aggressive and set in his ways. I don't necessarily like everything he did and said, but I did understand him as a character.

For the most part the book was well written an well told, but I found that part one started to drag near the end, and I was beginning to lose interest in the story. It didn't feel like it was moving forward, just showing and re-showing the kind of person Okonkwo was like and how he sees himself and the others around him. Which worked to develop the character, but it also caused me to lose my interest. The second half of the story was well done and picked back up fairly quickly. I was very surprised about the ending. It kind of threw me with what happened - and I didn't see that coming. The author shocked me completely and as I figured Okonkwo story would have ended differently.

A fairly enjoyable read overall.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would, even with the slower parts, it was a very interesting story. It's not the top of my list, in this genre (see what to read next), but worth checking out.

What to read next: Daughters Who Have Walked This Path, Purple Hibiscus

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, 777 Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-A-Latte Challenge

Wednesday, January 9

Book Review: Whitethorn Woods

Title: Whitethorn Woods

Author: Maeve Binchy

Pages: 449

Summary: Everything is changing in Rossmore. No longer a sleepy Irish town, nowadays it’s a prosperous place, so busy that a new bypass has been proposed.

The people of Rossmore are divided, particularly since the road will go right through the Whitethorn Woods and the well dedicated to St Ann - a well thought by some to have spiritual properties, and by others dismissed as a superstition. Well-meaning curate Father Brian Flynn has no idea which faction to support. Neddy Nolan is being offered compensation for his land - but has a personal reason to save the well. Then there’s the childless London woman who came to Whitethorn Woods, begging the saint for help, with the most unexpected consequences . . .

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I found this to be a very enjoyable read. Her characters really make the book, and I think the author wove them all into the overall story well. After reading the book, it has me looking forward to the next book by the author.

The book wasn't like the traditional novel. In fact I would classify it more as a collection of interconnected short stories, than a novel. As a novel, the book just doesn't work, there's just a bunch of threads pulling on the plot and not much else. But as a collection of short stories, it was a great story (or stories) of a cast of characters, and their individual stories, all with a common theme of Rossmore and Whitethorn Woods. Each short story, or chapter, where broken down in two parts, told by two characters connected to each other in some way (friends, lovers, mother/daughter). What I really liked was how the stories were told from two different perspectives, and the twists the story as a whole would take individually, and as a whole, once you read both perspectives. Some of the chapters took a rather surprising twist, which shocked me. Others highlighted the beauty of friendship and companionship. I also appreciated how the author linked the chapters together by subtle mentions, of previous characters and what happened to them. Chapters four, five and nine, were some of my favourites, for how the characters lives and stories were portrayed, along with some of the twists the author threw in. And for some the twists, they were really good.

The main story line was told in three parts which I also enjoyed. Neddy was an extremely well done, and underestimated character when you first meet him. He has a lot of heart to him, and I was beginning to enjoy him by the end, it was a shame his story (and the book) ended when it did.

One of the best aspects of Binchy, is her ability to create such complex characters, who even the more, unsavoury ones, you seem to really enjoy reading about, and this book was no exception.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a very enjoyable read. It was a book you can curl up with on the weekend and lose yourself in. It may not be the best read if you haven't read the author yet, but it does show her writing talents and storytelling ability.

What to read next: Circle of Friends

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Ireland Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read-A-Latte Challenge

Saturday, January 5

Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon

Pages: 226

Summary: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the colour yellow.

This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighbourhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was truly an amazing and engrossing read. It's one of those reads, where you can't help but love the characters and become attached to their well being. And this book was a book which focused heavily one of its characters, Christopher.

It didn't take long for me to fall for Christopher, the narrator. In fact he will be up there with some of my all time favourite literary characters. The more I read, the more I enjoyed the character (and the book). I was very involved in the character, so much that I even grew concerned at one point in the book for his rat, Toby. As I knew Christopher would be upset if something happened to his rat. The author was able to write in the mindset of Christopher, who has form of autism (or aspergers), wonderfully. I think he handled it with care and was able to create his character beautifully. Christopher became a very real character for me, which as of late has been a rare thing I've been finding in the books I've read, but it's a one of the pieces that help create that perfect read.

I really enjoyed how the author told the story as well. Prime numbers of chapters, diagrams, pictures - all on how Christopher sees and interprets things, and shows the reader, to help us understand Christopher and he how thinks and perceives the world. I think the author managed all this, and tied it together nicely, all while still telling Christopher's story. I also found there were some interesting plot twists and surprises along the way, including the ending, which was just as good as the rest of the book.

This book is a must read!

Would I recommend it to read: I would highly recommend this book. Well written, a wonderful narrator you'll likely fall in love with, and a book you can easily lose yourself in (This was a book I was reading on my commute, but had to stop, because I kept losing myself in the book). So I'd recommend, this book in fact add it to in fact add it to your TBR list now!

What to read next: Room (because how the author writes from inside a child's mind was similar to how this one was written)

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Tuesday, January 1

2013 - A Year in Review

Wow! What a year, both in the reading world and in real life. A lot a happened for me this year, including some big changes in my life. I started working on my library and never finished that. Opps! Maybe I'll finish it this year - I already need more space for my books - not sure how that happened!

So this year I did a lot of fun reading activities, including attending word on the street, which was awesome, attending some great book related conventions, even spoke on a panel, and had a blast discussing the Giller longlist and shortlist nominees. Which I realize now, I never wrapped up my thoughts on that - although anyone who followed my reviews could probably guess them. I thought about doing a quick wrap up, but there are so many things I need to focus on now, I won't find the time. Canada Reads is coming up, and I need to gear up for that - perhaps I'll be better organized for that one (perhaps, being a better organized blogger, for keeping up with posts, comments, other bloggers should be my resolution I likely won't keep ;)).

Back to my reading year. It was a great one, I read some fantastic books - and some not so fantastic, and then the ones where I'll just say - don't ask. I participated in a lot of challenges and completed almost all of them. A new record for me. And the one challenge, I never figured I'd finish in the first place. Either way, I'm happy with that too and I'm looking forward to my 2013 challenges. (And, this New Years Day morning, I find myself having trouble spelling challenge - I keep throwing an "A" instead of an "E"). So below is a summary of my 2012 year, including a list of all the books I read this year, my favourites, least favourites and the honorable mentions. Fun statistics about what I read, along with a few other fun facts. My challenge summary, and maybe all the books that followed me home this year. A few more came home with me from a friend at a new year's party! Shout out to fellow book geek from the bad wolves hub, adi!

Okay, so sit back, grab a coffee, because this will be a long post, and enjoy!

The Books 

This year I read 136 books, of those 3 were rereads (and as I've already reviewed them didn't get a review), so below are all the books I read and reviewed this year. All 133 of them.

 1) Touch - Alexi Zentner - 7.25/10
2) The Dream World - Alison Pick - 8.25/10
3) The Sisters Brother - Patrick dewitt - 6.75/10
4) Oroonoko and Other Writings by Aphra Behn - 7.25/10
5) Childhood - Andre Alexis - 7/10
6) For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down - David Adams Richards 7.25/10
7) Alligence - SGA -18 - Amy Griswold and Melissa Scott - 7.5/10
8) The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - Alistair MacLeod - 7.5/10
9) Alone in the Classroom - Elizabeth Hay - 5/10
10) Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry - 7.5/10
11) The Messenger - Lois Lowry - 7.5/10
12) The Colony of Unrequited Dreams - Wayne Johnston - 8.25/10
13) Anil's Ghost - Michael Ondaatje - 8.75/10
14) Transitions (SG-1 18) Sabine Bauer - 6.75/10
15) Selected Short Stories - Virginia Woolf - 9.5/10
16) A Long, Long Way - Sebastian Berry - 8.5/10
17) Offshore - Penelope Fitzgerald - 7.25/10
18) The Sense of Ending - Julian Barnes - 6.75/10
19) The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner - 8.25/10
20) The Druid - Frank Delaney - 8.75/10
21) The Girl Who Lived on The Moon - Frank Delaney - 9/10
22) Living With The Dead - Kelley Armstrong - 6.75/10
23) The Dogs and the Wolves - Irene Nemirovsky - 7.25/10
24) The Paris Wife - Paula McClain - 6.75/10
25) Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - 7.75/10
26) Gavelston - Paul Quarrington - 3.5/10
27) Shannon - Frank Delaney - 7.75/10
28) Agassiz Stories - Sandra Birdsell - 7.75/10
29) Casualties of War (SGA #7) - Elizabeth Christensen 7.75/10
30) Requiem for a Dream - Hubert Selby, Jr. - 5/10
31) My Ántonia - Willa Cather 7.75/10
32) Pigsong - Frank Delaney - 8.25/10
33) The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West - 6.5/10
34) Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald - 9.5/10
35) The Book Borrower - Alice Mattison - 4/10
36) The Penguin Book of Scottish Short Stories - 8/10
37) Song of the Silk Road - Mingmei Yipp - 8.75/10
38) Silas Marner - George Eliot - 7.25/10
39) Fighting Gravity - Leah Petersen - 7.25/10
40) La Grosse Fifi - Jean Ryhs - 7.25/10
41) Turtle Valley - Gail Anderson-Dargartz - 6.75/10
42) The Sound of Blue - Holly Payne - 8.25/10
43) Stones - Timothy Findley - 8.5/10
44) Ru - Kim Thúy - 8.5/10
45) Frostbitten - Kelley Armstrong - 7.75/10
46) Crazy Heart - Thomas Cobb - 6.5/10
47) Trial by Fire - Sabine Bauer - 5/10
48) The Newspaper of Claremont Street - Elizabeth Jolley - 7.75/10
49) Storm Glass - Jane Urquhart - 8.75/10
50) To Have and Have Not - Ernest Hemingway - 5.5/10
51) The Box Garden - Carol Shields - 7/10
52) The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova - 7.75/10
53) Casino Royale - Ian Fleming - 5/10
54) Mennonites Don't Dance - Darcie Friesen Hossack - 5.25/10
55) Beatrice and Virgil - Yann Martel - 4.5/10
56) The Prestige - Christopher Priest - 9/10
57) Next Episode - Hubert Aquin - 7/10
58) The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham - 7.25/10
59) The Yellow House - Patricia Falvey - 8/10
60) The Ship of Brides - Jojo Moyes 7.25/10
61) Rockbound - Frank Parker Day - 8/10
62) Who Do You Think You Are?- Alice Munro - 9.25/10
63) Reliquary (SGA - 2) - Martha Wells - 8.25/10
64) Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris - 7.5/10
65) The Sea-Folk - Frank Delaney - 8.75/10
66) Street of Riches - Gabrielle Roy - 8/10
67) The Years - Virginia Woolf - 8.75/10
68) The In-Between World of Vikram Lall - M.G. Vassanji - 7.5/10
69) A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews - 5.5/10
70) Chocolat - Joanne Harris 7.5/10
71) The Colour - Rose Tremain - 3.75/10
72) Light Lifting - Alexander MacLeod - 9/10
73) The Sentimentalists - Johanna Skibsrud - 7/10
74) This Cake is for the Party - Sarah Selecky - 8.25/10
75) Circle of Friends - Maeve Binchy - 8.75/10
76) The Mistress of Nothing - Kate Pullinger - 6.75/10
77) The Bad Girl - Mario Vargas Llosa - 5/10
78) Do No Harm (SG-1 12) Karen Miller - 5/10
79) Nikolski - Nickolas Dickner - 6.5/10
80) The Heart Specialist - Claire Holden Rothman - 5.5/10
81) Stanley Park - Timothy Taylor - 6.5/10
82) Deafening - Frances Itani - 7.5/10
83) Years of Red Dust: Tales of Shanghai - Qiu Xiaolong - 8.5/10
84) Daughters Who Walk This Path - Yejide Kilanko - 8.75/10
85) Hetty Dorval - Ethel Wilson - 7/10
86) Waking the Witch - Kelley Armstrong - 8/10
87) Spell Bound - Kelley Armstrong - 7/10
88) Star Sullivan - Maeve Binchy - 7.5/10
89) The Long Song - Andrea Levy - 7/10
90) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N. K. Jemisin - 7.5/10
91) Whirl Away - Russell Wangersky - 9.5/10
92) Dr. Brinkley's Tower - Robert Hough - 7.75/10
93) Y - Marjorie Celona - 9/10
94) Inside - Alix Ohlin - 7.5/10
95) The Emperor of Paris - C. S. Richardson - 8/10
96) One Good Hustle - Billie Livingston - 7.5/10
97) The Imposter Bride - Nancy Richler - 5/10
98) 419 - Will Ferguson - 3.5/10
99) Our Daily Bread - Lauren B. Davies - 9.25/10
100) My Life Among the Apes - Cary Fagan - 7/10
101) Everybody Has Everything - Katrina Onstad - 6.75/10
102) North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell - 6/10
103) The Furies (SGA 19) - Jo Graham - 8/10
104) The Hound of Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle - 8/10
105) The Lost Garden - Helen Humphreys - 7.25/10
106) The Mirrored World - Debra Dean - 7.5/10
107) Vintage Munro - Alice Munro - 7.75/10
108) The Juliet Stories - Carrie Snyder - 8/10
109) The Golden Mean - Annabel Lyon - 3/10
110) Harvest Moon - Multiple Authors - 7.75/10
111) I'm Starved For You: Positron, Episode 1 - Margaret Atwood - 8/10
112) The Mystery of Mercy Close - Marian Keyes - 9.5/10
113) Natasha and Other Stories - David Bezmozgis - 7.25/10
114) The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells - 7/10
115) The Barque of Heaven (SG-1 11) - Suzanne Wood - 8.5/10
116) The Whirlpool - Jane Urquhart - 7/10
117) Sacrifice Moon - Julie Fortune - 7.75/10
118) Small Change - Elizabeth Hay - 6.5/10
119) Feathered Serpent - Xu Xiaobin - 7/10
120) Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright - 10/10
121) Fauna - Alissa York - 5/10
122) Summer - Edith Wharton - 5.25/10
123) The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson - 8.5/10
124) The Road Past Altamont - Gabrielle Roy - 7.75/10
125) The Bostonians - Henry James - 4/10
126) Entanglement (SGA - 6) - Martha Wells - 6.5/10
127) An Irish Country Village - Patrick Taylor - 7.25/10
128) Doppler - Erlend Loe - 9.5/10
129) The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom - 8.75/10
130) Five Quarters of the Orange - Joanne Harris - 4.5/10
131) A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - 8/10
132) Jacobs Room - Virginia Woolf - 6.75/10
133) 13 - Kelley Armstrong - 6.75/10

The Reread were the first three books in the Harry Potter Series.

Breakdown of ratings

My lowest review was a 3. My highest was a 10. Only one book received a 10/10 this year.

Rating Category
Amount of Books
1 - 3.75
4 - 4.75
5 - 5.75
6 - 6.75
7 - 7.75
8 - 8.75
9 - 9.75

Jules' Top Ten's 

Top 10 Favourite Books of the Year (books listed alphabetically by author)

 Y - Marjorie Celona
Our Daily Bread - Lauren B. Davies
The Mystery of Mercy Close - Marian Keyes
Daughters Who Walk This Path - Yejide Kilanko
Doppler - Erlend Loe
Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
Anil's Ghost - Michael Ondaatje
The Prestige - Christopher Priest
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
Song of the Silk Road - Mingmei Yipp

Top Five Short Story Collections (books listed alphabetically by author)

Light Lifting - Alexander MacLeod
Who Do You Think You Are?- Alice Munro
Storm Glass - Jane Urquhart
Whirl Away - Russell Wangersky
Selected Short Stories - Virginia Woolf

Ten Least Favourite Reads(books listed alphabetically by author)

419 - Will Ferguson
Five Quarters of the Orange - Joanne Harris
Requiem for a Dream - Hubert Selby, Jr.
The Golden Mean - Annabel Lyon
The Bostonians - Henry James
Beatrice and Virgil - Yann Martel
The Book Borrower - Alice Mattison
Gavelston - Paul Quarrington
The Colour - Rose Tremain
The Bad Girl - Mario Vargas Llosa

Some Fun Book Statistics about this years read.

I have to say, I've read far more EBooks, than I ever thought I  would. I do prefer print over EBooks, but the number between the two is closing. It saves so much space, and when it comes to library books, no late fees!

General Stats
Number of Books
Books Read
Pages Read
36, 622
Re-Reads (included in total)

Format of Book


Where they Came From

Library Books

This year I found a love for short story collections, and I have quite a few on my shelf to read this year.

Type of Book
Number of Books
Short Story Collections
Short Story and/or Novella (Individual)

One of my personal goals this year was to read more Canadian Books, and almost half of my reads were. This year I hope to read more, and explore some new to me Canadian Authors.

Other Random Facts
Number of Books
Authors New to Me
Women Writers
Speculative Fiction
1001 Books
Children's/YA Lit

The Challenges

Wow! My little table I made up in OneNote (which is how I keep track of all my challenges, book stats etc) came in very handy! Less work for me! This year I participated in 17 challenges. And I completed 14 of those challenges. The Ireland Challenge I moved up a level, originallly completing it in September  and I didn't realize I messed up the dates to when it ended. It actually ended in November. But I completed my original goal, so I'm counting it as a win!

Challenge Name
Start Date
End Date
Completed Date
12 in 12
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
DNF - 92% Complete
100+ Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
October 15, 2012
1001 Books to Read Before  Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
December 8, 2012
Alphabet Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
October 12, 2012
Canadian Award Winners Challenge
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
January 24, 2012
Canadian Reading Challenge V
July 1, 2011
July 1, 2012
October 31, 2011
Canadian Reading Challenge VI
July 1, 2012
June 30, 2013
September 1, 2012
Ebook Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
June 13, 2012
Fall into Reading Challenge 2012
September 22, 2012
December 21, 2012
December 19, 2012
Finish That Series Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
DNF - 33% Complete
Global Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
September 13, 2012
Ireland Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
December 18, 2012
Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
DNF - 84% Complete
New Authors Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
August 30, 2012
Short Stories Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
July 31, 2012
Speculative Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
November 16, 2012
War Through the Generations - WWI Reading Challenge 2012
January 1, 2012
December 31, 2012
April 18, 2012

Countries Visited through Reading

Below are all the countries I visited, and the amount of times.

Canada:   45/England: 21/ USA: 21/ Ireland: 11/ France: 10/ China: 4/ Australia: 2 /Hungary: 2 /Nigeria: 2 / Northern Ireland: 2/Belgium: 1/Bulgaria: 1/Croatia: 1/ Cuba: 1/Egypt: 1/Hong Kong: 1*/Grease: 1 /Jamaica: 1/Kenya: 1/Mexico: 1/Netherlands: 1/New Zealand: 1/Nicaragua: 1/Norway: 1/Peru: 1/Romania: 1/Russia: 1/Scotland: 1/Sri Lanka: 1/Switzerland: 1/Turkey: 1/Ukraine: 1/Vietnam: 1

Create your own travel map - TravBuddy

Books that Followed Me Home

Wow. I just looked at that number, and it is a big one. Some are EBooks mind you. But a lot more books followed me home, than the amount of books I read. I added almost 160 books to my collection this year. I would list them all, but I would be here for forever trying to do that.

And that was my 2012 year in a (large) nut shell. There is far more to say, I'm sure I'm forgetting things too, but this should be enough light reading for everyone! Cheers!