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Archive for May, 2012

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Marg has the Mr Linky this week!

Only one book for me today: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie.  I’ve been looking forward to trying this after having seen it on so many other blogs this spring and I really can never resist the promise of a dishy vicar.  I’m usually more miss than hit with mystery novels but I have my fingers crossed for this one.  If nothing else, I adore the cover design: the front and back covers as well as the spine are all beautiful and the illustrations on all three sides include the image of a black labrador – definitely a promising sign.

Sidney Chambers, the Vicar of Grantchester, is a thirty-two-year-old bachelor. Tall, with dark brown hair, eyes the colour of hazelnuts and a reassuringly gentle manner, Sidney is an unconventional clergyman and can go where the police cannot.

Together with his roguish friend, Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney inquires into the suspect suicide of a Cambridge solicitor, a scandalous jewellery theft at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, the unexplained death of a well-known jazz promoter and a shocking art forgery, the disclosure of which puts a close friend in danger. Sidney discovers that being a detective, like being a clergyman, means that you are never off duty. Nonetheless, he manages to find time for a keen interest in cricket, warm beer, hot jazz and the works of Tolstoy and Shakespeare – as well as a curious fondness for a German widow three years his junior.

What did you pick up this week? 

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I do love a good bookish fill-in-the-blanks meme so was delighted to see that Karen of Cornflower Books has started a garden-themed one in honour of the Chelsea Flower Show!  As usual, the challenge is to complete the sentences using the titles of books you’ve read this year.  Here’s what I came up with:

Early this morning as I was Loitering with Intent, I stepped out of Marling Hall into the garden and bent down to touch One Dog and His Boy.

As dawn broke and I took in my surroundings I noticed several things: The Rose Garden was struggling due to The Unbearable Bassington, Half a Crown had been dug up in A Little Folly under the Family Roundabout, but with help from a Dear Friend and Gardener and knowledge gleaned from Miss Bunting, I was able to bury it with Success.

Later, Belinda popped in to take a cutting or two; A Force to be Reckoned With, she told me, but she pointed outmy Crooked House.

Taking a well-earned rest from the weeding and chatting over the wall with The Curious Gardener from next door, I mentioned We Have Always Lived in the Castle and remarked on How It All Began, but then when Mr Pim Passes By, we said It’s Too Late Now and I went back to do a little light pruning.

My garden was once A Gentle Plea for Chaos, but tending it is a joy and part of The Element of Lavishness.

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal – This is the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey, which I read and quite enjoyed a few months ago (and might, eventually, get around to reviewing).  Regency/Fantasy is an intriguing mix and the first book was fun and undemanding, the perfect thing for a lazy couple of hours when you just want an interesting story and aren’t too fussed about character development.

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker – Iris suggested this as a title for Dutch Lit Month, which she’s hosting in June.  Given how ridiculously behind I am with my reviews, it seemed prudent to pick this up as early as possible.

Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes – Marg grabbed this last week, which inspired me to place a hold.  I will read anything by Marian Keyes and the fact that this is a baking guide only makes me that much more excited to delve into it.

Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in War and Peace, 1939-1949 by Virginia Nicholson – I’ve got slightly mixed feelings about this one.  On the one hand, hurrah for it finally coming in after months of waiting on the hold list!  On the other, I’ve been deeply unimpressed by the two other books I’ve read by Nicholson (particularly Singled Out).  I know a lot of other lovers of social history adore her but I’ve yet to be convinced.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – One day I really am going to review the three other Kearsley books I’ve read so that I can tell you all just how fabulous I think she is.  I liked Mariana, was delighted by The Rose Garden (so much so that my mother got a copy for Mother’s Day), and adored The Shadowy Horses.  I’m not expecting this to eclipse The Shadowy Horses in my affections (how could it?) but I am definitely looking forward to it.

History has all but forgotten the spring of 1708, when an invasion fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.  

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write.  

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory…making her the only living person who can know the truth of what did happen all those years ago – a tale of love and loyalty…and ultimate betrayal.

Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport – Finally!  It was so frustrating last autumn to read all those glowing reviews of this from the UK book bloggers and to know there was still a long wait before I’d be able to get my hands on a copy here in Canada (and it did not help that The Book Depository, my usual first source for books not yet out in North America, didn’t have any copies available in time for Christmas).  The cover is hideous but I’m so excited to read this and have been rereading Harriet, Lyn, and Elaine’s glowing reviews in anticipation.

What did you pick up this week?

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Library Lust

credit: House Beautiful

This is distinctly not my style but I know not everyone shares my preference for pale colours so consider this one of my token attempts at diversification.  The only things I like here are the fabrics on the pillows and the window shade but hopefully some of you will enjoy the overall look!

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Marg has the Mr Linky this week!

Second Plays by A.A. Milne – I cannot get enough of Milne’s plays!  This volume contains Make-Believe, Mr Pim Passes By, The Camberley Triangle, The Romantic Age, and The Stepmother.

Once a Week by A.A. Milne – a collection from 1914 of short pieces Milne wrote for Punch.

Ashcombe: The Story of a Fifteen-Year Lease by Cecil Beaton – Simon talked about this in February, prefacing his review with a warning about how difficult it is to track down.  Thankfully, the library had a copy.

Eliza for Common by O. Douglas (Anna Buchan) – The domestic chronicles of a minister’s family that bears a remarkable resemblance to the Buchans, Eliza for Common is set in Glasgow just after the Great War.
As Eliza grows up she longs for beauty and excitement; with the help of her elder brother Jim, who shows her Oxford, Paris and Switzerland, she emerges from the confines of being a daughter of the manse and finds her own way in the world.

Introduction to Sally by Elizabeth von Arnim – Elaine mentioned this after I reviewed The Princess Priscilla’s Fortnight.  I had never heard of it before but Elaine described it as “a hoot” and I am always excited to read more of von Arnim’s work.

Autumn Term by Antonia Forest – I have had this on my to-read list since January 2009, when I read Lucy Mangan’s review of it.

What did you pick up this week?

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The weather here continues to be bizarrely wonderful and incredibly distracting for those of us who feel like they should be writing book reviews.  Vancouver is not a city renowned for sunshine.  It’s wonderful when it comes but always a surprise, making everyone a little giddy and irresponsible.  The default weather is rain so when it is sunny, you make the most of it.  You go outside, you garden, you break out the barbeque, you hang out in the park, you relax on the beach, you spend afternoons drinking on restaurant patios – all the usual sunshine-inspired activities.  And then when the rain comes back, you feel like you made the most of the sun and look forward to its next appearance.  Well, I have definitely been making most of the sun (including hanging my sheets out on the line this morning – is there anything that smells better than sun-dried sheets?) and in lieu of a proper bookish post (hopefully I’ll manage one soon) I thought I’d share some photos from this weekend.

On Friday, I was out at the University of British Columbia picking up books from a couple of its libraries.  I like UBC best during the summer, when the bulk of the students are gone and, despite the construction projects everywhere, it is relatively quiet.  It is fun being on a university campus again and it is hard to think of another school that can offer such stunning views of the ocean and snow-capped mountains:

On Saturday, my mom and I visited the local botanical garden.  I’ve recently started volunteering there, working in the visitor’s centre, and I’m having a lot of fun.  The other volunteers are very knowledgeable and spend a lot of time talking about their own gardens so I’m learning a great deal from them.  And it is just fun to deal with people again in a customer-facing role, especially since I only have to do it twice a month.  Dealing with customers all day long, week after week is exhausting but a couple of times a month is just perfect.  And it is a wonderful change from the solitude of working at home.  Most of all, I love going out to walk around the garden after my shift and see what’s in bloom.  Expect to see a lot of garden photos this summer as I always go with my camera.

Well, that’s about it.  I’m hoping to get a bit of reading in this afternoon – it has been a remarkably book-free weekend so far – and then maybe even work on a couple of book reviews so I have something to post this week.  Maybe.  Hope you are having or, depending on your time zone, had a lovely weekend!

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Library Lust

via Apartment Therapy

This room has so many of my favourite things: white walls, big windows, a wall of books, a rolling ladder, a large table perfect for working or reading at…it even has a powder blue sofa. Albeit one in a style I hate but still it’s a powder blue sofa and it is a dream of mine to own such a fantastically impractically-coloured piece.

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

How It All Began by Penelope Lively – Finally!  This was published here at the beginning of the year and it took ages and ages for the library to process their copies for circulation.

Love Among the Ruins by Angela Thirkell – now that I’ve finished reading or rereading all of the wartime Barsetshire books, I’m moving on to the post-war ones.  I read this last year immediately after discovering Thirkell but I’d only read a handful of the earlier books then and most of the characters were unfamiliar.  Now that I know the characters a bit better, I’m sure this will be even more enjoyable.

Storm Signals: More Undiplomatic Diaries, 1962-1971 by Charles Ritchie – The last volume of Charles Ritchie’s diaries, covering his final postings – as Canadian Ambassador to Washington and as Canadian High Commissioner to London.

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie – My rereading of Christie continues (the reviewing not so much) and my method of stumbling into the library and picking up anything that comes to hand (except the Miss Marple books, which I’m saving up as a treat since they’re my favourites) is working surprisingly well.  I had no memory of this book at all and it’s been probably fifteen years since I read it.

Baghdad is the chosen location for a secret superpower summit. Unfortunately the word is out, and an underground organisation in the Middle East is planning to sabotage the talks. Into this explosive situation skips Victoria Jones, a girl with a yearning for adventure who gets more than she bargains for when a wounded agent dies in her hotel room. Now, if only she could make sense of his final words ‘Lucifer…Basrah…Lefarge…’

Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet – Danielle picked this up from her library recently, describing it as “a cozy mystery set in a quaint English village” with a sleuth who is “a former MI5 agent turned vicar (somehow seems a rather large leap), and a dishy one at that.” I’m not usually drawn to mysteries, but I am drawn to dishy vicars

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis – a tragi-comic romp across Europe, in which Lewis gives full vent to his storytelling genius. The cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge.

Icelanders wanted to stop fishing and become investment bankers. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a piñata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack. The Irish wanted to stop being Irish. The Germans wanted to be even more German. Michael Lewis’s investigation of bubbles across Europe is brilliantly, sadly hilarious. He also turns a merciless eye on America: on California, the epicentre of world consumption, where we see that a final reckoning awaits the most avaricious of nations too.

What did you pick up this week?

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Forget Me Not

Just a quick note to say that I haven’t completely disappeared, though the lack of meaningful posts lately may have seemed to indicate otherwise. There has been much reading and gardening and general enjoyment of life these last few weeks but clearly not a lot of writing. I have so many books I want to tell you all about (The Astaires, Jennifer Kloester’s biography of Georgette Heyer, Trollope’s Doctor Thorne, Thirkell’s The Headmistress, a handful of novels by Susanna Kearsley…the list goes on) and I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.

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Library Lust

I have been accumulating books slowly but steadily since moving home a year and a half ago and with each new addition am reminded that there is no where to store any of them.  My closets currently have more books in them than they do clothes, same for my chests of drawers.  Having only two bookcases to call my own, I am incredibly envious of this house.  What fun I would have living in a place where there are books on every wall, everywhere you look!  And what fun I would have filling those shelves up!

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