Book Review: Bird in the Snow

6282350

What Betty said wounded her. And she put it away with all the other hurtful things gathered up during a lifetime. Like a magpie, she stores things in her heart. Nurtures them and takes them out and goes over them again and again. It’s like counting spoons in a drawer.

She makes a great collection of sayings that have wounded her over the years. She can’t remember her husband’s face sometimes. But she remember the wounds. The wounds that shaped her.

Bird in the Snow is a fairly slim tale about Birdie (Bernadette) Waters. She is telling us her story on the eve of burying her son, Gussie. Her husband has passed sometime before. This is Birdie’s tale to tell, or her thoughts of Gussie, The Vet, as she has always referred to her husband, and her son’s girlfriend, Louise, as she lays in bed on the evening before laying her son to rest. She tells us her story in the way that a very elderly woman only can, remembering bits and pieces here, there and everywhere. Pulling them out from the corners of her mind when they are triggered by a smell, an object, a fleeting memory.

Overall, it’s poignant, it’s tender and it’s sad. But as it is written in that here, there and everywhere stream of consciousness of an old woman, it’s often confusing and difficult to follow along. Birdie’s son Gussie is a very odd duck, but it is difficult to fully surmise the many errors of his ways from Birdie’s almost secretive memories. Yet, there would be moments of clarity when she shares moments from her past like her reasons for disliking nuns, her feelings for her husband and his friend Hughie.

It’s a sad yet heartwarming story about Birdie and how she is now all alone in her home that used to hold her two fondest loves – Gussie and The Vet. The ending is sweet, sad and very tender and your heart tugs quite a bit for Birdie.  Bird in the Snow is the first from my Backlist Challenge, and taken from the Kobo category. It was a book I purchased long ago for my Kobo and after I read On Canaan’s Side, a story I loved dearly. I came across Bird in the Snow after reading a review for it on the Reading Matters blog. She associated this book as being in a way similar to On Canaan’s Side, so I was immediately sold. I quickly purchased after reading this review, but it languished on the Kobo shelf for quite some time. While On Canaan’s Side will always hold a better part of my heart for me over Bird in the Snow, Birdie and her story is a nice read. A 3 – 3.5 star read.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Girl from Station X: My Mother’s Unknown Life

Thanks to Lisa at Aurum Publishing Group for sending us not one, but two copies of The Girl From Station X: My Mother’s Unknown Life (Quayside Publishing Group and Union Books). Reading the blurb from the publisher it sounded like it would be a most interesting read and the packaging was just absolutely gorgeous:

IMG_2880

From the publisher:

When her needy and troubled mother began a slow descent into Alzheimer’s, Elisa Segrave faced a host of unenviable tasks– not the least of which was sorting through the chaos of her old childhood home.

Although aware of aspects of her mother’s personal history– the privileged childhood, the early losses– Elisa had no knowledge of the life she uncovered in a box of diaries, stowed carefully in the attic. On those pages she encountered a woman of strength, passion, and purpose– a woman who left behind the sheltered world she’d always known to embark on a secret life of wartime adventure, intrigue and tragedy.

Elisa Segrave’s mother, Anne, was the daughter of Gladys and Raymond Hamilton-Grace, owners of Knowle– a sprawling and beautiful property located in Sussex, England. Although not part of the aristocracy, they were a well off family and her parents were madly in love. Tragically, Raymond never returns from WWI and Anne’s disabled brother is dead soon after the war is over. Gladys eventually marries another wealthy man when Anne is 5 and she is raised as a spoiled rich, pampered and indulged only child. Life is all finishing schools and fox hunts; balls and trips abroad; manor houses and servants (like Dowton Abbey!)– Anne never has to lift a finger to get what she wants. Continue reading

Snow and the Backlist Reading Challenge

snowflake book

While I was compiling my Backlist Reading Challenge, I started noticing that a few of the books had “snow” in their title. Coupling this with the beautifully written piece by Nick Ripatrazone, writer at The Millions, about “snow” being the story, I thought I would pull out those titles and show them here.

It also has me considering these three should be the first in line to read from the backlist as we’re deep, deep in the dark, frozen depths of this “Polar Vortex” and “Alberta Clipper”.  These books with snow in their titles would make for the perfect winter read.

Excuse me while I go stoke the fire and grab my comfy blanket (and my two dogs)…..

Snow Child  Snow Hunters  Bird in Snow

Penny’s Backlist Reading Challenge

Keep Calm

Keep Calm and Think What to Read Next: now you know that can be a difficult thing to keep calm about over here with the amount of book hoarding that goes on! So many lists for 2014 have already had me hurriedly adding to the TBR lists, but then I started looking at allllll those books sitting on my shelves, the Kobo, on the “For Later” shelf at the library, etc. and decided that I needed to create some kind of “Backlist Challenge” for myself.

I’ve compiled lists (that seemed to keep growing) broken down by “Category” from Library titles, Kobo titles, NetGalley titles and Home titles. Now the challenge for me is how to choose from each of those lists and how desperately not to stray tooooo much from them. The book covers only are showing below, they are not linked to anything, only to give a visual of what I put on my lists. I would ask for suggestions but then I’m so afraid I would quickly fall off track! Your comments are always welcomed however on what you think my selected titles.  Continue reading