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review 2017-09-29 17:02
Fear-mongering, transformation, and awakening
Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel - Madeleine Thien

Much like when I read The Historian, I was unable to decide if what I was reading was fiction or nonfiction. (Of course, there were no vampires in this book so maybe this isn't the best comparison except for the way they both made me feel.) I couldn't put down Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien despite how much I sometimes wanted to in order to spare myself further heartbreak. This is the story of those who lived through China's Cultural Revolution and their successors a world away in Canada...at least a tiny little slice. Our main characters rotate between Sparrow, Kai, and Zhuli who lived during Mao Zedong's reign of terror, Ai-Ming who took part in the demonstrations of Tiananmen Square, and Marie who wants to piece everything together in present day Canada. This is also about music and its power to lift the soul or to mire it in secrets. A lot of sensitive topics are touched on in this book including but not limited to torture, public humiliation, and sexual assault. This is not just a work of historical fiction but also a mystery about people, events, and a book that keeps resurfacing. Intricately woven with details which seem to make the story come to life in vivid color right before your eyes this book is one that I think everyone should experience. This is the hallmark of excellent historical fiction. 10/10

 

For a nearly complete list of the classical music mentioned in the book: Spotify.

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-09-17 03:37
'A LIFE WELL LIVED' = A NICE BOOK TO READ
A Life Well Lived - Ralph Sausmarez Carey

As stated on the back cover, "[t]his book is a wonderful compilation of memories, stories, letters, newspaper articles and" [photos] about the life of Ralph Sausmarez Carey (1898-1976). 

Carey, a Canadian from Winnipeg, joined the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in November 1917 and received pilot training in Canada, the U.S., and Britain. He went on to serve as a fighter pilot in France with No. 73 Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF), flying Sopwith Camel fighters over the Western Front in the latter stages of the First World War in 1918. Upon returning to Canada in May 1919, he studied at the University of Manitoba, where he earned a B.A. degree. He then went on to earn a law degree and briefly practiced law in the 1920s. 

The bulk of Carey's career would be with the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), a major retail establishment where he worked his way into the upper ranks of management. Aside from his service with the Canadian Army as an administrative officer in Ottawa during the Second World War, he spent 36 years with HBC, retiring in 1965. 

What makes this book truly engaging to the reader are: a transcription of Carey's First World War experiences (which he had recorded on tape; his wife preserved it for their children); the personal recollections of Carey's children, former colleagues, relatives, and friends which bring a wider human dimension to the man that was Ralph Sausmarez Carey; and --- Chapter 5, which contains Carey's background and the backgrounds of his parents and siblings. 

All in all, "A LIFE WELL LIVED" is a nice book to read.
 

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review 2017-09-16 00:07
Self-deprecation at its best
One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays - Scaachi Koul

I first heard about Scaachi Koul's One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter several months ago on BookTube (I will continue to sing its praises) and added it to my TRL as I felt the need to read more Canadian authors. This book is a collection of essays about Scaachi's life growing up as a child of Indian immigrants in Canada. There's a focus on body positivity, feminism, and the endemic racism she and other people of color face in that country. She discusses her family and how she is the direct product of two disparate parenting philosophies. (Each chapter begins with an email conversation between herself and her father. He's quite possibly the funniest man on planet earth.) She's deeply afraid of going outside of her comfort zone and yet she's in a relationship with a man who seems to do nothing but push her to do just that. (I thought I had travel anxiety until I read about her experiences flying.) It's a look into a family as different and yet somehow the same as mine or yours. There's always going to be some neuroses in any family. It's about self-discovery, self-love, and ultimately self-acceptance. It was a lot of fun but judging from the fact that I had to refresh my memory by looking up the blurb it isn't the most memorable book I've had the pleasure of reading this year. So I'm gonna give it a 6/10. 

 

A/N: I really need to start making detailed notes about the books I've read immediately after reading them because my backlog of book reviews is getting more and more lengthy. Stay tuned for a special post on Tuesday by the way. ;-)

 

Source: Amazon

 

What's Up Next: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History's Most Iconic Extinct Creatures by Ben Mezrich

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-08-18 19:51
Three Pines in Winter
A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny

I maybe said, don't leave me when I finished this book. I swear, the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series is becoming a fast favorite with me. We have Gamache reappearing in Three Pines again after the murder of a loathsome woman. I think that Penny, just like Christie, has a way for villains in her books. I was flat out over the woman that we get insight into after the first couple of pages.

 

"A Fatal Grace" follows Three Pines residents about a year after the murder that took place in the last book. Residents are still getting over the fact that a murderer lived among them for so long. They have a new family that moves in, but many of the residents are rightfully not that engaging with the family cause they are a grotesque family by name and blood. CC de Poitiers is a vapid woman who believes that she has the new big thing that millions will fall in line for called "Be Calm." She writes a book that she is sure is a best seller and seems to hate her husband and her daughter. Heck, she hates her lover as well. One wonders if there was ever anyone that CC did love, but that's a different book.


When CC dies in what looks to be an accident, Gamache is called onto the scene and quickly deduces murder. The problem is trying to remove people from their suspect list since it seems that CC ran afoul of everyone.

 

I think that what also made this a cool read for me was that we have Gamache's nemesis from the last book show up. I won't get into that here, spoilers and all, but there seems like there is something afoot that can end up hurting Gamache and boy oh boy was I yelling at him by the end of the book. Guess I will have to see how this plays out.

 

I will say that this book more than even the first gives you great insight into Gamache and what ultimately moves him. He lives by a different code that would not be out of place several hundred years before the time this book takes place. 

 

I loved revisiting Three Pines. It's starting to be a wee bit like Cabot Cove or one of the Midsomer villages though. Cause after this latest murder, have to wonder how many people from the first two books will be left. 

 

 Image result for falling snow on trees gifs

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