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jacksprat "read more guy" (Kingston ON, Can)
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The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.50
31 used & new from CDN$ 16.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Living on the edge, April 1 2014
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This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
Donna Tartt has given us a solid book about morality and living life as we should when it deals us the hand we get. Theo Decker is the son of a moral upright mother and a gambling absent father who's morals are questionable. But when we examine the lives of all the characters presented we come to understand the strengths and weaknesses that we may overlook on first impression. Boris becomes a dear best friend of Theo and is perhaps the most complicated straight forward personality who loves to live life to the fullest. His morality is strange and his friendship with Theo even stranger. How do you measure his honesty and loyalty? How about beauty and self worth? Donna Tartt makes you think about the edges of life. The Goldfinch painting is like the river in a Mark Twain book and keeps the story from wandering too far askew. It is a long book but worth the effort. Perhaps it will make art a little more appreciated for the reader.

The Son
The Son
by Philipp Meyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.68
43 used & new from CDN$ 9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Epic Family, Cultural and Histororical, Jan. 1 2014
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This review is from: The Son (Hardcover)
If you like to read long books historical in nature and factual in research, the The Son is a must read. It is a sprawling narrative based on the family tree of one family and spans a full century plus. I found it interesting to meet characters such as LBJ as a cameo introduction. The history of the lives of the Comanche and the attitude of the native, Mexican, and, and white Texans is presented with great interest. All in all a good read and will entertain those who have such historical interest in different cultures at a confluence of time.

Barska AB10762 Gladiator 10-30x60 Zoom Binocular
Barska AB10762 Gladiator 10-30x60 Zoom Binocular
Price: CDN$ 59.55
4 used & new from CDN$ 59.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agree it is junk, very disappointing, Dec 12 2013
I had bought a previous set of binoculars from Barska (Barska AB10798 Deep Sea 7x50) and found them to be an exceptional buy. Very easy to use, wide optics, clear, good direction indicator, and range finder. However, these AB10762 are the opposite from the same company, go figure. I also purchased a deluxe tripod with mounting adaptor. Tripod may be OK but the mount was a cheap plastic and wobbles on tripod. Apparently they have a newer model made of metal but my purchase from Amazon.ca was plastic. I think that means it was old stock and is very cheaply made. the adaptor was Included with the binoculars but is also junk. I have only had these binoculars for one day and will try to adjust or send them back. As they stand, buy AB10789 but stay away from AB10762. Searching for answers....none yet.

Why Geography Matters: More Than Ever
Why Geography Matters: More Than Ever
by Harm de Blij
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
34 used & new from CDN$ 13.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A insightful atlas of the world.., April 6 2013
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Why Geography Matters is an excellent book for everyone. It is current and historical at the same time. Politicians, teachers,journalists, travelers, and anyone who wishes to increase their knowledge of almost all topics that can affect our well being as humans are encouraged to read this book. Geography really does matter in making decisions that can affect all of us and our way of life. Did you know that Harvard, the bastion of many presidents, does not even have a geography department? After reading this book, you will simply wonder why all schools do not teach geography as a mandatory course. Harm Blij has written an easy to read and understand lesson on geography and all should be encouraged to read his latest book.

419: A Novel
419: A Novel
by Will Ferguson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.06
29 used & new from CDN$ 3.00

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative, Oct. 4 2012
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This review is from: 419: A Novel (Hardcover)
Everyone gets them. You know, those pesky spams with a Nigerian address promising you a good return if only you will allow funds to be deposited into your account. The spam speaks in terms of desperation and the urgent need to help someone in Nigeria unlock a family wealth. Will Fergusan takes us on the ride where someone (the sucker that is born every day) actually follows through with a response to the spam. He opens the book with a thrill ride and accident in Canada. It is the investigation of the accident that leads his family to travel to Nigeria. It is an opportunity for a look into the life of "normal" life in Nigeria and get into the down and dirty of corruption at many levels. What makes the 419 criminal? Theft can be theft of resources, theft of property, or the transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor.

The book is informative as a travelog to a place one would not normally thinks as a vacation hot spot. Nigeria is a poor country, rich in resources but poor in real management for the people. 419 refers to the Nigerian criminal code dealing with theft. I suspect Will Fergusan is referring to the Big Oil and the Nigerian government itself as the criminals. Everyone else is a victim. Great, easy read and recommended.

Wolf of the Plains
Wolf of the Plains
by Conn Iggulden
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction, Great Entertaing Read, May 3 2012
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This review is from: Wolf of the Plains (Hardcover)
This book, Wolf of the Plains, is the first in a series of 5 books about Ghengis Khan and the Mongols. I read this book after I had read the next 3 books in the series, Bones of the Hill, Lords of the Bow, and Empire of Silver. There is another book in the series called, Conqueror, which I plan to also read. This historical fiction series is about the Mongols of Asia and the rise and fall of their leader Ghengis Khan. As a fiction Iggulden takes literary freedom to entertain the reader. Most historical narratives, it can be argued, are written through the eyes of the author and present the authors side of the history. At least if it is written as historical fiction, we can accept some variances in actual facts. We can be entertained as we get an education of the rise of Ghengis Khan.

Iggulden does a masterful job of piecing this story into an epic read. He goes to great length to describe the harsh life of the plains of north east Asia. When Ghengis' father is killed and his family is ousted from the tribe of wolves, they must eke out a survival under the most dire of conditions. The survival of the family and rise of Ghengis as a uniting force of disparate Mongols to combat common foes is a great read. The brutal life leads to a brutal Ghengis. Expect blood and merciless killing but do not condemn the book or series based on descriptive battles. This was the harsh reality of the times and location.

Reading this book out of sequence did not distract from what was revealed in the following books. The reader should read this book first but it is more important to read the remaining books in sequence.

Cross Currents
Cross Currents
by John Shors
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.64
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Another Shor Good Book, Jan. 8 2012
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This review is from: Cross Currents (Paperback)
I have always enjoyed John Shor's writing. This book may not meet the same level of interest that his other books presented but still he presents a wonderful sense of humanity and mixes it with a good story and literature. His interest in the human side of the less fortunate is always acute. In this story, knowing the recent history of tsunamis, does not reduce the impact of the story. It is well worth retelling and reminds us of the strong resilience of the people of Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. It also reminds us that the struggle to survive as a worthy story that is not restricted to the couple of weeks after the real incident. I recommend reading any of John Shor's books. They are timeless and books you will want on your bookshelf. There are no duds to be found in any of Shor's books.

Mr. Ives' Christmas
Mr. Ives' Christmas
by Oscar Hijuelos
Edition: Hardcover
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Man for All Seasons, Dec 13 2011
This review is from: Mr. Ives' Christmas (Hardcover)
I read this book many years ago when it was first available. I keep it in mind as a Christmas gift and of course the season is current so I decided to write a review and try to explain why. Mr. Ives is a story of forgiveness and a means to live our moral lives. Although rendered from a Catholic position, I see no reason not to apply the situation to everyone with an ethos of moral living regardless of one's faith. Mr. Ives believes in his fellow human being to a fault. As in the play "A Man for All Seasons", Mr. Ives maintains his moral obligation to others no matter what they have done to him. Even after the murder of his own son Robert. Of course not to be angry over this act would overwhelm most everyone. Mr. Ives is a humble man and uses his moral upbringing and religion to help him come to grips with the redemption of the perpetrator of the horrible act.

This book deserves to be declared one of the best books written in modern history. It is poetic and beautiful. It will move you to tears and depression and also raise you to feeling very good about the capability of humans to forgive and the feeling that forgiveness creates. A must read for any lover of literature.

11/22/63: A Novel
11/22/63: A Novel
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 7.41

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Characters We Can All Relate, Nov. 29 2011
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This review is from: 11/22/63: A Novel (Hardcover)
Stephen King can write a book and hold your interest from cover to cover like no other author in modern writing. I am not a great fan of blood and guts horror and do enjoy it when King veers from his better known horror books to write something different. Real horror lies in crossing into the unknown with unknown results. If that is true then you can still class this book as "horror". I was intrigued by the title and premise of 11/22/63. Can we go back in time and change events that have affected all of us? In this case the time traveler Jake Epping is allowed to go back in time to 1958. However, the book transcends the time travel aspects and takes us back to a snip of life as it existed in Texas 1958. This is the time before the civil rights movement and centered on the nuclear family. King has developed characters from the past that also transcend the era and allows us to relate and compare ourselves and our attitudes to everyday life. Are we that different? Have we really surpassed our prejudices? Are modern people better than the same nuclear people? What is mortality or immortality? King has chosen a beautiful crafted vehicle to allow us to look back and ponder. I grew up in the era the book portrays and have vivid memories of the assassination of JFK. I am not sure of King's age but he captured a lot of my past life.

The book is moving and at times can become emotional but it does all this and entertains as King is capable. The characters are all so interestingly believable whether they are past or present.

The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick Dewitt
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Yarn and Likely a Good Movie, Oct. 18 2011
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This review is from: The Sisters Brothers (Paperback)
I loved the pace of the book. It is a duster but not like Louis Lamour's westerns. The protagonist is a very sympathetic rotund character and is not hard to compare with modern thinking. His brother, Charlie, is the opposite and acts very rash but almost always with the right result. The characters that are met throughout the story are colorful and very human. Humor is used throughout and is somewhat reminiscent of the movie Cat Ballou. The Brothers Sisters is a superior yarn and would make a great movie. The book is fresh and enjoyable and highly recommended.

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