February Book List

After almost four years and 100+ books, Canadian writer Yann Martel has given up his self appointed role of literary mentor to the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.


For years Martel has been sending books every two weeks to the Prime Minister in the hopes of getting him interested in great literature. And not just picking up any old book on sale at the local ChaptersIndigo book store…. noNoNO. Martel has taken the time to write about why and how the particular pick for the fortnight has impacted the world, readers and brought new ideas to the fore.

Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of more time than I am giving towards the Random House Inc reading challenge than I am already giving. Indeed, I may end up with less time if I manage to score a job in the next little while. For what its worth I am applying for a job in a bookstore – does the proverb letting a child loose in a candy store spring to mind anyone?

So here are the lucky nine books that I’ve managed to read in the month of February.

Read the first Merrily Watkins book last month and couldn’t wait to start another one. The book I read was out of order of the series, so this one is heading back as far at the Ottawa Public Library will allow me to go.  Easy to read mystery book that mixes faith with mystical and comes out with an enjoyable read for this bookworm.

This book was easy to read. It was enjoyable and I did finish it (I often give up on a book if there are no redeeming features at all) but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read anymore by Susan Lewis. Quite honestly, it felt too obvious.

I recall seeing the launch of this series (‘Extraordinary Canadians’) on television a while ago, so I was excited to read  the book written about Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I liked that it wasn’t a ‘she was born on a cold winters day… she lived and died eventually’ kind of  outline for the book, but rather Jane Urquhart took different themes on L.M.’s life and wrote about it in its entirety, and then moved onto the next big theme.  Interesting, thought provoking and a good read.

I read “Moral Disorder” a year or so ago and hated it! Swore up and down to my writing group that I would never read another of her books. But then I read about Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban using a gestational carrier to have their second daughter, and over the course of a few weeks, a furore broke out about the use of women to carry a baby for another couple in this manner. How access to a surrogate of any kind is really the privilege of the rich. That it demoralises poorer women who tend to be viewed as doing it because their uterus the only thing of value to society. And the reference to ‘The Handmaids Tale’ was made. I had to read it, and will be eating humble pie. At least this slice of the Atwood pie was tasty.

I read this on my e-reader. I love my e-reader. I hate how expensive e-books are when they are not tangible objects. I cant wait for e-books to become cheaper. But I love J.K. Rowling and I can’t help but love that my daughter was telling me on Saturday night that Harry Potter was calling her on her (broken) mobile phone, and that Voldermort had managed to get into her phone and wipe out all her messages!  Yeah for characters that become real things to children.

OK. So I read yet another of the Merrily Watkins books. And I have two more sitting on my shelves right now for the March book list. I’m hooked.  Any author who can wrap Prince Charles, The Knights Templar and gruesome murders together in a story that moves along at a decent pace deserves to be read.  

I decided to read this book on the strength of the David Nicholls book ‘One Day’ which I  loved. I didn’t love this one quite as much. I didn’t feel the attachment to the characters who were self absorbed, boring twits and were, in a manner, repulsive. An interesting idea of  ‘behind the scenes’ of fame and what it takes to get there (and are you willing to do it), with some humorous points, but on the whole, no, it really didn’t grab me the way ‘One Day’ did.

I really enjoyed this book…. until the end. The end was so abrupt I actually checked for the telltale signs of jaggered paper to make sure nobody had ripped out the last chapter of the book. They hadn’t. It was just a strange place to end. Very ‘European film-ish’ in that there is no nice wrap up at the end. No comeuppance for the jerk, no happily every after for everyone…. just… life goes on. Still, I liked the characters and wanted them to get their happy endings, so I can imagine it for them – right?

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