Tag Archives: Canada

Friday 56, 14-Nov-2014

14 Nov

Welcome to the ‘Veterans’ Day Observed ‘edition of The Friday 56 hosted by Freda on Freda’s Voice. (This means I’m not working today, yay!) Head on over there and check out the other participating blogs. The community has been really great and I’m excited to jump in!

Friday 56

The way this meme works is pretty simple. If you want to join in, head over to Freda’s blog and add your link.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book (I grab the one I’m currently reading)
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.

I don’t have an in-process physical book I haven’t used for this yet, so I’m grabbing a title I read recently, Canada by Richard Ford. I really enjoyed the selection and I love this quote on page 56.

Large occurrences were going on- larger than my father beginning a new job, or leaving the Air Force, or picking up and moving to a new town.

Richard Ford does an amazing job building tension in this book and I think this quote illustrates that beautifully. This is not a spoiler because you find out about it in the first sentence, but the narrator’s parents are going to rob a bank and that’s the large occurrence that’s stirring in this scene. Ford does a great job of giving us the child’s perspective of everything happening around him yet letting us in on what the parents are doing and saying. This was a really good read.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

 

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WWW Wednesday, 15-October-2014

15 Oct

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! It’s safe to say progress has stalled.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. I’ve only progressed another 5% to a total of 35% this week. I mean, its progress, right? I’ve finished the second section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar so no further progress to report. No progress on Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie this week either. I’ve been reading my book club selection instead. Speaking of which, the book club book is Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King. Last week I said I could power through. This week, I’m not so confident. It’s put me in a bit of a reading slump. Though I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I’m three disks in to the whopping 31 disk set, but at least I’m moving forward!

Recently finished: Nothing this week. But I did write two reviews, Canada by Richard Ford and The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory.

Reading Next:  No change here. I’m still targeting The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver for my work book club.

Between moving this weekend and being in a reading slump, I’m not too optimistic about finishing anything this week. We’ll have to see. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Canada by Richard Ford (3/5). A great American novel?

13 Oct

This book has been at the top of my ‘To-Read’ pile for way too long. A long time ago, when I used to have cable, The Colbert Report was my favorite show on TV. I saw an interview that Ford did with Colbert which you can watch here. It made me want to read the book. I saw an audiobook of it at my parents library and thought I’d grab it right when I joined Goodreads. That’s also right when I moved out of my parents house and no longer had access to the audiobooks in their library. Unfortunately, my new library didn’t have it so instead, I waited almost two years to read this and ended up picking up a discounted copy from Barnes and Noble. So, finally, I’m able to write this review, very long in the making.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Canada by Richard Ford

Dell Parsons knows that his sister is ugly, his mother is a social outcast, and that his dad is good at talking. As far as Dell is concerned, that’s enough. What he doesn’t know is that his parents are capable of robbing a bank and that when his parents are sent to jail, he’ll be sent to Canada. From the vantage point of time, Dell tells us the story of how he and his sister, Berner, are orphaned by outlaw parents and separated. She runs off to California and Dell is sent to live with the brother of a friend in rural Canada with a man who seems as at odds with the US rule of law as Dell’s own parents. Arthur Remlinger is a strange figure who’s hiding a few secrets of his own.

How can you not be intrigued by this opening line?

First, I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later.

I mean, come on, that’s freaking sweet. I read somewhere that Ford writes a bit like John Irving, who is one of my all-time favorite authors. It’s a pretty good comparison. Both write sweeping epics but unlike Irving, Ford concentrated on a short part of Dell’s life and how it affected him. I like that this was a short snapshot. I could see Dell change from a lost kid who didn’t know any better to a young man who knew what was happening around him and how quickly it could change. It was a very literary novel and maybe I wasn’t in the mood for a literary novel because I started to drag through it toward the end.

The characters were eccentric enough that they were perfectly acceptable. Any character who’s too normal stands out from that normalcy, but Ford’s characters were quirky while still being real. The only part that seemed off to me was when Dell and Berner sleep together after their parents are arrested. At first I thought of (obviously) John Irving’s novel Hotel New Hampshire where the sexual tension between the main character and his sister plays a huge roll in the book. But in this title, there was nothing more to it. For one night, everything felt so wrong that sleeping with your own sibling seems fine, and they do. If it hadn’t been for that one scene, I could have been sold that this was non-fiction.

I liked Berner. I’m not sure I was supposed to, but I really enjoyed all the scenes she was in. Maybe the beginning of the book was my favorite because she was in it. Her negative outlook on life was oddly refreshing. I liked when she entered the picture again later in life as an aged woman. She still had the same cynicism from her youth, multiplied by bad men and too much time spent thinking. Charley Quarters tried to fill this role while Dell was in Canada, but it just wasn’t the same.

Sometimes we feel like we’re watching life happen around us and we’re no longer players in the game. I think that defines well how Dell felt through the whole book. He was never actively involved in the terrible things that happened around him but he was a witness to all of it. You pitied him, but at the same time he wasn’t a central character to his own story.

There are times when I feel like I’m watching things change around me. I think those times fade with age, but I remember when I was younger watching the effects of the 2006 recession touch my family and not being able to do anything but watch. It’s helpless being a child, but the only thing to cure it is waiting to grow older.

I loved the build-up to the robbery. I thought Ford built up the tension really well and I kept turning the pages faster and faster to see when it would finally happen and how Dell and Berner would be affected. My excitement for this carried all the way through until Dell crossed the border into Canada.

Richard Ford Image via the Pen Faulkner website.

Richard Ford
Image via the Pen Faulkner website.

I didn’t understand the scene where Dell went to the girls’ home looking for schooling. I think it perpetuated his love for education and desire to learn, but I didn’t get much else out of it. He was uncomfortable around the strong women, but other than Berner, there were no other strong women in the novel. Again, it’s a scene I would have taken out.

Youth is full of tragedy and when we’re young, the biggest tragedy is that we can’t change it. We’re stuck and powerless while we watch adults around us make decisions that affect our lives for a long time and feel the repercussions of those decisions. Dell was at the cusp of manhood at 15 but was powerless to change what was happening around him. There are so many books out now about powerful youths in the YA dystopian genre and I see this one as a strong mirror to that, showing how in this society and this time, youth can be very powerless.

Writer’s Takeaway: Ford’s style and formatting really stuck out to e in this novel. The short and long chapter changes kept me turning the pages to get to the next chapter but provided the detail and plot development I wanted when it was needed. Starting out with the sentence I’ve quoted above was a great move. The beginning was so focused on the bank robbery that knowing it was going to happen took away some guess-work and let Ford be more flexible with his time line. By the time I got to the murders at the end, I’d forgotten they were coming because I’d been so engrossed in the bank robbery. Giving away his own ending worked really well for him in the end.

A solid read, but not what I was in the mood for at the time. Three out of Five stars.

This book fulfills ‘Montana’ for my Where Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts: 
Review: Canada by Richard Ford | I Bought You Books
Book Review: Canada by Richard Ford | Sue Anne’s Balcony
Review: Canada by Richard Ford | Everything Express
Richard Ford – “Canada” | Don’t Need a Diagram
Review of Canada by Richard For d| Nick Holdstock

WWW Wednesday, 1-October-2014

1 Oct

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! This week was the jump that I was posed for last week.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is The Domesday Book by Connie Willis and as expected, this is a long haul. I’m 23% of the way through which I’m actually pretty excited about. It’s farther than I expected to be. I’ve finished the second section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. It was a really great section and I can’t wait to read the next! As expected, I’ve started my ‘Reading Next’ books. The first is  Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie which I’ll be reading slowly. That might work against me, but I think I can keep up with the story. It’s the Spanish that will be a problem! The other book is  Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King for my book club. I started it and so far, its dense, but still reads well. Hopefully I can get into it a bit more. I began a new audiobook, The Compound by S.A. Bodeen, which is yet another recommendation from my book calendar last year. That thing is hopping!

Recently finished: Two this week! The first is the drawn out Canada by Richard Ford. I liked this one, but I didn’t love it. As I was told it would, I was reminded of John Irving.  The second is The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory which I listened to in my car. Again, it was good, but it just didn’t blow me away.

One lonely book review this week. Check out my review of The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka.

Reading Next:  No new news on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I’m holding out for a miracle! I also need to pick out something for my work book club. Hmm. I’ll be deciding on that today.

I don’t expect to finish anything this week, but there are always book miracles. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 24-September-2014

24 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! No new progress this week, but it’s looking like there will be some soon.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I made some respectable progress in Canada by Richard Ford over the last week. It was my main read last week, but life got in the way. My audiobook of The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory is going well. I had a long car ride over the weekend and knocked out a few disks. My ebook is The Domesday Book by Connie Willis and as expected, this is a long haul. I’m 17% of the way through and that’s about 100 pages. Sit tight, we’ll be here for a while. The second section of Read Along #2 has begun and I’m working through Chapters 6 – 8 of The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I hope to finish it before Friday.

Recently finished: I’m sad to report there’s nothing new! I’ve made great progress in a couple, but nothing new for today. I may cry.

But book reviews! I’ve been doing pretty well on these so far. Check out my reviews for Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan and The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

Reading Next:  No new news on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It’s still waiting at the library and I’m waiting for a miracle to finally get it! Hoping I finish Canada by Monday, I’ll start Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie. The English title is The ABC Murders. A co-worker gave it to me before he returned to Mexico and I want to start it soon because he’s coming back! My book club meets on Monday to talk about The Orphan Train so I’ll be starting our new title, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King. I haven’t read a non-fiction in a while so this should be a good break.

Still trying to get through Canada. That’s my goal for next week! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-September-2014

17 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! Not too much progress this week, but I suspected that would happen.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I will be picking up Canada by Richard Ford again at lunch today. I hope to make a dent in it! My audiobook is The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. So far, this one isn’t disappointing. Gregory’s ability to throw in tons of historical detail and still move a plot is incredible. My ebook is The Domesday Book by Connie Willis and it’s moving as slowly as expected. I’m devoting a lot more time to it than I normally do to an ebook and I’m only at 13%. The race is off for Read Along #2 and I’ve finished the first section of The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I’m itching to start section two!

Recently finished: Only one finished this week. My book club selection for October is We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and I finished it at lunch yesterday. This is one that was hard to read before bed because it was so creepy! Really good but not my normal style.

I’m banging out these book reviews lately. It’s been hard to catch up. Check out reviews for Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors and Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.

Reading Next:   Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is still waiting on my library list. I don’t have much else waiting now because I just started so many! I wish it would come in soon, but I’m starting to give up a bit. If I can finish Canada, I want to read another one in Spanish and I’m likely to pick up Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie. The English title is The ABC Murders. Has anyone read this one? It will be my first Agatha Christie and it will be in Spanish so it’s bound to be a good time!

Let’s see if I can get through Canada this week, but no promises! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 10-September-2014

10 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! This week was full of finishing books, but I’ll be slowing down for a while I fear.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I was able to read some of Canada by Richard Ford but I’m afraid it’s been put to rest again for a while. Poor thing. My new audiobook is The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. I’m a huge fan of Gregory and it’s made only more awesome that this book will fulfill the 1400s in my When Are You Reading? Challenge. My new ebook is The Domesday Book by Connie Willis which a co-worker recommended to me ages ago and I know my friend Katherine really enjoyed. It’s a clunker so expect to see that title on this list for a looooong time. The race is off for Read Along #2 and I’ve started in on the first section of The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. So far it’s pretty darn awesome. My copy is autographed so it won’t leave the house (my rule) so this might be a bit slower than I’d read the sections otherwise, but it’s coming along nicely. And because that wasn’t enough, I started our new book club selection yesterday, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I’m only a few pages in, but it’s really creepy! My guess is it only gets worse. Four new books started! Yay.

Recently finished:Three finished this week! I completed the audio of Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan and I’m glad to be done with it. I’m not a fan of the literary wives trend and read this because someone recommended it and I needed an 1800s book. It will be a less than glowing review when it comes out. I finished the ebook of The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka and I don’t think I can say enough good things about it. This short little book was really refreshing and I’m so glad I picked it up! I also finished  The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline in three days. That’s really fast for me! But I loved it so much. My mom, grandma, and supervisor had all recommended it to me and it did not disappoint. What an amazing story.

I also got three book reviews posted! If you’re so inclined to read more than my one-sentence reviews here, you can check out my full reviews of Looking for Alaska by John Green, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

Reading Next:   Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is still waiting on my library list. I don’t have much else waiting now because I just started so many! I know there will be more to come, but that’s for next week.

I’m not sure I’ll finish any this week, but I’ll try my darndest! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 3-September-2014

3 Sep

Time for MizB’s WWW meme! This week was moderate progress but I’m still slugging through a few.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’ve stalled reading Canada by Richard Ford but i can almost see the light of when I can pick it back up. I think it’s in about a month? The audio of Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is getting close to the end. I’m on the second-to-last disk and I can’t wait to finish it. I’m loving and making good progress on The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It’s written in a very compelling way, using a first person plural voice. I like it a lot. I’ve also just started  The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, which is my next book club selection. My mom recommended this a few months back and I was excited to see it on our book club list.

Recently finished: Just one this week,  Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. I read this so fast it was never on my ‘currently reading’ section. A co-worker lent it to me and I read it in three days. I want to talk to her about it, but this is her vacation week. Dang it.

And one book review for you all! Check out my review of Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn that I put up yesterday.

Reading Next:  I’m still waiting on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to come in at the library. I asked about a library bounty hunter position, but I don’t think she realized I was serious. I’ve got the audio for The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory in my car, ready to start as son as ‘Sky’ is done. This will fill in the 1400s for my When Are You Reading? Challenge and then I’ll only be one from finishing. Yay! Pretty soon I’ll be starting Read Along #2 and the book we’ve chosen is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I met Umrigar about a year ago and she blew me away; what a wonderful woman. I’m excited to read this book! If you’re interested in joining the Read-Along, check out my post explaining what it’s all about and drop me an email.

Hopefully I can finish ‘Sky’ early this week. I’m ready for it to be over. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 27-August-2014

27 Aug

I was hoping for a bit more movement in MizB’s WWW meme because of Bout of Books, but I think I did it wrong. You’ll see what I mean.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  I’ve stalled reading Canada by Richard Ford so I can read a library book… and then I’ll have a book club book… and one a co-worker loaned me. In short, this might be on hold for a while. The audio of Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is progressing, but getting under my skin. The narrator is really inconsistent with the accents she’s given the characters and it’s driving me mad. I started a new ebook, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It’s a nice short book so I hope this will move faster than most of my other ebooks have.

Recently finished: Two this week;  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I finished it Tuesday afternoon last week in the airport but didn’t have a way to update my WWW from last week, so I’ll count it for this week. Last night I finished Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors and I’m sleepy because of it! I’m ready to start a new one at lunch.

Reading Next:  I’m still waiting on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to come in at the library. I’m almost giving up on getting this back any time soon. Maybe it’s worth reporting to the library? I’m not sure how that process works. I’ve got two books coming up soon. My next book club selection is The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I’m excited because my mom read this a while ago and really loved. I hope it’s a good discussion book as well. The other is one my co-worker is lending me, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. She and I have similar tastes in YA so I’m looking forward to a quick, solid read. I’ll crack it open during my lunch break in a few hours. Pretty soon I’ll be starting Read Along #2 and the book we’ve chosen is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I met Umrigar about a year ago and she blew me away; what a wonderful woman. I’m excited to read this book! If you’re interested in joining the Read-Along, check out my post explaining what it’s all about and drop me an email.

My goal is to finish ‘Marble Sky’ this week and get started on one of my ‘Reading Next’ books. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 20-August-2014

20 Aug

This will be quick. I’m out-of-town today so I don’t have a lot of time for MizB’s WWW meme. I’m in the middle of Bout of Books so that’s helping!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  Almost done with  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien! By the time you read this, I might even be finished. I’ve stalled reading Canada by Richard Ford. The book on hold at the library came in, unfortunately. But I hope to finish it soon; maybe even this week. I’ve started two. My new audio is Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. One of the librarians recommended this to me and specifically said she loved the narration. I’m not as much of a fan. The other is Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors. I’m not sure what’s up with me being under the sky this week!

Recently finished: Two audiobooks this week! Looking for Alaska by John Green, which I finished with my carpool buddy. The other is Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick which I’d downloaded to my phone in case of emergency.

Two reviews up, as well. Check out my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen.

Reading Next:  I’m still waiting on Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to come in at the library. If there was such thing as a ‘library bounty hunter’ to track down people whose audiobooks are a month overdue, I would take that job. I’ll also start a new e-book, probably The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. This is another the book calendar recommended.

With Bout of Books, I hope to finish at least two! We’ll see how that all goes. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!