One Long, Hot Summer

So it has been one long, hot summer of me not reading much, and reviewing even less. I’m going to try to rectify all that today with some super short reviews, followed by an afternoon of reading in the sun.

Sweet Caress by William Boyd. If you’re going to read a middle-aged, white male might i suggest Boyd? He’s always been a favorite of mine. I read this on a plane, and while I don’t really remember much about it, I do remember that I liked it. Not my favourite of Boyd’s work, but a strong read just the same. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer – Update

20booksofsummerWhew! More than halfway through the summer already? Let’s just say, I’m not quite where I expected to be with my reading. A five week vacation in Canada, plus the added stress of finding and renting a new place to live in Edinburgh while traveling through Canada has not done good things to my reading. And the coming weeks do not look much brighter, with packing and moving filling most of the next week or so.

Here’s my original list, with comments about my progress.

  1. Girl Up by Laura Bates – It’s Laura Bates, so it’s pretty much required reading. Seriously? At this point the only thing that is required reading is lease agreements and moving contracts!
  2. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – This has been on my TBR since we moved to Edinburgh 4.5 years ago! Time to get it read. Short and sweet. Can i do it? I think so.
  3. The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam – Already on my ereader. Read but not yet reviewed. To be honest I can’t remember the details of it, but i know that I liked it.
  4. The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick (Aug 25) – Hopefully this will be on sale in advance at #edbookfest.
  5. A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee – Looks like a quick read to help me along.
  6. The Trouble With Sheeps and Goats by Joanna Cannon – Can’t wait to get to this one. Done! And I liked it. Review to follow at some point.
  7. This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell – She lives in my neighbourhood, so who knows, maybe she’ll leave a copy on my doorstep. She has not left a book for me. Sigh. Maybe she’ll leave it as a house warming gift at our new place?
  8. The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan – Loved The Panopticon, so this is a must! Done! A dystopian novel that was good, but not as good as The Panopticon.
  9. Cauliflower by Nicola Barker – Saving this for one of my many summer plane journeys. Plane journeys are over, but I’m still meaning to get to this.
  10. The Life Project by Helen Pearson – A little non-fiction to keep my reading well rounded.
  11. Vaseline Buddha by Jung Young Moon – Because so far this list really lacks diversity. Yeah, it added diversity to my list, but also put me to sleep. It was a DNF.
  12. Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar
  13. The Man Who Built The Sierra Club by Robert Wyss – I’ve actually started this one already. But didn’t finish it. Oops.
  14. The Yoga of Max’s Discontent by Karan Bajaj – Downloaded today!

And other randoms that I picked up along the way:

15. The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang. Not a mentally taxing book, but it was the balm i needed.

16. Chronicles of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi. A short novel that reminded me a little of Persepolis without the pictures.

17. May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes. It’s been on my TBR list forever, but when i actually got around to reading it, i found it dragged a little.

18. This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman. Another title that’s been on my TBR forever and this one i found much more enjoyable.

19. Sweet Caress by William Boyd. A life saver! Just before boarding a trans-Atlantic flight, I realized my ebooks hadn’t loaded onto my ereader. Last minute airport purchase.

So more than halfway through summer and only eight books read. Can it be done? Can i plow through 12 books with everything else i have to do in the coming weeks? We shall see.

Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

mr foxI always get the feeling that there are certain writers out there who you’re supposed to love if you are truly a cutting-edge book person. Helen Oyeyemi is one of them. I’ve always read positive things about her books, yet there was something holding me back from diving in. That is, until I received Mr Fox as part of my Willoughby Book Club subscription. I almost always adore the books they send me, and out of all of Oyeyemi’s books, Mr Fox is the one that appeals to me the most. Continue reading

The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2014) **Winner of The Man Booker Prize 2014** “Daring … Captivating … Often unbearably powerful … The Narrow Road to the Deep North [will draw you] into dark contemplation the way only the most extraordinary books...I picked up The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan largely because it won the 2014 Man Booker Prize and I wanted something meaty. I went in with the preconceived notion that it was a story about Australian POWs in Burma during WWII – and that is certainly one way of selling it. But I was truly surprised by the sensuality of the love story that surrounds the story of one of the POWs. There was a tenderness to the novel that I was not expecting (and which, quite frankly, isn’t really my cup of tea). So while I did not entirely enjoy The Narrow Road To The Deep North, I can see why Flanagan won such a prestigious award for it. Continue reading

The Path of Modern Yoga by Elliott Goldberg

My current obsession with yoga continues, so The Path of Modern Yoga by Elliott Goldberg seemed like a natural fit for my reading right now. I studied South Asian religion and philosophy in university, and I always knew that the ancient roots of yoga in India bore little resemblance to the LuluLemon yoga practice of today. In The Path of Modern Yoga, Elliott Goldberg shows how we got from there to where we are now by focusing on a few key yoga innovators.

Continue reading

For the Love of Mary by Christopher Meades

For The Love of Mary by Christopher MeadesECW Press is a small, Canadian press that I have really come to trust for quality work. You can’t always say that about indies who publish works by unknown authors. Their latest offering is For The Love of Mary by Christopher Meades, a satire and coming of age novel that plays with small town religious rivalries. Continue reading

20 Books of Summer

20booksofsummerFollowing the lead of  746 Books and many others, I’ve devised my summer reading list – 20 Books of Summer. My list is largely informed by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which runs August 13-29, and because I am me, I’ve got to prepare. So here goes: Continue reading