Wilson Murray, Memoirs of a Great Detective. 1904. Collins/Totem,
loaned me this paperback because she is a fan of Murdoch's Mysteries
and she knows that I like to read police procedure crime novels. John
Wilson Murray, 1840 - 1906, made a reputation for himself during the
American Civil War. After working for police services in the States,
he was enticed to accept a position as detective for the Department
of Justice for the Ontario government where his jurisdiction covered
the length and breadth of that province. The 30+ cases documented in
this excerpted memoir cover the gamut of the origins of crime in
patriotism, poverty, jealousy, greed, gang loyalty, lust, rejection,
sadism, and mental illness. As a
detective in Canada at the turn of the twentieth century,
inter-provincial and international borders seemed to matter less to
Murray. Warrants too seem often to be afterthoughts. Armed with
intelligence and empathy, the tools he used include a built-in shit de…
Kathy Reichs' Spider Bones. Simon & Schuster, 2010.
I love Kathy Reichs for the fast read, the way
she sucks me relentlessly in to the next chapter, and the scientific
details that I can pick up without actually having to study science.
Temperance Brennan is of course a forensic anthropologist called in
to analyze bodies of victims of crime, accidents, suicide, or war.
This novel, # 12 or 13 in the Bones series, is about attempting to
clarify the identity of a body found in Quebec whose fingerprints say
he is a man killed in Vietnam more than forty years before. The quest
takes Tempe back to her native North Carolina and then to Hawaii where
the US government agency JPAC, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, continues to find, identify, and return home the bodies of thousands
of American servicemen. 78,000 from World War II, 8,100 from the
Korean War, 120 from the Cold War, and 1,800 from the Vietnamese War.
The numbers seem incredible. Spider
Bones is not my favourit…
Richard Brautigan. Trout Fishing In America. Delta, 1967.
reading this book. A blast from the past to be sure. What was I doing
in 1967? Was that the Year of Love? Finished first year university.
Went to Expo '67 in Montreal. Canada was 100 years old. I love
the sense of place in these sketches. Each different trout stream or
crash pad, sort of linked, a web spun by one spider who returns to
its centre, the Ben Franklin statue in Washington Square in San
Francisco. I love the idea that it's a code that I haven't quite
figured out yet. I love the anonymous notes from other writers,
trying to guess the senders just from the style. And I love the
surprising insights. "The
Red shadow of the Gandhian nonviolence Trojan horse has fallen across
America, and San Francisco is its stable." [p. 99] And the
selling of streams by the linear foot. Waterfalls sold separately.
[pp. 102-107] "You
hardly see those cars any more. They are the old cars. They have to
Found a stock photo which appeals to me, the way the dying sun over the water, the marsh grasses evoke the two settings of my work-in-progress - southern British Columbia and Ireland.
Title de jour: Embers.
things happen around her, Wyn McBride, a mature woman at a
crossroads, is forced to move, to come to terms with the past, and to
take a serious look at the present she has chosen for herself. A
serendipitous trip to Ireland offers the unexpected opportunity for
"deep travel" where she encounters, face to face, parts of
herself she never knew existed.
It could be a meeting on the street, or a party or a lecture, or just
a simple, banal introduction, then suddenly there is a flash of
recognition and the embers of kinship glow. There is an awakening
between you, a sense of ancient knowing. - John O'Donohue
Sparks and Robert Kloss. The Desert Places. Illustrated by Matt Kish.
Curbside Splendor, 2013.
Places is a slim volume of art with a stylish re-telling of origin
myth, of lurking evil, its evolution, and the underlying
destructiveness of "progress". I can
only take refuge in the title, alluding for me to Robert Frost's
"Desert Places," which, of course, begins: "You cannot
scare me . . . "
The Most Important Thing I've Learned in Life: 370 Lessons To Live By Edited and Compiled by Beau Bauman. Simon and Schuster. 1994.
This little collection of advice and inspirational quotations was loaned to me by my cousin Wilma who "borrowed" it from the library in her condo. Now, she has "swapped" for it. I love this clandestine club of avid readers to which so many of us belong.
Gathering is the first Anne Enright novel I have read. Winner of the
Man Booker Prize in 2007, it is a beautifully told story of one
sister, Veronica Hegarty's, grief and of her large family in Dublin
gathering for the wake of her closest brother Liam who drowned
walking into the sea in England. Grief. Suicide. Family dynamics.
hesitation with this story is the seeming link at least in the
narrator's mind between sexual abuse of children and homosexuality.
This theme is more common in literature than I believe the science
warrants. (Starting with Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall On Your Knees
from as far back as 1996.) The reason it disturbs me is that it seems
to assume that both homosexuality and its causes are pathological.
For me, this is a problem, the ghost of outmoded ideas. As I suspect
it would be to most in the LGBTQ community.