DNF, DNR, just.. no.

DNF.  This is a bookworm term that stands for "Did Not Finish".  It's a really difficult thing for a bibliophile to admit, even only to themselves, that a book just isn't going to be part of their life.  Most of us will struggle through, gritting our teeth, cursing under our breath, and hating every single moment.  We put the book down.  Slowly move it back to the bookshelf.  Succumb to the guilt.  Move it back to the bedside table.  

The guilt doesn't fade.  It builds to a crescendo until it becomes overwhelming.  So we decide to pull up our proverbial bootstraps and give it another go.  We are certain that the creaking spine can be heard the world over, as we open it up to where we left off.  Within minutes we remember why we put it down.  But because we won't admit failure, we soldier on.  

Before long, the book returns to the nightstand.  It sits there, staring at you from beneath a lovely stack of books that make us smile and remember why we love reading.  But if you sit very still and listen very closely you can hear it, accusing us of giving up.  Trying to make us feel like a failure.  So we move it back to the bookshelf.  Stop taking it's calls.  

The dance continues until we finally decide that the time has come to either

a)  just be a grown up and finish it already OR

b) admit defeat, don our trench coat, and drop it in the "donate" bin at the local charity shop, hoping no one sees us


This, my friends, is my proverbial White Elephant.  I bought "The Historian" almost a decade ago.  I took it with me to Ontario when I went to visit my grandmother and actually managed to read about 1/3 of it.  Then I came home and for some reason, promptly lost interest.  It could be that I didn't bring anything else to read on the trip and thus I was desperate.  Or perhaps it's because the book started off pretty well but fizzled out rather quickly.  I tried several times to pick it up again, but the interest didn't last very long.

After promising myself I was going to read more and watch less NetFlix, I decided that I would finish this 704 page behemoth once and for all.  So I opened it up again, went back a couple of chapters to refresh my memory and got to work.  Tedious, heart wrenching work.  I wanted to love this book.  I swear I did.  But - UGH.  I just can't.  

A book should be enjoyable.  Sure, not all of them are going to be "OMG, I can't believe it's over.  That was AMAZING!  I have to tell EVERYONE!!!  What am I going to do now?  Did this author write anything else?"  But it certainly shouldn't be 'absolute tear-inducing, toss yourself on the ground and pitch a fit worthy of an Oscar' torture.  You are an adult.  You don't have to read anything you don't want to.  That's right.  I said it.

So, I have decided that this book is officially a DNF and very soon it shall be released out into the wild, hopefully to find it's way to someone who will appreciate it.  I have to admit I am relieved.

Irish Book Haul !

I wouldn't be much of a writer if I didn't bring home a book or two from my Bardic Journey, would I?

I was completely captivated with "The Eve of St Agnes", a breathtaking stained glass masterpiece on display at Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin.  Created by Irish artist, Harry Clarke, it was inspired by the John Keats poem of the same name and commissioned by Mr Harold Jacob for his father's home.  

I stood before the display for some time and (because the photos I took didn't nearly do it justice) was delighted to find this book in their gift shop.  You can learn more about it here :

I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon shopping in Sligo and absolutely loved it there!  I was told to be on the lookout for this book, so naturally I scooped up a copy as soon as I saw it.  

I also found this!  If you take the time to chat with any of the residents of Sligo, they will tell you about the myths and legends centered around the area.  The Goddess is very much alive there and is kept alive, thanks to those who share these stories!  

I bought both books from Libre, a fabulous shop!  http://liber.ie/

Last, but most certainly not least...

I had the pleasure of meeting Lora O'Brien, who guided us on a tour of Rathcroghan.  We started at Rathcroghan Mound, where Medb, Queen of Connacht is said to have lived.  Then we ventured to The Morrigan's Cave (a journey not for the faint of heart I can assure you).  Both of which I will tell you more about another time.  For now, I will say that Lora is an excellent resource not only regarding the land, but the mythology associated with it.  I hope to one day buy her a pint so that we can chat about it in greater detail.  I am certain she has many great stories to tell!

I purchased my copy from Lora directly, but you can find her books (as well as her blog) on her website.  http://www.loraobrien.com/

I very much look forward to diving into these and will certainly write up a review for each once I've had a chance to do so.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for more posts and pics from my Bardic Journey to Ireland!  

Top 5 Reads For All Hallows Eve

Samhain.  All Hallows Eve.  Halloween.  A time when the veil between worlds is thin.  A time when you disguised yourself to blend in with the spirits who roamed the earth, in order to avoid being taken back with them.

For some reason, we love being scared.  We may deny it, but it's true.  Having said that, the level of fear that each of us can tolerate definitely varies and each of us has a limit.  Are you ready to test yours?

I was given this copy of "Bitten" at a booksellers event.  In an age of sparkly vampires, some will see this werewolf book and scoff, but I encourage you to give it a chance.  

It isn't easy being the only female werewolf.  But Elena has decided that it isn't going to stop her from having a "normal" life.  But when the Pack reaches out, she has to decide if she's going to embrace her true nature or turn her back on them for good.

I read this book in two sittings and immediately started recommending it to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen.  This is the first book in Kelley Armstrong's "Women of the Otherworld" series and a fantastic introduction to the world she has created.  

"Dark Inheritance" is extra frightening because it's entirely plausible.  It involves a group of scientists who are asked to conduct an experiment, raising bonobos chimps in their homes.  This story makes you think about how far people are willing to go in the name of science and whether or not we're willing (or even capable) of dealing with the consequences when the experiment moves in a direction we weren't expecting.

"The Dwelling" isn't a gore-filled, terrifying white knuckle ride.  It's worse.  Fabulously spooky, this is a ghost story in it's pure form.  The kind of tale you'd tell around a campfire.  I absolutely love this book and have re-read it five times.

While you go into the story knowing the basic premise (haunted house, people move in but they never move out, etc.) The intricate web woven by Susie Moloney soon pulls you in and refuses to let go.  Just when you think you know the whole story, you get to the last few pages and... POW!  

Next, "Comes the Blind Fury" by John Saul.  I could have easily had 5 John Saul titles on this list.  He's one of my favorite authors and a master of ghost stories.  My Mom was a member of the Doubleday Book Club when I was growing up and I still remember taking her hardcover copy of this book off the shelf and reading it in about three sittings. 

His stories are filled with beautiful old houses by the sea and characters who, while they seem quite "normal" to their neighbors, often have secrets-upon-secrets and hidden agendas.  John Saul's books kept me awake many nights, yet I can't stop myself.  Much like revisting old friends, I re-read them on a regular basis.

"Comes the Blind Fury" involves a little girl whose family moves to a big house on Paradise Point.  It seems like the ideal life, until she finds an old doll in her closet.  Then Amanda comes forward through the mists, whispering to her, promising to be her friend if she'll just do one thing for her...

The quote on the bottom of the cover says it all.  This book is REALLY scary.  Probably the scariest book in my library.  In fact, it is so scary, I haven't been able to read it a second time.  Yet, I can't bear to part with it because it's so well written.  

I could have easily made a Top 10 list, but I thought that may be a bit much.  Besides, I want to save something for next October.  So tell me, what is your favorite read for All Hallows Eve?

My Favorite Autumn Read

Autumn in Alberta is unpredictable.  You could be enjoying "sweater weather" or you could be treated to a foot of snow.  Either way, the chill tends to lead to cozy nights wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book.  So, without further adieu, I present my Favorite Autumn Read.    

"When Autumn Leaves" by Amy S Foster.

"In the picturesque Pacific Coast town of Avening, it's hard not to believe in magic. This is a town where the shoes in the windows always fit, where you can buy a love potion at the corner shop, and where local lore seamlessly mixes with the supernatural."

The story centres around Autumn, a local shopkeeper and member of the Jaen Sisterhood.  She has received word that the time has come for her to move on.  She has been charged with the task of choosing her successor.  But who among the women of the town will be up to the task?

I read this book in three sittings and loved it so much, I immediately bought a copy for a friend.  This book is a fixture on my "re-reads" shelf and I look forward to visiting Avening again very soon.

What is your favorite Autumn read?  Do you find you re-read books at a certain time of year?