Joanne’s Mystery Picks

drowned livesDrowned Lives
By Stephen Booth

As a fan of Booth’s Cooper and Fry series, I was looking forward to reading this standalone mystery .  However, disappointment lay between the pages of this much-too-long tome. I can only wonder how lengthy this book was before the editor whittled it down because there was so much more that could have been deleted without losing the tone of the story, which was poor, at best.

Chris Buckley, a not too likeable character, has recently lost his parents, is facing redundancy and has entered into a business partnership in a rather dubious endeavor.  He is approached by an elderly man, Samuel Longden, who states that 

he is a distant relative of Chris’ and is writing a book about their family history and could use Chris’ help.  Chris is not at all interested in any collaboration with Longden and decides to forego a pre-arranged meeting with him only to later learn that Longden has been killed in a hit and run accident.  

Longden has left Chris a legacy in his will but only if Chris completes the book.  With his finances being severely strained, Chris decides to take on this task. With the introduction of Chris’ extensive family, I found it very confusing as to where to place each person on the family tree and how they were related to one another.  In some cases a character would appear briefly, interacting with Chris, and then drop out of the story for another hundred pages, leaving the reader to wonder what their importance was and how they fit into the mystery.

Reading the last page of this book was more of a “thank goodness that’s over” than “what a good story”.   I expected more of this author.  

2 Daggers
Joanne gives this “2 daggers out of 5”

Monday Evening Book Club January Selection

The Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on January 13 in Forsyth Hall to discuss the novel  Meet Me in the Museum by Anne Youngson.

mmim

About the book

From 70-year-old debut author Anne Youngson, a novel about a farmer’s wife and a museum curator seeking second chances.

In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Both believe their love stories are over.

Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, they begin writing letters to one another. And from their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined. As they open up to one another about their lives, an unexpected friendship blooms. But then Tina’s letters stop coming, and Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves?

About the author

How to write a smash-hit debut novel at 70 (by the retired grandma who’s done just that)

The intimacy of letter writing: an interview with Anne Youngson

Interview with Anne Youngson

Review: Bonding over bog bodies in ‘Meet Me at the Museum’

Review in Kirkus

Tollund Man (Wikipedia)

Europe’s famed bog bodies are starting to reveal their secrets

 

Seniors Book Club January Selection

The Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, January 8 in Forsyth Hall to discuss Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr Al Rabeeah with Winnie YeungHomes, a refugee story.

About the book

In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria – just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy – soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria. (Amazon)

About Winnie Yeung

Radio interview with Shelagh Rogers

Interview with Chuck Comeau for Canada Reads

Article in The Guardian

Article in the Edmonton Journal

Review in Quill and Quire

Review in Alberta Views

Book backgrounder for teachers

BBC News: Syria: The story of the conflict

Discussion questions

 

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the January 1, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

PowershiftPower shift : the longest revolution

By Sally Armstrong

The facts are indisputable. When women get even a bit of education, the whole of society improves. When they get a bit of healthcare, everyone lives longer. In many ways, it has never been a better time to be a woman: a fundamental shift has been occurring. Yet from Toronto to Timbuktu the promise of equality still eludes half the world’s population. The 2019 Massey lecture.

 

Team humanTeam Human

By Douglas Rushkoff

These are digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together–not as individuals. Yet today, society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. 

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Dec. 25, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Royal HolidayRoyal holiday : a novel

By Jasmine Guillory

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.

 

One day in DecemberOne day in December : a novel

By Josie Silver

Through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, Laurie sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic – and then her bus drives away. Certain they’re fated to find each other again, they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when Laurie’s best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus.