Friday, July 25, 2014

My Life In Books

Books in my life
I have recently been thinking about books from childhood – books I read many years ago. In recent years I have done blog entries on “notable books of  the year” and I can look back at them anytime. For the earlier ones I have only memory.
I wondered what an exercise in trying to pull books out of my memory from previous years would produce. No prodding, no hard work, just simply going back over the years to see what stuck with me.
I suppose it is not really surprising that they tumbled forth and are still tumbling. I find it interesting to note that while I have read quite a few of the great “classics”, they did not rise to the surface in this process – although I think some on the list should be considered classics, and perhaps some are.
As the list grew, it became apparent to me that many would stand the test of time – that they could be read again and still enjoyed, and in some cases, perhaps would be more meaningful to me now than they were then.
My mind continues to dredge up books overlooked in this initial effort, and perhaps I will add to the list sometime.
For now, the first pass has 70 listed.
One final note – perhaps the book that has had a greater impact on me than any other was the grade 3 reader – Golden Windows! Why? It was because of this beautiful book that I became completely infatuated with reading – stories, poems, learning, wonder.
Any comments appreciated

Books in my life
1. The Bible (old and new testaments)
2. Robinson Crusoe
3. Kidnapped
4. Freckles
5. Girl of the Limberlost
6. Bambi
7. Lassie Come Home
8. Riders of the Purple Sage
9. Tom Sawyer
10. Huckleberry Finn
11. Anne of Green Gables 
12. Little Women
13. The Yearling
14. Last of the Mohicans
15. Leather Stocking
16. The Robe
17. The Silver Chalice
18. The Saracen Blade
19. Cry of the Wild
20. The Shoes of the Fisherman
21. The Clowns of God
22. Stranger in a Strange Land
23. Dune
24. The Avatar
25. The Narnia Series
26. Nanook of the North
27. Border Music
28. High Plains Tango
29. The Magicican of Lublin
30. The Winds of War
31. Chesapeake
32. The Bridge at Andau
33. Who Has Seen The Wind
34. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
35. King Rat
36. Shogun
37. Sarum
38. Whirlwind
39. The Haj
40. Trinity
41. Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)
42. Pillars of the Earth
43. The Professor and the Madman
44. The Meaning of Everything
45. The Last Days of Pompei
46. Mere Christianity
47. The Silent Spring
48. The Carpetbaggers
49. A Stone for Danny Fisher
50. The World According to Garp
51. Shoeless Joe
52. A River Runs Through It
53. The Hiding Place
54. The Old Man and the Boy
55. The Old Man’s Boy Grows Up
56. The Honey Badger
57. Five Smooth Stones
58. Life after Death
59. Berlin Solstice
60. Lonesome Dove
61. Commanche Moon
62. A Prayer for Owen Meany
63. The Glass Castle
64. Never Cry Wolf
65. Grey Seas Under
66. The Serpent’s Coil
67. Sibir
68. Three Day Road
69. The Owl’s Nest
70. The Boys of Summer

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Memory Lane Prince Edward County 1946 East Lake School

Memory Lane Prince Edward County 1946
East Lake Public School Picture 
The picture tells it all! How could the world have changed so much in such a short time? No designer clothes, no senior prom, no limousines and fancy dress at graduation. Eight grades in one small classroom heated with a wood stove.
I believe the school building is gone now, with no trace left except our memories. Yes, I am the little gink in the middle row with the wrinkly lisle stockings (oh the horror). My brother Keith is in the front row, and brother George was missing for some unknown reason.
This was postwar Canada. King George V1 was on the throne, and Roy Rogers was king of the cowboys.
So many memories – I dare not start that – but one cries to be told. On our farm dwelt an old tom turkey whose mission in life was to chase me when my mother sent me to the barn for fresh milk. (Imagine – getting a little pail of milk fresh from the cow without benefit of any processing before we drank it. How ever did we survive?). That turkey gobbler was the boogy man of my dreams! One Sunday after church, friends of my parents , Roy and Gladys Spafford came to our home for dinner (for you city folk, dinner was what we had at noon – supper at night). Mr. Turkey decided to take a run at Roy. It was his last run. Roy turned when he realized he was being attacked, and a quick kick at the turkey resulted in a broken neck for Tom, and a turkey supper for us.
You can enlarge the picture by clicking, and clicking again for an ever larger image.
The names of the students and teacher are ---
Back row – Kathleen Mann, Mary Vader, Margaret Wellbanks, Barbara Lancaster, Grace Goodwin (Teacher), Jack Laundry, Bill Noble, Bud Chapman, David Camp
Middle row – Lloyd Hanna, Margaret Elsbury, Lucille Parks, Mary Leavitt, Ruth Perry, Kay Camp, Shirley Laundry, Joan Marisett
Front row – Joseph Laundry, Lawrence Foster, Keith Hanna, Ken Marisett
Absent – Margaret Dyer, Nancy Laundry, Peter Welch, Paul Welch, George Hanna
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Poem on 2014 Olympics

Game of life
The games are on!
flame burning bright
Young athletes march
A moving sight
To get this far
Hard work for years
but will the prize
Be joy or tears
Will all their work
Earn them a spot
On winners stand
Or be forgot
So they compete
An all out strife
A fitting metaphor
For life

Monday, January 6, 2014

Notable Books of 2013

Most Memorable Books
The library record shows that 143 books were borrowed in calendar year 2013. While most of these were a good read, only 9 made my “memorable” list.
1. Sara Gruen – Ape House – A fictional account of a community of great apes (bonobos) living in a university language research facility. What kept me fascinated by this book was the insights into the habits and language abilities (based on facts) of these interesting creatures.
2. Sandra Dallas – Tall Grass – A 13 year old girl tells of life on a Colorado farm during world war 11 after an interment camp is located nearby for Japanese Americans. An “awful good” read!
3. Guy Vanderhaeghe – A Good Man - So many subjects in the decade after Custers defeat – Montana & Alberta, NWMP, Fenians, Queens Own Rifles, Sitting Bull, spies, Ottawa and Washington, etc. Not sure I “enjoyed” it, but it stays in my mind.
4. Diane Setterfield – The Thirteenth Tale – this book has received both rants and raves from various reviewers, and while I recognize the cons, I enjoyed the story and the main characters love of books
5. Carl Hiaasen – Bad Monkey – call me shallow, but I have read all his books and eagerly await the next. His weird and yet totally believable characters, his obvious passion for the natural Florida landscape and his caustic criticism of those who despoil it, combined with a wicked wit, put his books high among my favorites.
6. Alan Bradley – Speaking From Among The Bones – if you have not met Flavia DeLuce, you have been missing out. This Canadian author’s books are a combination of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A delightful read on so many levels.
7. Brad Smith – Busted Flush – a Canadian author from Dunnville Ontario, Smith’s character Dock Bass is a man after my own heart – living life on his own terms. Throw in a hidden treasure trove of Civil war artifacts and a bunch of nefarious characters and you have a delightful read. Memorable just for the enjoyment of reading it!
8. Bill Bryson – One Summer – Simply another Bryson triumph. Characters and events that shaped our world but stranger than any fiction. Absolute must read!
9. Joseph Boyden – The Orenda – another book that I cannot say I “enjoyed”, but it is powerful and memorable and informs us of our central Canada heritage, both native and early settlers.