Okay, so most of you know what's been distracting me. I've been training for 3 triathlons....the first of which I completed on June 10th. My nephew shot this pic as I was coming out of the swim. Before I was a serious triathlete...I would never dream of posting a picture of myself without makeup on, but I think this one is pretty cool, even without the eyeliner.
(I was 3rd in the swim for my age group, by the way..not that I'm bragging or anything...)
Bike to run transition.
At the finish line. Click here to see the results. I'm in the 35-39 age group. Kerri & I crossed the finish line together, which was cool since we've been friends for 20 years...
Okay, so enough of me being an obsessed triathlete. Let's talk some books now. I will never ever ever get caught up with all the reviews I want to do, so I'm going to do a few quick reviews. We're all busy, afterall, it doesn't mean we can't read some great books.
Did you ever notice that sometimes you end up reading books with similar themes without even intending to?
I noticed this when I found I'd read 3 sister books within a couple months--Shanghai Girls, Pride & Prejudice & True Colors. The latter was not worth reviewing, if you were wondering.
Then I realized that I was duplicating other themes: When reading The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, I noticed both were about pre-teen boys on coming-of-age journeys. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny and The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon are both historical fiction mysteries with unrequited love stories AND both included gay male characters that detailed said characters' sad love stories as well. That kind of blew me away, actually...finding the plot similarities in books that are so completely different.
Now for some quick reviews:
Michael Ondaatje is the Sri Lankan-born Canadian author of The English Patient, which was made into one of my favorite movies. His writing is very beautiful, poetic and lyrical. I've read some of his poetry, too, from The Cinnamon Peeler. The Cat's Table is the story of a eleven year old boy who is on a ocean liner traveling from Sri Lanka to England to be reuinted with the mother he hasn't seen in several years. It's part adventure, part mystery, part coming-of-age story, as the adult narrator tells the journey retrospectively. It's a quick read, with engaging characters and unexpected plot twists. Well worth the 269 pages. Rating 8.75.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a book club pick for two of my book clubs. One had talked about it and then didn't choose it, and since I'd never read it, I thought I'd suggest it for another book club and they did choose it, but then the first club picked it the next month, so I had two chances to read it and didn't make it all the way through either time. I feel like a classic drop out. I bet I got about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through. I mostly didn't like Twain's writing style. I find contemporary writing styles much more sophisticated; I often find "classics" to be irritating. Additionally, I never really liked any enough of the characters to get invested in the story, so it got abandoned. (I'm not rating this one.)
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny is set in northern Canada in the mid 1800s. It starts out when a woman discovers her neighbor murdered in his cabin. When suspicion falls on her son, who has disappeared, she heads out into the wilderness with a mysterious trapper to find her son and prove his innocence. There are also many other side stories here that all weave together beautifully. This book has engaging characters and heartbreaking moments. My book club was split on it, however; some people couldn't get into it, but those that did really loved it. Rating 9.0.
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon is part of the Lord John series, which is sort of a spin-off/parallel series to her Outlander series. The Lord John books focus on Lord John Grey and Jamie Frasier, two of the characters from the Outlander books. While it's not necessary that you read the Outlander books before you read these, you'll understand a lot more of what these characters are facing if you have read the Outlander books. With that said, this is a good book on it's own--it has mystery, action, and in classic Gabaldon style--emotion. And there's some hot sex in it too...but it's not the kind of sex that Outlander fans are used to... Rating this one is unfair because of the HTAF...If I leave out that category, it's a solid 8.75. Once you add Jamie into the HTAF factor it's off the charts... :)
I'll try not to be a stranger...