Showing posts from November, 2012

274. BOOK TOUR: Arn? Narn. by Bruce Meisterman

Arn? Narn. by Bruce Meisterman  (US) only

Pages: 165
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 15, 2012
First Published: Oct. 1, 2012
Publisher: John Gosslee Books
Genre: photo-documentary, coffee table book, fishing industry, Newfoundland
Rating: 4/5

First sentence: "When you're twenty years ahead of the curve, it really doesn't matter that you're right."

Publisher's Summary:  "Arn? Narn. is photographer Bruce Meisterman s first book. Arn? Narn. chronicles Canada s Newfoundland Island fishing culture on the road to its unfortunate demise. The black and white photography and interviews conducted by Meisterman showcase a community earmarked by minimalist living and deep community bonds, but broken by the cod's disappearance."

Bruce Meisterman is a photographer and the beauty of this book is in the photography.  The text is sparse.  Each chapter starts with a minimal yet informative narrative on topic and then the often full page photographs tell the rest of the s…

DVD Break: Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962)

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol - 1962 - DVD - Animated - Made for TV - Watched at friend's house
This is the second movie we watched last night.  Something lighthearted after the dramatic heaven movie.  I remember watching this on TV as a kid; my Dad loved Mr. Magoo and of course, to me, it was Mr. Howell doing the voice.  I didn't really remember much of this version going in, it must be ages since I've seen it now.  It is a pretty straightforward retelling of the Dickens' story, only it is set as a play within the movie.  Mr. Magoo is an actor and plays the part of Scrooge in the musical play.  The whole story is there except they left off the bits about Scrooge's nephew and for some reason Christmas Present visits first, then Past and To-Be.  The songs are delightful, very Broadway-ish and the song that is repeated "The Lord's Bright Blessing" is a wonderful Christmas Carol.  A wonderful, feel-good, true meaning of Christmas movie.  Recommended!

DVD Break: The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven (2010)

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven - 2010 - DVD - TV Documentary - Watched at friend's house Absolutely inspiring!  A small group of us watched this and cried and rejoiced.  The boy was almost decapitated and survived at 6 years old, is paralyzed from the neck down now but his life is amazing.  He went to heaven while he was in a coma and describes that experience so beautifully.  His family accept the miracle in their lives and of Alex's journey but they don't make it the focus of Alex's life.  They have other children and try to lead as normal a life as possible.  It is an amazing story of the community's outreach to the family in their time of need, the response of of other Christians in the emergency/police/medical field during this horrific time and the grace of God at work in a family's life making a tragedy become the positive turning point in all their lives.  Twelve year old Alex was so impressive, he is so genuine and the face of Jesus just shines thro…

304. The Bat by Jo Nesbo

The Bat by Jo Nesbo  (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
Harry Hole, 1

Pages: 374
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 9, 2012
First Published: Oct. 9, 2012 (1997, Norway)
Publisher: Random House Canada
Genre: mystery, thriller, serial killer
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "Something was wrong."

Publisher's Summary:  "Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer…

Short Story: Love in the Meadow by Helen Jean Burn

"Love in the Meadow" by Helen Jean Burn; Illustrated by Bascove
a short story


from REDBOOK magazine, August 1981, pg 33

First Sentence:  "That morning, the one Hetty Roop kept trying to put out of her mind, she had awakened to the pierce of silence."

Last Sentence: ""What we got to do now," she said, "is get another rooster and some more cement.""

Author: The author blurb only tells us that Burn lives in Maryland and is currently at work on a novel tentatively called "The Briar Patch".  Never having heard of her, some research tells that she did write a novel entitled "Savannah" and a couple of non-fiction books but otherwise has spent most of her life involved in Maryland Public Television, specializing in historical documentaries.  She did write many short stories published in various magazines.

This is a beautiful, simple story of life and death.  In it a 70 year old woman contemplates these as she tends to a…

Short Story: "Alexander's Overcoat" by Marjorie Franco

"Alexander's Overcoat"by Marjorie Franco
a short story


from REDBOOK magazine, Aug. 14, 1981, pg 25

First Sentence:  "Early in October, Mr. and Mrs. Trampbush invited us to their house for dinner."

Last Sentence:  "Finally, when he was satisfied, he turned to me for my approval, and finding it, he declared himself ready for winter."

Author: The little author blurb at the end of the story tells us that Marjorie Franco has been contributing a yearly August short story to this magazine featuring "Alexander and Genevieve" since 1976 and that she is currently writing a novel about them.  Not much information can be found online about her but it appears she did write the novel "Alexander and Genevieve" which while not popular on the internet can be found for a reasonable price.  She also appears to have written two YA novels, again not popular with collectors/readers but can be found.

This was an adorable story and I would pick up oth…

303. Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies by Marc Aronson

Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies by Marc Aronson - (US)- (Canada) - (Kindle)

Pages: 197 + Notes, Index, Bibliography, etc.
Ages: 14+
Finished:  Nov. 6, 2012
First Published: Apr. 10, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: non-fiction, history, USA, 1930s-1960s, FBI,Communism
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence: "Today, Americans face intense terrorist threats and thus hard choices: Which rights and freedoms can we, must we, curtail in order t be safer in our streets and homes?"

Publisher's Summary:  "King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. . . . You better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is bared to the nation."

Dr. Martin Luther King received this demand in an anonymous letter in 1964. He believed that the letter was telling him to commit suicide. Who wrote this anonymous letter? The FBI. And the man behind it all was J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s first director. In this unsparing explo…

Short Story: "Abe, Between Rounds" by Ethan Canin

"Abe, Between Rounds" by Ethan Canin
a short story


from REDBOOK magazine, Aug. 14, 1981, pg 27

First Sentence:  "What's the one thing you should never do?"

Last Sentence:  "And then he forced his mouth up to his father's ear and said, "You win, Pa.""

Author:  The little author blurb tells us that Canin is a university student, and that this is the first of his short stories to appear in a "national magazine.  Further online research shows he became a doctor, continued to publish short stories and eventually became a full-time writer.  He is now the author of several novels and two collections of short stories, in which this story does not seem to appear.  I would look forward to reading the author again.

This is a father/son story and perhaps a Jewish story.  The family is Jewish but is not practicing, though cultural references are made.  The father is the patriarch of the family and teaches his son to live a life of moral and …

278. Last Days of an Immortal by Fabien Vehlmann

Last Days of an Immortal by Fabien Vehlmann. Illustrated by Gwen de Bonnevval. Translted by Edward Gauvin  (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 152
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 17, 2012
First Published: Nov. 27, 2012
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Genre: Graphic novel, science fiction, dystopia, immortality
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "I don't really know"

Publisher's Summary:  "In the distant future, Elijah is a member of the “Philosophical Police,” who must solve conflicts that arise out of ignorance of the Other. Two species are fighting a war with roots in a crime committed centuries ago, and Elijah must solve the crime and bring peace between their species, while also confronting his own immortality in a world where science provides access to eternal life. In a world where death no longer exists, why do so many want to give up on life? Serious, heavy duty science fiction, with shades of author J.G. Ballard and the films Gattaca, Solaris, and George Lucas’ THX 1138."


Short Story: Good Drying Weather by Anita Shreve

Good Drying Weather by Anita Shreve
a short story

Illustrated by Katherine Osborn


from REDBOOK magazine, August 1981, pg 29

First Sentence:  "All along the road to Marguaree, the women have there wash out."

Last Sentence: "Good drying weather, she says aloud"

Author:  Anita Shreve is a very popular author today.  Though I've only read one of her books, I did enjoy it immensely.  The little author blurb after this story tells us she won the O. Henry Award for a short story in 1976.  A little research shows that her first novel wasn't published until 1989, meaning this story here was published while she was still relatively unknown.

This is a short short story, being two magazine pages in length.  Beautifully writtten and a joy read, it is not a happy story, nor really sad but more what I would call melancholy.  A Nova Scotia woman is sitting on her step in September watching her laundry dry on the line, thinking of her husband.  He's a fisherman but …

300. Tharg's Creepy Chronicles by Mark Millar

Tharg's Creepy Chronicles by Mark Millar, et al. Art by Dave D'Antiquis, et al. (US) - (Canada)
Tharg the Mighty

Pages: 144
Ages: 18+
Finished:  Nov. 2, 2012
First Published: Oct. 9, 2012
Publisher: 2000 AD
Genre: graphic novel, paranormal, horror, short stories
Rating: 3/5

First sentence: "My name is Tharg the Mighty, editor of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, 2000 AD. "

Publisher's Summary: "From the deepest, darkest recesses of the Nerve Centre vaults, the eerie alien editor of 2000 AD known as the Mighty Tharg presents some of the creepiest, kookiest tales to terrify this Halloween.

From the deepest, darkest recesses of the Nerve Centre vaults, the eerie alien editor of 2000 AD known as the Mighty Tharg presents some of the creepiest, kookiest tales to terrify this Halloween. Featuring stories from reknowned comic talent: writers – Mark Millar, Gordon Rennie, Chris Weston, Arthur Wyatt and artists – Dave D'Antiquis, Frazer Irving, Lee Garbett, Chris W…

302. Dei Verbum by Pope Paul VI

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation DEI VERBUM solemnly promulgated
by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965

Reason for Reading: This dogmatic constitution is one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council.  I am reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church this year and this document is cited for quotations extensively in the first section so I decided to read it in it's entirety.  It is not long, 8 printed computer pages of text plus 4 of bibliographic notes.  However, this is not easy reading and is slow going yet is satisfying reading in the end.  Dei Verbum is Latin for "The Word of God" and thus this document is about God's Word: the Bible.

The document can be found here.

The document is divided into the following chapters:

Preface (1)Revelation Itself (2–6)Handing On Divine Revelation (7–10)Sacred Scripture, Its Inspiration and Divine Interpretation (11–13)The Old Testament (14–16)The New Testament (17–20)Sacred Scripture in the Life of the C…

301. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan V.11 by Hiroshi Shiibashi

Torii Labyrinth by Hiroshi Shiibashi (US) - (Canada)
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, V.11

Pages: 192
Ages: 13+
Finished: Nov. 3, 2012
First Published: Oct. 2, 2012
Publisher: viz media
Genre: manga, fantasy, shounen, YA
Rating: 3/5

First sentence: "Second heir... I thought... I was faithfully... following your words..."

Publisher's Summary:  "The Nura clan and their allies encounter a forest of torii gates on their way to find Hidemoto's lost seals. There, Rikuo and the others find themselves at the mercy of a yokai capable of using the thousand torii gates to form a massive, deadly labyrinth. Awashima falls prey to the labyrinth and is transported to another dimension, diminishing their numbers. Awashima will have to battle a mysterious and powerful yokai before attempting to escape."

Acquired:  Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The Nura clan finally reaches Kyoto and encounters many adversaries. …

299. Blue Bay Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Blue Bay Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Illustrated by Dirk Gringhuis (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
The Alden Family Mysteries (aka The Boxcar Children), #6

Pages: 157
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 2, 2012
First Published: 1961
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, MG, mystery, early chapter book
Rating: 4/5

First sentence: "One winter day Jessie Alden met her brother Henry in the hall."

Publisher's Summary:  "The Aldens find a castaway on a South Sea island. How did he get there and who is he?"

Acquired:  Can't remember but was from a thrift store or garage sale.
Reason for Reading:  I am working my way through the original 19 books.  This is also from the Random Bookshelf I am reading from.

Returning to the typical theme of these books, the mystery involves finding out the identity of a mystery person.  This time it is a little different though as the children can't find the person but know he is there.  Grandfather takes the children plus Ben's fr…

298. The Strand Magazine June-Sept. 2012

The Strand Magazine June-Sept. 2012 (Website)

Pages: 80
Ages: 16+
Finished: Nov. 2, 2012
First Published: Jun, 2012
Publisher: The Strand Magazine
Genre: magazine, mystery, thriller
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "On the bar, in the space between the fat man's Tom Collins and the sailor's beer, a girl was dancing."

Publisher's Summary: "Mommy's a Barfly... An unpublished gem by the noir master, James M. Cain...the title says it all.

The Voiceless... Faye Kellerman pens a futuristic tale which will make you pause the next time you choose sending a text over having a face to face chat.

Wink at the Devil...The Charles Todd team pens another mysterious tale that takes us to the trenches of World War I.

The Adventure of The Memento More...Holmes and Watson chase some unlikely clues which makes for a very sharp twist at the end of this pastiche.

Blackjack Road...A game of cat and mouse involving a wheelchair bound man and a prison escapee.

Jonathan Kellerman and Jeff …

Short Story: "Surviving the Peace" by Margaret Ellingson

"Surviving the Peace" by Margaret Ellingson
a short story


from REDBOOK magazine, Aug. 1981, pg 23

First Sentence:  The moon is rising in redwood country on a warm September night.

Last Sentence:  "Her mind drifts back toward dreams, and just before giving in to the darkness she sees soft browns and greens, plashes of pink, purple, red, and is filled with an overwhelming sense of peace as she imagines the doe, safe again up on the starlit ridge, asleep under the trees, her belly full of flowers.

Author:  The tiny author blurb tells us that the author is an English teacher and that this is her first published short story.  I can find no other works by this author online, which is a shame as I really enjoyed this one.

The picture and the brief accompanying summary blurb lead the read to believe this will be a piece of romantic (possible college-age) fluff.  It is far from that.  This is the story of a relationship between a man and woman who eventually become married. …

297. Batula by Steven T. Seagle

Batula by Steven T. Seagle. Illustrated by Marco Cinello.  (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 48
Ages: 5+
Finished: Oct. 30, 2012
First Published: Aug, 7, 2012
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: picture book, bats, vampires
Rating: 2.5/5

First sentence: "This is The Orchard."

Publisher's Summary:  "MAN OF ACTION STUDIOS - creators of the international hit BEN 10 - return with an all-new big book for little readers! 

Livingston is a peaceful fruit bat whose life changes when he is bitten by a vampire and transformed into a vampire bat! As Batula - an avenging creature of the night - Livingston develops a taste for adventure and a need to prove that no matter what he looks like on the outside, he's still the same bat on the inside. 

A full-color story book by FRANKIE STEIN creators SEAGLE & CINELLO!"

Acquired:  Received an egalley from the publisher through Netgalley

Reason for Reading: I love Ben 10 and this looked cute and fun.  The description I read failed to mention i…

Short Story: "A Wedding has been arranged..." by Eleanor Harvey

"A Wedding has been arranged..." by Eleanor Harvey
a short story


from WOMAN'S REALM magazine, Apr. 13, 1958, pg 25

First Sentence:  "The train came to a standstill between stations."

Last Sentence:  "It's so lovely having the family around me."

Author: I can find absolutely no information on this author at all.  She does not bring any results on or LibraryThing.  I get an Eleanor Jones Harvey but she specializes in American art so I highly doubt it is the same person.  Perhaps she only ever published a few short stories, mayhap only this one?

I must say I went into this story expecting an old-fashioned woman's romance and not thinking I'd like it much.  I was wrong.  While the story is about an engaged couple it is not a romance, per se.  Lucy is an orphan and grew up without any family in London.  When she left the orphanage she took classes, moved into her own flat and got a job, living an independant life and taking car…

296. Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock

Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case

Pages: 245
Ages: 14
Finished: Oct. 30, 2012
First Published: Oct. 9, 2012
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, historical fiction, Victorian, 1870s, mystery, Sherlock Holmes
Rating: 3/5

First sentence: "London might as well be draped in black on this thirteenth morning of June in 1870.

Publisher's Summary: "The surprising and shocking conclusion to the unique BOY SHERLOCK HOLMES series.

Becoming Sherlock is the final book in Shane Peacock's award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series, combining brilliant storytelling with fascinating historical detail, and a mystery worthy of one of the greatest sleuths in English literature."

Acquired:  Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading:  Last book of the series!

It was a rather bittersweet feeling to picking up the last book in this series as I knew some finality would come so that Sherlock could go …

295. Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis

Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis. Pictures by Joan Sandin. (Canada) - (US)
An I Can Read Book, Level 3

Pages: 64
Ages: 7+
Finished: Oct. 29, 2012
First Published: 1983
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Genre: easy reader, history, geography, volcanoes
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "Once there was a farmer who lived in Mexico."

Publisher's Summary:  ""El Monstruo!"

Every day is the same for Pablo's father. Then one afternoon the ground growls, hisses smoke, and swallows up his plow. A volcano is erupting in the middle of his cornfield!"

Acquired: Purchased a new copy from a homeschool retailer.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me for his reader.

This book never fails to stun kids, the first time they read/hear it.  How can a volcano just grow like that?  It seems utterly amazing.  But this is based on a true story and the volcano really did appear in a farmer's cornfield and bury the village with lava and ash.Written in a simple, easy to understand narrat…

294. Upside Down: A Vampire Tale by Jess Smart Smiley

Upside Down: A Vampire Tale by Jess Smart Smiley. (Canada) - (US) - (Kindle)

Pages: 144
Ages: 10+
Finished: Oct. 28, 2012
First Published: Oct. 15, 2012 Kindle (Dec. 4, 2012 Print Copy)
Publisher: Top Shelf
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy, vampires, bats, MG
Rating: 2/5

First sentence: "AUUGH! Sigh... It still doesn't work..."

Publisher's Summary:  "Harold is a friendly young vampire who lives in a piano and LOVES candy. Pretty normal, huh? ...until he sets out for a dentist appointment that turns into the biggest adventure of his life! Now he'll face bats, witches, magic spells, vampire frogs, mad scientists, and so much more! It's a wild magical romp for all ages, just in time for Halloween."

Acquired: Received an egalley from the publisher via NetGalley

Reason for Reading:  It looked cute.

I'll start with the illustrations as I was first attracted to the cover.  The illustrations use a three-colour palette of green, white and black which is ve…

291. Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories by Steve Niles

Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories by Steve Niles  (US) - (Canada) In print in Canada
Criminal Macabre, Novels 1-3

Pages:  419
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 27, 2012
First Published: (2002-2003, 2005) 2007
Publisher: Dark Horse
Genre: novellas, short stories, horror, crime noire, paranormal
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:  "It was the night after Halloween."

Publisher's Summary:  "The world has two faces. The natural and the supernatural. The face we see every day, people filing past us in an almost zombie-like stupor, numb to the horrors of everyday life or driven to madness by the pain and agony of modern-day existence. And those are the people who aren't zombies or monsters!

Cal McDonald is a detective with one foot in the real world, and one in the world of magic. For Cal, the horrors we all dream about in the fevered darkness of the night are all-too real, kept at bay through an almost constant influx of drugs to numb the pain, but never erase it. Cut…

293. Christened with Crosses by Eduard Kochergin

Christened with Crosses: Notes Taken on My Knees by Eduard Kochergin. Translated from the Russian by Simon Patterson & Nina Chordas (Canada) - (US) - (Kindle)

Pages: 226
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 28, 2012
First Published: Jul. 25, 2012
Publisher: Glagoslav Publications
Genre: memoir, survival, communism, Russia, Soviet Union, orphans
Rating: 4/5

First sentence: "The first conscious memory in my life is linked with the ceiling, Maybe I was ill frequently, or there was some other reason ..."

Publisher's Summary: "While the mothers in Siberia wait for their soldier sons to return from the war in the west in 1945, the eight year old Eduard secretly jumps on board the trains heading in the opposite direction, heading west, towards Leningrad. Placed in a Siberian orphanage as a child because his parents were arrested as public enemies, there is only one thing he wants: to go back home to Leningrad and to find his mother again. It is not only his desperate courage and h…