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Three Books. Three Measly Books.

I really expected to read a book a week this summer — at least. Most summers, I work and then maybe take a week or two off for a vacation with my family. But, as you might know, this summer was 6 weeks of no work. Almost 7 weeks actually. With a lot of wait time in airports and sit time on planes. So, I figured I’d be packing in one or two books a week with all that time.

But, no. Three books. Three measly books. Okay, perhaps there might have been one or two extras, but they were so bad that I can’t even recall their titles. So, yeah, three books.

Book #1: The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan

My girlfriend Marriam lent me this book at the beginning of the summer before we left on our trip to Australia. I was immediately taken in with the two sisters and their life as extras in the ballet. I didn’t manage to finish it before we left Ottawa, but picked it right back up when we returned. It’s a goodie. Buchanan’s skill brought me right into the streets and gutters of France in the 1800s, as well as the darkness and adrenaline of the backstage. But I don’t like the painter Degas as much as I used to. (Read the book to find out why ….)


Book #2: Summer House with Swimming Pool, by Herman Koch

I picked this one up as a little bit of brain candy for airplane rides and whatnot. If you’ve read The Dinner, also by this author, then you’ll know what to expect: a little bit of a mystery to unravel and characters who you really grow to dislike. In fact, it’s pretty amazing that an author can get a reader all the way through a book without at least one likable character. At one point, I almost felt sick to my stomach with the main character, a medical doctor, and his dismissive and cruel thoughts directly at his patients. I can’t say I’d necessarily recommend this book, but I also can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it.


Book #3: Eyrie, by Tim Winton

Winton is one of my absolute favourite authors. And certainly my most favourite Australian author. When I walked into a book store in Melbourne and saw that he had a new release, I snapped it up immediately. However, I would not say that Eyrie was my favourite of Winton’s books. I do think it’s a mighty good read though. I’d hesitate to recommend it to anyone not familiar with Australian culture and turns of language because I think it might prove confusing or just simply frustrating. (Instead, perhaps try Breath or Cloudstreet — both amazing.) If you’re a fellow Winton fan, it’s worth the read alone to experience the unexpected page-turning nature of this Eyrie.


So, that’s my summer reading for you. How did you fare?


  1. A bit less than usual for me too (although that still means a freakish amount). I haven’t read any of those, although I’ve read The Riders by Tim Winton and really liked it. I did a lot of short-story reading and skipping around from book to book, so it’s been nice to get back to reading one book all the way through recently. Which I think I need to do right now, because the internet keeps crapping out and I just realized while trying to clean up a really messy kitchen that I am feeling EXTREMELY cranky.

  2. Hmm. I read Steam (or something like that) by Terry Pratchette…I read 2 books from the Dark Materials series . . . I read Stuck by Stacey Atkinson (from Ottawa), and I was trying to read a friends book, but then “misplaced” my kobo and now have no clue where that went.

    So four books. Hmm. Not really any better than 3, I reckon!

  3. Kerry Mortimer says:

    Hi Julie – I’d love to hear more about your trip to Oz! Perhaps we can find time for a coffee catch up. Wondering if I can borrow the Winton book from you sometime. I like the idea of a book full of Australian culture and language references……

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