penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Last Words and First Words

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As I closed out 2014, I realized I did not have a chance to read too many books.  It was a little too busy – what with one thing and another.  I also tried to focus on reading in French (bien sur). The few books I read included:

  • Eat, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss.
  • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Great premise for a story (apparently there may be a movie in the works).  But it sort of loses its way (and its steam) about two-thirds of the way in.   Definitely a library loan.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Micheal Pollan. Absolutely brilliant, lyrical writing – particularly considering it is non-fiction.  I could not put it down. It will change your way of thinking about food – in similar ways to Fast Food Nation, but I found the way it discussed our relationship with food to be more profound.  I would buy this book to read it (and I passed it on to someone else).
  • Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fford. Fford for Young Adults.  Better than the Last Dragon Slayer. Clever, quirky and fun. A strong female character is always appreciated.  I have bought it and given it to my daughter to read.
  • The Night Shift by Brian Goldman. I love the radio show White Coat, Black Art on CBC and this was another book that was hard to put down – although I found the technique of using a hypothetical day-in-the-life of the night in the emergency format a bit forced at times.  As someone who works in the realm of health, I found reading about the experiences and opinions of someone working on the front line to be powerful and enlightening.  I would pick this one up second hand.

Over the course New Years I was away (and away from all forms of media and social media *gasp*) so I had time to finish a couple of books I had been reading.

The first was Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn.  My mom and I both were fans of Shinn’s Samaria books.  This was one that I found on her shelf and took home with me.  I have to admit – I was more than a little disappointed. During the first three-quarters of the book, the author uses a journey to create a world and back stories of a group of six characters.  I’ve had a look on line and noticed there are a number of books in this series, but I’m not sure I want to invest the time and effort – it just took too long to get the action and then it was a bit of a let-down.  It’s kind of unfortunate – by comparison, each of the Samaria books are a narrative in their own right and carry a complete story. Sure there are links to the other books in the series – but you don’t get the impression that you have to read the first book to create the stage for the other books.  Definitely a library loan.

The second was Pirates! by Celia Rees. I bought this second hand (although honestly I can’t remember where).  I thought it might be something my daughter might be interested in when she was a bit older as it seemed to fall into the young adult category. I decided in the meantime I might give it a read to see where it might fall in terms of age category. By my guess-timation, this one falls within the same age as the Hunger Games or Twilight Series.  Basically, it’s not unlike Pirates of the Caribbean in terms of tale or amount of buckles being swashed.  It certainly also has a very descriptive visual quality that would lend itself well to a movie.  The protagonist though is female – a narrator that starts out first as a merchant’s daughter and then eventually becomes a (surprise! not really) pirate.  Imagine Disney’s story as being told by the Kira Knightly character who can take care of herself and wield a sword (thank you very much) along with Jack Sparrow being an evil bad guy – with a bit of folk magic thrown in – and you get the idea.  Unlike Mystic and Rider, the adventure starts right at the beginning and doesn’t end until the final pages.  The only disappointment is that the ending was a bit of an anti-climax that left me feeling adrift.  Over all though, it’s kind of a fun read if you set your expectations low (but I’m going to wait a while before I let the kids read it).  Also a library loan.


Written by pennyinacastle

January 6, 2015 at 1:43 am

Posted in books

Tagged with ,

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