Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ Category

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I appear to have finally beaten the cold that has been plaguing me this week but am still tired and dragging.  With some really excellent books waiting to be discussed, I’m going to hold off until my brain is a little clearer and I can devote the time to writing the reviews that I feel they deserve.  Until then, here are some book-ish links that I hope you’ll find interesting!

Darlene, formerly of roses over a cottage door, has launched her new blog this week.  Go check out Cosy Books and read her wonderful review of Miss Ranskill Comes Home.

how to live like a lord without really tryingThe Washington Post has a charmingly enthusiastic review of the now reprinted How to Live Like a Lord Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead, which was first published in 1964.  It sounds wonderfully old-fashioned, an example of “a subgenre that has largely disappeared: the truly lighthearted, mildly diverting book, written by a professional humorist with no greater goal than to provide civilized amusement for an idle hour or two.”  My favourite subgenre, in other words! 

If you enjoyed my response to Sheila Kaye-Smith’s views on ‘spoiling’ books by reading them too young, do read Jo Walton’s thoughts, which grew to such a length that instead of posting them in the comment section here she wrote a whole blog post of her own: Is There a Right Age to Read a Book?

And, for goodness sakes, if you’re not already watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, it is time to start!  Also be sure to catch up with The Lydia Bennet, whose storyline is getting particularly interesting.  This modern-day web series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is clever, exciting, and surprisingly thoughtful.  I have been following since its premier last April and I am always thrilled when a new episode ‘airs’.

Speaking of Pride and Prejudice, the Economist’s Intelligent Life magazine is focused on Mr Darcy this month.  A number of authors offer up their views on Austen’s most famous hero:

Ali Smith – The Gift of Astringency
P.D. James – The Master of Pemberley
Penelope Lively – He Never Appeals
Helen Simpson – Not a Bad Boy
Allison Pearson – The Immovable Mr Darcy
John Carey – The Damning First Proposal
Adam Foulds – Jane Austen’s Alpha Male

And while you’re at it, why not check out Simon’s Rethinking Darcy post too.

That should be enough to keep you all busy for today while I attempt to respond to your lovely comments on yesterday’s birthday post.  Happy Friday!

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It’s a travel day for me today, as I leave the sun and the palm trees and return to the snow.  Yes, it’s May and there is snow on the ground and more in the forecast.  So terribly, terribly wrong.


As you may have picked up by now, I am rather fond of France and I love to read about its food, its culture, its people, and its history.  So, with that clear, does anyone have any books they could recommend?  I love non-fiction as well as fiction and, as much as I love French books, I also love hearing about the ex-pat experience, seeing the country through the eyes of helpless foreigners.  Paris, of course, is always a favourite but I’d love to read something set in a different region (especially the Alsace or Brittany).



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Olympic Reading

I haven’t watched anything other than the Olympics over the last week.  I don’t usually watch a lot of television, but the Winter Olympics are not a normal time.   You can take your Summer Olympics- I have no real interest in them or any of the sports therein.  But the Winter Olympics?  Hockey?  Long-track speed skating?  Curling?  I am so there, just don’t make me watch the skiing events.

The best part of the Olympics, as usual, is not the sports themselves, but the athletes, so young and hopeful, from so many different countries.  And, as many of the athletes have noted over the last week, Canadians are very good at cheering on athletes that aren’t our own (unless you’re American – sorry about that).  Our passion for the Dutch is all-encompassing, as always, we love the Germans, and the curling Scots are most beloved…the list goes on.

However, this puts me in the awkward position of wanting to read more about these nations.  No title immediately comes to mind though, when I think of Austria.  I can think of dozens for Germany or France, but none for the Ukraine.  I want nothing more than to read about tall, orange-wearing Dutch people but, right now, the newspaper is the only source fulfilling that desire.

Can you recommend any favourite books (fiction or non-fiction) set in the following countries?

The Netherlands



Czech Republic




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