Monday, 26 June 2017

Book Reading and Buying Update, the Music Challenge and other items... Whew!!!

Well, just took a look at my last entry and realised it's been 4 days since I wrote anything. Shame on me!!! We've had lovely warm weather the past week, being Canadian, I have to say it's almost been too hot. But today, even though the sun is shining brightly, there is a nice cool breeze and it feels very comfortable.
On the doggie front, Bonnie no longer has a bandage on her tail. Other than a little scab, everything looks fine. Just have to keep an eye on her for the next couple of days to make sure she (or Clyde for that matter) don't lick the scab off. Clyde goes on Wednesday to make sure his foot is OK. The cream seems to have worked fine as the little lump between his toes fell off within a couple of days of us applying it.

Book Purchases

This is a bit of a misnomer actually as I didn't really buy any books. I just took the dogs out on Sunday and we drove by the 3 or 4 Little lending Libraries that people have outside their houses. I found two books I liked so traded two of mine for two of theirs. Neat, eh?

I found two of the more recent Lee Child and Thomas Perry books -

Make Me by Lee Child. "Jack Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, so he steps off a train in Mother's Rest, a small town hidden in a thousand square miles of wheat fields. It's a strange place with watchful people, and a worried woman named Michelle Chang, who mistakes Reacher for someone else: her missing partner in a private investigation she thinks must have turned lethal. There's something about Chang that makes Reacher want to help ... so he teams up with her and starts to ask around. He thinks: How bad can this thing be? But before long he's plunged into a desperate race across the country, up against thugs and assassins every step of the way, and into a nightmare he never sees coming. Walking away would have been easier. But as always, Reacher's rule is: If you want me to stop, you're going to have to make me."

Blood Money by Thomas Perry. "Even before she heard the teenager's story, Jane Whitefield's native American intuition whispered danger. For a year, Rita Sanford kept house for an old man in Florida. When he disappeared, other men came and tried to kill her. That was before she knew that her employer was the mafia's brilliant moneyman, recently reported murdered. Now the mob suspects Rita of stealing the only record of a shady investment worth billions. Unless Jane, Rita's last hope, can spirit Rita into a new identity, she's a dead woman. As the Mafioso army converges on airports and hotels, highways and city streets, there seems to be no exit - except from life itself..."

Just Finished

One author never disappoints me and that is Nevil Shute. Over the past couple of years I've explored more of his work and I've enjoyed every book I've read. I just finished The Chequer Board and loved it.

My review is below. I've now read 8 books by Shute and I still have a few (5) on my bookshelves to keep me occupied. Everybody should try one of his books. My review of The Chequer Board is below.

"The more books by Nevil Shute that I read, the more I come to recognise that he is one of the best story-tellers ever. I've enjoyed so many of his books so far; The Far Country, On the Beach, Pied Piper, etc and as I've been slowly exploring his works, I'm enjoying him more than ever.
The Chequer Board, published originally in 1947 was no exception. It is set after WWII and tells the story of Capt. (Ret'd) Turner. Turner was injured during the war, while on a flight from Africa to England to be tried for black marketeering. On the flight were other personnel, including a Negro American soldier (on his way to be tried for attempted rape), a young English Commando (on his way for court martial for murder) and the English co-pilot. These four survive the attack by German fighters.
After the war, Turner is now being treated for the effects caused by his injuries (pieces of shrapnel still lodged in his brain). He is told that nothing can be done due to the location of the shrapnel and he has maybe a year to live. This starts Turner on a journey to find the other three men, all of whom kept him company while he recovered from his surgeries, and all of whom have moved on.
it's a simple story, but the journey to find out what happened to these men and the internal journey of Turner, his past, his relationship with his wife, etc, makes for a fascinating and at times very emotional story.
There are other issues that are touched on; the treatment of African - Americans in the US military, how the English impacted those countries that they ruled over, etc, but it is the stories of each man that is so interesting and the emotional stories as well. Shute has such a knack for addressing these emotional touches, that you probably don't realise how much you have found yourself becoming involved in the sub-stories, until the end. I do find that this story, like so many others Shute stories I've read, always strike my heart and soul, lovely to read and to think about. (5 stars)"


I do try to avoid politics in this BLog but I read an interesting article in the Washington Post yesterday that struck my interest. It was about Amy Siskind, a former Wall Street executive who has taken it upon herself to keep track of everything that the current White House is doing. As she puts at the top of her weekly document, or as she calls it, her Weekly List. She starts each entry with the following statement, "Week 32: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember". I've now read the past couple of weeks and will continue to do so. If you want to follow her, this link might work. She is also on Facebook, etc. Anyway, interesting stuff.

The Missus's Music Challenge, Part Deux

I know you've missed it and I apologise for not updating this sooner.

Crikey, we've already done the first 5 days of the new challenge, Day 31 - 35. So without further ado, here are some of the selections that have been provided for each. It's as popular as the original list that Jo borrowed.

Day 31 - The Last Song Played before the Light's go on at the Disco. Being a crusty old guy, I picked Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven,  nice long slow song. I remember it from my university days. I think Jo called me a dinosaur for my pick (or similar sentiments anyway). ;0). She picked Avalon by Roxy Music, another good track. A couple of other choices included Midnight Love Affair by George Benson and Make it With You by Bread.

Day 32 - A One Hit Wonder. I picked Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg's Je t'Aime, Mon Non Plus. Jo picked You Get What You Give by The New Radicals. A few others included Gotye's Somebody I Used to Know and Chesney Hawkes - The One and Only.

Day 33 - A Song from the '80s. As you can see, this one was wide open. I picked a nice simple rock song, Run to You by Bryan Adams. Jo picked a great song, The Boys of Summer by Don Henley. Some others included Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics, Need You Tonight by INXS and Through the Barricades by Spandau Ballet.

Day 34 - A Song that You Changed your Mind About (meaning you once hated it and now don't or vice versa. This was a difficult category) I picked Which Way You Going Billy by The Poppy Family (once hated, now likeish). Jo picked Advice for the Young at Heart by Tears for Fears (again, once hated, now likes). A couple of others were Sorry by Justin Bieber (hated but now likes) and Hot, Hot, Hot by Arrow (liked now hates.)

and the final category, not including today's.

Day 35 - Song that was only an Album Track. I picked The House at Pooh Corner by Loggins and Messina (brings back nice memories). Jo picked Last Chance on the Stairway by Duran, Duran. A couple of other picks included A Foreign Place by Japan and Bad Influence by The Robert Cray Band.

I'm enjoying this very much. Getting lots of ideas for new songs to add to my USB. Today's pick if you want to think of your own answers is a Song that is a Favourite Right now. It doesn't necessarily have to be current, just new for you and liked by you at this time.

I was going to do a History entry but this has been pretty lengthy already so I'm going to pass on that today and move right along to the Birth Day thing.

The Birth Day Thing 10 November 1990 (at which point I hit the grand old age of 35.)

US Billboard #1 Single 10 November 1990

Love Takes Time by Mariah Carey. American singer, Mariah Carey got her start in 1988. Love Takes Time was her second US #1 single after Visions of Love, which was also the first single that she ever released. Her 1st 4 singles released off her first album reached #1 in the US. Carey wrote Love Takes Time with Ben Margulies.

UK #1 Single 10 November 1990

Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers. The Righteous Brothers were an American duo consisting of Bill Medley and formerly Bobby Hatfield. The two performed together until Hatfield's death in 2003. They originally released it in 1965 and it reached 4th. They re-released it in 1990 for the movie Ghost. It reached #27 on the AFI list of top Movie songs.

New York Times #1 Fiction Best Seller 10 November 1990

The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel. This is the 4th book of 6 in Auel's Earth Children book series. It started with The Clan of the Cave Bear, which I did read and enjoyed. The six books which make up the series are -

1. The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
2. The Valley of the Horses (1982)
3. The Mammoth Hunters (1985)
4. The Plains of Passage (1990)
5. The Shelters of Stone (2002)
6. The Land of the Painted Caves (2011)

Pulitzer Prize Winner 1990

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos. The book tells the story of two Cuban brothers and musicians who move to New York in the 1950s. It was the first novel by an American - born Hispanic to win the Pulitzer. The book was turned into a movie, The mambo Kings, in 1992 and also into a musical in 2005.

Nobel Prize Laureate 1990

Octavio Paz (Mexico). Octavio Paz was a Mexican poet and diplomat who lived from 1914 - 1998. He was awarded the Nobel Prize 'for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterised by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity'.

Hugo Award Winner 1990

Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Hyperion is the first in a series of novels by American writer Simmons in his Hyperion Cantos.

Other books so far include -
The Fall of Hyperion;
The Rise of Endymion; and
Short Stories.

The first book is being developed as an event series by Bradley Cooper for SyFy.

Edgar Award Winner 1990

Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke. Black Cherry Blues is the 3rd book in the Dave Robicheaux mystery series by American writer Burke. There are currently 20 books in the series, with Black Cherry Blues being the 3rd book. Two movies have been made from this series, one starring Alec Baldwin and the other starring Tommy Lee Jones. Burke has also written other series.

I've considered trying the Robicheaux series but I might wait until I finish off a couple of others. :0)

and finally....

Man Booker Prize 1990

Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt. Don't know and just read the first sentence in Wikipedia describing it and now I don't care if I do ever read it. I quote... "The novel explores the postmodern concerns of similar novels, which are often categorised as historiographic metafiction, a genre that blends approaches from both historical fiction and metafiction."

A.S. Byatt is an English writer from Sheffield. She has written novels, short stories and essays.

So there you go, a wordy entry for your perusal. Enjoy your week!!

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