Tag Archive | Reading

Winter reading…

This year we skipped fall and went from a heatwave right into winter, my favourite time to read. One book I found of great interest was American author Wally Lamb’s novel ‘I know this much is true’ — not always easy but certainly fascinating.

WALLY LAMB, always smiling in photos.


This book is about an imperfect family, as so many of our families are, and the relationship of identical twins, Dominick and Thomas, one of whom develops schizophrenia.

It isn’t simple, but these things DO happen, mental illness pops up in so many of our families as difficult as it may be and we need to deal with it. It seems that every photo I found of Wally Lamb shows him smiling, although some of what he writes is painful to read.

KATE DiCAMILLO

Sometimes books I need to read fall into my hands like magic and that’s how next I came to read Kate DiCamillo’s ‘The Tale of Despereaux’, a book for children or for the child within. I loved it! I can’t wait to read it again with my favourite 8-year old reader, Naomi.

Despereaux is a little mouse, born too small with ears too large — even his own mother is unhappy with him. His behaviour is not mouse-like and the other mice are so disturbed by his unusual behaviour, they banish him to the dungeon where the big rats live. Don’t worry, he ends up saving the princess and becomes a hero. Just what we need these days, a REAL HERO!

JOHN NEWBERY AWARD


DiCamillo’s book won the John Newbery Award, and as often happens, one thing led to another. I wanted to know who John Newbery was. Mr. Google says he was a publisher of children’s books who lived from 1713-1767. Can that be? Do you know? If you do, please let me know.

IS THIS JOHN NEWBERY?
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The Boy in the Photo…

Just finished a book I was unable to put down. It grabbed my attention, held on tight, and wouldn’t let go no matter what. ‘The Boy in the Photo’ by Nicole Trope insisted I keep reading until I’d finished and I was helpless in trying to put it aside to do other things.

The story takes place in Australia, is a fast-paced roller coaster and every time I HAD to do other things in order to go on living, I resented having to do so.


Is it a pleasant story? Is it easy to deal with what is written on its pages? Absolutely not! If you can’t deal with terrible things happening to nice people, skip this one. However, if you are brave enough to stick it out, you’ll want to quickly get to each upcoming word just as I did.


I read all the time and the reaction I had to this one doesn’t happen very often. The story is about a controlling ex-husband, bent on revenge after his wife divorces him, who picks up their boy after school and disappears with the child for six long years.


When the son finally returns, he is a stranger — convinced (by his father) that his mother didn’t love or want him. He walks into a police station, tells them who he is and that his father died in a fire and he has nowhere else to go. He hates his mother. He’s been carefully turned against her by his dad.


What follows, instead of being a happy reunion, turns out to be a nightmare for everyone. Mom realizes the boy has a secret — ah, but I don’t want to ruin things for you so I will NOT tell you any more or how the book ends.


I’ve told you enough for you to understand why I couldn’t put the book down and HAD to keep reading until it ended. If you read it, let me know what YOU think.

Reading Richard Wagamese

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

It’s Canada Day today. I’m home with a bothersome cold, which wouldn’t be nice to give to anyone so I’m alone, listening to the CBC and reading Richard Wagamese. Good, they’re talking about Canadian Literature. Since reading is one of my greatest pleasures, I’m interested. They haven’t mentioned any of our native writers yet, but they may.

Our book club has given me the gift of discovering,

Wagamese author

Ojibway author Richard Wagamese, 1955-2017

often for the first time, many writers I didn’t know of before. The books we chose to read this month are ‘One Native Life’ and ‘Embers’, both by Richard Wagamese. We

indian Horse

Indian Horse by Wagamese (now a film)

had already read two other of his books, ‘Medicine Walk’, and ‘Indian Horse’, each of which were very worth reading. (Indian Horse was made into a movie, but I haven’t seen it. I don’t like to see films based on books I’ve read. I like to hold on to it in my own way.)

We lost a special Canadian when Wagamese passed away in 2017. He was an Ojibway journalist, radio and TV broadcaster, and producer. All of this in spite of an abusive childhood and little education. (His parents were Residential School survivors.) Wagamese was only 61 when he died and certainly had more books left in him. He did, however, leave us a rich legacy. I’m now reading his ‘Embers’. Here are a few quotes from this account of his journey in learning how to live.

Embers

An easy read, yet full of wisdom

‘I am a traveler on a sacred journey through this one shining day.

Walk gently on the earth and do each other no harm.

We live because everything else does.

A gift is not a gift until it is shared.

Keep what’s true in front of you.

Freedom is letting go of bounds and barriers, and hurling yourself into the adventure of living.

Let the mystery remain a mystery.

Be filled with wonder.

Take the first step and try to make it beyond.

Shout something.’

I hope this moves you to read ‘Embers’ and then more of Richard Wagamese’s books. Enjoy!

Old lady reading

I may have a cold, but I’m enjoying my day doing one of my favorite things.

 

 

Maimonides’ prescription

photo by Timothy Stark

photo by Timothy Stark

Should I argue with someone acknowledged by all the world to have been a genius? Furthermore, why would I when I totally agree with him? Let’s face it, whenever people think as I do, I consider them geniuses anyway. (Ahem!)

The great philosopher, astronomer, scholar and physician, Maimonides, who lived from about 1138 until 1204, has been recognized throughout the ages as a real genius — which the guy certainly was. He moved in a prominent, important circle of society in Morocco and Egypt where he lived, and was a vital part of the history of Arab and Muslim sciences — which thrived then. And, yes, Maimonides was a Jew, but lucky for us, at that time he was a part of and worked closely with the top Arab thinkers around him.

Maimonides

Maimonides

In his medieval Spanish world, Maimonides, as a physician, recognized the importance of what today we might call ‘entertainment’ as a vital requirement for good health. He observed, and I quote: “Music, poetry, paintings and walks in pleasant surroundings all have a part to play towards being a happy person and the maintenance of good health.” Wow! He was a man after my own heart…

Maimonides' Statue in Cordoba

Maimonides’ Statue in Cordoba

Although I am nohow as clever as Maimonides, I’d add a few things I love to that list, but books were not that easily come by back then, and many people were unable to read and/or couldn’t afford them. I also spent years enjoying what I consider the ultimate challenge for actors — live theatre. It is impossible to beat the connection one feels with the actor on stage during a great performance. It is thrilling and remembered for years.

As someone who thoroughly enjoys the pleasures he believed in, I am

Maimonides' sculpture in U.S. Capitol

Maimonides’ sculpture in U.S. Capitol

committed to Maimonides’ prescription for well-being. The part of my income spent on such pleasures is, to my mind, an investment in my good health — surely as important as a visit to my fabulous and oh-so-clever and kind medical doctor. His list is also cheaper than and has less side effects than those provided by drug manufacturers.

Without a shred of guilt, I plunk down my credit card each year for season’s tickets to an eclectic and delightful ‘Music in the Morning’ concert series, as well as the ‘Live at the Met’ opera season coming directly to us from the New York Metropolitan Opera Company.

Both seasons are about over right now so they are on my mind, but I will be one of the first in line to purchase my tickets for next year. Can I afford it? Can I afford NOT to afford it? My health is at stake!

The health of my dear friends who share these pleasures with me is at stake as well! Besides, we go out for lunch afterwards for food and interesting conversation and what can give us more than that?