Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – For the Time Being (Sept 19)

For my Friday meme combo this week I have chosen Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being. Ever since I read her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek I have really enjoyed her writing. This one has been on my shelf for quite a while, so it’s time I got around to reading it. The following description is from the slipcover of the book:

for the time beingFollowing a novel, a memoir, and a book of poems, Annie Dillard returns to a form of nonfiction she has made her own–now, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

This personal narrative surveys the panorama of our world, past and present. Here is a natural history of sand, a catalogue of clouds, a batch of newborns on an obstetrical ward, a family of Mongol horsemen. Here is the story of Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin digging in the deserts of China. Here is the story of Hasidic thought rising in Eastern Europe. Here are defect and beauty together, miracle and tragedy, time and eternity. Dillard poses questions about God, natural evil, and individual existence. Personal experience, science, and religion bear on a welter of fact. How can an individual matter? How might one live?

Compassionate, informative, enthralling, always surprising, For the Time Being shows one of our most original writers–her breadth of knowledge matched by keen powers of observation, all of it informing her relentless curiosity–in the fullness of her powers.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

book beginningsBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of For the Time Being:

Birth. I have in my hands the standard manual of human birth defects. Smith’s Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation, by Kenneth Lyon Jones, M.D., professor of pediatrics at UC-San Diego, 1988, is a volume to which, in conscience, I cannot recommend your prolonged attention.

This is a different kind of beginning. Even without the lack of recommendation I think that the book mentioned would be one I would be avoiding anyway!

Friday 56The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of For the Time Being:

He was forty-five years old when he buried 260 real Confucian scholars alive. Some accounts say he buried 460 Confucian scholars alive. It scarcely matters – two hundred here or there.

Whoever is being talked about here doesn’t sound like a pleasant person. I’m curious to workout the link between this excerpt and the opening sentences. This book should be a decent read and I really hope to get to it soon.

Booking Through Thursday – Family (Sept 18)

btt2This week Booking Through Thursday poses the following question:

Do other people in your family also like to  read? Or are you in this on your own?

Everyone in our household likes to read. We cancelled our TV over four years ago and spend a lot of our spare time now reading, sometimes the four of us in the same room, all sitting quietly reading different books. Some of our tastes are the same, but not always. My wife is a big Diana Gabaldon fan; our daughter reads a lot of dystopian stuff, but she reads lots of other stuff as well; our son enjoys reading Doctor Who, but also has a mixture of stuff on his bookshelves. When on holiday we are always on the lookout for different bookstores and birthdays and Christmas are always times of great book giving.

WWW Wednesdays (September 17)

www_wednesdays43It has been over a year since I took part in this weekly meme, so I figured it was time to get back to it again.

To play along with this weekly book event, hosted by Should Be Reading, just answer the following three (3) questions…

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

Here are my answers for this week:

madame jeanne guyonWhat are you currently reading? I just started reading Madame Jeanne Guyon: Her Autobiography (Condensed and Modernized by Jan Johnson). I recently joined the Renovaré Book Club and this is the first book of five I will get to read as part of this. I haven’t been part of something like this before, but am really looking forward to it. This should be a fairly decent read by the looks of it.

last temptationWhat did you recently finish reading? The last book I finished was an ARC of Neil Gaiman’s the Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman, Alice Cooper, and Michael Zulli. It was a decent graphic novel based on an Alice Cooper album from the mid-90’s. It is due for release in late October, so that gives me plenty of time to get my review written.

hollow city thumbWhat do you think you’ll read next? I haven’t quite decided, because I have a number of different books on the go. One that I’d like to get read soon is Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. It’s the second book in Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. I really enjoyed the first one, so I’m looking forward to this one as well.

Teaser Tuesdays – Hollow City (Sept 16)

teasertuesdays2014eTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

hollow city“How are you?” she asked.

It was a question that would have required some college-level math and about an hour of discussion to answer.

From page 44 of Hollow City by Ransom Riggs.

Bookmark Monday – Music (Sept 15)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a link to your post.

Whilst looking for something totally different, I came across the following musical themed bookmarks, which are available for purchase HERE. If it wasn’t for the shipping costs I’d be tempted to order some. I’ll just have to see if I can find them a little closer to home.

music bookmarks

Scottish Reading

With only four days left until the big independence vote in Scotland I can only watch it all unfold from afar. It seems that it is still too close to call and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Even though I am now a Canadian, I am still proud of the fact that I am also Scottish by birth. If I still lived there I know which way I would vote, but I’m not saying that here as I don’t want to lose any friendships over it.

Instead of dwelling on a vote I cannot take part in I started thinking about some of my favourite Scottish books. Scotland has produced a lot of great writers and some of my favourite reads are by Scottish writers or are at least Scottish themed. So here is a shortlist of some of my favourite Scottish reads to take our minds off of the divisiveness of the referendum:


  1. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. The Works of Robert Burns - Robert Burns
  3. Greenvoe - George Mackay Brown
  4. How the Scots Invented the Modern World - Arthur Herman
  5. Stenwick Days - R.T. Johnston
  6. How the Scots Invented Canada - Ken McGoogan

It could have been a different and bigger list, but these are some of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most that first came to mind. What are your favourite Scottish-themed reads? Share a comment or two if you feel like it.

Saturday Snapshot – Skara Brae (Sept 13)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy. Go there to see how you can participate.

This past summer we travelled ‘home’ to Orkney, where I grew up. One of the always impressive places we visited was Skara Brae, which is only a ten minute drive from my parents’ house. When I grew up there this was one of the places I took for granted, but each time I go back and see it now I realise how amazing it really is.