by Nicholas Sparks (Goodreads Author)
First of all, this is not the type of book I normally read, but it was either this novel or choosing one written in Russian or German. My choices were limited while on the island of Zanzibar.
I recognized the authors name and his award-winning novel The Notebook. Maybe it was the movie that won all the awards, either way I knew it as what I call a ‘chick flick.’
I sucked it up and started flipping pages, literally, right off the bat I found the plot sappy and the characters predictable. But I carried on, thinking I needed to broaden my genre horizons.
It may have been a bit painful at times, but one of the characters was a Great Dane who captured my attention. I guess the story was okay, but the interaction between characters and the resulting relationships reminded me of high school. Are there really that many simple-minded and gullible people out there?
I trudged on and managed to finish the book, but wasn’t happy with the ending. Without spoiling it I’ll leave it at that.
I’m sure many women readers will love the book. What can I say, I’m a guy.
Origin (Robert Langdon, #5)
by Dan Brown (Goodreads Author)
I generally liked this novel and was leaning toward a fourth star, but I think it fell short of the great stories that preceded this Robert Langdon novel. As usual, Dan Brown weaves an interesting tale of intrigue, but he added a bit too much fluff and back story for my liking. His detailed descriptions of religious sites and places in Spain gave me the impression I was reading from a Wikipedia post or even a travelogue.
The plot was good and the author keeps you guessing for more than half the novel. It didn’t move as quick as other Langdon stories, but as usual the story and characters were realistic, making for a good read.
We live in the center of the North American continent. It consists of two large countries, considered ‘westernized’ by the rest of the world. With the exception of some aboriginals in the far north, and perhaps a few other groups trying to cling to their heritage, I believe we share a similar culture. We are composed of different races, with different beliefs, but we share common goals like freedom and democracy.
In the last month and a half, Cathryn and I have experienced three distinctly different countries in the African continent. A drop in the bucket when you consider there are currently fifty-four countries. Planning this trip, I had three separate goals: to see something different for my sixtieth birthday and check off the pyramids of Giza on my bucket list. To break up the trip into three, using each location as a base for further exploration. And to work our way into a warmer climate to wile away the cold Canadian winter.
Continue reading “Africa, One Continent, Many Cultures”
We have been in Kiwengwa, Zanzibar for four days now. I happened to bring a few plastic shopping bags with me from Cape Town, which we used up in the kitchen waste container. Suddenly, out of kitchen garbage bags, I began to panic. So the search began. We looked in the one small grocery store here in town with no luck. We even searched in Stone Town without success. I asked Ed, “What do we do with our kitchen waste?”
We asked Carola, the guesthouse owner, and she told us that plastic bags are outlawed and/or forbidden in this area. You simply cannot get plastic bags anywhere, you can’t even buy them.
She said that her parents visited eleven years ago and commented on the blue gardens along the roads and in the fields. They were littered with blue plastic shopping bags. When they returned a year ago, they noticed that the blue gardens had virtually disappeared.
Continue reading “Blue Gardens by Cathryn Gagnon”