Saturday, 21 May 2016

Future Challenges

It's a quiet evening in the Dumoulin household this evening. The missus and I had a nice drive around today, checking out some open houses (one of our past times). I decided to have fish and chips for dinner and went down to the little fish shop on Dyke Road, next to Portuguese Joe's Fish market. I think it's called Trollers. The fish was nice and tender and the fries and onion rings also excellent. All in all a satisfying dinner. While Jo has been listening to music and watching James Corden interviews online, I sat on the deck with the puppies, they sleeping on their cushions and me reading The Shanghai Murders, by David Rotenberg, the first book in the Inspector Zhong Fong mysteries. I've read the others but I have wanted to finally finish this first one. It's part of my Canadian 12 + 4 Reading Group challenge list.

And that is basically why I'm writing this entry. I'm doing extremely well so far this year with my reading challenges. I've finished 13 books in the 12 + 4 Canadian Lit challenge; The Shanghai Murders will be the 3rd last. That will leave me Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and Dead Cold by Louise Penny, the 2nd book in the Inspector Gamache mysteries. So what I was thinking about the past couple of days was whether or not I should do another 12 + 4 challenge if I finish with this particular one before end June.

If I do, I want to continue with my Canadian Literature reading, although I might just make it a 12 + 0, vice 4. That will leave me room to finish off my other challenges as well.

I do have quite a few Canadian novels on my bookshelf so these are some I was considering choosing.

Canadian Literature

1. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (Fic) - "In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story of the Odyssey, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: 'What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?" In Atwood's dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as entertaining as it is disturbing. Drawing on the storytelling and poetic talent for which she is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality - and set out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery."

2. Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay (Thriller) - "Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. At least, that's what she passes herself off as. The truth is, Keisha's real powers have more to do with separating troubled families from their money than actually seeing into the netherworld. Keisha watches the news for stories of missing family members. She gives it a few days, then moves in, tells these families she's had a vision, that she may have some clue to where these missing people are. And by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front.

Keisha's latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She's seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or, if she's been abducted, pleading with whoever took her to let her go. Keisha knows a payoff when she sees one. So she pays a visit to our troubled husband and tells him her vision.

The trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves this man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead.."

3. Rules of Engagement by Catherine Bush (Fic) - "Arcadia Hearne is a researcher who studies contemporary war and specialises in issues of military intervention. Far from her hometown of Toronto, she has created a new life for herself in London. While she pursues the study of violence, surveying the rich arsenal of current global conflicts, she refuses to put herself either physically or emotionally at risk. Thrust into a world full of people who, like her, hide secrets and are in flight from difficult pasts, Arcadia is compelled both to contemplate new possibilities for intervention and to confront her own painful history."

4. The Memory Book by Howard Engel (Mys) - "Left for dead in a dumpster, private investigator Benny Cooperman becomes his own client in his most puzzling mystery yet.

Benny is recovering in a Toronto hospital from a serious blow to the head. He has a condition called alexia sine agraphia; in layman's terms, it means he can still write but cannot read. And his memory has been affected too: although he can quote lines from his high-school production of Twelfth Night, he finds himself brushing his teeth with shaving cream. Even his girlfriend's name - Anna Abraham - continues to elude him.

When Benny learns that he has been found unconscious beside a dead woman, he figures he must have been close to solving a case. With Anna working as field agent and two Toronto cops reluctantly sharing their discoveries, Benny tries to piece together the events that led to a murder - and his own injuries."

5. Seaweed on the Street by Stanley Evans (Mys) - "A billionaire's daughter with an unsavoury past has mysteriously disappeared. Silas Seaweed, a savvy, street-smart investigator based in Victoria, B.C., is put on the case. His search for the young woman leads him on a trail of murder, greed and obsessive violence. Overcoming such obstacles as a pair of ruthless cocaine dealers, the murder of key witnesses and a failed attempt on his own life, Seaweed perseveres in his quest to bring a master criminal to justice, his journey taking him from the darker side of Victoria's downtown to Nevada's glittering casinos."

6. The Kingdom of the Cats by Phyllis Gotlieb (SciFi) - "A millennium after the Mayflower, on Solthree, once Mother - of - Worlds, now merely an area government in the Galactic Federation. Solthree's immense Grand Canyon, temporary habitat for the great telepathic cats of Ungruwarkh. The great cats had come in peace from a distant planet, to let Solthree scientists study their remarkable powers of perception. They were docile as Solthree house cats, until.... the unthinkable happened! And Solthree suddenly had a terrible wrong to right, before peace would come again to... The Kingdom of the Cats."

7. The Celtic Riddle by Lyn Hamilton (Mys) - "The co-owner of a Toronto antiques store, Lara McClintoch is obsessed with finding rare and beautiful artifacts. Her travels take her to the ends of the earth, where history jealously guards its treasures - and where the mysteries of the past meet the dangers of the present.

Lara accompanies her employee to County Kerry, Ireland, for the reading of an old friend's will. The well-to-do Eamon Byrne left each of his quarrelling heirs a clue - a piece of a puzzle that wold lead to a mysterious treasure - but the family wold have to work together, combining the clues to give them meaning. When Lara discovers the ancient Celtic poem that serves as the key, she begins to close in on the treasure, fascinated by the intricate riddle. Line by line, stanza by stanza, she comes closer to the secret, but someone thwarts her at every turn - with murder..."

8. Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff (Fic) - "A philosophy professor shares the story of his mother's dying. Through him, we see her measured steps into the mysterious depths of neurological illness. More than a tale of isolated tragedy, Scar Tissue explores the fragile lines of memory, their configuration in identity, and the ways in which both are one moment formed and then shattered. This is an intensely personal novel about family, love in all its guises, and the ultimate triumph of life over loss."

9. The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper (Thriller) - "When Patrick Rush, a recently widowed journalist and failed novelist, decides to join a writing circle, it seems a fertile time for the imagination. In the city of Toronto, a murderer is striking at random, leaving his victim's bodies mutilated and dismembered, and taunting the police with cryptic notes.

Influenced by the atmosphere of menace and fear, the group begins to share their own dark tales. One member, Angela, tells a mesmerising story about a child-stealer called the Sandman. Patrick, though, finds fantasy and reality blurring. Is the maniac at large in fact the Sandman? Is Patrick himself being stalked by the killer? What does Angela really know?

And when his own son is snatched, Patrick must embark on a horrifying journey to track down the elusive figure known as the Sandman."

10. Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler (Fic) - "Moses Berger, son of the failed poet L.B. Berger, is in the grips of an obsession. The Gursky family with its colourful bootlegging history, its bizarre connections with the North and the Inuit, and its wildly eccentric relations, both fascinates and infuriates him. His quest to unravel their story leads him to the enigmatic Ephraim Gursky: document forger in Victorian England, sole survivor of the ill-fated Franklin expedition and charismatic religious leader of the Arctic. Of Ephraim's three grandsons, Bernard has fought, wheedled and cheated his way to the head of a liquor empire. His brother Morrie has reluctantly followed along. But how does Ephraim's protégé, Solomon, fit in? Elusive, mysterious and powerful, Solomon Gursky hovers in the background, always out of Moses's grasp, but present - like an omen."

11. The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan (Fic) - "In late 1963, Mary 'Mouse' Bradford is sent to boarding school by her unsympathetic father and jealous stepmother. There, she meets the rebellious Paulie, and together they embark upon a quest to discover what, fundamentally, separates men from women."

12. City of Ice by John Farrow (Mys) - "A bomb explodes in a busy Montreal street. A Mob lawyer blown apart, an innocent child murdered. Watching and powerless to prevent it is Montreal's most illustrious policeman - Emile Cinq-Mars. Then the corpse of a young man, Artinian, is found with a meat hook through his heart and the inscription M-5 round his neck. M-5, March 5th, a calling card in English. When Cinq-Mars discovers that Artinian had infiltrated the mob he is drawn back to the bombing.

Linking the two crimes, the detective finds himself in the midst of the Canadian mob. Their new ally is the ruthless Russian mafia, and in particular an enigmatic crime boss known as the Czar. When Cinq-Mars uncovers the identity of another mole within the Czar's organisation, he knows it is a race against time. Can she help him catch the Czar? Can he save her from almost certain death?"

So if I do decide to do one more CanLit challenge, I've got a nice mix I think. There a few other possibilities; Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Last Crossing, David Adams Richards Nights Below Station Street, William Gibson's Virtual Light or Douglas Coupland's Player One. They look interesting as well.

There you go. Enjoy your weekend. It's almost time for a new Midsomer Murders here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails