The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Uncategorized | 2 comments

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Harcourt
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 345
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

“Can’t cook but doesn’t bite.” So begins the newspaper ad offering the services of an “A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition” that draws the attention of widower Oliver Milliron in the fall of 1909. That unforgettable season deposits the ever-whistling Rose Llewellyn and her font-of-knowledge brother, Morris Morgan, in Marias Coulee along with a stampede of homesteaders drawn by the promise of the Big Ditch—a gargantuan irrigation project intended to make the Montana prairie bloom. When the schoolmarm runs off with an itinerant preacher, Morris is pressed into service, setting the stage for the “several kinds of education”—none of them of the textbook variety—Morris and Rose will bring to Oliver, his three sons, and the rambunctious students in the region’s one-room schoolhouse. A paean to a way of life that has long since vanished.

My Thoughts:
This was my first book by Ivan Doig but it definitely won’t be my last. This is one of those gently told stories that drew me deep into a time and place.

1910 Montana where the farming is dry and the schoolhouses are one room. Told in flashback by Paul Milliorn it’s a wonderful story. It made me laugh, it choked me up a couple of times and it thoroughly entertained me with its many interesting characters.

It opens in the 1950’s when Paul is the State Superintendent of Schools he visits the home and school where he grew up. It jogs his memory back to when he was 13 years old. His widowed father of three boys hired a housekeeper based on an ad that started “Can’t cook but doesn’t bite.” When she arrives in with her brother the small Montana farming town, its schoolchildren and even their parents are about to be changed.

When Rose’s brother Morrie takes over the one room school his teaching methods are definitely not what folks are used to. The arrival of Halley’s comet is a backdrop to this coming of age story that is about Paul and his brothers but also about the entire town of Marias Coulee.

It’s not fast paced but it’s a story that will draw you in. it’s historical fiction with a bit of a mystery and a fabulous cast of characters.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Bout of Books 17 Kickoff and Updates Post

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Bout of Books 17

Bout of Books 17

Bout of Books 17 kicked off at Midnight last night. I can always find a way to make Bout of Books work for me. I won’t be beginning my reading until my commute time this morning.

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

I have a big pile of books and an full ereader ready for this week. I won’t be tracking pages or books read but what I will track is the time I spend reading this week. I use an app on my phone called ATracker to record the time I spend reading or listening to audiobooks.

Here are my stats for the last Bout of Books in May. I’m hoping to beat those numbers this week.

Bout of Books

I will be using this post as my tracking post and adding daily updates each morning about what reading I have accomplished the day before. I’ll post updates here every morning Tuesday through Sunday. I’ll include my Sunday reading on my final wrap up post next Monday.

Monday Reading
Audiobook – 30 minutes (Right Ho, Jeeves)
Reading – 1 Hour, 45 minutes (In the Kingdom of Ice and Other People’s Baggage)

Tuesday Reading
Audiobook – 31 minutes (Right Ho, Jeeves)
Reading – 2 Hour, 33 minutes (In the Kingdom of Ice and Other People’s Baggage)
And I scheduled a vacation day for Friday to allow for a day of mostly reading.

Wednesday Reading
Audiobook – 57 minutes (Right Ho, Jeeves)
Reading – 2 Hour, 10 minutes (In the Kingdom of Ice and Other People’s Baggage)

Thursday Reading
Audiobook – 32 minutes (Right Ho, Jeeves)
Reading – 2 Hour, 4 minutes (In the Kingdom of Ice and Other People’s Baggage)

Friday Reading
Audiobook – 2 hours, 2 minutes (Right Ho, Jeeves, Masked Ball as Broxley Manor and The Green Mill Murder)
Reading – 1 Hour, 58 minutes (In the Kingdom of Ice and Other People’s Baggage)

Saturday Reading
As usual – my reading time drastically drops off on the weekend because we were out and about all day.
Reading – 1 hour, 52 minutes (In the Kingdom of Ice)

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson narrated by the author

Genre: Memoir, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 2015
Length: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Narrated by: Jenny Lawson
Source: Purchased

The Book
From Library Journal:

Lawson (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) returns with another autobiographical work, this one focused on her experiences living with mental illness. The title comes from a hashtag Lawson started on Twitter after a friend’s death to encourage people living with depression and anxiety to stockpile ridiculous, joyful memories “to take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence.” Her own furiously happy exploits lead to stories about her collection of odd taxidermy, the time she rented a sloth and a wallaby to surprise her husband and daughter, and a trip to Australia, where she donned a kangaroo costume in an effort to get closer to wild kangaroos. As delightful as much of the book is, -Lawson is also candid about her struggles with depression, self-harm, and crippling anxiety, the difficulties of nailing down the right combination of medications to treat her conditions, and her fears about the effects of her illness on her family.

My Thoughts
I enjoy reading Jenny Lawson’s blog and I also liked listening to her first book so I was kind or predisposed to like this second book and I did.

I know that Lawson’s writing style is not for everyone and I’m the first to admit that I enjoy her work in small doses. Because I only listen to audiobooks when I’m in the car alone I tend to consume all my audiobooks in small bits and pieces of 10 to 30 minute increments. I think that had a lot to do with why I enjoyed this book.

Lawson is funny but at the same time she touches on serious subjects such as mental illness, chronic medical conditions, and depression.

It’s not all fun and games in this book. For all the times I laughed out loud there were times I nearly cried or nodded my head in understanding.

Here are a few favorite quotes:

I’ve tried many torturous techniques to make my outsides fit the ridiculous standards society has set but it never ends well because my body lives in reality and it’s a reality that has too much cheese in it.

I just told him that I wasn’t a fan of paying money to inject paralyzing poison into my face and that I was actually quite proud of my laugh lines, which I view as a badge that tells people I’m not an asshole.

I don’t have arachnophobia (irrational fear of spiders) because fear of spiders is perfectly rational so I refuse to recognize it as a “disorder”.

Jenny Lawson is not a professional narrator but I cannot imagine anyone else narrating her books. I liked the part where she told about her initial struggles with narrating her first book. A timely text conversation with Neil Gaiman and his advice to “pretend you’re good at it” (which she wrote on her arm) got her over the fear.

The audiobook has a bonus chapter that is not included in the print edition and the first part of if reminded me of myself and my many book blogging friends.

I am a natural introvert and I used to feel quite bad about that because I thought it was weird. But it turns out that there are tons of us but none of us were aware of it because we were all too busy not talking to each other. Then the internet was invented and the introverts united but separately and in our own houses and we realized that there are more of us than them and there are so many of us we could probably take over the world if the world wasn’t so full of people we’d be forced to talk to in person.

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

3 stars 3/5 for the narration

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Weekend Update – The May 28, 2016 Edition

Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Weekend Update


Time //9pm Saturday evening

Place // My recliner in the family room

Eating // nothing right now but the grilled chicken we had earlier tonight was AMAZING

Drinking // Chardonnay

Reading // I finished Mr. Churchill’s Secretary this evening and finally started Lumberjanes Vol. 1.

Listening to // My current audiobook is The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. I read the first three books in the series. This is the first I’ve tried in the audio format and so far I’m enjoying it.

Watching // The West Wing Season one, episode 9. We have been enjoying rewatching The West Wing and following up each episode with the corresponding episode of The West Wing Weekly Podcast. We’re currently a few episodes behind but working on catching up.

Anticipating // We’re finally going to see Captain America Civil War on Sunday.

Enjoying // A Long weekend. Every one is special when you have limited vacation days.
Hope you’re having a great weekend.

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