Torontoc reads books from her shelves!

Discussão2021 ROOT CHALLENGE

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Torontoc reads books from her shelves!

Dez 29, 2020, 10:13 pm

I plan to read 30 books from my shelves that have been there( unread) for at least 6 months.

Dez 30, 2020, 7:00 am

Hi Torontoc, Happy ROOTing.

Dez 30, 2020, 8:55 am

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Dez 30, 2020, 10:32 am

Good to see you back again!

Dez 30, 2020, 5:04 pm

Happy 2021 Reading!

Dez 30, 2020, 10:52 pm

Wishing you good luck with your ROOTing goals.

Editado: Jan 5, 2021, 4:49 pm

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen O.K., this season needed a comfort read so I went to my favourite! Also I saw the complete P&P BBC series with Colin Firth last weekend. The writing is really good with wonderful characters and a great plot. What more can I say? P&P helped me get through some of the isolation that I felt in this pandemic.

Jan 4, 2021, 9:44 pm

>7 torontoc: BBC P&P is my absolute favorite version!
It's the only one that is true to the book!

Jan 5, 2021, 8:45 am

Welcome back! P&P is such a comfort to turn to in difficult times!

Jan 5, 2021, 8:57 am

Happy New Year and happy reading in 2021. Sad to say, Emma is the only Austen I've read, but I enjoyed that novel very much.

Jan 9, 2021, 7:59 am

>7 torontoc: That is such a nice comfort read/watch - I'm glad it is helping you feel less isolated. Hang in there.

Jan 16, 2021, 7:31 pm

P&P is my fav comfort read too

Jan 24, 2021, 6:41 pm

2. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell ( I have no idea why the book has been published in Canada as " Hamnet & Judith".) I reread this novel for my book club meeting tomorrow on Zoom. It is still memorable for the interesting characterization of Agnes or Anne- Shakespeare's wife. The writing and images are wonderful. They give the reader a sense of the pain of losing a child to the plague( so contemporary now) and the tribute that Shakespeare gave to his son.

Jan 26, 2021, 1:57 pm

3. The Telling by E. M. BronerThere is actually a subtitle that describes what this memoir/history is about. "The story of a group of Jewish women who journey to spirituality through community and ceremony". The author relates the story of the development of a women's haggadah and the ceremonies for a new type of seder created over the years by some women. The purpose of the new rituals was to include women in as opposed to traditional practices of leaving women out. The group that Esther Broner worked with were prominent in promoting equality for women in many areas. Broner describes the various seders held between 1975 and 1992. The participants were from so many different background from very religious to "not at all". The important practices were for inclusion and community building. Some of the women involved played an important role in women's liberation-Phyllis Chesler, Letty cotton Pogrebin, Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem , and ( Canadian )Michele Landsberg. Broner's descriptions show the difficulties women faced through the last quarter of the 20th century. I remember going to women's conferences and learning about the forgotten women in Jewish history and practice. Now, with women working as Rabbis in the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements, we can sometimes forget how it all came about.

Jan 26, 2021, 3:01 pm

>14 torontoc: Wow, that looks like a fascinating book. Thanks for the review.

Jan 31, 2021, 7:18 pm

I also found this book on my shelf!
4. From Memory to Transformation, Jewish Women's Voices edited by Sarah Silberstein Swartz and Margie Wolfe I guess that I was going down memory lane as I picked up this book from my shelves. I was at the conference where many of these stories, memoirs and reports in this book were presented. ( The conference was in 1996.) Things have changed since the publication of this book. There are more women Rabbis, more opportunities for women to fully take part in religious life without feeling as if they were alone, and more books written about women's experiences. These articles cover personal accounts, newly discovered Yiddish women writers, and histories of daughters of Holocaust survivors. When this book was published some of the histories had not been public knowledge. Now there are many books published on all the topics covered. A good reread.

Fev 14, 2021, 10:40 pm

5. Vagabond Stars : A World History of Yiddish Theatre by Nahma Sandrow Since it is the first edition, (1974) I know that a lot more has happened with Yiddish theatre since then. But the early chapters were very good. The author shows the beginnings of Yiddish theatre and the progression from spectacle to serious drama. She does concentrate on the countries where Yiddish theatre did develop. Sandrow describes the work of the first actors, directors and writers as well as the theatre companies in Eastern Europe and New York City.

Fev 22, 2021, 10:56 am

6. Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore I like to read intensive biographies every once and a while. I previous read the author's book on Stalin's later history- Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. The research into unpublished memoirs of people who knew the young Stalin provide the reader with more of an insight into the behaviour that led to later decisions that shaped the Soviet Union in the 1930's. Stalin was brought up by his mother and educated in a seminary in Georgia. The attitudes and ethics (or lack of them) in Stalin's Georgian experiences do lead to his actions later in life. The reader learns about the lawlessness of the Georgian society and the work of the secret police. The confusion and lack of leadership in Russia certainly led to the revolution. This book covers Stalins life until the revolution in October, 1917. The arrests, the exiles to Siberia, the women, and the gangster and criminal friends all contribute to the development of the future dictator, Stalin.

Fev 27, 2021, 12:19 pm

7. Granta 99 What Happened Next edited by Fatema Ahmed I took this copy of Granta from my book pile.( actually a bin). I used to get excited when I picked up a copy of this publication at the bookstore. ( sigh-that would be nice to go to a book store and browse) There would always be a theme and short stories, photographic essays, excerpts from memoirs, biographies and more. This issue has a brief remembrance by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, stories by Tessa Hadley and Helon Habila as well as other authors. I enjoyed this read although I haven't picked up an issue of Granta for a while. Maybe when life gets back to a sense of normal.

Fev 27, 2021, 1:21 pm

You are doing well with ROOTing, Torontoc. 7/30 is ahead of track (that sounds awful but I don't how to say it in another way)

Fev 27, 2021, 2:33 pm

>19 torontoc: I haven't subscribed to Granta, but did get a couple of issues (on a buy one get one free offer) on a nature theme, which I hope to get to this year. As well as the quality of the writing, they always look so beautiful too.

Fev 27, 2021, 2:37 pm

>20 connie53: thank you- I have been going through some bins that I have and found some books that I hadn't read.
>21 Jackie_K: I always liked Granta but my favourite book store where I bought my issues closed-so it is harder to find now.

Mar 3, 2021, 1:55 pm

8. Granta 68 Love Stories edited by Ian Jack This is a great publication- full of good fiction, and memoirs. There is a story by Raymond Carver and one by W.G. Sebald. This was a very satisfying read and I wonder why the book was at the bottom of my TBR bin.

Mar 5, 2021, 8:14 am

Happy Thingaversary, Torontoc!

Mar 5, 2021, 1:59 pm

Happy Thingaversary!

Mar 7, 2021, 8:05 am

Mar 30, 2021, 11:21 pm

9. Exodus 1947 The Ship that Launched a Nation by Ruth Gruber. I saw the author when she was over 90 and a guest at the Toronto International Film Festival a few years ago. Her story is quite remarkable. She described incidents in her early life in another book. This book concentrates on the story and fate of the ship Exodus. The author was a witness to the events described in this book as she travelled as a correspondent for New York newspapers in post war Europe and the Middle East. The ship was trying to enter Palestine illegally as Britain and forbidden any immigration of Holocaust survivors. The ship was stopped and eventually all the passengers were sent to Germany. Ruth Gruber took photographs, chronicled this story and reported on the conditions for her American audience. She was a remarkable woman and this story is heartbreaking. ( However all the passengers from the Exodus eventually left Germany and displaced person camps and did get to Palestine just before the state of Israel was established.)

Abr 3, 2021, 5:56 am

And Happy Easter, Torontoc!

Abr 14, 2021, 1:56 pm

Thank you!

10.Chihuly Garden and Glass by Dale Chihuly I decide to look through some of my art books and found this one that I don't recall looking through for a while or ever. ( I call it covid Brain lately) I have seen Dale Chihuly's work at the Victoria and Albert Museum ( oh the days when we could travel) and at an amazing show at the Royal Ontario Museum.(now closed due to Covid lockdown) The book showed examples of the wonderful and fantastic works of art in glass at a number of locations. I must remember to look at this book soon for the forms, colours and great imaginative installations.

Abr 14, 2021, 2:40 pm

>29 torontoc: I got a chance to go to the Chihuly museum in Seattle a few years back (when we could travel) and really enjoyed it. I lucked out with a lovely sunny day so got to see the light streaming through the pieces.

Abr 14, 2021, 5:11 pm

>29 torontoc: I love Chihuly's work! Just before I left London in 2005 he had a season at Kew Gardens, with his glass works throughout the gardens and lakes, it was brilliant.

Abr 15, 2021, 7:31 am

Just passing through to say hi!

Abr 15, 2021, 7:48 am

Thank you!

Editado: Abr 15, 2021, 9:20 am

>32 connie53: I had just typed that post and returned to my book. And there he was Dale Chihuly! I read it and thought: 'Hmm, I just read that name somewhere'. What are the changes of such a thing happening?

Abr 22, 2021, 12:23 pm

11. The Slaughterman's Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits Translated by Orr Scharf I must admit that this book really annoyed me. The beginning was promising. The story takes place in the Pale of Settlement at the end of the nineteenth century. Jews are living in small towns and some are suffering from the forced enrolment of their sons in the Russian army. At the same there are many husbands deserting their wives. The story seems to focus on one such family. Mende's Speismann's husband, Zvi- Meir, left for Minsk and has not been heard from for over a year. Fannie Keismann, Mende's sister ,resolves to help by travelling to Minsk, locating Zvi and asking him to give Mende a divorce so that she can go on with her life. Fanny asks Zizek Breshov, a mysterious ferryman to help her. So the reader seems to be on a voyage or quest with Fanny and Zizek. Unfortunately, after many adventures ( Fanny has learned to slaughter from her father and uses her skills to protect herself on this trip) the story then turns to the activities of a number of men- Colonel Novaks who is pursuing Fanny and Zizek, the true story of Zizek and a number of assorted Russian army colonels. I kept wanting to hear about the adventures of the women and didn't like the 150-200 pages devoted to the histories of what were minor characters at the beginning of the novel. There you have it- a disgruntled reader!

Abr 25, 2021, 4:21 am

I hope your next book will be more rewarding.

Abr 28, 2021, 4:06 pm

Well, this next one wasn't - but my new books have been great ( not listed here)

12. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud I really didn't like this book. I read another of Messud's books and enjoyed it about two years ago. This book was published in 2006 and has been in my book pile for a while. I guess that I didn't empathize with any of the main characters. They all seemed so shallow. They all started out with much privilege and didn't create anything meaningful in work or relationships. I did put this book down for a while. I found that the author's early style was too wordy for me- her later novel that I read was so much better in my opinion. I also think that my judgment on what is worthy has been influenced by the pandemic and what is important in life.

Maio 2, 2021, 4:12 am

>37 torontoc: I think the writer and her style grew with the years. Then onwards to the next and hopefully better book.

Maio 9, 2021, 5:00 pm

>38 connie53: Yes, I did like her later work!.

13. William Blake His Art and Times by David Bindman This is the catalogue for the exhibition that I saw many years ago. It is part of my campaign to look at some of my art books that I may not have read through because I saw the art show described by the book. William Blake's work is really interesting. His theories may be somewhat obscure but the art work is truly visionary. This book describes his early career and later work. I enjoyed looking at the combination of print and art.

Maio 12, 2021, 10:51 am

14. The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated by Susan Bernofsky I had started this book over a year ago and did put it down. i guess that the subject matter didn't appeal to me at that time. However , I think that the structure and plot are very unique. There " five " books or chapters separated by " Intermezzos". Each book describes how the main female character dies- from a baby in the early 20th century Habsburg empire, to a suicide in post World War One in Vienna, to death in Soviet Russia to old age. The intermezzos describe what would happen if death did not occur and what kind of life would the main character live. This book is rich in describing the lives lived and affected by pogroms in Poland, starvation in Austria, and paranoia among communists in Soviet Russia. This is a very unusual story and well worth read the read.

Maio 25, 2021, 4:27 pm

15. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan I thought that this was a very good book, but why was I reading it during the pandemic? There are a number of narrators-each tells the story from a different point of view and it is all grim. Laura has married Henry but didn't expect him to abruptly move her and their two young daughters from Memphis to a small farm with a very primitive house in rural Mississippi.Nor did she expect Henry's father-a very cruel and vicious man- to come live with them. As well , Henry's brother, Jamie comes to live on the farm and he is fighting the demons he has because of his airforce experience from World War Two. The reader hears from the Black family who work on the farm and especially the son Ronsel also returning from serving in the army. Terrible things happen because of bigotry. Issues do get resolved and there is a sort of vengence. I am glad that I read it but it could have waited until after lockdown was ended where I live.

Jul 3, 2021, 1:01 pm

>41 torontoc: That sounds like a very dark book. You are right to say it wasn't a very good book to read in lockdown. I hope your next book will be lighter!

Jul 4, 2021, 4:06 pm

>42 connie53: Yes, this was a much more enjoyable book!
16. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen I think that readers should make a list of pandemic friendly books and authors. At the top of my list would be Jane Austen. I had seen the film and a series based on this book but had never read it until this week. I really enjoyed the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood and their suitors. The characters and matchmaking schemes were very interesting. The style of writing and the recreation of the 1800's English society appealed to me. The comedy of manners and correct behaviour of the English society middle class revealed the world of the early nineteenth century.

Jul 5, 2021, 5:32 am

I don't think I've ever read a book by her. Perhaps I should try one sometime. But I have all this unread books on my shelves that are staring at me angrily because they have not been read yet.

Jul 6, 2021, 10:19 pm

>44 connie53: I would recommend Pride and Prejudice-still my favourite Austen

Jul 6, 2021, 11:41 pm

>45 torontoc:
That's my favourite too!

Jul 8, 2021, 11:21 am

>46 Nickelini: always my go to book!

17. Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali This is a group of linked short stories that feature the inhabitants of a small Portuguese village, Mamarrosa. There are stories of both young and old, and expatriates and tourists from England. The stories are very sympathetic to the problems of the troubled visitors and the local villagers who are faced with modernization and also issues involving adherence to tradition.I like this author's writing style and have one more of her books on my TBR pile.

Jul 18, 2021, 1:50 pm

18. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous I reread this book and belongs on my list of books to read during a pandemic. Along with Pride and Prejudice it is in the top two. ( I haven't made up the whole list yet.) The author takes the reader from the lowest point in her life to her new reality. The story is one of hope and humour as well as a primer on how to remake one's life in the face of adversity.

Jul 27, 2021, 11:02 am

19. In the Kitchen by Monica Ali. I just rediscovered this author from my TBR pile/tower. I did like the first part of this novel. Gabriel Lightfoot is an executive chef in a big London hotel. He came from a northern mill town and has ambitions to open his own restaurant with two partners. The reader sees Gabriel deal with a death in the cellar of the hotel which leads him to helping a young woman who may have been trafficked by some of the hotel staff. Unfortunately the plot takes Gabriel to a breakdown as he discovers some of the plots of the suspicious head waiter, sous chefs and his own partners to be. I did like the beginning but was not happy with the ending. Maybe it is just the pandemic which guides my book choices lately.

Jul 27, 2021, 7:26 pm

>49 torontoc: too bad- it sounded interesting at first

Ago 13, 2021, 10:06 pm

20. Granta 72 Overreachers edited by Ian Jack. I was looking through one of my TBR bins and came across this issue of Granta. I haven't followed Granta for a while. The bookstore where I picked it up closed. This issue had short stories and memoirs by a number of authors whose works I have read- Olga Tokarczuk, Richard Ford and A.L. Kennedy This issue reminded me why I eagerly looked for every new issue. Now that I can go into bookstores I might look up the latest issue.

Ago 15, 2021, 6:51 pm

>51 torontoc: I recently read Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, and it made me want to seek out everything she’s written.

Ago 20, 2021, 10:04 pm

>52 Charon07: she is an interesting writer!
21. Whale Music by Paul Quarrington The late Paul Quarrington was a writer and musician. This novel is funny and satyric as the narrator- Des Howell- tells the story of his life as a rock and roll musician. Des and his late brother Danny were the guiding forces in the Howl Brothers band. Des is now a recluse , living in a very big mansion and seeing no one. He is obsessed with writing his magnum opus called Whale Music. A young woman drops into his life and various people from his past try to talk with Des. He was taken advantage of by his parents, various managers and record company executives. Meanwhile Des is hallucinating sometimes and dreaming about his past and his relationship with Danny. The feel of the mad musician is very real as Quarrington describes the creation of music in the electronic age.

Ago 21, 2021, 9:12 am

>53 torontoc: I need to read this one again! I read it pre-LT, which means I basically don't remember it at all ;)

Ago 21, 2021, 5:33 pm

>54 rabbitprincess: I really enjoyed this novel.

Ago 31, 2021, 10:27 am

22. The City and the City by China Mieville I reread this novel in preparation for giving an online art workshop. I still like the premise. The reader follows a detective in a ( fictional) city somewhere in the Balkans. Detective Borlu lives and works in Beszel. However, the city is linked to another city. Ul Qoma. Each city has its own language and customs. Residents of each city have to avoid the areas where the two cities link. There is an official border/entrance for those qualified to enter the opposing city. People have to " unsee" residents from the other city when they are near areas that join. There are conspiracies, murders and detectives working to unravel mysteries. I really like the imaginative writing of this author.

Set 1, 2021, 9:42 pm

>56 torontoc: This is on my TBR, and China Mieville has a story in the collection Cities that is next on deck for my ROOTs (once I finish everything I’m in the middle of). I haven’t read anything of his yet, but I’ve heard good things!

Set 8, 2021, 3:09 am

Mieville is a very good and complex writer, I think.

Set 8, 2021, 4:29 pm

>58 connie53: Yes, I agree!

Set 10, 2021, 4:17 pm

23. Farewell, Babylon Coming of Age In Jewish Baghdad by Naim Kattan and translated from French by Sheila Fischman. I was looking for a book that really covered the history of Jewish life in Arab lands after reading my last book. I remembered that I had this memoir in my library and had read it many years ago. The author lived in Canada and was the head of the Writing and Publications Section of the Canada council for over 25 years. His memoir is about his daily life as a teenager in Baghdad. His family did live through the Farhud or pogrom against the Jews in 1941. Naim and his friends were interested and absorbed by culture- Arabic and eventually French. They dreamed of contributing to an authentic Iraqi literature that embraced Jew and Muslim. Events and attitudes proved them wrong and Naim did leave with a scholarship to study in Paris. The memoir also recounts the way girls and women were treated and how their lives were so different from their brothers. This was a good reread.

Set 18, 2021, 8:22 pm

24. Batchelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book by Bill Richardson. This is one of those books that you can reread many times as it is funny with a fine sense of the absurd. It is also a reread for me as I needed some humour.( too many glum films at TIFF) Hector and Virgil are twin brothers in their fifties who own and run a bed and breakfast somewhere on an island in British Columbia. They have a parrot, Mrs. Rochester who can quote obscure passages from the bible. There are suggestions for books to read, recipes from former guests and their life stories and a mystery that is solved. Hector's girlfriend ,Altona, convinces the brothers to hire someone to help them with the chores of the B&B. So Caedmon Harkness is hired. Harkness trained as a roof thatcher and finds little employment in that field. He is also a sculptor of saints in bread dough. With the discovery of new manuscripts of the late local writer Solomon Solomon, a celebration is planned that goes terribly wrong .( Solomon's first book is entitled -Hygiene for Boys) I had a lot of chuckles as I read and I might try one of the recipes.

Out 10, 2021, 7:59 am

25. Granta 97 is a really good issue. The theme is "Best Young American Novelists". Although the book is a few years old, the choice of writers was excellent. I liked Karen Russell's short story about past American presidents reincarnated as horses. Dara Horn, Anthony Doer, Nicole Krauss, Olga Grushin and Rattawut Lapcharoensap contribute some of the favourite stories. The book was published in 2007 and yes, it has been in my TBR towers for too long.

Out 17, 2021, 6:41 am

Anthony Doer is a great writer. I'm looking forward to reading his newest book Wolkenstad

Editado: Out 17, 2021, 8:07 am

>63 connie53: I agree-

Out 25, 2021, 9:22 am

26. The Detroit Yiddish Theatre 1920 to 1937 by James Albert Miller I read this unusual history about Yiddish Theatre in Detroit during a very specific time period. The author was actually employed by the theatre in the 1920's. Unfortunately the structure of the book makes it interesting to scholars who would want to trace the performance of Yiddish plays. There is a brief introduction that attempts to give a history of the beginnings of Yiddish theatre. The reader learns about the cast of actors for each season and the specific plays produced. There are many lists and some biographies of the actors. The author give this own reasons for the demise of Yiddish theatre- he refers to the drop in Jewish immigrants to the US, and the choice of plays. He believes that the change from subjects about social justice and literary themes to more popular subjects is a main cause for the lack of interest. I think that Miller doesn't give enough research to the effects of the Depression and the growing use of English by the young generation of Jews in the US. ( and Canada for that matter)

Out 27, 2021, 7:37 am

27. Granta 83 This Overheating World edited by Ian Jack. This 2003 edition has a wide range of articles on ...climate change. And the warnings about how climate change will and has effected the way we live are not new. I must admit my favourite section was the reproduction of photos by Edward Burtynsky a Canadian photographer and film maker. He takes large scale photos of the destruction caused by people all over the world. The photos in this book document quarries and mines in North America and shipbreaking in Bangladesh. The other articles range from personal accounts of rowing to Alaska to a diary of a woman coming back to Iraq after Saddam. Although this is an older Granta issue, the concerns about the health of our world are very contemporary.

Out 30, 2021, 10:58 pm

28. Victorian Color Picture Books edited by Jonathan Cott and commentary by Maurice Sendak. This book has a number of Victorian illustrators represented. I knew of Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway. The best part of the book was the interview with {Maurice Sendak. He had very strong opinions about the talent of a number of the illustrators and expressed his preferences very bluntly. I had to look again to see if I agreed with him.

Nov 26, 2021, 8:36 pm

29.Ashes Out of Hope Fiction by Soviet Jewish Writers edited by Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg This book has been in my TBR tower for a while. The best part is the introduction and history by the editors. The writers were all killed by Stalin at various times during the 1940's and 50's. The stories range from grim depictions of the small villages or shtetls of Eastern European Jews to the changing lives of those who lived during the new world of Soviet life.

Dez 6, 2021, 11:25 am

Hi, just popping in to see what you have been reading. Only one more to go to reach your goal! Go get it! Or maybe you all ready did.

Dez 8, 2021, 10:46 am

No- I have a book that qualifies for this challenge that I will be reading for my online book club( we zoom)-Mrs. Osmond by John Banville -the book has been on my book pile since the summer.

Dez 22, 2021, 11:05 am

30. Mrs. Osmond by John Banville The author has taken up the cause of the plight of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James novel The Portrait of a Lady. I didn't read that book but did see the superb film that was made with Nicole Kidman as Isabel. Banville imagines what happened to Isabel after she goes back to her terrible husband. This novel takes up Isabel's story a few years later. She had gone to England for the funeral of a dear cousin. As she makes plans to travel back to Rome, she takes a number of actions that show how she takes charge of her life in a positive way. Banville writes in the style of James. There is some retribution on the people who have ruined Isabel's life and the reader has hope for her future. This was a good read.

Dez 23, 2021, 9:04 am

Congrats on reaching your goal!

Dez 23, 2021, 9:37 am