BCTeagirl's 12 in 12 Challenge- This time for sure!

DiskuteraThe 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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BCTeagirl's 12 in 12 Challenge- This time for sure!

Denna diskussion är för närvarande "vilande"—det sista inlägget är mer än 90 dagar gammalt. Du kan återstarta det genom att svara på inlägget.

Redigerat: jan 6, 2012, 11:47am

Although I didn't manage to complete the full 11 in 11 challenge last year, I was close! (Only 20 short!). I am making these categories a bit broader, so I think that should do it :)

I will aim for 12 books in 12 categories:

1) Classics
2) Dystopian/ post-apocalyptic
3) Canadian
4) The three P's: Poetry, Plays, grouP reads
5) Food Writing
6) Homesteading, Survival and Self-Sufficiency
7) Blast from the past: Books entered in April, 2010 (then May if I get that far).
8) Mystery
9) Humour/Light
10) Around the World- 12 different countries (And not the same countries as previously!)
11) Non-Fiction
12) Books not in English (99% Francais)

Summary from last year:
1) Classics- 11 read Complete!
2) Non-fiction- 11 read Complete!
3) Dystopian- 11 read Complete!
4) Homesteading- 6 read
5) Canadian not specific province: 11 read Complete!
6) Food related: 11 read Complete!
7) Humour- 11 read Complete!
8) Plays- 11 read Complete!
9) Around the World- 7 read
10) Mysteries- 11 read Complete!
11) Kindle- 0 in this category, but about 30 of the books read for this challenge were on my kindle.

Redigerat: dec 31, 2012, 2:28pm


1) Don Quixote part 1 Completed in September*
2) Great Expectations Completed in January*
3) Kim Completed in March
4) Don Quixote part 2 Completed in December*
5) The Velveteen Rabbit Completed in December*
6) A Christmas Carol Completed in December*

* Read on my Kindle

Redigerat: dec 31, 2012, 11:59am

2) Dystopian/ post apocalyptic

1) Oryx and Crake Completed in January*
2) The Year of the Flood Completed in January*
3) The Windup Girl Completed in April*
4) The Kraken Wakes Completed in May
5) At the End a post-apocalyptic novel Completed in May*
6) Cloud Atlas Completed in November
7) Anthem Completed in December*

* Read on my Kindle

Redigerat: dec 30, 2012, 11:59am

3) Canadian

1) Canadian politics unplugged Completed in April
2) Not Wanted on the Voyage Completed in June
3) Frontiers and Pioneers series by Terry Leeder Completed in June
4) A Time to be Brave Completed in June
5) Outlaws in British Columbia Completed in July
6) Inukshuk Completed in July
7) Sergeant Harry Morren: Royal North West Mounted Police Completed in July
8) Murder Brutal, Bizarre and Unsolved Mysteries of the Northwest Completed in July
9) Except the dying : a Murdoch Mystery Completed in November
10) Fixer-Upper: A Novella A Novella Completed in December
11) The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists Completed in December
12) Anne of the Island Completed in December*

* = Read on my Kindle

**This section was completed in December! :)**

Redigerat: dec 30, 2012, 11:58am

4) 3 P's: Poetry, Plays, grouP reads:

1) The rez sisters : a play in two acts Completed in February**
2) The Bluest Eye Completed in May**
3) Under Milk Wood (Audiobook) Completed in June**
4) Gran, the maledictions (poetry) Completed in June
5) Everything that Rises must Converge Completed in July**
6) Room Completed in September*
7) The Shipping News completed in December

* = Read on Kindle
**= What is Stephen Harper Reading Challenge

Redigerat: dec 9, 2012, 4:59pm

Redigerat: dec 21, 2012, 11:15am

6) Homesteading/Self-Sufficiency/Survival

1) Walden Completed in December*
2) The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City Completed in December
3) Buckskin Cookery Completed in December

* Read on my kindle

Redigerat: dec 31, 2012, 11:59am

7) Blast from the Past: Entered in April 2010

1) Whitethorn Woods Completed in January*
2) The Secret Life of Bees Completed in February
3) Victoria Line, Central Line Completed in February
4) Blackberry Wine Completed in April
5) Quentins Completed in June
6) Scarlet Feather Completed in July
7) The Courteous Cad Completed in August
8) A Dog Named Wolf Completed in December

*= Read on my Kindle

Redigerat: dec 27, 2012, 11:53am

8) Mystery

1) Peril at End House Completed in January
2) First Among Sequels Completed in February
3) One of our Thursdays is Missing Completed in February
4) The Big Over Easy Completed in February
5) The Secret Adversary Completed in March*
6) The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery Completed in April
7) Murder by the Book Columbo Completed in July**
8) The Fourth Bear Completed in September
9) The Woman who Died a Lot Completed in October
10) The Moving Finger Completed in November*
11) Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Completed in December*
12) Final Solution Completed in December**

* Read on my Kindle
** = Bookcrossing

-- This section completed in December!--

Redigerat: dec 27, 2012, 12:05pm

9) Humour/light

1) Diary of a wimpy kid : Greg Heffley's journal Completed in January
2) The Eyre Affair Completed in February**
3) The Complete "Peanuts" 1950 -1952 Completed in March **
4) Bookworm Droppings Completed in March
5) Stories from Sikh History Completed in March
6) The Complete Peanuts: 1953-1954 Completed in March
7) What not to wear Completed in April
8) Donna Parker Mystery at Arawak Completed in April (B)
9) Donna Parker Takes a Giant Step Completed in April (B)
10) Donna Parker in Hollywood Completed in April (B)
11) Kensuke's kingdom Completed in April
12) Castaway Christmas Completed in December (B)

** = Re-read
(B)= Bookcrossing
*This section completed in December!*

Redigerat: dec 31, 2012, 2:27pm

11) Around the world: Books from 12 different countries!

1) Their Eyes Were Watching God -USA- Completed in January
2) Drown - Dominican Republic- Completed in February
3) Syrian Folktales -Syria- Completed in May
4) Persepolis -Iran- Completed in May
5) The Twelfth Transforming -Egypt- Completed in October

Countries completed last year (So I don't repeat them again)
1) The Birth House - Canada
2) Oranges are not the only Fruit- England
3) The Poisonwood Bible - Congo
4) Suite Francaise - France
5) The Cellist of Sarajevo - Bosnia-Herzegovina
6) The Kite Runner - Afghanistan
7) Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia - Croatia

Redigerat: dec 28, 2012, 11:55am

12) Non-English Books (Most likely en Francais)

1) The dragonfly of Chicoutimi Completed in December
2) Dear Canada : a love letter to my country Completed in September
3) Vas-y Charlie Brown Completed in November
4) Ca Ne Va Pas, Charlie Brown Completed in December

dec 31, 2011, 4:09pm

Hi Janice ***Waves*** Found and starred!

dec 31, 2011, 4:23pm

Yay welcome! :)

dec 31, 2011, 4:55pm

Great categories! Loving your picture for the Classics - that Penguin series is so crave-worthy! :)

(formerly bookoholic13)

dec 31, 2011, 5:02pm

I just finished reading The Year of the Flood and had a discussion with myself as to which category to put it. I ended up putting where it is since, right or wrong, I don't consider Canadians as foreign and it was on my shelf for over two years. In any case, I think I want to go back and reread Oryx and Crake now.

dec 31, 2011, 11:56pm

Lots of my wishlist books here, I'll be checking in often to see if I should nudge them closer to the basket (like I need help with book buying). Looking forward to seeing what else pops up!

Those Penguins look delish...

jan 1, 2012, 3:11pm

Hi Janice, you've got some great categories and I am looking forward to following your reading again this year.

jan 6, 2012, 12:02pm

Ok! I have updated my categories with pictures.. it helped once I was instructed how to size them appropriately :) I also remembered what my 12th category was meant to be: Non-English books. I will tell you now this is the category I am the least likely to actually finish. However it is a good one to have there since I keep buying french books and then letting them pile up rather than reading them :P

I inserted a ticker (Ever so slightly different from last years) and have actually completed a book!

I read Whitethorn Woods for my Blast from the Past category (Books entered in April, 2010). A fun and light book. Like many of her books, this book consisted of short stories of various characters whose lives seem to cross in unexpected ways. Somehow all there lives involve a small town in Ireland and a St. Anne's well where people make various pilgrimages. The story starts with an introduction to the village priest, a younger fellow who is sure the well is not linked with St. Anne and verging on Pagan but is too nice to do anything but grit his teeth about it. Then a new road is proposed that would plow through Whitethorn woods and the well, dividing the town. There were characters you felt very comfortable with, and a few characters you loved to hate. A light comfortable read for during the holiday season, without being too overly 'chicklitish'.

I have started Oryx and Crake on my kindle. However I will be travelling in a week and there are a couple of books I want to try to finish reading here before I go, so I may not come back to it until next week. :)

jan 8, 2012, 8:21am

Some good categories there, good luck! I just read an excellent book of poetry, The Dream World by Alison Pick, if you need any recommendations.

jan 13, 2012, 1:21pm

>20 Bcteagirl: I enjoy Maeve Binchey's books. "Comfortable" is a good way to describe them. I always think she must be a very nice person, because of the kindness she shows toward the flaws and foibles of her characters.

jan 17, 2012, 7:21am

Hi Janice! I love your ticker, and your wonderful graphics! Great categories!

feb 2, 2012, 9:19pm

Ok, I am now WAY behind on my reviews, not so great a way to start the new year! :P January was a busy month that invovled a lot of travel, but that also meant that I had quite a lot of reading on the plane time.

Going to try to do a few reviews tonight, just starting from the top of the list and not necessarily the order in which they were read.

feb 2, 2012, 9:37pm

First up Great Expectations by Dickens. I started this one earlier than the group reads... not having read anything of his aside from A Christmas Carol I was expecting something that would be a lot of 'work' to read and figured I would need a head start. I am surprised I finished it so far ahead!

I guess what I failed to take into account is that many of his books were published 'for the masses' and in bits in newspapers before being put into full books. This story pulled me in right away and read to me, like an old adventure story more than the 'heavy classics' reading I was expecting. The story of Pip.. taken in by his abusive sister when his parents died years ago.. and the life he had before he came into his 'Great Expectations' and the changes it had upon him. I do see now why people say he had an affinity for the working classes and more 'wholesome' or 'honest' than the upper classes. Often his life was compared to that of his adoptive fathers, who worked at a forge in the country. Those parts reminded me of Adam Bede.. so if you like the pastoral hard at work honest type of a story that would be a great follow up.

Then he comes into some 'Great Expectations' and talks about how the money changed him.. all while this sort of adventure and love story is whirling around him. Without getting into spoilers, towards the end there are many 'revelations' that keep this longer story from getting dry. I would have liked a bit of a happier ending for poor Pip, but I suppose he seemed happy enough :P

feb 2, 2012, 9:45pm

Nice review of Great Expectations. I'm getting more and more tempted to join the group read.

feb 2, 2012, 9:46pm

Oh do! It was far better than I expected :)

feb 2, 2012, 10:00pm

Next up: My Dystopian Category. I read Oryx and Crake for the group read and liked it enough that I found Year of the Flood for my kindle and read almost all of it on a delayed flight.

Oryx and Crake essentially starts of as a society gone wrong type of story. What makes the book so eerie is that the 'gone wrong' simply builds on what we see around us, and seems just a short step ahead of us. The upper classes live in gated communities that include their schools/malls and almost never go to the 'pleeb lands' which are judged not to be safe. Children grow up never having been to the city. Reality shows have gone online, and now include state executions etc. Pornography of all perversions is easily found, and children in third world countries are abused to make it. Food is running scarce, and much of it now seems to be grown in 'labs'. Animals are being created to house organs for transplanting to humans... potentially even 'brain transplants' that you could have grown for yourself in case of stroke.

Growing up in this situation we see two young boys who share the fact that they are both outcasts, and have both lost one of their parents under strange circumstances. One nice enough but somewhat daft, one somewhat cold but very intelligent. They spend most of their time playing online games, and watching the online shows I mentioned earlier. (Plus 'newdie news: News read to you by nude anchors!... as TV tries to stay competitive with the internet).

Without getting into more spoilers, a worldwide plague is somehow released and 'snowman' believes himself to be the last true human survivor.... he has been charged with the care of genetically engineered pre-iron age humans who were created not to have the types of greed and violence that 'normal' people had.

In Year of the Flood we see a similar story from the perspective of those living in the cities.. we see how women are abused and exploited and how dangerous the city can be. We are also introduced to 'God's Gardeners' a sort of Christian back to the earth type of movement that tries to live largely off of rooftop gardens and the scraps others leave behind. It then follows the path of several of these women as they survive the first stages of the worldwide plague.

Both of these books are highly recommended. I would start of with Oryx and Crake if you have the choice, but either can be read as a stand alone book.

There is a third book coming in this series, but I have yet to find much information on it.. I don't know when it is coming out, what it will be called, etc. If anyone has more information I would love to hear it!

Redigerat: feb 2, 2012, 10:27pm

For the first book in my food category I read Discover the pulse potential : peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas. Published by a Saskatchewan Agriculture board some years ago, it is not likely to be easy to find (Which is a shame, as I would buy my own copy!).

This book includes many recipes in the appetizer, main dish, side dish categories, and unexpectedly: Desserts. There are recipes for cakes and cookies that include blended lentils which I suppose would be very handy if you had a ton of lentils to use up :P

I did copy out many unusual recipes to try including spicy lentil fritters, sweet and sour lentils, chickpeas and apricots, etc. A great book for anyone wanting to cook more with dried goods.

feb 2, 2012, 10:30pm

Having been somewhat on a Agatha Christie kick I told myself I would try to read from the bottom of mount TBR rather than just adding more Christie's to the pile and reading the first. Then I came into a 1950's copy of Peril at End house with the retro cover and red sided pages... it seemed to call to me as an easy comfort read at the end of particularly busy days.

A young woman has had three attempts on her life in one week.. one attempt right in front of Poirot who happens to be vacationing in the vicinity. Can he prevent a murder? I had recently seen this Poirot on television over the holidays and was interested to see that not all the 'plot devices' were carried over onto television. I guess there was simply not enough space. It was different enough from the show to keep me interested. The plot itself was also interesting with many twists and turns. Well worth the read.

feb 2, 2012, 11:33pm


For my first non-fiction book I pulled from the veeeeerrry bottom of mount TBR to find The Brain that Changes Itself. After repairing the avalanche of books, I set in to do some reading.

This was actually my third attempt at this book. Not that it is not a good book. It is actually a fantastic book. Engaging, not hard to read, etc. It just seems to be one of those books you really need to be in the right mood for. January seemed to finally be it as I ran through half the book on the first day.

This book discusses breakthroughs in neuroplasticity, or the science of how our brain changes with input from the environment. Cognitive theorists viewed the adult brain as a 'machine' capable of very little actual change. Science shows our brains are constantly changing with new input for good (leaning to use skills again after a stroke, teaching the blind to 'see' with electronic input) or bad (repeating OCD compulsions deepens them further, watching hard pornography on a regular basis can make it harder to be aroused in a 'regular' sexual situation). It discusses many of the breakthroughs that help people lead normal lives and the research that discusses how neuroplasticity occurs. A great accessible read for the layperson, and a must read for anybody in psychology or medicine.

Redigerat: feb 2, 2012, 11:47pm


I read Their Eyes Were Watching God as the USA book for my around the world category, and also as part of the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge. The book was written by Zora Hurston in 1937, and it was highly unusual for a woman of colour to be a successful author in the southern USA at the time.

This short book is the story of the second generation of black women to live 'free' in the southern USA. She is being raised by her grandmother who is a housemaid.

One of the first things I noticed in this book is the two very different styles of writing. The narrator opens up a description of men's and women's hopes and dreams and describes the granddaughter, who until she saw herself in a photograph at age 6 or so had no idea she was black. The conversations among people themselves is full of expressions and a style of speaking that takes some getting used to but gives you a better picture of how a largely ignored population people talked at the time. (rough paraphrase as I don't have the book with me: "you know you can talk to me.. I am like a chicken.. I drink water in but I don't put any out").

When her grandmother is dying she marries her grandaughter off to her version of a successful coloured person (meaning owns land to work). You then follow her story through three husbands: The cold farmer, the even colder store owner/mayor, and finally the younger gambler. All three give you a much better insight to the time.

It took me a while to get into the 'lingo' of the book, but it was well worth reading. If you have any interest in the area this is a short book that should be added to your TBR pile.

feb 3, 2012, 7:52am

I liked The Brain that Changes Itself, too, though I thought he got a little Freudian with the pornography chapter!

feb 3, 2012, 10:34am

Excellent reviews! I loved Their Eyes Were Watching God when I read it about 20 years ago and I recently picked it up, intending to do a reread sometime.

I'm also planning to reread Peril at End House later this year and my copy looks identical to yours! It's really beat up so I hope I can get through it before it falls apart.

feb 3, 2012, 12:28pm

I have the Hurston book in my library and have had a niggling to read it. You just turned up the volume of the niggling to more of a nagging. Thanks for the nudge.

feb 3, 2012, 12:34pm

33: Yes, I could have done without the Freudian bits in two of the chapters.. I was honestly thinking of figuring out how to use this book along side the textbook as a required book should I teach neuropsyc, but the Freudian part is off-putting to anybody with a scientific mind ;)

feb 3, 2012, 12:36pm

34: Cute that we have the same book! I will admit I am too much of a sucker for old books :P

feb 3, 2012, 2:41pm

Lots of good reads!! The Brain that Changes Itself is absolutely going on my wishlist - sounds absolutely fascinating. Also, I'm also ever surprised at how readable Dickens is!

feb 4, 2012, 11:06am

Just getting caught up here. I love lentils and chickpeas so I will join you in the hunt for a copy of Discover the pulse potential!

.... oh, and thumb for The Brain that Changes Itself!

feb 4, 2012, 11:51am

Thanks Lori! :) I have some other books on the subject I will try to review this year. :)

feb 7, 2012, 6:55am

Glad to see you enjoyed Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Both were fantastic books. Atwood did a fantastic job at creating a dystopain society. If you haven't read Handmaid's Tale yet it's also a dystopain book by the author.

feb 8, 2012, 7:20pm

@ 31- Plasticity in human brains is both wonderful and frightening. For instance, some couples in long-term relationships age and change together in sync. They still recognize their others selves from the time they met. Others find themselves involved with complete strangers after a few years because the changes each has undergone has deviated from the paths they were on when they first met. It is fascinating to mull over such plasticity though.

Redigerat: feb 8, 2012, 7:28pm

'Neurons that fire together wire together' was the main theme of the book... there was a section that included love and lust. It also suggested that our early experiences can neuroplastically change what we expect 'love' to be, or the pattern we will fall into. It was an interesting chapter.

41: I agree, Atwood did a truly amazing job of setting up a detailed and realistic dystopian society in her madaddam trilogy.. that is what sucked me in so much I think, I am a sucker for details in a book.. and all the details seemed to 'fit' together nicely. I read The Handmaid's Tale for the 11 in 11... it was my first Atwood and I enjoyed it very much.

Both are great books, but it seems to me there is much more detail in Oryx than in The Handmaid. Thinking about it I have come to the conclusion that the two books have very different themes... Oryx and Crake seems to be more about overload, over-commercialism, too much choice/information/technology while The Handmaids Tale was more about a restrictive society with little choice, controlled information, and even less technology. Although interestingly enough brothels figure in both books :P

I often wonder if she has considered writing up any sort of a follow up to The Handmaid's Tale...

feb 8, 2012, 9:52pm

I also liked The Handmaid's Tale very much, as I did Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood. However, I think my favourite Atwood has to be Alias Grace. It was such a haunting novel.

feb 8, 2012, 10:41pm

I have only read the three so far, but am determined to read through them, so will definitely take that into consideration Paulina. :)

Anybody else have a favourite Atwood book?

feb 8, 2012, 11:00pm

I don't know about favorites, but Cat's Eye was very good.

feb 9, 2012, 11:00am

I read Drown for my around the world category, as it is a series of short stories set around the Dominican Republic (And some of the experiences of new Dominican immigrants to the USA). The author of this set of short stories is Junot Diaz, who is also the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

This particular set of stories is realistic, and with a writing/speaking style that seems 'authentic' to the situations they are presenting. The situations themselves are largely what I would call 'gritty'. Single parent homes where the fathers have gone to America (ostensibly to make money and send for them) only to disappear, leaving the young boys largely unsupervised. They spend their free time not learning in school, getting with girls, and talking about getting with girls (in much coarser language than that of course). The new immigrants working 18-19 hours a day, only to be treated like sh*t everybody outside their immediate community (While doing the jobs that no one else would do quite frankly). While the voices of the children are sometimes amusing, overall this series of short stories is somewhat dark. Towards the end the stories start overlapping, and we see the same story from the perspective of someone else (e.g. the father gone to America). I did enjoy that.

I have this book a 3/5...it was also part of the 'What is Stephen Harper Reading Challenge' and I am not sure I would have picked it out for myself otherwise. However if you have any specific interest in any of the topics I mentioned I think you would find this book very interesting.

feb 9, 2012, 11:05am

#47 - I was a little disappointed with Drown as well. However, I loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Have you read it? If not, I hope reading Drown doesn't dissuade you from reading it.

feb 9, 2012, 11:13am

I have not read it yet! As soon as I shorten mount TBR (Miracles happen right??) I may add it in. :)

feb 9, 2012, 11:37am

#49 - Ok - fair enough : )

feb 18, 2012, 7:45am

Hi Janice - I really like the sound of the pulse cookbook and I've also got a couple of the books you have in your mystery category on my TBR shelf.

I can't find any information about the third in Atwood's series either:(

My favourite book by her, so far, is Alias Grace then her three dystopias. I still have a lot more to read though:)

feb 18, 2012, 11:12am

Sorry to hear Drown disappointed you, it sounds like it could have had some great potential.

feb 20, 2012, 2:59pm

Stopping by to say hi Janice and see what you are reading. Always something interesting! Okay, I'm loathe to admit this, but as I read about your recipe book, Discover the pulse potential : peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas I confess that I eat -shhhh!;) canned organic vegetable lentil soup and I just love it. I suspect that I am also eating BHP or whatever it is that is in cans. My younger son used to be a vegetarian and I quite got to like lentils and chickpeas and the like.

feb 21, 2012, 3:58pm

I love lentils etc :) I do buy the fancy overpriced soups sometimes, because I a sucker for novelty/variety ;)

feb 21, 2012, 11:54pm

Me too me too... love the lentils, have a few varieties in the cupboard. I bought a 20lb bag of organic chickpeas from Ave Maria in PG and usually cook up a large potfull and freeze some. I don't remember the last time I actually bought a can of soup though. There aren't a lot of varieties for a vegan (and the ones that are vegan are extremely expensive or just really boring).
I am saving up lots of pulses however, in preparation for the apocalypse (kidding... I'm kidding).

maj 14, 2012, 1:32pm

Reading has been bit slower than usual, and reviews have been piling up. Will start by posting the reviews for my early reviewer books:

For my 'Around the World' section I read Syrian Folk Tales.

I received a copy of this book to review through Early Reviewer on Librarything. Knowing sparingly little about Syria, I was very interested in reading traditional folk tales as well as traditional recipes (Hint: There is a lot of lamb!). Given the recent periods of violence in Syria, I applaud the effort into preserving the traditional folk tales of the region. The small book is split into 14 different regions. Each includes a short folktale, a recipe, and usually a riddle etc. The folk tales often center around afreets (male demons) or gouleh (female demons) who tempt people with riches and comfort. The book is a fun light read for those interested in the area, and is also suitable for tweens interested in the area. The recipes for each region overlap, and many involve lamb. However I have marked a few that I want to try myself. This is not an academic study with a lot of background on each area (There is a brief description) but it is very good introduction, and a good way to see if this is an area you want to pursue further. I enjoyed the combination of recipes, riddles and folktales.

Redigerat: maj 17, 2012, 2:14pm

In my non-fiction category I read Two Rings: a Story of Love and War. This book is an extremely touching memoir of a young woman during the holocaust. Driven by her family to work in a factory while still living in the slum areas Jewish people were confined to, she is spared some of the horrors of the war. There she meets and marries her husband. There are no official papers, her uncle married them and rings were given as gifts. He was a Jewish guard and was killed shortly thereafter. Now married again with children, she has not told the story of her life during the holocaust. The only things she has left to show for her first marriage are two rings and one photograph, that she managed to miraculously guard even when at a camp. The tales highlight both the best and the worst of human nature. A touching book, and a story I am glad was not lost.

Redigerat: maj 14, 2012, 1:50pm

For my third book in my Dystopian category I read Windup Girl. To be honest I had a bit of trouble getting into this book. Although I like dystopian tales, this was the first that fit into a 'steampunk' category. I had trouble visualizing the environment, and found I did not identify with any of the main characters.

The plot focuses on a dystopian post peak oil Thailand. Several major changes have taken place: Electricity/energy is scarce... megadonts (Prehistoric elephants) have been engineered to run on treadmills. This means long distance travel/trade is much more difficult. Various diseases run rampant, many due to the genetic engineering of food. Global warming means that many areas are flooded out/politically unstable. And most importantly, 'calorie companies' that sell foodstuffs resistant to these new diseases hold incredible power in most countries, and are setting their sites on Thailand.

The story is then told from several different angles highlighting Thailand fight against the calorie companies, the corruption and political instability within Thailand, industrialists within the company trying to buy any seeds that may be competitive/develop new energy sources, and a 'windup' or genetically engineered female who belonged to a wealthy Japanese trader who abandoned her in Thailand rather than pay the bribe to get her out of the country (Genetically engineered items are forbidden in Thailand).

I did find the book picked up towards the end and I did find the descriptions during the various coups to be much better than the descriptions at the beginning of the book. I gave this book 3 and a half stars.

maj 14, 2012, 2:02pm

For my fourth book in my dystopian category I read The Kraken Wakes by Wyndham.. a classic sci-fi author that I need to more often.

The Kraken Wakes would likely be categorized as a 'Cozy Catastrophe'. Although it is a dystopian tale, it is not overly dark, nore is there gore. I would suggest Day of the Triffids followed by this book as an introduction to dystopian books for those who are worried about gore or about a book being far to dark for them.

The book is written as a memoir, which tells you right away that the person (main character writing it) survived. They are trying to piece together for histories sake, just what happened. Many years ago red comet like entities began crashing into the ocean in increasing numbers. Here you can clearly see what era the book was written is as the situation quickly escalates into everyone blaming Russia and Russia blaming the 'capitalist pigs'. This continues for a few years until people stop bothering about the comets since they don't seem to be doing anything. Then ships traveling over deep water begin to go missing. Again it seems to be Russia vs the rest of the world. Very few seem to be making any connections between the red comets. Then settlements near deep water are 'attacked'. What struck me was the need for normality, or how quickly people jumped to 'Yes, but that is over in X, not here, we are fine' or assumed things were fine after a period of time. The book spans years with changes happening so slowly that many don't notice until the changes appear more drastically (Think putting a frog in water and then turning up the heat). I have heard that some found this book slow. I did not find that to be the case. I think it highlights how people resist changes that do not make sense to them and cling to what they believe to be 'normal'. I gave this book 5 stars.

maj 14, 2012, 2:08pm

My first book in my Canadian section! Canadian politics unplugged is a short cartoon/humour book about Canadian politics. It is very general (Talks about positions rather than people) so that it will likely not go out of date. It was however not all that particularly impressive. Perhaps you just have to be in the right mood.

maj 14, 2012, 2:22pm

For the first Play in my fourth category (The Three P's: Poetry, Plays and GrouP reads) I read The Rez Sisters: a play in two acts. This is also part of my 'What is Stephen Harper Reading?' challenge.

This is an important first nations play. Part satire, part commentary on the social and financial conditions on reserves, this play is very humorously told. The story is told from the point of view of several women living on a first nations reserve. Other characters include 'Nanabush' an First Nations mythological character/trickster who is only seen by the child and one character with Cancer.

While life continues on the reserve, the women hear news of 'The Biggest Bingo in the World!!!' taking place in Toronto. Clearly the prize has to be huge. Just think what you could get with that! Working washers, driers, fridges and freezers! The girls go into fundraising mode and pull together to try to get there. This play was shown all over Canada and in the United States. It is not a long play, and I recommend you give it a read. :)

Redigerat: jul 7, 2012, 12:32am

Apocalypse chow! : How to eat well when the power goes out is authored by a husband and wife duo who have been through hurricanes and learned how to make do without power. Determined never to live on ravioli and canned beans, they perused grocery stores and small ethnic chains to come up with no power or low power quick recipes to help restore body and soul in case of an emergency. Rather than stock up on canned beans, why not couscous and dried fruit? The recipes are vegetarian, but canned meat could easily be added to most. What I enjoyed about this book are the quick grain recipes (Couscous, quinoa) that I have already started using. A suggested shopping list is included. The book also discusses how boredom can be an important factor when spending days/weeks without power and includes fun instructions on how to recreate various fancy napkin folds. If you have time time, why not eat in style (Even if on paper plates)?

maj 14, 2012, 2:34pm

I was thrilled a couple of days ago when the Kindle daily deal featured both The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos for 99 cents. I will now have to be on the lookout for The Kraken Wakes.

maj 14, 2012, 5:55pm

I've read a couple and have another two on the tbr shelves from Wyndham. Not The Kraken Wakes though unfortunately. Still, glad you enjoyed that one.

maj 14, 2012, 8:43pm

Apocalypse Chow sounds like a very interesting book! Since I've been living in Southwestern Ontario, I haven't experienced any long stretches without power. However, when I was growing up near Montreal, power outages were regular winter occurrences. My parents had a Chinese restaurant with gas stoves and continued cooking through outages (with all windows and doors wide open). Nowadays, couscous and quinoa sound like good options for an emergency!

maj 15, 2012, 6:47am

I'm working on convincing myself to read The Windup Girl. I've read such a variety of reviews on it that I'm curious. However, I'm also reluctant to read the violence and rape scenes. I'll probably get to it later this year.

maj 15, 2012, 7:09am

Just catching up....

Wyndham, hurray!
I also loved Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Great reviews, and The Brain That Changes Itself is now on my wishlist.

maj 15, 2012, 7:11am

Apocalypse chow seems like it should be on everyone's shelf!

maj 15, 2012, 9:45am

Hi Janice, great to see you back posting! The Rez Sisters is one I will probably get around to reading. Sorry to see The Windup Girl wasn't as great a read for you, but if it is your first steampunk I can understand how it might be hard to visualize.

maj 16, 2012, 4:39am

Great review of Syrian Tales , Janice! Thumb up from me. I think I'll look for the book!

jul 7, 2012, 12:33am

I read Inukshuk for one of my Canadian books. Written by an American author, but set in 'northern' Alberta.

This story is told from three points of view. First is the story of Thomas, a young teenager who is alone in the world. An outcast at school, essentially abandoned by his mother, and moved to a new (more northern) locale by his father who still hoped to reconcile with his wife. Thomas is obsessed with the Franklin expedition, and is writing dialogue/drawing pictures to put into a movie of the expedition. He is also attempting to give himself scurvy. For the whole Franklin experience. John Franklin (Father) is a poet/teacher who is suffering through his own moments of inner growth/turmoil trying to come to terms with whether his marriage has truly ended. The third 'voice' in this story is some of the members of the Franklin expedition themselves, as through Thomas's imagination we join them frozen in place aboard their ship, or trying to walk to safety after most hope is lost. Three stories of being alone and stuck in time.

jul 7, 2012, 12:34am

I received this book through early reviewers, and read it as part of my non-fiction section. This is a fairly interesting account of the life of a mathematician going against the grain by running for office in the bible belt while atheist. Although it could have been shortened, many of the childhood stories were cute. I would have appreciated more details on the running for office part myself, although that section was very interesting. Give it a good edit and you will have a very solid book.

jul 7, 2012, 12:47am

At the End- a post apocalyptic novel. I received this book through the early reviewers and read it for my dystopian section.

This book was written for a YA audience and requires some leaps of faith (They escaped from that? There is no security aboard the ship? etc etc). However if you are willing to leave logic aside it is a fairly interested YA dystopian tale, told from multiple points of view. Long story short: Lion like aliens have invaded, and a group of teens bands together to survive and fight them. But how will they cope against all the alien technology when they don't really know what is going on?

jul 7, 2012, 12:53am

I guess the next section to catch up in is my Canadian section, in which I am quite behind in my reviews (more than half full!)

Gran, the Maledictions is a set of poetry my a local poet, David Huggett. So I may move this to the poetry section later if it suits. It is meant to be a back and forth between a younger (more disrespectful) poet and an elderly woman who is a poet of sorts, with a 'green ear' (Due to leaving the earing in too long). Perhaps I am not attuned to this type of poetry, but I had a harder time with this book. It was hard to follow who was saying what, and it seemed more like the young guy making fun of the old lady for a book (or at least being dismissive of). So not my cup of tea.

jul 7, 2012, 1:00am

I also read Not Wanted on the Voyage recently, by Canadian author Timothy Findley. I did enjoy this book quite a bit. Basically it is a non-religious retelling of the Noah's ark story in which the flood was caused by god, but a god who appears all to human (but wizard like?), being elderly, smelly, and mad at not being worshiped. Noah and his family are one of his last followers, so are entrusted with building an ark and taking on animals, etc.

Add to this the fact that Noah himself is not at all a likeable character (and quite sexist!), and some of his sons become tyrants on the ark (Locking others down in darkness to look after the animals) and you have a re-telling that may not sit well with those who take the bible literally. But a fascinating story nonetheless.

Findley is a marvelous story-teller and takes us back to a time when animals could talk, and unicorns, demons, and angels were not unusual sightings. The descriptions of the flood itself, and the 'many types of rain' (Pine cone rain, black rain, etc) was fascinating. Highly recommended.

jul 7, 2012, 1:04am

For my fourth Canadian book, I read a set of Canadian children's historical books by Terry Leeder, called Frontiers and Pioneers. These are settlers stories, including travelling accross the mountains for the gold rush, setting up a homestead in Manitoba, starting a cattle ranch in Alberta, fights with First Nations groups and so on. Meant more for a middle school age group, or tweens even. I quite like them, but the kids might find them a bit dry.

Redigerat: jul 7, 2012, 1:08am

For my 5th book I read A Time to be Brave which is a children's book based off a Canadian First Nations' film.

This story is set at the Shebagabow family's trapping cabin deep in the bush, where a young girl works on her school lessons and helps her father run a trapping line. Her older brother is just old enough this year that he is staying with an aunt in town to finish his schooling. But when a timber company wants the land, what will happen to their way of life? I like this one too. Complete with a few photos from the film (Which I may try to find when I have free time, lol).

jul 8, 2012, 11:30am

Hi Janice, I hope you are having an enjoyable summer..... I haven't checked to see how the weather has been where you are. Here on Vancouver Island, after a cold and miserable June we are now seeing warm sunny days. Great reviews. I love Findley writing and wasn't aware of Not Wanted on the Voyage. Will be adding that one to my For Later reading list!

jul 8, 2012, 2:30pm

I hope you like it! We are finally enjoying hot weather, so will have to get out to enjoy it.... balcony reading and gardening time. :)

jul 8, 2012, 3:48pm

It's nice that summer has finally come to B.C. I have been sitting outside most of the day and reading, although I do find my attention wanders when I am outside.

jul 8, 2012, 4:26pm

I seem to be distracted by cleaning my balcony at the moment :P (Came in to grab a cold drink!!)

Redigerat: jan 1, 2013, 11:06am

I am afraid being so close to graduation, I all but abandoned this thread for the last 5 months of the year. (Hence the last 2 books completed being both statistical) I did however use it to keep track of my reading. I will add in the two reviews I did complete (for early reviewer books) and attempt to do better in the 13 in 13. I suppose I had better find out where that is and set up a thread!

In the end I completed 93 books. I finished a few sections: Canadian, Mystery, Humour/Light and Non-fiction. I think 12 books in 12 categories was a bit much. :P I think for 2013 I will try for 10 books in 13 categories, and hope for the best :P

Redigerat: jan 1, 2013, 11:09am

The Lonely Hearts of Yesterday: Love & Mischief in 19th Century Personal Ads

A fun collection of vintage personal ads. Who knew they were that specific! I read this on a short ebook plane trip and it was entertaining. From the gentleman who insisted his match must have the stamp that was missing from his stamp collection, to the ladies who seemed to be looking for a well-endowed mate, they certainly knew what they wanted!

jan 1, 2013, 12:47pm

Lost Antarctica : adventures in a disappearing land

A vivid portrayl of the changes happening in Antarctica with the science to back it up. Separate chapters discussing disappearing penguins, and the invasion of the King crabs.This book goes somewhat beyond in detail than the average reader might read. However those interested in the area will find it very interesting, and there is enough 'meat on the bones' to make this a useful academic reference as well. Highly recommended to those interested in the area.

jan 1, 2013, 4:04pm

Hi Janice, nice to see you posting again! Happy New Year! 93 books read in 2012 is nothing to sniff at, so kudos! Looking forward to following your 2013 reading, if and when you get a thread set up over on the 2013 Category Challenge group!

jan 1, 2013, 8:12pm

The Lonely Hearts of Yesterday looks adorable! I might try to read it for Valentine's Day this year. :) Hope to see you in the 2013 group!

jan 2, 2013, 8:46am

93 books is great for 2012! See you in the 2013 group.