Sunday, September 30, 2007

Word on the Street Part Deux

Well the son and me went to WOTS today, but IMO, it was not a successful trip. I was not able to purchase even one single book. I was able to purchase a few magazines, both for me and the son. We did get to see Gisele (from TVO Kids) up close and in person, and the son even won a TVO T-shirt.

Oh and guess who I met. Ms Storms the famous illustrator herself. She says she was yelling Bibliohistoria's name, but I couldn't hear it above all the noise - and beleive me WOTS was very crowded and noisy!!! Patricia was there with her husband, who commented that he had seen my photo (the one with no hair and the staples) and they both wanted to know how I was doing. My hair is growing back very nicely, and unfortunately quite gray. So we chatted for a bit.

I told her we would TRY and get to her reading today which at the time was around 90 minutes into the future. Patricia was doing a reading of her new book 13 Ghosts of Halloween (written by Robin Muller, and illustrated by Patricia). But we never made it to the reading.

45 minutes later, when we emerged from the end of the OWLkids 10th anniversary presentation - my son loves their CHIRP magazines - I told him we would wait another 45 minutes for the next reading (meaning Patricia's). To which he very firmly replied "No I dont want to. I want to go home", and sat down to make his point. I think by now he was getting tired & cranky. After all he had gotten up at 6.30 this morning. He was also upset that there was no games for him to play.

So we headed back to the subway station. I was not happy that I missed Patricia's reading. But when kids are involved, you gotta pick your battles and be flexible.

Sorry Patricia.

The Orkney Scroll by Lynn Hamilton Book Review

The ORKNEY Scroll
By Lynn Hamilton
Berkeley Group (Penguin) Prime Crime
February 2007

This is the 10th novel in this series, and I have read most of them. The main character is Lara McClintoch, an antiques shop owner in Toronto (although the location is not specified). Lara usually ends up investigating murders that almost always have some connection with antiquities.

In this novel, a colleague finds a very valuable writing deak that is worth thousands, and sells it to a well known Toronto Lawyer. Lara is called by the Lawyer to appraise it. She sees it and agrees that it appears to be genuine, however she would like to do more research. The lawyer does not want to wait and agrees to purchase it. Several days later the lawyer puts the desk on show and throws a party.

At the party, Lara tries to have another close look at the desk, as something about it does not look right. Several minutes later, in full view of the party attendees, the lawyer grabs an axe and literally shops the desk to pieces, crying that he had been deceived and that the desk was a fake.

The very next day the colleague who sold the desk is found dead with an axe in his head. The wealthy lawyer is arrested. Lara still wants to know what the story was with the desk. Since the desk came from Orkney, Lara flies to Glasgow and then to Orkney where she eventually discovers what happened, who done it and why.

I LOVE Archaeology and Antiquities, as well as books. This book was set in Orkney and involved an ancient Viking scroll. I love Orkney as well, although I have never been there. My great-great-grandmother was born in Orkney. She died in New Zealand. But there's so much about her that is still a mystery. I also love Genealogy too.

Ana's Story Part Trois

I woke up at 3am Saturday. Crashed 6pm Saturday Evening, and then was up again at 3 this morning. AARRGGHH So if you're wondering why I posted a comment on your blog, at some unearthly hour of the morning - well now you know. LOL

I can't read (eyes too tired), tried watching a movie but it was too silly for my taste. So I am surfing, and trying to find something decent to do or read. Oh yeah, and I've done 2 loads of laundry. I like using my time efficiently. LOL

Remember back in late July, the day before I sent into Hospital, I quickly read Jenna Bush's new book Ana's story and then wrote 2 reviews saying how not-so-good it was. Looks like other people agree with me. I found this review at USA Today.

And if anyone's interested, Jenna recently started a book tour and did an TV interview with Diane Sawyer for 20/20 about her book. I wonder when it will air?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Word on the Street

Word on the Street is happening this Sunday. The weather is supposed to be fine. So if I can find some spare cash, and my kid behaves himself, I did promise him some new books. He keeps complaining that he is bored with all his old ones. So I will try and get to WOTS if at all possible.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman

I happened upon this blog today. Its been around for about 18 months now, (Started May 2006) but today was my first time reading it. Ree lives in the Midwest somewhere on a ranch - still havent figured out what State she is in although I think it's somewhere between Chicago, Arizona and Texas. I have spent the last 4 hours (from 9 to 1) reading this blog and laughing my head off. She has a wonderful sense of humour.

Ree is married to a real rancher/cowboy. He's called Marlboro Man even though he doesn't smoke. They have 4 kids. She takes gorgeous photos - of nature and the family and pictures related to ranching. She home schools her kids because they are so far away from the nearest school. And she cooks. She has just started a new Cooking blog as well.

If you haven't seen this blog, you should, because the pictures are wonderful, the cooking looks delicious, the web design is gorgeous, and the writing is hilarious.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

About Remainder Books

Quill & Quire Magazine
October 2007

About the Quill & Quire I read yesterday. It had a very interesting article in it about Remainder books. The Trouble with Bargain Books. Here are some new things I learnt.

Publishers do not make much money from remainder books.

Traditional Booksellers don't like remainder bookshops because they are competition - usually on price

Remainder stores sometimes stock international titles for which Canadian publishers hold the rights.

Sometimes Remainder stores sell books that have not been remaindered by the publishers at all. The suggestion is that those books may have been stolen, or were obtained by questionable means.

The Canadian Copyright Act states that Remainder shops can import foreign editions 60 days AFTER the foreign publishers have remaindered them, but ONLY if the rights to those titles are NOT owned by a Canadian publisher. The onus is therefore on the remainder store to find out which titles are unauthorised, but they dont always make the effort to do their research.

There were 2 major Remainder shops mentioned in this article. Fairmount Books in Markham, and BMV - which has 3 stores in Toronto.

Fairmount sells only in Bulk. On the home page of the website, it says this. We require a minimum order of $300.00..

BMV [Books, Magazines, Videos] sells to the General Public. They don't have a website - at least not one that I could find. BMV have been around for 10 years, so how come I never heard of them? They just opened a new flagship at 471 Bloor St W last year (2006). The other two stores are at 10 Edward Street (just north of the Eaton Centre), and 2289 Yonge St (1 block north of Eglinton).

For those of you who have read this blog from the beginning will see that I now buy my books from Bookcloseouts - based in St Catherines, Ontario. They have very fast and efficient service - my books always arrive within 7 days. I have noticed that occasionally I do receive British Editions rather than North American. I never thought anything of it. According to their website, is the online division of Book Depot, one of the largest "closeout/remainder" bookstores in North America. And BookDepot sells in bulk, whereas Bookcloseouts does not.

Anyway, yesterday I went to Bloor street specifically to visit the new BMV shop, and promptly spent $60. Its a located between subway stations, and took a fair walk to get there. I think I might just stick to Book Closeouts since they deliver to my door. I also think that owning a remainder bookstore might be a tad too much hassle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Book News this week

Mon Sep 24, 3:37 PM ET
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Volunteers sorting through donated books for a book sale found an abolitionist text and a slave's memoir, both dating back to the 1800s.

The books were discovered together last month in a single leather-bound volume that was clearly an unusual find, said Liza Holzinger, coordinator of the Bethlehem Area Public Library's book sale.

"When this appeared on my desk, I couldn't believe it," Holzinger said. "I was pretty impressed by it, especially after I started doing research on the topic."

The volume contained a first edition of Lydia Maria Child's 1833 book, "An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called African," and an 1840 second edition of "The Slave: Memoirs of Archy Moore."

Daniel Wilson, professor of history at Muhlenberg College, said Child's book was an early abolitionist text that received a lot of attention when it was published.

"They've got something valuable there," he said. "I'm not a book dealer, but this was a very influential text in terms of abolition and convincing people, particularly in New England, to adopt the abolitionist cause."

Holzinger said Child was a well-known author of popular novels and the advice manual "The Frugal Housewife." In "An Appeal," she wrote about the cruelty of slavery and its contradiction to the nation's founding principles.

There is no indication why the books were rebound together or who donated them, Holzinger said. She expects to price the volume for at least $500 at the book sale. The library is not interested in keeping the book because its rare book collection focuses on the Lehigh Valley, Holzinger said.

Yahoo News

Cherie Blair signs a deal to write her Biography

LONDON - Cherie Blair has signed a book deal to write about her life as a leading British human rights lawyer and the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, her publisher said Wednesday.

Cherie Blair's autobiography will be published in October 2008, Little, Brown Book Group said in a statement. The publisher would not discuss the terms of the deal for the book's international publishing rights.

Her memoirs will likely come out before her husband's much-anticipated memoir, which a Blair representative said last month was years away from publication with no book deal yet.

Cherie Blair's publisher said her book would be a "warm, intimate and often very funny portrait of a family living in extraordinary circumstances."

But British political observers will likely be watching for anything she says about the Blairs' reputedly stormy relationship with Tony Blair's successor, Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Cherie Blair, who will be 53 on Sept. 23, is known for being gaffe-prone; her unguarded comments on both international and internal politics have caused trouble. But she is also a respected lawyer.

[read more] Yahoo News

Extraordinary Canadians

I went out and purchased the latest Quill & Quire Magazine today. Inside is a brochure from Penguin Publishers salivating over their new series of Extraordinary Canadian Biographies that they will be publishing over the next 3 years. The General Editor of this series is John Ralston Saul. There is a total of 18 books. Here are the first 12.

March 2008
Emily Carr by Lewis DeSoto
Lord Beaverbrook by David Adams Richards
Nellie McClung by Charlotte Gray

September 2008
Mordechai Richler by M. G Vassanji
Lester Pearson by Andrew Cohen
Big Bear by Rudy Wiebe

March 2009
Norman Bethune by Adrienne Clarkson (former GG)
Stephen Leacock by Margaret McMillan
Pierre Elliott Trudeau by Nina Ricci

September 2009
Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin by John Ralston Saul
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont by Joseph Boyden
L.M. Montgomery by Jane Urquhart

The remaining six books will be published in March and September 2010. According to the brochure there is a companion TV documentary series to be produced. This series will be aired on OMNI and the Biography channels. The website does not yet seem to be working.
Treasure of Khan
By Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
Putnam 2006

I have been fascinated by Mongolia, the Gobi desert and Genghis & Kublai Khan for many years. So I leapt on the chance to read this book when I found it last week at the library. Besides, Clive Cussler is one of my favourite authors and I have been reading his series about Dirk Pitt for many years. This one is just the latest.

Although Dirk Pitt usually sticks to discoveries under water, this book was a little unusual in that most of the action takes place in the Gobi desert.

When Dirk Pitt is nearly killed rescuing an oil survey team from a freak wave on Russia's Lake Baikal, it appears a simple act of nature. After the wave, the survey team disappears from Pitt's research boat. The same vessel nearly sunk, and Pitt starts asking questions.

At the same time three major oil refineries are destroyed by mysterious earthquakes - the loss of all three causing major global oil shortages. A mysterious offer is made to the Chinese government to supply oil to that country at market prices. With one major condition. That the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia be given back to Mongolia. China is crippled without oil, so the government agrees.

The action jumps from Siberia to the hot sands of the Gobi Desert, to Hawaii.

Pitt and his good friend Al Giordino, spend more time in the Gobi desert this time around, than they do underwater. They are in a race to stop the next earthquake. Along the way Pitt finds the tomb of Genghis Khan. The treasure of Genghis Khan has already been stolen, used to finance the search for oil in Mongolia. Pitt's children Dirk and Summer handle the Hawaii end of the search in which they prevent another earthquake, and find the final resting place of Kublai Khan and his treasure.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More thoughts on the History Challenge

More books I might want to read.

Unknown Shore (Lost History of England's Arctic colony) by Robert Ruby [Canadian Arctic]
Kepler's Witch (Biography of the Astronomer & Heresy trial of his mother) By James Connor [Germany near Stuttgart]
The Amber Room (The Fate of the World's Greatest Lost Treasure) by Catherine Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy. [St Petersburg, Russia]

I have so many history books, it's getting too hard to decide. Will have to think some more about this. Currently I do not own any books about the Revolution or the Civil war. Although I do have a Book about Benjamin Franklin. He was sort of involved with the Revolution - living in France & England at the time. And I have a lovely big biography of Leonardo da Vinci, I want to read. Also a Biography of William Dampier who was a pirate and a naturalist.

I might just make a long list and make my 12 choices from the list. Thats sounds like a good idea.

And none of these are crossovers from the Memoirs or the Themed challenges. Some of these books I have mentioned in earlier posts, but I never got around to reading.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And another History Challenge - YAAAAAY

Apologies for the silence, I have been reading a non-challenge book. Haven't finished it yet. Will review later.

Forget the seafaring challenge, for me anyway. I have just discovered a HISTORY challenge, and if you have read my profile, you will know that I LOVE History.

Back to History Challenge
This runs from January to December 2008 - 12 books in 12 months.

This is a challenge to sharpen the mind, go back & visit times long since forgotten in this day in age. The Back to History Challenge is designed to encourage readers to stretch themselves in the history genre. I am truly interested in getting people to venture into unfamiliar territories of literature. So...take this challenge and discover what history has to offer you!

So basically we are being challenged to read something about a part of history that we do not usually read about, or some part of history we know nothing about. I guess that means I can't read anything on Ancient Egyptian History since I know all about that.

Well the area I tend to stay away from is American history - specifically the Revolution and the Civil War. So I will try and read at least one book from each war. I usually prefer to read European History.

Now let me think. What Historical books do I have on my shelves. There is no mention about alternates or crossovers, so I'm going to assume they are ok.

So I will start with the following books which are currently on my TBR shelves.

Last Days of Henry 8th
The Colour of Stones
The Ambassadors
God's Secret Angels
Court Lady and Country wife
Improper Pursuits
Shakespeare by another Name
Heal Thyself

Apart from The Ambassadors, all of these are about English History.
I'll have to think a bit further afield. I'll have another look at my TBR cupboard on Monday

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sea Faring Challenge

There's another new Challenge - starts November 1st, and finishes January 31st.

Seafaring Challenge.

Haven't decided if I want to do this one yet or not. I'm not a huge boat/ships/sea fan.

Monday, September 17, 2007

30 Books Every Adult Should Read Before They Die

Books I've Read are Highlighted in Red.

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The New Oxford Annotated Bible [with the Apocrypha, Third Edition, new Revised Standard Version]
The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King: being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book I), by Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book II), by Philip Pullman
Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Book III), by Philip Pullman
Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War, by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Tess of the d'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
Winnie-The Pooh, by A.A. Milne
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

This comes from a new Blog about Lists.
The Lists

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Originally published Barcelona, Spain 2001
English Translation Published Penguin 2004
Author Website (Spanish) Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Book Website Shadow of the Wind in Spanish

As I mentioned yesterday, I purchased this book off a sale table. I spent the entire weekend reading it, (and finished it this evening around 11pm) because I could not put it down (despite my eyes still being wonky).

Daniel lives in Barcelona with his father who owns a bookshop. Daniel is 10 years old, and he finds a novel called Shadow of the Wind written by Julian Carax, that he falls in love with. Daniel decides he wants to read everything else the author wrote, but when he starts looking, he discovers that someone is systematically buying up all the copies and destroying them.

Even at age 10, Daniel discovers a need, an urge, to find out who is destroying these books, and why. He learns about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books (OT sort of reminds me of the Well of Lost Plots - Jasper fforde Book 3 in the Thursday Next series - which is constantly beckoning me to read it - but as yet it does not fall within a challenge - sigh). The Cemetery is run by Isaac. Isaac tells Daniel the following.

This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it, and of those who read it, lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.
(Page 6 in my edition).

I LOVE this quote. I think it is so true.

Daniel takes 10 years to find out why these books are being destroyed, and by whom. Along the way he makes new friends, as well as enemies. He discoveres shocking secrets, and falls in love - twice. But always, always he is looking for Julian (the author).

I am making this book the first one for the Books around the World Challenge, so I have 12 months to read 25 more books from various parts of the World.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

24 Hour Read-a-thon in October

Just FYI, there is a 24 read-a-thon coming up on October 20th. You can read all the details here. 24 Hour Readathon

New Challenge - Books about Books

I just picked up a novel at another sale table today - called The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Originally from Barcelona, he now lives in Los Angeles. This novel is about a book. I LOVE books about books - whether they be fiction or non-fiction, and there are plenty of them out there. And I am enjoying this book very much.

So I've decided to host a small challenge - Read 3 books about books from October 1st to December 31st. Fiction or Non fiction, I dont mind. Just read back through my blog, you'll find lots of ideas for titles. Crossovers are fine.

Here's the Blog for this Challenge. I'm calling it BIBLIOGRAPHY challenge. I LOVE that word!!! LOL

And since I am reading Shadow of the Wind right now, in September, I'm gonna make this book, my first book for the Books Around the World Challenge since it's set in Barcelona (Europe).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Invisible Armies - Book Review

Invisible Armies
By Jon Evans
HarperCollins 2006
Website Trailer

This is a very exciting story. Mostly about how geeks and nerds save the world. By Hacking. Since I love stories about hacking, I started this one with great gusto. Half way into the book, the hacking was fine, but the violence got a bit much so I stopped reading it for a while. But have now been able to finish it.

The story starts off with Danielle (a wealthy upperclass young American woman) is asked by a friend to be a courier - to deliver a passport for an Indian woman who needs a new passport. India has a law that says Indian passports CANNOT be sent outside of the country for any reason. They must stay on the owners person or in the owners possession at all times.

This Indian woman (Jayalitha) worked for a social Justice group called Justice International. They wanted to expose a corrupt company that was illegally creating new medicines and using the people of Kerala in Southern India for non-sanctioned drug trials.

Jaya, was then forced to watch her husband and children die. She was forced to leave India with no passport. When Danielle gets to Jaya's home village, she is captured and told that Jaya is dead. The man captured with her is Laurent, who also works for Justice International. To avoid being tortured, they both escape and end up on the run in India with no papers.

How Danielle is sucked into the life of an activist, one who truely thinks she is helping people, is fascinating. The story moves from India to Paris to London to Los Angeles. And how Danielle gets herself out of activist circles with the help of some hacker friends, is just as thrilling.

Invisible Armies is a Cold War suspense of the modern age, a thriller that looks behind the power of protests and the politics of big business. [Back cover blurb]

A word of warning. These activists are violent. Unexpectedly so. Which is why I had to stop reading for a while. Whether or not they are typical of activist in the real world, I can't say. One has only to look to Greenpeace to find a commonality of sorts.

Even if Greenpeace claims that they are not a violent group, they have been affected by violence. in 1985 the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior was bombed and sunk in Auckland Harbour. When it was later discovered to have been done by the French Government, it read just like a thriller story. French spies sneaked into New Zealand, planted a bomb and then left as quickly as possible. This bombing occurred because Greenpeace was actively demonstrating against the French Nuclear Bomb testing being done at Muraroa Atoll in the Pacific. This story has also been made into a movie.

Jon Evans has written 2 earlier books - Dark Places and The Blood Price.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

From Love Field - Book Review

From Love Field
Our Final Hours with President John F. Kennedy
By Nellie Connally
with Mickey Herskowitz
Rugged Land 2003

Where were you on November 22, 1963?

Idanell Brill "Nellie" Connally was the First Lady of Texas from 1963 to 1969. She was in the same limousine as Jacqueline and President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas. Ten days after the assassination, Nellie wrote down some notes about the events as she remembered them. Then she stuffed the notes into a file drawer and forgot about them for 33 years.

Before she died (September 1st, 2006 - Just last year), Nellie dug out those old notes and fleshed out the story of what actually happened in Dallas on that day. She speaks about the short trip from Fort Worth to Dallas, arriving at Love Airfield and watching the secret service nervously try to get the President and Jackie into the car. Instead they chose to do a quick meet and greet amongst the crowds at the Airfield, thus delaying the caravan.

All the way into Dallas, crowds roared and cheered. On Elm Street, Nellie turned to the President and spoke the last words he probably ever heard. "Mr President, You certainly can't say that Dallas doesn't love you." The president smiled and Nellie turned back to the front.

That's when the first gunshot hit the President in the throat. Nellie is adamant that the second gunshot hit her husband (Texas Governor) John Connally. The third gunshot then hit Kennedy in the head.

Nellie writes about the interminable waiting as Parkland hospital while one team of doctors worked on the President and another team worked on the Governor. The president was pronounced dead at 1 oclock that day. Governor John Connally survived. He had suffered a collapsed lung, one broken rib, a hole in his chest and a broken wrist. (the magic bullet)

President Kennedy's funeral was held in Washington DC the following Monday. Since Nellie was keeping a hospital vigil beside her husbands bed, the Connally's eldest son John Junior (John Connally 111) aged 17 at the time, was selected to represent the family and the state of Texas.

Governor John Connally recovered and returned home to the governors mansion in Austin. He went on be governor for 6 years and after he left, he returned to Houston where he worked as a lawyer. In 1973 he was appointed as Secretary of the Treasury by President Nixon. Nellie also briefly mentions Lee Harvey Oswald, and about testifying before the Warren Commission.

At the time of her death in 2006, Nellie was the last surviving occupant of the presidential limousine that carried John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

This book is short, just 156 pages, not counting the appendices.
There are lots of black and white photos from Dallas, Fort Worth and a few Connally family pictures as well.

A most enjoyable book. And since most of the story takes place in Dallas, I am claiming this book as my absolute final book for the Armchair Travellers challenge. [And I dare anyone to deny me this right LOL]

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Am Canadian

You are 89% Canuck!

You rock, you are an almighty Canadian through and through. You have proven your worthiness and have won the elite prize of living in a country as awesome as Canada. Yes I know other countries think they are better, but we let them have that cuz we know better than they do, eh?

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Cleopatra's Needles Book Review

Cleopatra's Needles
By Anne Mustoe
Virgin Books 2003
website Anne Mustoe

Anne Mustoe used to be the Headmistress (Principal) of a private Girls School in England. At the age of 54 (in 1987) she retired and cycled around the world. Her first book was called A Bike Ride. In 1993 she cycled around the world again - in the opposite direction. The second book was called Lone Traveller.

Since 1993 Anne has done a number of Bike rides in various parts of the world. She spent 5 winters cycling around India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. That book is called Two Wheels in the Dust.

And in 2001 Anne cycled from London to Alexandria between the Cleopatra's Needles. On September 11, 2001, Anne was in Turkey. A Muslim country. Turkey did not react to 9-11, but other countries did. Anne was able to cycle through parts of Syria and Lebanon, but had to take the bus through Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula. She did cycle along the length of the Suez canal and eventually arrived in Alexandria. Her 4th book is called Cleopatra's Needles.

This was a fascinating book. Lots of interesting historical info about Cleopatra, Mark Anthony and the Emperor Octavius. Also tons of real info about life in Europe (and the Middle East) when seen from a bicycle. Anne travelled across France and Switzerland. She cycled across the Alps into Italy and followed the Adriatic coast down to Bari where she took the ferry to Greece. The entire trip took about 10 months over 2001/2002. The one major thing that Anne comments on, (other than 9-11) is that it RAINED during most of this trip.

Since this book was written, Anne has also cycled The Amber trail, the Santa Fe Trail and the Pilgrims trail to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. That book is called Amber, Furs and Cockleshells (combining all 3 trails in one book). I want to read more about the Amber Trail. The history of the Amber industry is fascinating, and I personally would love to read a lot more about it.

Speaking of Amber, I was at another festival here in Toronto on Sunday (The Cabbagetown festival) and one of the street vendors was selling Amber necklaces & pendants. When I asked the prices, he said from $12 and upwards. Pity. I would have loved to buy a real Amber necklace.

According to Anne's website, her last Bike ride was across Australia and South America. I've just cycled across Australia and South America, and I'm busy writing my next book Che Guevara and the Mountain of Silver, due out in December, 2007.

In between books, Anne has also written a book about Escaping the Winter All you need to know about spending the winter abroad.

Check out Anne's Book page for all the details. And yes she is now over 70 years old.
This is my last book for the Armchair Travellers Challenge - which is now DONE.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Todays Book sale went very well.

Well, Today turned out to be very hot with a lovely cool breeze blowing for much of the day. Up at 7am to pack up toys, books, clothes, computer bits & pieces and anything else. By 8am we were moving our stuff downstairs, and piling everything on the tables. We had 2 tables and a trolley.

We have never done this before. I mean, joined the buildings annual sale. Usually because I keep missing the dates, and only find out too late to book a table. I managed to spot a notice up last week, so had time to book a table & get our stuff organised.

The building organised hotdogs & pop and even live music. 2 guys on guitars, plus some nice oldies music - 70s & 80s disco & pop. Great music to tap your feet to.

We were outside on the sidewalk selling from 9am to 4pm and made close to $100. Most of this was from my books - 50 cents each or 3 for a dollar. Over half my books have now gone, and hubby sold quite a few computer items as well. 5 year old son also sold a few toys and books.

It's now almost 6pm, and we are all tired, burnt and exhausted. Son & hubby have fallen asleep and I'm sitting here quietly, reading & typing.

I have one more book to finish for the Armchair Travellers Challenge. Not sure if I will be able to finish the New Notions challenge, since I have 2 more books to do - and the Historian is over 500 pages. Damn my eyes for going wonky at the wrong time.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Descartes' Secret Notebook - Book Review

Descartes' Secret Notebook
By Amir D. Aczel
Broadway Books 2005
Author Biography at Wikipedia
Descartes Biography at Wikipedia

I love stories about people searching for and finding unusual ephemera - things associated with famous people. The Book Nobody Read was one such book, and I have just finished another. This non-fiction book is about the search for Rene Descartes' (1596 - 1650) secret notebook. The notebook that very few men knew about because it was said to mention forbidden things. Teachings that were not of the Catholic church, but of the brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. It seems that Rene Descrates may have been a member of the Rosicrucians. But noone knows for sure.

Anyway, for those of you have have never heard of Descartes, he was a French Philosopher, scientist and mathematician during the 30 years war. He invented the Cartesian coordinates upon which our modern GPS system depends. He also invented analytical geometry. A method of combining equations and formulae of algebra with the figures and shapes of geometry.

"Not geometry." I hear my readers groaning. I know, I know, geometry is just so boring. This book is not about geometry. Its actually a very good biography of Rene Descartes, his life and education in France, his travels around Europe, his family and so on. He lived in Germany, Holland and was even requested to tutor Queen Christine of Sweden for a short time. Unfortunately that first freezing cold winter in Sweden, was also his last.

This is not a book for light reading. Indeed, even I took several weeks to complete it. It is only 242 pages long, has a number of good illustrations, including some mathematical illustrations. I really did enjoy it.


Conspiracy Nation

Book sale season has started again

Today hubby is sorting all his junk from the bedroom that he wants to A - get rid of or B - sell at our apartment building end-of-summer sale being held tomorrow. I have 5 or 6 boxes of books which I will be TRYING to sell.

I really need to get rid of these books. The apartment is just not big enough to keep them, especially when I keep buying new books.

I plan on giving any unsold hardback books to the local library. (hardbacks last longer). Not sure what to do with the paperbacks.

So if anyone in Toronto wants some really really cheap books, please email me & I will give you the address & directions. BTW The Cabbagetown festival is on tomorrow as well.

[Edited to Add]

Just had a brilliant idea. Any books I do NOT sell tomorrow, I can donate to the hospitals for the patients. Since Toronto has 4 or 5 hospitals within walking (sort of) distance, I can call them up and ask. Anyone know how receptive hospitals are to book donations?

Author Madeleine L'Engle has died

Author Madeleine L'Engle dies at 88


HARTFORD, Conn. - Author Madeleine L'Engle, whose novel "A Wrinkle in Time" has been enjoyed by generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s, has died, her publicist said Friday. She was 88.

L'Engle died Thursday at a nursing home in Litchfield of natural causes, according to Jennifer Doerr, publicity manager for publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The Newbery Medal winner wrote more than 60 books, including fantasies, poetry and memoirs, often highlighting spiritual themes and her Christian faith.


"A Wrinkle in Time" — which L'Engle said was rejected repeatedly before it found a publisher in 1962 — won the American Library Association's 1963 Newbery Medal for best American children's book. Her "A Ring of Endless Light" was a Newbery Honor Book, or medal runner-up, in 1981.

In 2004, President Bush awarded her a National Humanities Medal.

"Wrinkle" tells the story of adolescent Meg Murry, her genius little brother Charles Wallace, and their battle against evil as they search across the universe for their missing father, a scientist.

L'Engle followed it up with further adventures of the Murry children, including "A Wind in the Door," 1973; "A Swiftly Tilting Planet," 1978, which won an American Book Award; and "Many Waters," 1986.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Eyes still going crazy - slow down the reading

Remember a few days ago I mentioned my eyes were going crazy? Well it's called "double vision" (medical term is Diplopia) and today I went to see an Opthamologist. He says I have a muscle palsy which means there is an eye muscle not working and my eyes are no longer working together (an imbalance). So he is referring me to the Orthoptics dept at a local hospital.

In the meantime, he says all we can do is let things settle down. Hopefully it should heal up by itself, but that could take months. Not good. I do have to think about going back to work, and I cannot do that if I cannot read. The Orthoptics dept may prescribe prisms, or exercises. Will have to wait & see.

Also the Opthamologist does not know if this is related to my surgery or not. My brain has undergone quite a considerable amount of trauma, which takes a while to heal.

I can still type (sort of) because I know the keyboard so well, but am also hitting a few wrong keys. So right now, I can still read, but not as much as before, so my reviews will be slower to show up. My eyes get very tired much, more easily now, because the brain has to process two slightly different pictures. Sometimes I have to close or cover one eye to see anything clearly. Not a good idea, as the one eye that is working, then loses depth perception.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Books to Movie Challenge

This challenge started September 1st, (goes to November 30th) but I'm gonna do it anyway. Here are the rules.
Book to Movie Challenge

My 3 books are - The Club Dumas (movie was called "The Ninth Gate" starring Johnny Depp), Possession and Black Dahlia.

(edited Sept 26)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Serious Reader Meme

Based on the post I did earlier today (called "What is a Serious Reading Habit"), I'd like to start a new Meme - with thanks to Literary Feline who inspired it.

Do you have an overwhelming desire to frequently discuss the books you read - in person or online?

Do you gravitate towards book news and litblogs to see what everyone is reading and what new books are coming out?

Do you belong to several online reading groups where the discussion of books is the main topic?

Do you talk your significant other's ear off about the book you are currently reading?

Do you keep a reading journal or jot down your thoughts of all the books you read?

Do you enter contests for books and then feel like you won a million dollars when you win a book?

Do you get free Advanced Reading Copies from the book publishers so you can read and review them?

If you have...

6 to 7 YES answers - You have a VERY serious Reading Habit (in fact you might be called a book addict or a bookworm).

3 to 5 YES answers - You like books, but you know how to make time for other things as well.

1 or 2 YES answers - Books are read only when required such as school or college. You'd rather be doing something else.

For the record, if you read my earlier post, I have 6 YES answers.
The Hubby just does not co-operate.
No need to tag anyone.
Feel free to leave a comment and say how many YES answers you got.

Robert J Sawyer - Canadian Sci Fi Author

For those of you who are Sci-fi readers, and have not yet read anything by Robert J. Sawyer, I urge you to try him. He has written 17 novels and almost all of them have won awards of one sort or another.

He's won the Hugo, the Nebula and Canada's own Aurora awards. Check out his website and his Blog. And he has just won China's Galaxy award.

I'm usually check his blog out every now and then, so I thought it was time I supported one of my favourite sci-fi authors. The Neanderthals series is the best.

What is a Serious Reading Habit.

I found the following paragraph at Literary Feline's Blog.

There are several people in my office who read on their breaks and during their lunch hours. They might not crack open a book at home, but they do read at the office. None of them are have serious reading habits as I would define it. Sure they read, but they do not have this overwhelming desire to frequently discuss the books they read. They don't gravitate towards book news and litblogs to see what everyone is reading and what new books are coming out. They aren't members of several online reading groups where the discussion of books is the main topic. They don't talk their significant other's ear off with talk about the book they are reading. They do not keep a reading journal or jot down their thoughts of all the books they read. And they certainly don't enter contests for books and then feel like they won a million dollars when they win a book.

I've always been called a bookaholic or a bookworm, but like Literary Feline, I think "serious reading habit" sounds nicer. Except that I know I am addicted to books. Let's see, do I qualify to have a "serious reading habit?"

Overwhelming desire to frequently discuss the books they read.
Yes - on this blog

Gravitate towards book news and litblogs to see what everyone is reading and what new books are coming out. Yes and yes

Several online reading groups where the discussion of books is the main topic. So far I have only one Yahoo book group - NovelChallenge. Does that count?

They talk their significant other's ear off with talk about the book they are reading.
Nope - Hubby is just NOT interested. He does NOT read for pleasure. He prefers car manuals and other technical stuff.

They keep a reading journal or jot down their thoughts of all the books they read. I may not do this in writing - I prefer typing. That is why I started this blog.

And they enter contests for books and then feel like they won a million dollars when they win a book. Yes absolutely. Haven't won any books yet. LOL

And one more I (Historia) would like to add.

They get free Advanced Reading Copies from the book publishers so they can read and review them. Yes I do.

So do I meet the criteria for having a "serious reading habit?"

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Elm Creek Quilting Series

Elm Creek Quilt series
By Jennifer Chiaverini
Published from 1999 to present
Elm Creek Books

I know I said I was reading the Historian, but I got diverted by all the Quilting books coming in from the library. So far this week, I have read 7 of them, (there are 12 books in the series) and loved them all. I have just one more to read, and then I can get back into "proper reading". This entire series is fantastic. In each book we meet all the same characters, at Quilt camp in Waterford, Pennsylvania. We find out some of the history of the town, including the Underground Railroad, and why the town name was changed from Creeks Crossing to Waterford.

Even my mother likes them. And someone mentioned Earlene Fowler's Quilting mysteries. I've read through her website and they look good. So I plan on looking for her books soon.

OK - Enough said about Quilting. Time to move on.

I received another ARC from Harper Collins yesterday, which also has to be read & reviewed by the end of the month. Busy me, two challenges and an ARC all by Sept 31st. I better stop blogging and get busy reading. LOL

Oh yes and Yesterday was Blogging Day. I have only just now read this on Sassymonkey's Blog. Click any of the Blogs or links in my sidebar. There's lots of variety.