Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

Summer at TiffanySummer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A lovely, short memoir written by a woman who spent a wonderful summer in 1945 working at Tiffany's New York with her best friend. It nicely evokes the tenor of the times, the club scene, clothing, dating life, and the end of the war.

A fun, summer read, made better by the fact that it's a memoir and not fiction. My mother is approximately the same age as Marjorie and it helped me to understand what it was like for her during those times (although none of her summer jobs were as glamorous as Marjorie's!)

View all my reviews

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Because, apparently, you CAN have too many books!

The Ark, designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects is a book lovers dream - the ultimate bookshelf, one that you can literally climb inside and spend the day in. Talk about getting lost in a good book!

Serious style for book on the other views to see inside!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An alternative view of the AGO.


I had never been around to the rear of the new-ish Art Gallery of Ontario transformation (Frank Gehry) until last Friday when I found myself with some time to kill between dates. I settled onto a bench on Grange Park and enjoyed the sun and a good book. The back of the gallery is such a contrast to the front, yet almost as interesting. The shots above are from my iPhone, so not the greatest of quality.

Below, an image of the front facade from the AGO website.

Also from the AGO website, a shot of the staircase (above) from the inside.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010



Sculpture in front of The Hospital for Sick Children on University Avenue.

A beautiful take on motherhood.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life in the slow lane. Getting nowhere fast.

I started the day with a clear calendar.  Nothing scheduled.  I planned to get caught up on my summer genealogy course, some writing I need to do for our parish website, and my quilting, that has been languishing in bags in my dining room, all cut out and waiting to be stitched.  I pushed a friends proposed visit off to next week so that I could get to all this stuff.

But life happens.

After having the car in two repair shops for the past 36 hours and finally getting it back last night, the tire pressure light wouldn't stay off, so I was tasked with getting it to one of the two shops for yet another look-see.  That's two and a half hours of my life that I'll never get back.  Two quick errands, and then home to pick up Michael to drive him to his trombone teacher's studio to pick up the mouthpiece he left behind at his lesson earlier this week.  Another hour and a half.  

Finally check my email, book a table for lunch with friends tomorrow at Frank, book Wilson for boarding while we're in Montreal this weekend, and suddenly it's 2:30 and I haven't done anything on my original list.

And now Michael is practicing the trombone, which means I can't concentrate enough to get to at least two of my items.  Don't get me wrong:  I love the fact that he practices so diligently. He's got band camp in a couple of weeks, and then he's auditioning for the Jazz 91.1 Youth Big Band and the Hannaford Community Band in mid-September, so he's very motivated to spend lots of time with his horn.  But we're in a small-ish house and the sound is everywhere.

On the plus side, the wait at the garage meant that I finished Nicholas Ruddock's fabulous novel The Parabolist.  A review will be posted soon....when I get half an hour of peace to think.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"I read about it in Maclean's."

I"m reading The Parabolist by Nicholas Ruddock, a highly-acclaimed first novel set in Toronto in the seventies that follows a small group of medical students and their interaction with a Mexican poet (from whence the title comes.)  Ruddock is a family physician in Guelph, Ontario, and I've been enjoying the story, not just for the subject matter but for the setting in my adopted city.

The Toronto references are fun, as are the characterizations of the players.  Sometimes they intersect.  An older couple, parents of two brothers who are in the same class at the medical school, live on Glengrove and the are neighbours to the poet, who lives with his aunt and uncle.  One afternoon, the husband looks out an upper storey window and, peering into the neighboring backyard, sees the poet on the receiving end of a sexual act.  Late on that afternoon, while weeding his garden, we read

The professor began to feel more composed.  He turned his thoughts from Roberto Moreno and the girl to their own bedroom, June lying beside him in the night as they talked and talked as all parents did, the mahogany bed inlaid with mother-of-pearl.  They slept and sometimes made love, almost always in the dark, and then he realized, had she seen what he had seen, he could have said to her, to June, wasn't that interesting, what people will do these days, outside?


And she might have said, yes, dear, but I think it's something they do more of these days, oral sex.  I read about it in Maclean's.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Park-n-ride for bikes...

Img_0050 to St Clair West subway entrance.

There are worse ways to wait...


...for an offspring at his music lesson. Thanks to the local Loblaws, I can also pick up groceries!

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Monday....what am I reading?


Curiosity by Joan Thomas

read and reviewed Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier a couple of weeks ago, a novel based on the same historical figure.  I started this one, but decided that I wanted to give it more time as the subject matter was too familiar.

Girl Crazy
Girl Crazy by Russell Smith

Back in the day when I read The Globe and Mail (Canada's other national newspaper), I enjoyed Russell Smith's columns on dressing for men.  I've also readhis book on the same topic (and recommend it for the style-challenged.)  This is the first fiction I've read by him and my mini-review is here.

In progress:

Think of a Number book image
Think of a Number by John Verdon

This is an absolutely stunning first novel.  The main character in this thriller is a retired police detective who is approached by an old school friend about some threatening letters he's been receiving.  The characters are very well developed, and the story moves forward quickly, with growing suspense.  I'm about three-quarters of the way through and will be hard-pressed to put this down and get some work done around the house.  One of the highlights of the summer so far!


Parrot and Olivier in America
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (audiobook)

I'm about halfway through the audiobook edition of this am am loving it!  The narrator, Humphrey Bower, is terrific. The novel has two main narrators, the French Olivier and the English Parrot, and he captures them both with aplomb, as well as various other characters.  A terrific read for anyone who likes historical novels.


Predictably Irrational, Revised And Expanded Edition

Still working on this extremely interesting book.  Many counter-intuitive results from his studies and it kind of blows out some of the underpinnings of economic theory.


For the Win
For the Win by Cory Doctorow

Still plugging away on this. I want Michael to read it.

Next up:

blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris

The Parabolist by Nicholas Ruddock





Friday, August 13, 2010

Journalism Warning Labels


Love these! Click the link to see them all.

Seven Quick Takes Friday


  1. We had our final choir rehearsal last night before our participation in the Rosary Procession and Eucharistic adoration at the Marian Shrine of Gratitude this Sunday.  We were in a different church hall with rather poor lighting (not to mention a very musty smell).  I had to take my glasses off to see my music, and so could not see Joseph, our conductor, very well.  But it's all coming together I think.  The chant bits are a bit robotic, but I think it'll be a great evening.
  2. Zouheir gets home tomorrow evening and I need to get the house in order.  Things tend to slip a little when he's away, so today will be a big clean-up.  I also want to get the curtains in our bedroom hemmed (and by hemmed, I mean ironing on the hemming tape that came with the panels.  I've already done the sheers, so it's not a big job.  Just six panels.  I don't even take them off the rods, but just pull them up onto the ironing board and away we go.
  3. A couple of times a day, I get hit with the memory that Josephine is no longer with us.  Because she lived in Europe, we didn't see her that often.  But we spoke to her at least once a week, and she was always available to chat, especially for Zouheir.  There will be a mass said for her at St. Ephrem Syrian Catholic Church in Montreal next weekend, so we will be there to sort of host it.  The former parish priest, who is now the Bishop of Jerusalem for that rite, is in Montreal and he will say the mass.  He knew her well and we are grateful that he will be celebrating that day.
  4. I got a very nice email from Michael's bass trombone teacher regarding his progress and dedication.  Michael picked up this instrument last fall so that he could join the Stage Band at school  and had a few lessons from his tuba teacher. But he's heading to music camp at the end of the month and wanted to get some solid teaching in before that, so he's had five weekly lessons so far this summer and he's really improving.  (Trust me, I can hear the practicing.)  I'm thrilled that he's so keen about music, both playing and listening.  He's also started to teach himself piano this summer which is wonderful. 
  5. I am listening to Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America, a wonderful novel with terrific narration by Humphrey Bower.  It's set in the 19th century, after the French Revolution, and concerns the son of French aristocrats and the motherless son of an itinerant English printer, who are linked through a series of events and end up travelling to America together. Incredibly rich in period detail and funny as heck, I am enjoying this book immensely.  I'm not usually an audio-book reader, but Bower is wonderful at capturing not only the two voices in the novel (one French, one English) but the minor characters as well (women, Americans, a Jewish impresario, etc).  I'm a little over halfway through and highly recommend it!  
  6. I met with Sister Bernadette Reis last night of the Daughters of St. Paul.  She's doing a retreat in our parish in September and it's going to be dynamite!  I'm helping put it together with another Catholic Women's League exec and we're both very excited about it.  We're opening it up beyond the parish and hope to get a good crowd out.
  7. I have stalled on both my quilt and my genealogical studies.  I have been preoccupied this week, and while I haven't been particularly busy, I guess I just don't feel like working on either of those things.  Bereavement is a funny thing....I thought that these activities would relax and distract me, but I just can't seem to get enough focus to work on them.  While I've got the ironing board out to do my curtains, I'll press the squares I've sewn to date and maybe that will get me back on track on the quilt at least.  I am scheduled to start two new genealogy courses in September, so I've really got to get the one I'm doing finished soon.  

Normally hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary, this week's Seven Quick Takes is being guest-hosted at Betty Beguiles.  Drop by to read more Quick Takes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A couple of book reviews.

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Come, Thou Tortoise

One of the highlights of my summer reading so far, this book recounts the experiences of a young woman, Audrey, called back from the west coast (US) to Newfoundland when her father falls into a coma.  She has to leave her tortoise, Winnifred, with friends and good chunks of the book revolve around her checking in with her friends about the tortoise, and her longing to be reunited with Winnifred. The remainder of the book involves Audrey's discoveries about her family in some very humorous ways.

This book is rather difficult to describe, but it is very funny, particularly for people who like words, and poignantly insightful about family life, all in the same breath.  It kept me completely engaged with a quick moving plot and terrific wordplay. Random House has an excerpt that lets one get a feel for the writing.  Grant has a unique voice and won the 2010 in Canada First Novel Award for 2010.  Well-deserved.

Highly recommended!

Girl Crazy by Russell Smith

Girl Crazy

I loved Russell Smith's columns on men's style in the Globe and Mail, and so was interested to check out his fiction.  This novel follows Justin, a thirty-ish English instructor at a community college in Toronto who stops to assist a young woman in distress, waiting for an ambulance on the street.  He ends up accompanying her to the hospital, they become friends, and quickly more.  This woman has, lets call them, issues, and his infatuation with her leads him into involvement with the underbelly of the city.

The story is simple and the reader can easily see what's coming ahead.  Smith writes well, but his protagonist is obsessed with sex, seeing women's undergarments through their clothing, the effect of air-conditioning on female anatomy, etc etc.  This constant stream of lingerie sighting is tiresome and after the first couple of times, unnecessary.  We don't need it every time the man sits in a cafe or wanders down the college hallway.  I enjoyed the unfolding of the relationship, but Justin seems unable to see what is staring the rest of us in the face.  Presumably, this is where the title comes from.  

A quick, unsophisticated read.  Not for the (sexually) faint of heart.  

Borrow it from the library if you think it would appeal.  Not a buy.

I am strangely drawn to this watermelon salad ...

Watermelon Salad

(adapted from Paula Deen)

  • 8 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 small Vidalia or other sweet mild onion thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 - 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • mint sprigs for garnish


In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.

I love this blog (link above). Lots of great ideas for handmade and homemade things in all categories.

I'm going to make this salad when my sweetie returns from his sad trip to Paris. Just the ticket for a warm, summer Sunday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lonely vs. Alone: they're not the same thing.

I love this spoken-word video by east-coast Canadian poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis.  It's not really written to me, an introvert, someone who rather enjoys being alone.  But the sentiments are wonderful and they remind me that there are even more places to be alone!



This Sunday evening, the Solemnity of the Assumption, I will be singing with Voices of St Francis at The Basilian Marian Shrine of Gratitude.

We will be performing sacred music by Palestrina, Byrd, Victoria and others, and will be closing with Biebel's Ave Maria. There will also be a rosary procession and eucharistic adoration. I dedicate my personal efforts to the memory of my mother-in-law, Josephine, who passed away last Friday.

Here is a gorgeous version of the Biebel sung by Chanticleer. Say a prayer for the repose of her soul as you enjoy this.


Monday, August 9, 2010

A little housekeeping.

For those of you who read the blog either via email or in your feedreader, improvements to my blogging platform (Posterous) mean that I can now put a list of links in my sidebar.  So if you go to my main page ( you will see, down the right-hand side, a rather lengthy but categorized list of my favorite links.  

At the top of the right-hand bar, you'll see a search field that lets you search my blog by keyword(s), and just below that a list of tags that I have attempted to associate with each post.  So, for example, if you wanted to see posts about my family, you can click on the "family" tag and it will bring up all the posts that I have (remembered to) tag as such.

Thanks for continuing to read my ramblings.  Always feel free to comment on anything you read, either directly at the blog (just click on "comments" at the bottom of the post) or via email or a phone call!

I just keep lovin' Sharpie more and more...


Eraseable for three days, then becomes permanent!

It's Monday...what am I reading? August 9th edition.

Completed over the last week:

The Shallows

Interesting take on shortening attention spans due to extensive use of online media.  I expected to get some info on how to prevent this from happening.  Instead, I came away thinking that perhaps there is a fundamental change happening that is equivalent to the move from oral history to written.  Very thought-provoking.

The Lake Shore Limited

I haven't read anything by Sue Miller since The Good Mother (15 years ago).  This story is about a playwright's use of events around 9/11 in her work and how it affects those closest to her.  The structure is somewhat novel as she shifts the narrator in each chapter.  The characters were interesting and unusual: for example, a brother and sister who are separated by fourteen years in age, leading to more of a mother-son relationship.  

Summer At Tiffany

A lovely, short memoir written by a woman who spent a wonderful summer in 1945 working at Tiffany's New York with her best friend.  It nicely evokes the tenor of the times, the club scene, clothing, dating life, and the end of the war.  More detailed review to follow.  A fun, summer read.

In progress:

Parrot and Olivier in America
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (audiobook)

Have just started this latest novel from Peter Carey.  I've been listening to it on my dog-walks and have found myself flopping down when I get home for "just another chapter."  I've only met Olivier so far, the son of a French aristocrat, and we're still in France.  It's set in the 19th century and extremely enjoyable, particularly the French accent of the reader.

Predictably Irrational, Revised And Expanded Edition

I've read quite a number of books on decision-making lately and this one has really captured my attention.  I'm only about a quarter of the way in, but Ariely is knocking holes in basic economic theory around supply and demand based on his experimental discoveries about how people make purchase decisions.  Very compelling (so far)!

For the Win
For the Win by Cory Doctorow

A young adult (I think) novel about the gaming world, I"m having a little bit of trouble getting in to this as it's not my usual genre.  But the characters are interesting and I'm going to plug along.

Next up:

Girl Crazy
Girl Crazy by Russell Smith

Back in the day when I read The Globe and Mail (Canada's other national newspaper), I enjoyed Russell Smith's columns on dressing for men.  I've also read his book on the same topic (and recommend it for the style-challenged.)  This is the first fiction I've read by him and am looking forward to it.

Curiosity by Joan Thomas

This appears to be another novel about 19th century fossil hunter Mary Anning.  I read and reviewed Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier a couple of weeks ago, a novel based on the same historical figure.  It will be interesting to compare their treatments of this subject matter.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.

As these words were read from the Gospel of Luke this morning at mass, I could not help but meditate on my mother-in-law Josephine's treasures:  her faith, and her family. With her death only two days past, it was difficult to focus on some of the celebration, but these words rang out.

Her faith permeated her entire life.  She enjoyed beautiful things, but It was very difficult to give her gifts.  There was always someone else who needed things more than she did, and so she would send monetary gifts to the St Joseph orphanage in Lebanon for which she raised money, or would buy gifts for those she perceived to be in more need than she. The things she cherished most were religious articles:  rosaries, holy cards, statues, candles, relics.  She would obtain these when she visited holy places, and then give many of them away to people who needed the comfort. When she came to Toronto last Christmas, she brought a gorgeous statue of Padre Pio which she gave to us.  She was a big fan of his.  I also have rosaries and holy cards that she gave me, that I will always treasure. 

But these items were not her faith.  They were like photographs of dear family members, reminders of saints and prayers and devotions.  She prayed every morning with a candle, saying rosaries for the intentions of her loved ones as well as her own.  She rose very early, starting her day with prayers and then watched the mass on her satellite television feed from Lebanon. When she was here last year, I took her to mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a day that was very important to her.  It was perhaps the second and definitely last time we went to mass together, just the two of us. It was a horrid night, weather-wise, with high winds and heavy snow.  She wanted to get there early so that she could pray before the celebration began.  Although the mass was in English and she didn't understand most of it, the last hymn was Salve Regina which she had sung in procession at Lourdes, and I could tell that she was very happy. Her faith brought her through very difficult times in her life. She was an example to me of a holy, devoted life.

Her family was her other treasure.  She had six children who lived, all of whom have become successful (in the worldly sense, at least), in great part because of her sacrifice of time and what little money they had.  The children went to private Catholic schools in Beirut, and she scrimped and saved the money each Fall for tuition.  She, with a grade six education (forced to leave school by edict of her uncle), supervised homework and made sure that the children were well-fed and dressed on the very small salary of her husband, a clerk at a bank.  She welcomed all comers to their apartment, serving meals and offering a place to sleep to traveler and especially to priests who found themselves without family on feast (or other) days.  A year after the war broke out, against the counsel of her husband, she arranged for passports and travel to take the family to Europe and away from the risks of living on the Green Line.  They started over in Paris, on furniture donated by a Catholic relief society.  She was the first up in the morning, and the last to sleep. Her family was truly her vocation, and she slaved for their benefit.  The result?  Two medical doctors, two doctorates, and two successful business people. I remember being exasperated with my two small boys and then realizing that she was able to manage with four boys, two girls, and very little in the way of financial resources. 

She died on the Feast of the Transfiguration.  Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas writes: 

In the Transfiguration Christ enjoyed for a short while that glorified state which was to be permanently His after His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The splendor of His inward Divinity and of the Beatific Vision of His soul overflowed on His body, and permeated His garments so that Christ stood before Peter, James, and John in a snow-white brightness. The purpose of the Transfiguration was to encourage and strengthen the Apostles who were depressed by their Master's prediction of His own Passion and Death. The Apostles were made to understand that His redeeming work has two phases: The Cross, and glory—that we shall be glorified with Him only if we first suffer with Him. (quoted at

By her death on this feast day, we are reminded that her suffering is over and she is heading to her glorification with Our Lord, His Mother, and the saints that she relied on for intercession.   

(Art:  Transfiguration by Raphael (1520)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Communion of Saints.

My mother-in-law Josephine passed away yesterday morning.  While we knew that she didn't have a long time to live, having been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, it still came as a shock, a sudden loss, the realization that she is no longer with us physically.  

The telephone woke us up.  She had been staying with her daughter Gemma in Paris while undergoing chemotherapy.  Zou's brother Tony called...he had been with her when she died.  Despite the exchange in Arabic, I could tell what the call was.  Zouheir sitting on the side of the bed, speaking in low tones, unusual for phone calls with his family.  He lay back down and we talked for a while.

It's been a crazy summer.  When we learned of his mother's diagnosis, we went to Paris to spend some time with her as soon as both boys were out of school.  Just before we left, Zou found out that he had kidney stones and so an appointment for an ultrasound was booked when he got back, two weeks later.  He had stones when he was a child, and has a large scar on his flank from the surgery back in Beirut.  As it turns out, the stones are very large and must be removed by surgery, which is booked in September.  Zou has been expending a lot of mental and emotional energy flipping between his mother's failing health and his own discomfort and upcoming intervention.

Yesterday morning was his first meeting with the surgeon, and so, still struggling with the news and all that he had to do to get to Paris, he headed off for his early morning appointment.  He sent notes to various people at the office, reassigning work for the next week and cancelling the travel to the US that he had on his calendar.  While he was gone, I was very emotional and spent most of my time thinking about her and praying.

We spent the day booking travel, making calls, sending emails, laundry, packing, just sitting.  He got on a flight last night and arrived this morning to see his mom before her body was prepared for travel to Stockholm, where the funeral will be held.  I had a brief email from him saying that he had spent some time with her, that she was surrounded by candles, a rosary, and a photo of Fr. Stephan Nehme, a Maronite Lebanese monk who was recently beatified.

This morning I took Wilson for his early walk, something that Zou usually does.  As we rounded the second corner, the sun, just rising and still low in the sky, hit me full force, shining almost parallel to the ground. I couldn't really see anything in front of me, such was the intensity of the light in my eyes. I turned off my audiobook and Wilson pulled me to stop.  It was a cool morning, unusual for recent weeks, and the sun warmed me.  I had this strong sense of the presence of Josephine and of being told (her telling me?) that she is fine and that she loves me very much.  I had a sense of peace, and of the power of the communion of saints, the mystical union of the Church Militant (on earth), the Church Penitent (undergoing purification), and the Church Triumphant (in heaven).  No longer an advisor and helper here on earth, she takes on a new role in the Church Triumphant, where I know she will continue to intercede for her children and all those she loves.

John Nava
The Communion of Saints (Tapestry), John Nava

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California 

Copyright 2009 Magnolia Editions


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"The Truth About Delilah Blue" by Tish Cohen: Review

This is the third novel by Tish Cohen that I have gobbled up:  I loved Town House and The Inside Out Girl and so put The Truth About Delilah Blue on my library hold list as soon as I knew it was to be released.  

Lila Mack has lived with her over-protective father since she was eight, believing that her mother no longer wanted to be in her life.  Now at age twenty, she is trying to pursue art with no funding from her father.  Deciding to work as a life model seems to be a great way to get some free art lessons, as she can listen in to the instructor while she poses.  Her mother, who has been searching for her for years, reconnects with her and some pieces fall in to place for Lila.  But it's not a straightforward happy reunion/ending, and Lila/Delilah finds herself having to take on the role of parent to her parents much sooner than she expected.

Cohen writes with great sympathy for each of the three main characters in this novel, drawing us into their lives as they try to make sense of shifting roles.  She is able to write about this dysfunctional family with an eye to all sides of the story, to parents who both feel they need(ed) to protect their child from the other, and from the child/woman who has to redefine her relationships with parents who are not who she thought they were.

The Truth About Delilah Blue is a funny and poignant novel, but not depressing.  The past is what it is, and Cohen writes honestly about the way forward for Lila who has difficult choices to make as she learns the truth about the present.

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dog bites lake.

[wpvideo 7iO9awZu]

My dog Wilson gets very upset when people swim. It would appear that he thinks they are being attacked by the lake. So he bites back.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett: A review of the audiobook

Uncommon Reader CD

I saw Bennett's play The Habit of Art a few months ago and have been picking up his writing ever since.  I found this audiobook of The Uncommon Reader at my local library and listened to it on a road trip this weekend.

Bennett himself reads the story and it's wonderful.  A novella that comes in at under 2.5 hours listening time, this hilarious tale depicts what might happen were the Queen to pick up reading as a habit. After chasing her dogs around back of the Palace, the Queen wanders into the local library's bookmobile and ends up leaving with a novel and promoting a kitchen servant (who was borrowing books at the same time she was) to be her reading assistant.  As she becomes more and more of a reader, her behaviour around and outside the palace changes, much to the consternation of her staff, family, and the general public (who are now being asked what they are reading as the Queen does her walk-bys.)  

This novel speaks to the power of reading in a gentle and humorous way. The story is quite believable, in a sort of incredulous way, and the reading itself is wonderful, with Bennett voicing the various characters with much aplomb.

Highly Recommended!


It's been a bookish week.

I've got books coming in like crazy these days.  I won a couple of books from McClelland Books in their July Book Giveaway twitter-fest.  They sent me Colm Toibin's Brooklyn and Thomas Trofimuk's Waiting for Columbus, along with a bonus copy of Anne Michaels' The Winter Vault .  

And then this weekend, I was notified that I'd won what I believe is the first extra challenge in the fourth annual Canadian Book Challenge (CBC4):  I read a book by an author NOT read in (last year's) CBC3 (Terry Fallis' The Best Laid Plans).  John Mutford, our CBC host will be sending me a signed copy of Roderick Benns' Mystery of the Moonlight Murder. (I'm tracking my personal progress on CBC4 here.)  On top of a spate of holds from my local library, I am well fixed for reading material this month.

I also had a great weekend at the cottage.  I read Tish Cohen's The Truth About Delilah Blue, Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise, (reviews will be up soon) and made progress in Cory Doctorow's For the Win and Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.  I've also started Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely.  These last three are on my Kindle.

Good thing that there isn't much on TV these days (except for Mad Men and Pillars of the Earth)!