Tag Archives: Timothy Findley

Monday reading review

it's monday

We’re in a little heat wave these days, so I’m very happy curled up on the sofa with a book and a beverage.

The written word

I finished Spadework by Timothy Findley on the weekend. Here’s my review up at Goodreads:

SpadeworkSpadework by Timothy Findley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very satisfying novel from a master of the genre. Set in Stratford, Ontario, it tells the story of a couple of theatre people, their 11-year old son, and their housekeeper. Findley writes with deep feeling about the stresses on a modern couple dealing with ambition, the search for stability, and loneliness. Small town life is depicted well, the common knowledge and underside of what seems to be a quaint, Southern Ontario town.

Highly recommended.


I’ve started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night on my Kobo but am just a few chapters in to it. In other FSF news, I completely missed catching the remake of The Great Gatsby in theatres and am kicking myself. I will have to watch for it in the rep theatres as I really want to see it on the big screen.

The spoken word

Housework is so much more doable less unappealing when I’ve got an audiobook playing. I recently finished Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens by Andrea Wulf, a non-fiction tale of the days when astronomical exploration involved ships sailing to distant places to make observations of celestial phenomena. An excellent read for those interested in navigation and astronomy, or general science.

Now I’ve started listening to a short story collection by Haruki Murakami called The Elephant Vanishes. I’m close to halfway through and, as in his novels, Murakami’s prose is quirky and even enchanting at times. Many of his stories have been published in the New Yorker, and it sort of feels like I’m gorging on them, to read a dozen in a row, but no matter. The recording I’m listening to has different actors reading each story, so that helps keep them distinct.

Next up

Coming up in paper will be the graphic novel Habibi by Craig Thompson. I bought it when it first came out but it’s been gracing my shelves since then. It’s a heavy tome, so it’s not a travelling read.  Here’s a lovely piece from The Guardian on the making of the novel, a seven-year enterprise.

On audio, I’ll be listening to Habits Of The House, a newish novel by Fay Weldon, set at the turn of the 20th century. (I just realised that you can’t say “the turn of the century” any more. )

Musings on Stratford

Swans, Ducks and Geese along the Avon River (S...
Swans, Ducks and Geese along the Avon River (Stratford, Ontario, Canada) (Photo credit: cseeman)

I am looking forward to my (now becoming annual) girls day-trip to Stratford in a couple of weeks. Three of us drive down in the morning, bring a picnic lunch to eat by the Avon River, see a play, dine in a restaurant, and then return to Toronto.

This year we’re going off-book and seeing a non-Shakespearean play: Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller. Starring Seana McKenna (Elizabeth) and Lucy Peacock (Mary), it promises to be wonderful. McKenna fulfilled a lifelong dream last year, playing Richard III, and she was a marvel. Peacock recently made waves at UNC playing Queen MacBeth in a “gender-bending adaptation” of the Scottish play.

Spadework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I started reading Timothy Findley‘s 2001 novel Spadework. I recently picked it up at Value Village and don’t even remember hearing about it before. As it turns out, it is set in Stratford, and begins with a married couple of “theatre people”, a 30-year-old actor and his 35-year-old, independently wealthy comfortable, set-maker wife. I’m 150 pages in and it’s something of a page-turner. One of the memorable scenes takes place at Down the Street, the restaurant that we’ve enjoyed the last couple of times we’ve been in Stratford, and apparently a theatre-people hangout. So I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled this time, although we’re usually there far too early to star-gaze. As for lunch, Jane, the set-maker, likes to drink wine in a paper cup down by the river when she takes a break from work, so I’m pretty sure a couple of G&Ts at lunch, similarly disguised, are worth the risk.

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?