Tag Archives: Books

4 Reviews: Uncommon Danger by Eric Ambler; Krambambuli by Syr Ruus; St. George and the Dragon by Beth Andrews; The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson

Hi Everyone! I hope you are finding books to read from these brief reviews. Here are four more.

Title: Uncommon Danger

Author: Eric Ambler

Published: 1937

This is an old book I found – I love old books – and selected for prompt #17 – “A character “on the run”” in the 52BookClub challenge.

A freelance journalist is travelling by train when he meets another man who befriends him. That man asks him to carry an envelope for him, that he says holds his savings, because he is afraid that he will be relieved of it at checkpoints. The journalist thinks it odd but reluctantly agrees. That decision places the journalist in great danger when he finds the man murdered. The story involves government secrets, theft, villains, kidnappings, and much going on. Good mystery story.

Title: Krambambuli

Author: Syr Ruus

Published: October 2018

This is the book I chose for the 52bookclub reading challenge prompt #34 “a 5-star read.” I also used this book for the Indigo reading challenge under the prompt “A non-fiction book by a Canadian author.”


I don’t want to say too much and perhaps fail to do this book justice.
This is a memoir that is so very interesting, educational, personal. The author (with whom I am privileged to be acquainted) was born in Estonia, her life being deeply affected by WWII. She, with her mother, became displaced persons who lived in three different countries while trying to find a safe place to make their home. As immigrants they found passage to the US on a ship they hoped would not be bombed along the way. (Imagine it!)
The story is told through memories from the author’s childhood when she was a little girl full of fears and feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. (Her father was more absent than present in her life.) She tells about her life later in North America and her difficult relationship with her mother during her life in the US and after she immigrated to Canada. It made me wonder and marvel at the lovely woman that little girl became, overcoming so much. She has authored several very interesting books and is an encouragement to other writers.

Title: St. George and the Dragon

Author: Beth Andrews

Published: July 2005

I chose this book for the 52BookClub challenge and used it for prompt #43 – “a character with a pet cat.” The cat shows up rather late in the story but it still counts.

This story is based in England when the greatest courtesy was shown ladies by gentlemen, all in great formality and proper etiquette. A man of status challenged his nephew and his friend to accept a wager. He had them go to the elegant home of two young women who lived quiet, private lives, with instructions to woo them, win them, and then jilt them. Their reward would be a large sum of money. There is the suspected matter of “the dragon”, but things do not go quite as planned. Through surprises, resistance, humorous incidents, misunderstandings, the men realize their uncle and friend had placed them in an unexpected position.

Title: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Author: Sloan Wilson

Published: 1955

This is a really enjoyable read, which I chose for the 52BookClub challenge prompt #19 – “Book with a deckled edge.” I also used it for the club’s February mini-challenge prompt ”book with a red spine.” (My copy of the book is not the same as shown here, but is a gray hardcover with a red spine.)


A young man and his wife live in a lower class area and want a better home for themselves and their three children. He changes jobs, going to work for a wealthy businessman, with the hope of moving up in salary and importance, and then suffers through the changes it causes in his life. He also is haunted by a relationship he had during the war when he was away from his wife. He and his wife struggle in their marriage and realize they must be honest with themselves and one another in order to make a future together.
It seems a bit too cut and dried in my opinion by today’s standards, but it still is a great story.

Any comments on these books? Have you enjoyed any of them?

Thanks for reading, and … Happy Musings! 🙂

Book Reviews: The Alice Network – Kate Quinn; The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah; Pier 21 – Steven Schwinghamer; Puff, the Magic Dragon – Peter Yarrow

Hello everyone! I decided that I would post the short reviews I wrote for some of the books I’ve read for the reading challenges I’m participating in this year. Perhaps it will encourage you to read a few of the books. I’ll do a few per post.

Title: The Alice Network

Author: Kate Quinn

Published: June 6, 2017

What a great story! The reader is taken back and forth in time as a young woman searches for her cousin who was lost in the war. She meets a woman who was scarred, not just physically, but by what she suffered in the war, and their lives become intertwined. We learn about that woman’s life and difficult experiences as she did her part for the war. Very interesting and dramatic story.

In the 52BookClub 2021 challenge, this book fits prom
pt #3 – “a dual timeline.”

Title: The Great Alone

Author: Kristin Hannah

Published: February 6, 2018

This novel is fully captivating. A family of three, one being a Vietnam War veteran who has severe PTSD, move from place to place. Finally, after losing another job, he moves his wife and daughter to Alaska and a rugged life “off the grid.” His violent outbursts come back, though, affected by the few hours of light during Alaska winter, and his family lives in fear again. Things get very complicated and the reader gets pulled into their lives quite easily. There is much to learn about life there as the story unfurls.
This is a very good story with twists and drama that keep one reading, or listening on audio. Well worth it.

In the 52BookClub 2021 challenge, this book fits prompt #21 – “book by Kristin Hannah.”

Title: Pier 21: a History

Author: Steven Schwinghamer

Published: March 31, 2020

For anyone interested in the history of Nova Scotia, Canada, specifically Pier 21, immigration, movement of troops in the World Wars – this is the book to read. Very interesting information about the history of Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, including personal testimonies of immigrants’ experiences.

In the 52BookClub 2021 challenge, this book fits prompt #8 -“a book in the 900’s Dewey Decimal System.”

Title: Puff, the Magic Dragon

Author: Peter Yarrow

Published: August 1, 2007

I chose this for the 52BookClub 2021 challenge under prompt #30 – “watch out for dragons!”

It’s hard to write this without spoilers … so SPOILER ALERT!

This is a sweet and sad story of a boy and his dragon, Puff. They play together for years, until the boy grows up and the dragon is left alone again. The ending is great, though, when the next generation meets Puff.
I read the book that includes a CD with four songs on it, the first being the well known song – Puff the Magic Dragon – which can be followed along in the book.
Fabulous illustrations.

What have you been reading … or writing?

Thanks for reading … and Blessings on your day!

Juneteenth (June 19) honours Black Americans. Here is a suitable Reading List.

Admittedly, I don’t venture far into books about race – and I don’t mean that in a bad way (I’m sorry … I don’t know how to phrase things to be sure it’s non-offensive) – but usually I don’t read a book because of who its author is or isn’t. Lately I have become more aware, you might say, and have read a few that, for me, are very educational and well worth reading. The following list of 35 books are some of many that are recommended reads in connection to Juneteenth and on issues of race.

  1. Four Hundred Souls – by Ibram X. Kendri
  2. On Juneteenth – by Annette Gordon-Reed
  3. Barracoon: the story of the last “Black Cargo” – by Zora Neale Hurston
  4. Frederick Douglass: prophet of freedom – by David W. Blight
  5. Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow – by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  6. A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance – by Hanif Abdurraqir
  7. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America – by Kiera Laymon
  8. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – by Austin Channing Brown
  9. Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All – by Martha S. Jones
  10. A Black Woman’s History of the United States – by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
  11. His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope – by Jon Meacham
  12. Wandering in Strange Lands: a Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots – by Morgan Jerkins
  13. Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own – by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
  14. Overground Railroad: the Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America – by Candace Taylor
  15. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism – by Robin DiAngelo
  16. The Souls of Black Folk – by W.E.B. Du Bois
  17. The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America – by Kahlil Gibran Muhammad
  18. The Origins of Others – by Toni Morrison
  19. White Rage: the Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide – by Carol Anderson
  20. Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco – by Savannah Sange
  21. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right – by Arli Hochschild
  22. City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles (1771-1965) – by Kelly Lytle Hernandez
  23. Race, Reform, and Rebellion: the Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America, 1945-2006 – by Manning Marable
  24. Racism: a Short History – by George M. Frederickson
  25. When Police Kill – by Franklin E. Zimring
  26. Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment – by Angela Davis
  27. The Hate U Give – by Angie Thomas
  28. How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History Slavery Across America – by Clint Smith
  29. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together – by Heather McGhee
  30. From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century – by William A. Darity Jr. & A. Kirsten Mullen
  31. Pourin’ Down Rain: A Black Woman Claims Her Place in the Canadian West – by Cheryl Foggo
  32. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power – by Danielle L. McGuire
  33. Kindred – by Octavia E. Butler
  34. Hidden Figures:The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race – by Margot Lee Shetterly
  35. Roots: the Saga of an American Family – by Alex Haley

The titles in bold type are the few on this list I have read so far. Which have you read? Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? If so, please mention them in the comments. Thank you!

Thanks for readings, and … Blessings on your day! 🙂

Ever Hear of TSUNDOKU?

Hi there!

I have a question for you to start this off … Do you practice Tsundoku? Had you ever heard of it?

Tsundoku – pronounced sun doe coo – is a Japanese expression meaning “leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.” The word literally means reading pile. Someone by the name of Sanders said, “the Tsundoku scale can range from just one unread book to a serious hoard.”

Now can you say you practice it? 🙂 I definitely can! First, let me make it clear here that I am not a hoarder of books, I am a collector of books. There is a difference … right?

I have come to the conclusion that buying books and reading them are actually two entirely different hobbies. – Unknown

My reading pile consists of not only hard copies, (in the low hundreds) but it extends to e-books, and also audio books. So, yes, I have hundreds of unread books! Should I be ashamed of that? Well, maybe, but I prefer to embrace the fact that I have found books I am looking forward to reading, albeit many of those will be in the far-off future simply because of the quantity of them. Anyway … isn’t tsundoku a pretty word? 🙂

That is why I am happy to be participating in reading challenges — because I have so many of my own books to read that I can fill almost all of the prompts with them. I do still borrow the occasional novel from the library, because I have lists in my library account of the hundreds of books low thousands of books I want to read. I just can’t help myself!

As usual, on my “Books I’ve read in [whatever year]” page here on my blog, I keep track of the books I’ve read each year. There you can see I continue to read many picture books. It’s a record I keep for myself and for anyone who might be interested.

Now it’s your turn to share.

Do you practice tsundoku? Or, do you have lists of books you hope to borrow or buy to read? Are you participating in any reading challenges?

Thanks for reading, and blessings on your day! Let’s keep in touch.

Have you read any of these books?

Hello, Everyone!

I have been thinking about what to share with you regarding books and reading challenges, so here is the list of books I have read so far for the 52bookclub challenge:

  1. The Alice Network – by Kate Quinn
  2. The Great Alone – by Kristen Hannah
  3. Puff, the Magic Dragon – by Peter Yarrow
  4. Pier 21: a history – by Steven Schwinghammer
  5. Catherine, Called Birdy – by Karen Cushman
  6. My Brilliant Friend – by Elena Ferrante
  7. The Answer Is … Reflections on my Life – by Alex Trebek
  8. The Sun Down Motel – by Simone St. James
  9. Good Mothers Don’t – by Laura Best
  10. You Had Me at Hola – by Alexis Daria
  11. A Soldier’s Sketchbook: the illustrated First World War Diary of R.H. Rabjohn – by John Wilson
  12. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang – by Kate Wilhelm
  13. Uncommon Danger – by Eric Ambler
  14. Krambambuli – by Syr Ruus
  15. St. George and the Dragon – by Beth Andrews
  16. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit – by Sloan Wilson
  17. Their Eyes Were Watching God – by Zora Neale Hurston
  18. Big Magic: Creative Magic Beyond Fear – by Elizabeth Gilbert
  19. The Calculating Stars – by Mary Robinette Kowal
  20. Before Green Gables – by Budge Wilson
  21. Reagandoodle and Little Buddy: the true story of a labradoodle and his toddler best friend – by Sandi Swiridoff
  22. Angela’s Ashes: a memoir – by Frank McCourt
  23. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – by Kim Michele Richardson
  24. My Sister the Moon – by Sue Harrison
  25. The Tale of Despereaux – by Kate DiCamillo
  26. Someone to Watch Over Me – by Jill Churchill
  27. The Pursuit of Happyness – by Chris Gardner

For the Indigo reading challenge I have read:

  1. Catherine, Called Birdy – by Karen Cushman
  2. My Brilliant Friend – by Elena Ferrante
  3. Good Mothers Don’t – by Laura Best
  4. White Fragility: why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism – by Robin DiAngelo
  5. Krambambuli – by Syr Ruus
  6. Our House is on Fire: scenes of a family and a planet in crisis – by Malena Ernman
  7. The City in the Middle of the Night – by Charlie Jane Anders
  8. My Sister the Moon – by Sue Harrison
  9. Big Burn – by Lesley Choyce

For the Agatha Christie reading challenge — none yet.

For what I’ve read for the Goodreads personal challenge you can check my page there (I’m there as Lynn Davidson); too many books to add here because I am halfway to my goal of 700.

Of the above 31 books, which ones have you read? Do you have any of them in your TBR (to be read) stash?

Thanks for reading … and Blessings on your day!

Book Reading Challenges

Hello Everyone! I hope somebody is still out there.

How are you doing? What’s up in your life and how are you staying sane, happy, and busy? It’s certainly been a challenging year (plus) with COVID and isolation and everything that comes with that – and it continues. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

I am still involved in caring for a family member, ten complete years now back and forth weekly. During that time, life has brought many changes, sorrows, and stresses, but blessings as well. We have a new grandbaby boy, as of October, and he is a blessing no one believed would happen. His mum and dad are so in love with this little guy, born a year and a half after they were married. At least once a week I babysit him so his mom can work at the office instead of trying to do it all from home.

Do you have any surprises and blessings to tell about?

Just to update you a little …

As I shared with you in a much earlier post, I have moved from writing into painting – which is on hold for the second time because of the pandemic. And as you likely know, I am a book lover so I’ve gone deeper into reading reading reading. At the beginning of the year I took on reading challenges so that I can work my way through the large number of yet unread books I have purchased over the years – mostly discounted and at book sales. I am compulsively lovingly adding to my accumulation, hoping to eventually set up my own personal library in one of the former bedrooms in our house.

In this post I am going to tell you about the reading challenges and perhaps I can share about my painting in a later post.

On Goodreads I accepted an invitation to join the 52BookClub – the challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks, by following prompts for each week. They don’t have to be done in order, so I chose not to read them in order of prompts which are listed at the beginning.

From Indigo I accepted the challenge of reading 21 books in this year, also following prompts. A few of them line up with 52BookClub prompts, so I can use one book for both.

On Goodreads I also accepted the challenge to read Agatha Christie books with no set deadline. I have a few of hers that I haven’t read yet, and got a few more at a book sale a few weeks ago. I’ve yet to start that one.

Our local library issues a summer reading challenge too, which I tried last year and will likely do again. I’m continually keeping my library ladies busy.

I almost forgot … Goodreads challenges readers to set a personal goal, and mine has been high the past few years, but this year I lowered it. 700 is my goal, which includes all genres and mostly picture books – whatever I can read. Although I am not writing picture books now I am still reading them and sharing them. Always learning.

Because I’m slowly trying to figure out how to maneuver the changes made to WordPress, I haven’t been able to update my homepage much, but I plan to do that. I’ll show there the books I’ve read for the challenges – once I figure it out!

Perhaps you will find that you’ve read some of the titles I have selected for prompts, or maybe you will be encouraged to read some on my list. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading and travelling to different places through books.

Shown above are some of the many books I have on hand to read. This is before I purchased many more at the book sale in April. The ones stacked in front are chosen for prompts, and in my journal on the desk I’m keeping track.

I’m currently reading How NOT to Die by Michael Greger. (such a good book!) And I’m reading The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner, having loved the movie starring Will Smith.

What are you reading these days?

Thanks for reading this post, and … Blessings on your day! Let’s be in touch – social distancing, of course.

BOOKS quote

Today, to let you know I am still around and to keep in touch, I have a wonderful quote for you.

BOOKS are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

– Charles William Eliot (American educator, 1834-1926)

I can’t argue with that!  Any thoughts?

Thanks for reading, and Creative Musings!  🙂