Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

Readathon Hour 10: progress report

It was a slow, lazy afternoon. My sofa gets lots of sun and I slipped off into my first readathon nap. This in no way was related to my second book, The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes, as it was a terrific read, lots of suspense, and has me hankering to read author Amy Thomas’ next one!

IMG_3018Apart from reading and napping, I snacked. My advance prep on this front was excellent. After lunch I had a Sweet and Salty Caramel Drumstick. In not terribly quick succession: a Coke, a small bowl of mixed nuts, a couple of Nanaimo bars, and a bowl of strawberries. I’ve been on a sugar fast for some time so I went a little wild. I’ve also been pushing ice water which, as we all know, washes excessive calories out of the system.

I’m going to take a shower and change into some pants-less loungewear. (I’m currently wearing sweatpants and a tunic, but with all this snacking sun, I’m feeling the need for a caftan.)

Next up will be What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund. This one should be a quickie as it’s fairly image-intensive. But it’s been on my to-read list for a long time. It’s also part of the Goodreads challenge I’m currently participating in (as are all my readathon books this time ’round.)

First completed book: a readathon update.

Just finished Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture: A Novel of Mathematical Obsession by Apostolos Doxiadis. It was the first book I reached for and it was a great kick-off to the readathon. The book was full of pencil markings, annoying as it is a library book, and I spent the last 100 pages erasing the marks. (Someone else will have to do the first half.)

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I started off the day with a latté, cinnamon raisin toast, and some sharp cheddar.

The book is fiction, but a very lifelike tale of the joys and trials of mathematics, or in particular, being a mathematician. I recommend it for anyone interested in the field, or with a scientific bent. It is out of print but I ordered two copies on AbeBooks to scatter around to mathy people in my life.

Next up is The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes. I met author Amy Thomas at 221B Con a couple of years ago and bought her first two books, which she kindly signed. The readathon was a good time to get at least one of them read!

The reading (and travelling) life

Image courtesy The Graphics Fairy
Image courtesy The Graphics Fairy

I’ve got a five hour car trip ahead of me today and last night I fell asleep reading. Which means the light was on and I wasn’t wearing my CPAP. So I may be puling off for micro-naps today.

I’m heading in to the final stretch of my reading challenge in a Goodreads group, so I’ve got a very defined book list.

In printed text, I’ve got just a few pages left in The Woman Upstairs by Clarie Messud. I’ve owned this book for a while and thought it was a kind of thriller or something. But it’s not. And it’s terrific, resonating on a number of levels. More to come when I review it.

Next up in will be Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother by Priscilla Uppal, a non-fiction memoir that I’ve been hearing great things about. I’ve also got The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (Keep Toronto Reading and my next book club selection) on my pile, as well as Washington Square by Henry James (for TIFF Books on Film).

Audio books are a terrific accompaniment to long drives and boring housework. I’m halfway through Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer, a fascinating look at memory and how memory champions train for competition. Next up will be The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which will (hopefully) be good prep for my trip to 221b Con in Atlanta next month. I purchased that through Downpour which has great deals on the ACD canon at the moment.  I’ve also got The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the OneClick Digital Recorded Books program through my public library, but the app seems to be glitchy so I’m not sure that I’ll be able to listen to it unless there’s an update.

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This week, I hope to get my mom’s condo ready to put on the market. There’s still a lot of stuff to clear out, and I need to find a cleaning crew to give it a once-over. I’ve got some friends and family to see in town, and I’d love to catch the new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Blogging may be light as I won’t have wifi chez moi, but who knows? I’ll try to at least keep busy on Instagram.

And finally, my indoor herb garden in rocking my world! Everything’s up except for the garlic chives. The cilantro suddenly appeared yesterday and I’m very pumped about that one as it’s the hardest to find in garden stores.

Seven Quick Takes – Pi Day

Seven Quick Takes Friday

    1. It’s Pi Day. Given that’s it’s also a Lenten Friday and that I’ve given up sweets, I may be cooking up a lentil pie for dinner.
      pi day
    2. We’re heading to Sweden in June to visit Zouheir’s oldest brother, Jean-Louis, and his family. Happily, our sons are joining us on this trip which will coincide with Midsummer there, apparently one of the more festive periods in that country. Much to my chagrin, I’ve never been before, despite my late mother-in-law’s many invitations.  Here’s a shot of the lads Swedish cousins (shamelessly lifted from George’s Facebook page.)

      Swedish Mansourati cousins.
      Swedish Mansourati cousins. (Mike, George, Jessica, Rita)
    3. Dorothy Palmer and I are heading to 221b Con the first weekend of April in Atlanta! She’s a huge Sherlock Holmes fanatic and experienced improv-er and is leading an event:
      SherlockImprov – A live-action combination of cosplay and improv, where everyone gets the chance to create on-the-spot drama by jumping into the roles of Holmes and Watson and their crew. No theater or improv experience is necessary, just a willingness to enjoy the new story we create together.
      221b con
    4. Zouheir and I saw Metamorphosis at the Royal Alex last weekend. Brought to Toronto by Mirvish, this dramatization of the Kafka novel is a marvel, and left my head spinning and a little water welling up in my eyes. One of the finest pieces of theatre I’ve seen in a long time. It’s finished it’s run, but if you ever get a chance….
    5. Our first-born started his first job post-graduation in December, and yesterday he headed to University of Waterloo to interview co-op students. He’s with a small start-up and is getting the full range of work experience. I believe he was “nacho boy” at the beginning (responsible for bringing food to their Friday afternoon review sessions.) He’s coming up in the world! Only a few months ago he was getting coaching on how to handle the other side of the interview table.
    6. For those of you who do family history research, Mocavo is having a free access weekend. Check it out…you never know what you’ll find!
    7. A couple of Kickstarters have drawn my attention this week. First is Neil Young’s Pono music player that provides high quality audio, equivalent to vinyl but digital. I first heard of it when I read his memoir Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, and the Kickstarter was launched earlier this week at SXSW. I have a whole blog post in my head about why I’m not listening to much recorded music these days which will be for a later date, but I’m seriously thinking of getting in on this project, especially after I watched the video at the top of the Kickstarter project page.

      The other Kickstarter is for the restoration of St. Francis in Rome. From the project page: When St. Francis used to come to Rome between 1209 and 1223 to meet the Pope Innocenzo III, his house was a small “Cell” where he lived and assisted lepers. After eight centuries this place now requires substantial restoration work in order to preserve its priceless spiritual value and its ancient works of art.

      I kicked in some support for this project and I hope that they’re able to meet their objective.

As always, more Quick Takes, many with a Catholic flair, can be found on Fridays at Conversion Diary!

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Review: “Up and Down” by Terry Fallis

Up and DownUp and Down by Terry Fallis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A thoroughly enjoyable read, Fallis’ third novel hits the hot spots. Canadiana, Sherlock Holmes, feisty elderly female bush pilot, public relations, and the International Space Station are all part of this fast-paced work that kept me engaged right to the end. It lost a star for predictability, but even though I knew where it was going, it was a fun ride nevertheless. His rather broad humour is not for everyone, but i found it didn’t quite cross the line into slapstick (although it comes close a couple of times.)

View all my reviews

The Bootmakers of Toronto will be hosting Fallis for a gathering on September 21. I hope to be there.

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