The Twelve by Justin Cronin was more dark and disturbing than The Passage and I don’t think I would have completed it if it had been the first book, but by this point I was invested in the continuing tale.


I didn’t expect to be touched by The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a story about a retired man walking across England, but Rachel Joyce surprised me.
“In walking, he freed the past that he had spent twenty years seeking to avoid…”  Separately, Harold and Maureen walk through their memories, their pain, and through the walls they’ve built.
Joyce’s mastery of words is impressive. The pacing is a bit slow at times, but it matches the journey.


Alexandra Fuller wrote about growing up in Africa in Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight.  I certainly am glad that this wasn’t my childhood!  I don’t think Alexandra’s parents were really qualified to be parents. It also does not paint Africa as a place that I ever want to see, which is unusual. Her family farmed in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, Zambia, and Malawi, which seem to be extremely inhospitable!


S. M. Stirling’s Diethe Fire has an intriguing premise (very similar to the television show Revolution), and some interesting characters. On the whole, there is too much fighting for me (I skip all the battle scenes in Tolkien books). Also, some of the people who came to be part of the various bands of people were just a little too good to be true – she is a vet and and fencer? he can make bows and arrows? convenient! Some people might want to know that there is a lot of wicca in this story.


I made it about 75% of the way through The Iron Dragon’s Daughter by Michael Swanwick. It started out well, but got weirder and weirder as it went on. Eventually I gave up.


Michael Bishop’s Ancient of Days also has a good setup, with a hominid as one of the main characters. There were some quite humorous bits, but on the whole I can’t recommend it.


I read the kindle version of The Kronos Interference by Edward Miller, and definitely would not have finished if it were a hard copy. The story started out promising enough, but the writing quickly disintegrated to something I’d expect of a junior high student.  The spark for the story is compelling, and I find it so disappointing when good ideas aren’t capitalized on!


Marina Lewycka’s We Are All Made of Glue is a strange book. The novel includes themes of a broken marriage, Palestinian/Israeli relations & history, the coming apocalypse, and details of various glues. Does that sounds scattered? It is!
There’s a good bit of humour in the writing, but the infidelity is difficult for me to stomach. Also, the husband is barely a sketch of a character, so it is difficult to understand the main character’s feelings for him.

(If you’re keeping track, that’s only one book to recommend from a whole month of reading.)



This season’s Survivor finished this month; I’m still a Survivor addict.

On vacation we’ve been watching season three of Burn Notice on dvd.


I’ve been enjoying Rick Fay in his various settings: Rick Fay and Friends, Rick Fay with Strings, Rick Fay’s Big 8
A few more Over the Rhine songs, too: All My Favorite People, Drunkard’s Prayer, Moth



The Winnipeg kitchen was mostly focused on preparing for our absence, and freezing food for Stickler Jr to eat while we’re away.
The Mexican kitchen has been great!  Avocados, plantain, tortillas, chayote, starfruit, watermelon, mandarins, etc, etc, etc!



The importance of learning who you are:


5 random things from December:


1.  The Christmas Day sunset was the most stunning I’ve seen in my 44 years.

2.  Marina Lewycka quote: “Peace in the world was all very well, but no way was it going to extend to Rip and me. No way. When someone hurts you like that, what you want is revenge, not peace.”

3.  Android Netrunner is a really difficult card game to learn! The instructions are not as good as they need to be.

4.  I may have found a new massage therapist, located much closer to home.  (My previous RMT has become too ill to work.)

5.  You’re supposed to grease/oil the springs of your garage door – did you know that?



Christmas gatherings – ugh!! Extended family gatherings. Work holiday “parties.”


What I’m looking forward to in January:

On the 16th, Mr. Swiv and I mark 25 years of marriage.