Christmas Reading

It has always been a tradition in our family from the time I was a child to spend a lot of the Christmas season reading the new books I got as presents.  My parents are gone now but my sister and I still purchase books for each other every year and a good deal of our break is spent reading.  This year I got Ian Rankin’s new book – Even in the Wild and The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro.

This Christmas I was still reading a book that I had started on December 13th and so rather than start a book that I got for Christmas, I kept reading The Lake House by Kate Morton and I completed it yesterday.  I will post my review below.  Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it but I did point out some issues in my review that I had with it.

I hope that everyone has a peaceful and safe New Years and I will post again early in the new year.

The Lake House by Kate Morton:

I am rating this book as 3.75 out of 5 stars.  In my opinion it is the standard Kate Morton book in that there is great detail, many red herrings and the ultimate conclusion nicely tied up.  It had been a while since I had read a Kate Morton book and I had forgotten how much detail she puts into her books and that I have to slow down my reading in order to catch everything.  Normally a book of this size I would have finished in a week, however, this took me over two weeks to complete.

The plot revolves around the disappearance of a toddler in the 1930’s.  The family were quite wealthy and lived in Cornwall on an estate at a lake.  The small boy disappeared one night during a party and was never found.  The family was so devastated that they walked out of the house, locked it and never went back.  Seventy years later, Detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles upon the house while staying with her grandfather.  Sadie is on a “suggested” leave from her job and has gone to spend a few weeks with her grandfather in Cornwall.  While out for a jog she finds the abandoned house and starts to ask questions.  The mystery of the disappearance of the toddler intrigues Sadie and she begins to investigate.

The narrative flips back and forth between the past and the present.  We hear the points of view of the mother of the missing child and his sisters.  Each feels guilty about the situation in a different way.  At the same time, we see Sadie struggling with an issue from her past.

While I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, I did have some issues with it.  The house had apparently been abandoned for seventy years but yet when Sadie obtains the keys and enters the house, the only indication of decay was that it was extremely dusty.  If this were real life, a house abandoned for that many years in damp Cornwall would have many other issues such as rotting floorboards, damp walls and rodent infestation.  There was a minor indication that there was a neighbor that looked after the grounds of the estate, but that really not much had been done and the gardens and grounds were largely overgrown.  The author also described Sadie opening the gate so that she could drive in to the front of the house on the driveway.  Again, seventy years later there would have been many trees growing up through the driveway and it would have been impassable.  I also find with Kate Morton’s books that they are a maze with respect to red herrings.  You are taken on so many different paths as to how the mystery might be solved that by the time I actually get to the end, I just want it to be done.

Tag – Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

Last week I was tagged  for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers.  Thanks to dreamingthroughliterature for the tag – this is my first one as a new blogger.

So, the following are the questions that I have been tagged to answer:

What has been your favorite read of the year?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.  This book just blew me away.  The depth of the characters was amazing and although the ending broke my heart, I loved the book even more for doing that.

What is your favorite food?

I’m going to divide this one into two parts:  Home-cooked meal:  Turkey with all the trimmings.

Restaurant:  Pizza with Caesar salad.

What is your favorite social media website?

Instagram – I love the visual aspect of it.

My Instagram account is:  indydriven
Do you have any other blogs?

No, just this one which is pretty much all I can handle 🙂  I just started blogging about 2-3 months ago at the age of 51 which I understand is pretty old for the blogging world.  I am very adept with using the Microsoft office products, however, I am struggling a bit with the blog site and trying to get up to speed with everything.
What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas – I especially enjoy Boxing Day.  In Canada it is a Statutory Holiday and this is the day that you traditionally either go out to the shops for the big sales or do absolutely nothing.  From the time I was a child, Boxing Day always meant pulling out the books you got for Christmas, laying around and reading all day and snacking on the turkey leftovers.  A very lazy and restful day after the craziness of Christmas.
Who are one of your favorite ships?

Okay, I am going old school for this one — Scarlett and Rhett from Gone With The Wind.
What and where is your favorite bookstore?

The city I live in has few bookstores even though our population is over 200,000.  We lost our large independent bookstore about four years ago and basically we are left with a Chapters/Indigo and a small Coles bookstore.  I order a lot of books through their website or Book Depository and Book Outlet.

I did discover a wonderful used bookstore in Victoria, British Columbia this past summer called Russell’s Books.  It is huge and I could have spent all day there.

I did visit the Harvard Book Store this past September when I was on vacation in Boston.  It had been on my bucket list of things to see and so of course I was thrilled to bring home a couple of books from there.

I would love to get to Powell’s in Portland and The Strand in New York some day.
Do you have any pets? If yes, what kind and what is/are their name(s)?

No – I am not allowed pets in my condo.  My last pet growing up was a dog called Corky who was a Beagle/Bassett Hound mix.  He was a great dog and we had him on my parent’s farm for about 15 years before he passed away.
What’s your favorite Christmas-themed book?

I actually don’t have one.  I remember as a teenager reading the horror story “Black Christmas” every year because that was the only Christmas book I could get my hands on.  I grew up on a farm and the nearest small town with a library had very limited books.  Thirty-five years ago there was very few books for young adults and then as an adult, I just never got into themed books.  I am always amazed at the selection of books there are out there now for young adults.  I wish it had been like that when I was in my teens and early 20’s.
10 What book do you love recommending to people?

This year I have recommended A Little Life quite a few times to my co-workers and friends.  I also really loved The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons and highly recommend this to anyone who loves to read stories set in Russia.

Okay, as I am a new blogger, I don’t have a lot of people to tag, but will do a couple.  These are the questions I am going to ask the bloggers I tag:

  1.  Why did you start blogging?
  2. What are your two favorite genres to read?
  3. Where is your favorite place to read?
  4. What is your favorite movie that was adapted from a book?
  5. What is/was your favorite tv show?
  6. Where are your top five “bucket list” places you want to visit/vacation?
  7. Are you a student or do you work (or do both)?  If you work, what is your profession or job?
  8. What book did you absolutely hate but so many people think is fantastic?
  9. What book are you currently reading?
  10. Do you have any reading goals or resolutions for 2016?  If so, what are they?

I tag commasandampersands, rachaelsbookshelf and symonebooks

I hope everyone has a great Christmas Season!!

Gwen

 

My Weekend Reads – Dec. 11/15

I haven’t blogged or done a booktube video on youtube for a few weeks — I was away on vacation and then came home with a horrible cold and this is the first weekend where I have felt well enough to do anything.

I need to do some Christmas wrapping this weekend.  I have most of the gifts bought but nothing wrapped and under the tree.  I also need to pick up the turkey I ordered from Sobeys.  This is the first year that I am cooking a pre-stuffed turkey.  I have been very disappointed the last couple of years with my stuffing so screw it, I am not stuffing the bird this year and we will try a pre-stuffed turkey and see how it tastes.

It is snowing here in Regina today.  This is the first real snowfall of the season as it has been unseasonably warm here.  The weather experts are saying we may get 2-4 cms of snow tonight and tomorrow.  Definitely a good time to do some curling up with a good book or two.

This weekend I am going to finish off reading the Terry Fallis book “Poles Apart”.  The main character, Everett Kane, is in is 30’s and has just been notified by his mother that his father has had a stroke in Florida.  He is a free-lance writer so can work from anywhere so at the request of his mother he leaves Toronto and goes down to Florida to assist his father with rehab.  At the rehab center he sees a woman he recognizes.  She is an author who wrote several books about feminism a number of decades earlier.  Everett considers himself quite the feminist and has had difficulties keeping girlfriends as he is more of a feminist than they are.  He befriends the author and starts remembering his college days and how much he enjoyed the activism he was involved in around feminism so he starts writing articles for a blog.  He has the feminist author read his articles and she thinks they are great so he actually starts a blog and publishes them.  He calls his blog “Eve of Equality” and at first has very few followers but then a talk show host reads some of the articles and mentions them on her talk show.  People then start tweeting about the blog and within a matter of hours has hundreds of thousands of followers  Problem being that everyone thinks he is a woman.

If I finish Poles Apart this weekend I am going to start The Lake House by Kate Morton.  I have not read a Kate Morton for a number of years but I am really looking forward to this story.

It is about a family in Cornwall England who own a large property at the lake and they are planning a party.  Alice, their 16 year old daughter is in love for the first time and is really looking forward to the party.  She has a nine month old brother and sometime during the party he is taken from his room.  Searches continue for months but he is never found and the family is devastated.  They leave their property in Cornwall and move to London.  Seventy years later, a Detective Constable stumbles onto this fallen down property and hears the story about what had happened all those years ago.  She is intrigued and looks up Alice in London.  She is now quite elderly but the D.C. starts working with Alice to see if she can figure out what happened to Alice’s brother all those years ago.

I did very little reading this week so I hope to make up for it this weekend.Friday Reads_December 11.2015