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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Tuesday in Late October

Oh my, the time is going quickly, so quickly. I know I've said that before. Before you know it Christmas will be here!

In the meantime, I've got a lot to catch up on; including reading. I'm still about 13 books short of meeting this year's reading goal of 45 books. It is a goal easy enough to reach but not if you've gone months without reading and are busy with many other things. I'm doing my best to catch up but it won't be the end of the world if I do not meet the goal. I will simply shift some books to next year.

This week I've finished reading the following books:


This was an easy read and had some good tips;  especially for retirees in USA.



This is interesting because it gives insight into how a poor Puerto Rican rose to become a US Supreme Court Justice.




This book gives insight into the traditional spiritual ways of Lakota people.
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I enjoyed all three of these books for different reasons and if you are looking for some different kinds of reading material I think all three books qualify for different reasons. Please note if you are interested in reading Black Elk, this is not the book of a similar name, Black Elk Speaks.  The book I read is written by a Native American scholar as told to him by a spiritual elder of the Lakota people. The book is not for anyone who rigidly adheres to grammar and finds it difficult to follow stories that are not told in a linear way. You need to be more open and flexible to reading and learning the contents of this book and I've read in reviews that some people just find it too frustrating.

I have a lot of reading material right now that I want to make progress on. Much of it is financial related (debt, estate planning, finance for women, that kind of thing). I also have a few books on  my Kindle and my Kobo readers that have been suggested to me by various bloggers (more about that in a future post). I also came across some new to me Kenyan authors that I would like to read. However these books are not in my library system so I probably will have to purchase them down the line.

Here are the two books and on line descriptions of them. You will notice that both of them are set in the same area in Kenya. I'm interested in them because I enjoy all things Kenyan but I also enjoy learning more about those the white expatriates who went to live in Kenya.

The Ghosts of Happy Valley, Juliet Barnes
 This is one of the write ups I found about the story line.
The Ghosts of Happy Valley: The Biography
‘Happy Valley’ was the name given to the region of Kenya’s Central Highlands where a community of affluent, hedonistic white expatriates settled between the wars. Including the writer Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), the pioneering aviator Beryl Markham and the troubled socialite Idina Sackville whose life was told in Frances Osborne’s bestselling The Bolter, the Happy Valley set’s notoriety was sealed in 1931 with the sensational – and still unsolved - murder of the Earl of Errol, the investigation of which laid bare the extent of the set’s decadence and irresponsibility, and made for another bestselling book in James Fox’s White Mischief. But what is left now? Juliet Barnes, who has lived in Kenya for many years, has set out to explore Happy Valley in a remarkable and indefatigable archaeological quest to find the homes and haunts of this extraordinary and vanished set of people – grand residences like Clouds up in the hills that once hosted opulent and scandalous parties. With the help of African guides, and guided by the memories of elderly expats she tracks down to the Muthiaga old enough to have first-hand memories of the likes of Idina and Lord Errol and the lives they led, what she finds - ruins reclaimed by luxuriant bush, tumbledown dwellings in which an African family ekes a subsistence living, or even a modest school – is a revelation of the state of modern Africa that makes the gilded era of the Happy Valley set seem even more fantastic. A book to set alongside such singular evocations of Africa and its strange colonial history as The Africa House, Happy Valley: The Biography is a mesmerising blend of travel narrative, social history and personal quest.


The second book is called The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice de Janze and the Mysterious Death of Lord Erroll

A glamorous American multi-millionairess, Alice de JanzĂ© scandalized 1920's Paris when she left her aristocratic French husband for an English lover—whom she later tried to kill in a failed murder-suicide in the Gare du Nord. Abandoning Paris for the moneyed British colonial society known as Kenya's Happy Valley, she became the lover of the handsome womanizer, Joss Hay, Lord Erroll. In 1941, Erroll was shot in his car on an isolated road. A cuckolded husband was brought to trial and acquitted, and the crime remained tantalizingly unsolved.

Paul Spicer, whose mother was a confidante of Alice's, used personal letters and his own extensive research to piece together what really happened that fateful evening. He brings to life an era of unimaginable wealth and indulgence, where people changed bed partners as easily as they would order a cocktail, and where jealousy and hidden passions brewed. At the heart of The Temptress is Alice, whose seductive charms no man could resist, and whose unfulfilled quest for love ended in her own suicide at age forty-two.  




There is a new movie coming out with Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett and Topher Grace. Its a 2015 American political docudrama film written and directed by James Vanderbilt. It is based on American journalist and television news producer Mary Mapes' memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power. The film focuses on the Killian documents controversy and the last days of news anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes at CBS News. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and I understand is currently in limited release in Canadian cities and possibly cities in the USA.  It should be more widely available at the end of October in North America and Australia.



We had not a bad day weather-wise here though I definitely feel the chill in the air at night. At least I have some scenic eye candy to help me through the next few months. I took these photos a few days ago down at Vancouver's waterfront area.



The water was very choppy but there were a lot of vessels out at sea, many of them pleasure craft.


There were also a lot of sail boats out for the day. The sun was shining brightly on the water.

This man had the right idea and sat and watched the waterfront for quite some time.


Joining up with Our World Tuesday today.
Thanks for visiting.

18 comments:

  1. Wow, you are an avid reader! That's great! Your photos are lovely! The first book about retirement sounds very good. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. reading books is so relaxing! with all my crafts i prefer audibooks because there's not much time left and someone's got to sleep sometimes, too ;-) beautiful shots, i like the one with the man watching the sea very much - happy week :-)

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  3. Thanks for the book reviews. I love your gorgeous views! Enjoy and have a happy day!

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  4. I'd like to read The Temptress. The story is quite interesting.

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  5. Your book lists are interesting to me, who finds all new reads in blogger recomendations.

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  6. I don't read 45 books a year , but I am a reader so I will be watching your reviews and lists to find something interesting to watch. I just read The Secret Language of doctors by Brian Goldman.

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    1. Hi Red, you can find any of my previous short reviews (and book cover photos) in this blog by doing a search for "reading" or "reading goals". My reading goals change each year. Last year I read 56 books. The year before that it was only 36 books. I usually set my goal lower. Like 25 books and end up reading a lot more. This year I seem to have done the opposite! I'll check out the Secret Language of Doctors.

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  7. I have not read any of these books. Currently I am reading "Circling the Sun" by Paula McLain and am enjoying it immensely!

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    1. I've added it to my reading list. I also have The Paris Wife on my list by the same author. Have you read it?

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  8. You have been reading some fascinating books. I've long been intrigued by Happy Valley, though I don't know too much about it so those two just went on my must read list! (They'd both be very good gifts for a friend who is interested in that, too!). Are you watching "Indian Summer" on PBS? It reminds me a bit of the Happy Valley days -- only in India!

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    1. I haven't seen Indian Summer yet. Catching new to me series on tv is a bit hit and miss. I did watch The Jewel of the Crown series on PBS recently which I enjoyed a lot.

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  9. The books list look interesting to read. I have a stack to books I need to read soon. I had a goal to finish by Christmas these books. I doubt. Lovely views out on the water.

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  10. LOL...am still 30 books short of my this year's target. Am now reading Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

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  11. I love reading as well. The first book seems very interesting for me.

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  12. Thank you for commenting on my last post and making me discover your blog, which I love. Seems we had the same idea almost at the same time ! x

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  13. Hi Joyful, Thanks so much for all the info on the books. I am especially interested in the Black Elk book. And, I will check out the Retirement book as well. The number of books you read (or set as a goal) is admirable ... that's almost one per week. Enjoyed your waterfront photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  14. All those books are new to me. I would be like the man, just sitting and watching the water and boats.

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