Tag Archives: Andrew Pyper

It’s Monday … what are you reading?

it's monday

I just finished up a second read of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking for my book club that met yesterday. I originally read it a year or so ago and, and as introvert married to an extrovert, it made a huge impact on my personal life. Our book club is made up of mostly introverts, with one who wasn’t sure. If you’re an introvert, married to one, or parenting one, it’s a highly recommended read.

I’m close to the end of Andrew Pyper‘s The Killing Circle. The book club read Pyper’s The Demonologist last month with a kind of “meh” reaction. I’m finding this one better, although I”m not really a fan of the supernatural thriller. I’ll post a review when I’m finished.  Next up in paper is Timothy Findley’s Spadework.

I’m also listening to the audiobook of Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens by Andrea Wulf. I originally picked it up to fulfill a part of a reading challenge I’m participating in over at Goodreads, as I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction history books, but it’s quite exciting. It details the attempt to measure the size of the solar system based on the collection of data regarding the transit of Venus past the sun on June 6, 1761. This exercise required astronomers, professional and amateur to travel to and take measurements from locations around the world, specifically relating to the timing of this phenomenon. If you’re interested in navigation, history of science, or astronomy, this fast-paced book may be for you. Next up in audiobook format is a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami from 1995 called The Elephant Vanishes.

What’s on your night table, or in your bag, or next to your sofa?

Book club: The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper


This novel had been getting a lot of buzz when we decided to include it in our reading list. As today’s moderator suggested, it would appear that Andrew Pyper was trying for that sweet spot where genre fiction overlaps literary fiction, but as a group, we were not convinced that he was successful.

Pyper’s protagonist in The Demonologist is David Ullman, a Milton scholar who is offered an all-expenses paid trip to Venice if he will visit a particular address and use his expertise in the area of demons to assess a situation. He brings his daughter Tess with him and she is captured and drawn into the underworld.  The rest of the novel follows Ullman in his attempt to find and rescue her.

What worked:

We agreed that the story was interesting.

We thought he had moments of good writing.

There were some good action sequences.

We liked the relationship between Ullman and fellow professor Elaine O’Brien: a non-sexual, cross-gender friendship.

The cover (both dust cover and hardcover) were well done.

What didn’t work:

The novel reads too much like a screenplay. It seemed made for film, and not the literary fiction audience that we suspect he was going after.

We didn’t understand what was really going on. Does Ullman really believe there are demons that can intervene in our lives? Did important bits in flashbacks in the novel really happen, or were they subject to perceivers’ error?

Many of us were simply not very engaged in the novel. In a comparison between Pyper and Dan Brown (for example), those of us who admitted to being familiar with the latter rated Brown as better at engaging the reader in the story, and better at owning up to the agenda of the protagonist (in Brown’s case, and anti-Vatican stance, for example.)

The novel needed a(nother) good edit.

Overall rating: 6/10 (with a range of 5-7)

I hosted this month and decided to go for a Venetian theme, even though a relatively small part of the novel takes place in Venice. (As someone pointed out, this was probably a better theme than roadside diners/motels in terms of meal options.) Because of my Sunday morning committments, I chose a mainly cold buffet meal.

We lunched on a caprese salad, scampi alla Veneziana, crostini al radicchio Trevisano, proscuitto e melone, cheeses (a Romano sheep’s milk cheese and some asiago), and drinks made of prosecco, campari, and peach juice.  My spouse picked us up a Cappuccino Dacquoise for dessert.

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Seven Quick Takes Friday

Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Yikes, it’s suddenly gotten chilly again! A couple of weeks ago, I committed to losing the socks for the season, but I may need to dig out a pair today.
  2. Attended a concert at Michael’s school last night, featuring the Senior Stage Band (in which he plays bass trombone) and the Jazz.fm Youth Big Band in which he played for two years. As well as a chance to showcase these terrific young players, the concert raised money to send one of the high schoolers to Jazz Camp at Kincardine this summer. Michael was asked to sit in on a couple of tunes with the Jazz.fm folks, as well as their special guest, saxophonist Alex Dean, who sat in with both bands and treated us to some incredible solos.
  3. My book club is meeting chez moi this Sunday afternoon. I’m preparing a Venetian-inspired light lunch for our discussion of The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper (which I still have to finish.)
  4. English: Zen Habits Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)I joined the Sea Change Program hosted by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits. It encourages people to pick up a new habit each month. I have been meeting with my accountability group via Skype once a week to discuss how we’re progressing on this month’s habit: writing. It has certainly gotten me back into the daily writing habit and I’ve enjoyed meeting some new people who are working on the same changes. Next month’s habit is “Simplify your day” which is not so much an issue for me, but we’ll see what he has to offer.
  5. We need to get visas for our trip to Istanbul in August. I am very excited about this vacation. Z and I will be meeting my brother-in-law, his wife, and two of their grown children, and the plan is to rent a centrally-located apartment. Unfortunately, our boys can’t join us this time, but I’m sure we’ll be back. This trip has been on our bucket list for a long time.
  6. Next week I will head back to Ottawa to work some more with my mother to organize her new apartment and sort through the stuff in the condo. In particular, I want to go through a lot of old photos and annotate them with names, places, stories. I should pick up a few decorative boxes to sort and store these items.
  7. Henry’s and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra are offering an interesting course for photographers. It’s June 4, from 10 am to 1 pm. Attendees will have an opportunity to shoot in Roy Thomson Hall, and work with musicians in rehearsal and back-stage. Funds raised go to support the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, of which Michael is an alumna. More info here.
    By sookie (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
    Roy Thomson Hall

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