Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Whoops + Read Alouds

Whooops, I missed last week's post. Here's why.

The basement door opens into the house, so we could pull it open. The other doors open out and were buried in snow/ice. Not too deep but frozen shut. We couldn't get the shovel into the snow to shove it aside.

Steve's lovely bottom going through the only opening we had to get out of the house after last week's second storm.

The beehive (yellow box) is nearly covered with snow, but the hole for oxygen is open. They should be toasty in there. The birdbath is nearly covered in a drift. It is heated and the only open source of water around. Since this photo, the snow has covered it several times. It is a better spot for the water from the bird's point of view but not from a maintenance point.

I usually keep you up to date on the books we are reading aloud to each other, but we've had a bit of a boring patch lately. Actually, in reviewing the year, I realize it was just a really long boring book that took forever to get through.

"The 100-year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson was boring beyond bearing. Why oh why did we continue. It won the Stephen Leacock for humour? Why, I ask? Our favourite bookstore owner recommended it as the funniest thing he had read in years. Again, why? It started out charmingly enough. The old guy is now in seniors home and the administration has decided to celebrate his 100th birthday. He isn't interested and wants a smoke and vodka, which aren't allowed. So he escapes. That's kind of cute. Then he gets on a bus to run away, stealing a suitcase as a disguise. It is a bit cute for a little longer. Interspersed are looooong chapters on this old man's past. The first two are sort of funny. The motif continues and continues with more absurd situations and increasingly improbable histories. It all ends in a one liner. Over 300 pages for a joke. I wanted to cut the book in half, but Steve objects to mutilating books.

We've been reading the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley for a few years now and the latest edition, "The Dead in their Vaulted Arches", didn't disappoint.(here) 

However, it isn't much of a mystery, it is sort of an elegy on death. Flavia's mother's body has been recovered and returned to the family  home. A death occurs at the beginning of the story, but it doesn't preoccupy Flavia. Instead the circumstances surrounding Hilary's (mom) death do. Over the course of a few days leading up to the funeral, Flavia discovers her mothers involvement with high level British intrigue and the murderer of Hilary. It is a much more emotional journey exploring grief and funerals, the nature of intrigue and our relationships with death. I would have liked a slightly different plot line, one where Flavia is not obsessed about her mom and more involved with the dead man at the railroad station. We also encounter a number of previous supporting characters, but to no real effect. If I didn't know there was another book coming, I would have thought it was the final one in the series. Still, I like Flavia and can forgive a lot, so far.

I've linked to Amazon, not because I ever buy there or get funds back, but because they have the best images of the books to copy over. Amazon was voted one of the top ten worst companies in the world due to tax evasions and other sorts of corporate wanking. We have two regular small owner book stores we buy from and they are great.

I thought there were more to talk about but just the two since the summer. I've been sloppy, not writing down the books I've read in my reading journal. Time to straighten up, Laureen.

There should be lots of studio shots next week. We pretended to be on a long weekend vacation this weekend past and I managed to get in several hours of spinning. I've been purging shelves in the faint hope that we can afford a new window in my studio that can over look the garden. There are more pressing needs, but I can hope.

A little teaser for you.

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