Sunday 23 March 2014

Books and tea on a bright, cold Sunday morning... again!

I know that the first day of Spring was last Thursday, but as my kindergarten students pointed out to me when I read them a picture book about this season, “There’s still a lot of snow on the ground – it can’t be Spring yet!”  And here I am, with my steaming cup of chai tea and warm Date bread, fresh out of the oven, contemplating what I can do on the brisk day to get some exercise but still stay warm.
I finished reading Northanger Abbey earlier this week, and I must admit that the Gothic section was my favourite part of the whole book, which would explain why I don’t naturally reach for Jane Austen when I’m in the mood to read a classic, but choose instead Jane Eyre or Rebecca.  I was having an email conversation with a woman from my Friends book group who was unable to make it to the last meeting, and I told her this.  She felt the same way, and we began discussing other classics in the Gothic style.  She mentioned that one of her favourites was Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, which I don’t think I’ve ever read.  I thought I had a copy of on my bookshelf, but, alas, I did not, nor did I have a copy of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.  So I headed out to the used bookstore in search of a copy of each, but was only successful in finding the James book.  This one I’ve read before, but didn’t get it, so I’ve determined to read it again and try to understand it better.  I just think James is too difficult for me.  I’ve read The Wings of the Dove and only understood it because I had seen the excellent 1997 film version starring Helena Bonham Carter and Linus Roache several times.  I have also tried reading What Maisie Knew, but abandoned it after the first few chapters.  I really want to finish reading that one, too.  Oh, so many books, so little time…

After finishing Austen’s short novel, I started reading a short mystery novel by Canadian author Brenda Chapman, called In Winter’s Grip.  It was pretty good, but I didn’t have loads of time to read last week, so I didn’t get very far into it by the time I went to pick up a couple of books for review.  I was so intrigued by one of the titles, 600+ page translated novel The Truth About the Harry Querbert Affair by Joël Dicker, that I promptly returned the other title to the library and began this excellent novel.  I will tell you nothing about this book yet, as I’ve only read 27 pages, but so far it has me hooked.

I also finished an excellent audiobook last week by Leonard Rosen, All Cry Chaos (Henri Poincaré, Book 1).  I don’t usually put quotations from other reviewers into my blog posts, but this one sums this book up perfectly:  Calling all fans of fractals, international-criminal conspiracies and the End of Days:  Your ship has come in (  I’m not even a fan of end-of-days novels, and I didn’t know what a fractal was before starting this book (not sure I could define it properly now, but I’m at least familiar with the concept), but I do enjoy international criminal conspiracies, and let me tell you, this book did not disappoint.  Henri Poincaré is an Interpol Inspector who is close to retirement and living in an idyllic farmhouse with his wife and artist Claire.  When he is called to investigate the death by explosion of James Fenster, a gifted scientist and mathematician on the eve of a long-scheduled speech at the World Trade Organization meeting, he suspects that there is more to this assassination than meets the eye.  Thus he begins a search for the answer that takes him across the world and into dark and murky waters that will endanger all those he cares about.  He is also involved in the imprisonment and trial of Stipo Banovic, a Bosnian war criminal who blames Poincaré for his arrest and vows to hire assassins to kill Henri’s family.  Throw in the Soldiers of Rapture who claim that at 11:38 am on August 15, the world will end, and you’ve got an international thriller that will keep you glued to your bus seat and have you making excuses to go for a long walk, even in the coldest weather, just so you can listen to the rest of the audiobook.  This is the first in a series featuring Henri Poincaré, and is followed by The Tenth Witness, a prequel to All Cry Chaos I will see if this novel is also available to download, as it also got excellent reviews.  

That’s all for today.  Stay warm, and keep reading.

Bye for now…

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