The Cactus is a metaphor for life in the cautious lane

Reading a good book is much like letting a delicious chocolate melt in your mouth. The anticipation alone is exciting but the real gratification begins as soon as you pop it into your mouth. Then, the pleasure mounts as you allow the outer layer of chocolate to slowly melt, revealing a creamy strawberry centre or a nutty cluster that you can chew on and make it last longer. It's an experience to be savored. Am I getting too Forrest Gump-y? I thought of that analogy when I considered the path…

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Big Sky is neither a family saga nor a story about the wild west. It’s ‘way better.

Well! When I started reading Kate Atkinson's Big Sky I must confess the title led me to expect a family saga along the lines of The Thornbirds, or perhaps a story about the American wild west. Obviously, I hadn't done my homework about the author. Kate Atkinson is in fact a contemporary British crime writer with many novels to her credit that feature a recurring main character/hero by the name of Jackson Brodie. Brodie is an ex-cop who hung out his own shingle as a private investigator after he left…

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Big Sky is neither a family saga nor a story about the wild west. It’s ‘way better.
Young lady reading a book, pop art retro vector illustration. Interesting reading

The Silent Patient was a step outside my reading comfort zone

Murder-mystery-thrillers are not my usual choice for reading material. But, after reading The New York Times best-seller The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, I'm thinking perhaps I should expand my horizons. I stayed up until after midnight last night to find out "whodunnit", then couldn't sleep thinking about all the plot twists. It's a psychological thriller written mostly in the first-person voice of a psychologist so if you're a fan of pop psychology then you'll love all the references to mental illness. Alicia Berenson is a temperamental artist with a troubled…

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Eric Idle lives and writes on the bright side of life

Several years ago I reviewed Monty Python alumnus John Cleese's autobiography So, Anyway (This Parrot is Definitely Not Dead). Another Python'er, Eric Idle has now come out with his version of their epic story and as a fan of their silly, British humour, I couldn't wait to read it. Always Look On The Bright Side of Life, A Sortabiography by Eric Idle is not only the title of his autobiographical book but the final chorus written originally by Idle for their famous movie Monty Python's Life of Brian. The song Always…

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Disappearing Earth offers a peek into everyday life in a remote Russian community

Certain books appeal to me for their ability to transport me to another place, another culture or another time that I would never otherwise have the opportunity to experience. That's what appealed to me about Disappearing Earth, a novel by Julia Phillips. It's set in Kamchatka, a remote peninsula extending south from the eastern coast of Siberia in Russia. It's a contemporary story about the abduction of two young sisters, 8-year-old Sophia and 12-year-old Alyona on a warm August day. This crime is the unifying thread that ties a wide variety…

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Japanese occupation of Singapore still resonates today

Every so often we read a book that gives us a renewed appreciation for when and where we were born. That's what struck me the most after reading How We Disappeared, a novel by Jing-Jing Lee. I've always felt I won the lottery being born in Canada as a baby boomer after the end of the Second World War. Growing up in a free country that offers so many opportunities and privileges as well as a comfortable standard of living is truly a gift.The main character of this book, Wang Di…

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