Showing posts from January, 2013

Books Read in 2012: Four and Five Stars

I count 69 four and five-star reads, up from 53 last year, so that's cool. I've done some rough organizing into categories because otherwise it's just a big long amorphous list and I was finding it intimidating. Among Others by Jo Walton: In a meandering post on summer reading, I said about this that " I adored (it), although I find it hard to articulate precisely why. Mori's voice is note-perfect and engaging and I love how thoughtful and insightful and matter-of-fact she is about almost everything - growing up interacting with fairies, having an evil world-destroying witch for a mother, the ethics of using magic, coming of age sexually, the Dickensian cruelty and horror that is English boarding school. Plus the endless talk of books, of course. I like how it's just about her life, and the pitched magical battle is sort of incidental to everything else - part of it is in the past and only talked about fleetingly in retrospect, and the rest of it isn't


Last night my dreams were filled with waves of new-birthed babies and softly rounded toddlers. This morning I am beached and bereft. I want nothing more than to reach down into a crib and gather up an armful of warm, sleepy child, every inch of the plumped body absolutely buzzing with life. I want to wait for a visit from a friend with another small child, and I want to talk and drink tea while we watch the clumsy navigations of unsure hands and unsteady feet. I want to sit in the rocker and feel a warm, befuzzed baby head grazing the delicate skin on the inside of my forearm. I want to experience that moment when you lift a baby under their arms and their head automatically goes just far enough back that you can reach that perfectly kissable spot under their chin. I miss Angus calling himself A. "A do it!" "The wain was falling on A's head!" I miss the way he called a frying pan a pancake and called beer Dad Juice and ran towards the phone yelling Hi Damma, H

Surly Thursday

Thesauruses (thesauri?) tend to make me surly. First of all, I have this irrational feeling that if I use a thesaurus, it's kind of cheating. It's not really a hundred percent my own work any more if I have to get a word consult. But more than that, doesn't it often turn out that using a thesaurus doesn't really work? I was writing an assignment and looking for a synonym for 'celebrate', as in 'celebrate diversity', but I'd already used 'celebrate', and didn't want to use it four more times. But 'beat the drum for diversity' really didn't seem appropriate. Neither did 'blow off steam' or 'carouse' or 'ceremonialize'. And 'drink to'? Yes, my marketing assignment was really going to fly with my brilliant plan to organize a book club for elementary school students wherein we all 'drink to diversity!' So yeah, this course. It's called "Library Marketing and Advocacy". Except

2012 In Books: The Ones I "Liked"

These were the three-star ones. I always say (I haven't looked at last year's review but I would bet that I said it then) that a three-star rating from me is pretty arbitrary. On a day where I was feeling more frivolous I might have given some of them four stars. I don't think I would round up to three, but I suppose anything's possible. Horror Story and other Horror Stories by Robert Boyczuk: I wrote on Goodreads:  It's better than three stars, but that would mean I really liked it, and I admired it more than I liked it. It's very subtle, off-kilter horror rather than in-your-face horror, which I appreciate, but a lot of it is just too abstruse for me. Also, the typesetting of the story titles couples with the lack of finality in the endings made it hard to tell when a new story was beginning. When it's good it's very very good. When it's bad it feels like it's trying too hard to be sophisticated. A Finer End by Deborah Crombie: Wrote on

2012 in Books: The Turkeys

Why, some may ask, do I feel the need to make the books I reviewed badly part of the year end/year beginning book review posts? I dunno - perhaps it's the completist in me. I read them, even if they weren't great, and attention MUST BE PAID. Also, I am always open to dissenting opinions; I am fully aware that, although some books are just objectively bad, with others it is entirely possible that what I brought to the reading experience was equally at fault. So. In 2012, according to Goodreads, I recorded 144 books. It's likely that I missed a few - remember when this happened , and I had to spend an hour on the Ottawa Public Library website searching through mystery titles? There are books I can't bring myself to admit to reading, and books I just forget to log, which is incredibly dumb, because relying on my memory is like - insert razor-sharp Lance Armstrong joke, I'm too tired. Seventeen books that got one or two stars for me - "I didn't like it&qu