Monday, 19 December 2011

The Postmistress

I finished The Postmistress by Sarah Blake last night.  Although it is not a part of the challenge, I want to blog about it.

A couple of years ago, our book club read Tears in the Desert by Halima Bashir.  I emphatically stated that I didn't want to read any more books like that.  I don't need to read all the gory details to know that atrocities happen all over the world and that those types of books upset me.  My friend Bernice, who never pulls any punches, said, "That's what these books are supposed to do!  They are supposed to upset you."

I can read these books and feel pain and sorrow over others' plights.  But what can I do?

The Postmistress answered that question for me.  I can bear witness.  Sometimes, it's enough that people know and that they will pass the stories on.

"Pay Attention", Frankie Baird said in the novel.  Without going into the details of the story (it is not my intention to do book reviews but to do a commentary), Frankie was a young female reporter during the Blitz in London in 1941 who realized that the refugees leaving German Occupied Europe were not refugees per se, but Jews fleeing persecution and obliteration.  She was frustrated in her attempts to get people to see what was happening.  It became her goal to travel the trains, interviewing people and giving them a voice.  She bore witness to their very existence.

Everyone has a story.  Everyone wants to have a voice.  That is why these blogs are so popular.  They are a vehicle with which we can tell our stories and have others bear witness.

My name is Janice.  I live in Canada and I'm going onwards to an uncertain future as far as my relationships go.

What is your name?  Where are you from, and where are you going?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


“So new to him," she muttered, "so old to me; so strange to him, so familiar to me; so melancholy to both of us!...”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

There are 15 days to the start of the challenge.  In the meantime, I'm melancholy.

What a great word!  I started listening to Great Expectations earlier this week and I loved when Pip met Miss Havisham, an old spinster who was frozen in time when she learned that she was not to be married.  She was dressed in her wedding dress and veil, yellow from age; one shoe on, the other shoe off.  She muttered the words above. 

Funny, I told my therapist today that I felt that I was frozen in a block of ice myself, unable to move forward.  The difference between me and Miss Havisham is that I have no interest in being the contruction of my own victimization.

I've decided to forego listening to Great Expectations.  I have far too much on my mind to concentrate the way I need to on this book.  I need something a little more simple.

See Dick.
See Jane.
See Dick run.
Run Dick run!

Instead, I started to listen to "The Alchemy of Stone", by Ekaterina Sedia.  It's 8 hours long, so I should be able to finish it before the end of the month.

Friday, 9 December 2011

2012 A Challenge: Around the World in 52 Books

I will be participating in a reading challenge called "Around the World in 52 Books" and decided to blog my journey.

Here are my selections so far.  Hover your mouse over the title of the book to reveal the author.  I may swap some books out as I go along.

1. Antarctica - Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
2. Australia - A Town Like Alice
3. Austria - The Bells
4. Barbados - Caribbean
5. Bosnia - People of the Book
6. Burma - The Forgotten Highlander
7. Canada - Any Known Blood
8. Egypt - Crocodile on the Sandbank
9. England - The House at Riverton
10. Ethiopia - Cutting for Stone
11. France - The Tenth Chamber
12. Germany - The Book Thief
13. India - What the Body Remembers: A Novel
14. Iran - The Blood of Flowers
15. Ireland - The Secret Scripture
16. Israel - The Red Tent
17. Italy - The Glassblower of Murano
18. Japan - A Pale View of Hills
19. Kenya - Out of Africa
20. Korea - The Calligrapher's Daughter
21. New Zealand - The Bone People
22. Norway - The Snowman
23. Russia - The Bronze Horseman
24. South Africa - The Covenant
25. Spain - The Camino
26. Thailand - The Windup Girl
27. Turkey - The Oracle of Stamboul
29. United States - Honolulu
30. Vietnam - Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Need to acquire:

31. Afghanistan - The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland
32. Argentina - Tropical Night Falling
33. Brazil - The Seamstress
34. Chile - The House of the Spirits
35. China - Ocean Devil: The Life and Legend of George Hogg
36. Croatia - The Tiger's Wife
37. Cuba - The Island of Eternal Love
38. Denmark - We, the Drowned
39. Greece - Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus
40. Haiti - Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Trilogy
41. Iceland - Silence of the Grave
42. Mexico - Aztec
43. Netherlands - Lust for Life
44. Nigeria - Purple Hibiscus
45. Peru - The Green House
46. Pitcairn Islands - Pitcairn's Island
47. Poland - The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
48. Rwanda - Baking Cakes in Kigali
49. Scotland - The Legend of Lady MacLaoch
50. Sri Lanka - Anil's Ghost
51. Uruguay - The Invisible Mountain
52. Zimbabwe - The Grass Is Singing


Netherlands - Girl with a Pearl Earring
Spain - Incantation
Spain - The Painter of Battles: A Novel
Mexico - The Falling Woman
Wish me luck!