Critical Statistics We Must Not Skip

When a Covid-19 vaccine was invented, we were relieved.  We were cautioned that it is not an antidote for the virus and does not provide immunity against it.  It does not make the vaccinated less contagious than anyone else, nor are we less likely to catch Covid-19.  It takes two injections for it to work and its potency expires every time there is a new virus variant.

In the beginning, we scratched our heads and asked why anyone would take an experimental drug that is not a cure.  Wariness was respected and understood, before media campaigns created a stigma against anyone expressing caution.  The answer is that this vaccine is “better than nothing”.  Catching the virus will not make us sick enough to die or need a hospital.

This is valuable.  Thank God there is a choice for people who cannot avoid a crowded home, public job, or who are concerned about their immunity.  Experimental chemicals are worth any advantage to them.

Reduced severity or not, we wish to avoid ever contracting Covid-19 at all!  Three methods DO PROTECT US a bit against spreading the virus. They are social-distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding public surfaces.  I was astonished to witness that some vaccinated folks are so antsy to “get back to normal”, they risk making themselves and others “a bit” sick!

I seldom leave home.  If I do, I wear a mask and avoid public surfaces.  I am as vigilant as we were warned to be in the year 2020.  A serviceman entered my home last week without a mask, who admitted having numerous children playing sports!!!!  In the summer, a neighbour stepped inside, after a cross-country tour of public campgrounds!!!!

Not everyone declining experimental drugs is “anti-vaccine”.  Laws must respect spiritual and health choices.  It is easy to push a popular point of view.  Methods like energy medicine boost immunity naturally.  Some people have a bad feeling there will be negative findings about the vaccines.  Long term reports need time to come out….  Others await bonafide immunity, instead of repeating “better than nothing” injections that expire.

This makeshift option we are grateful to have, must remain optional.  We must retain the rights to our bodies and the Canadian government is threatening them!  Imagine the trauma of forcing injections on someone who views them as poison, or too new to trust!

The perception that “the unvaccinated minority strains the health system” does not add up.  The unvaccinated are restricted to essential services.  They cannot fly, board a train, enter the United States, nor invite more than a couple of family members or friends to their private houses.

In contrast, passports clear the vaccinated for public gatherings as large as theatres and arenas.  If the vaccinated form the majority, this dominating percentage of citizens has the largest opportunity to propagate the virus!  Don’t patrons take off masks to spew popcorn and saliva, with bare hands on the armrests?  Has no one in an unmasked crowd ever sneezed or coughed?  Can Manitoba not close concession stands, instead of a body’s freedom of choice?

How much data do hospitals include?  Do they lump together every unvaccinated person, with the extreme protestor types who flout masks?  Do we know if law-abiding citizens who respectfully decline the vaccine, were ever among the sick?

Critical statistics we must not skip is the danger posed by the vaccinated who are overconfident.  Human rights are on the line!  Do we verify how many hospital patients were exposed to vaccinated people, who have abandoned masks and social-distancing?

Masks, clean hands, and social-distancing are our shields from contagion.  The vaccine is not.  We can remove masks as soon as we are in cars, or outdoors away from people.  Forcing chemical injections on anyone is wrong.  Worse, our Prime Minister and Premiers are targeting the minority who cannot go anywhere or do anything.  Do not tax Canadians for the human right to be cautious about chemicals in their bodies!

Where would penalties stop?  Once, to inoculate those not vaccinated before?  Could any government resist cashing in on a legally approved tactic, by fining the same people every time the vaccine of the day has been deemed impotent and another booster shot is ordered?  Must Canadians choose between being robbed of their earnings, or their human rights to personal beliefs about drug injections?

May we see both sides and not vilify a stance we do not personally hold.

I urge that we keep our hands clean and avoid the public as vigilantly as we did in 2020.

It is more ethical and effective to fine the largest percentage of our population, for flouting social-distancing and a removable piece of cloth

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Carolyn’s Canadian Reading 2021

I am happy to rejoin my Ontario friend, Shonna, who is the very wonderful, creative hostess of the Canadian Reading Challenge theme.  Here is to year #15!  Human rights, animal rights, colourful cultures and lands, memory, friendship, and literature:  here they are in the Canadian themes that make up our nation.

I send my love to and support of the Aboriginal children buried at residential schools and everyone concerned about them.  May no one believe ever again that other lives, customs, languages, races, ages, or genders are beneath anyone.

I relaunch into this comforting activity, in honour of our 4 precious family members.  They recently ascended to the afterlife.  Here is to you:  my dearest Mom, our sweet baby cat Spirit, and our precious, queenly Daughter cat, Marigold!

We are distressed to add that our precious McCartney joined them in the afterlife this March 2022!  He would be 22 years-old in June.  Rest in peace, our sweet Son.

May our dear Conan soon be home with us at last.  Friends, please always check for an ear tattoo, or post photos and ask around about unknown cats near your homes.  Never assume they come from neighbours.  When someone finally asks how to use tattooes, posts, or looks for his picture:  our very well identified and advertised, orange & white Conan shall be back with us.

With all of our love:  Momma Carolyn, Dad Ron, McCartney, Angel, Petal, Conan.


Here is what I have read in our 2021 & 2022 reading session.

Ghosts Of James Bay”  John Wilson  2006
Out The Door”  Emily Carroll  2010
Except The Dying”  Maureen Jennings  1997
Falling Backwards”  Jann Arden  2011
Have You Seen Candace?”  Wilma L. Derksen  1991
Stoppel”  Andrew Mikolajewski  2017
Alexander Alexander”  Algernon Blackwood  1919
Dream Comics”  Emily Carroll  2010
In The Waves”  Lennon, Maisy, MaryLynne Stella & Steve Björkman (illustrator)  2015
10) “The Mystery Of The Turtle Lake Monster”  Jeni Mayer  1990

A Haunted Island”  Algernon Blackwood  1899
The Broken Girls”  Simone St. James  2018
Alison’s Ghosts”  Mary Alice & John Downie  1984
His Face All Red”  Emily Carroll  2010
The Jump Rope Rhyme”  Jo Walton  2017
Under The Dragon’s Tail”  Maureen Jennings  1998
The Beautiful Mystery”  Louise Penny  2012
Sleeping Giants”  Sylvain Neuvel  2016
Haunted Manitoba:  Ghost Stories From The Prairies”  Matthew Komus  2019
20) “The Plain Old Man”  Charlotte MacLeod  1985

Anne Of Windy Poplars”  Lucy Maud Montgomery  1936
Writers’ Ink:  The Red Deer & District Writers’ Club ~ Volume 3”  Murray F. Fuhrer (editor)  2002
Mystery Of The Secret Tunnel” (“Mystery In Newfoundland”)  Frances Shelley Wees  1965
The Guardian Circle”  Margaret Buffie  1989
Grandma And The Pirates”  Phoebe Gilman  1990
On A Personal Note”  Rita MacNeil  1998
A Question I Was Asked”  Emily Carroll  2011
The Indigo Survival Guide”  Olena M.A. Gill  2006
The Green Library”  Janice Kulyk Keefer  1996


~ Upcoming ~

Heart Of A Stranger”  Margaret Laurence  1984
The Root Cellar”  Janet Lunn  1981
Northwestern Ontario Journeys And Vistas”  Dale F. Burmaster  1994
This Marvellous Terrible Place:  Images Of Newfoundland And Labrador”  Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott  1988
The Ghost Of Northumberland Strait”  Lori Knutson  2008
Fifty Stories And A Piece Of Advice”  David Arnason  1982
“Bone Dance”  Martha Brooks  1997
“Dance On The Earth:  A Memoir”  Margaret Laurence  1989
“My Mother’s Ghost”  Margaret Buffie  1992
“1967:  A Coming Of Age Story”  Richard W. Doornink  2019


“My Mother’s Ghost”  Margaret Buffie  1992
“False Light”  Caroline Llewellyn  1997
“Canadian Animals Are Smarter Than Jack”  Jenny Campbell  2004
“Weird Canadian Words:  How To Speak Canadian”  Edrick Thay  2004
“Bathroom Book Of Canadian Quotes:  Humorous, Witty, Ridiculous, & Inspiring”  Lisa Wojna  2005
“Journeys Into The Unknown:  Mysterious Canadian Encounters With The Paranormal”  Richard Palmisano  2006
“The Magyar Venus”  Lyn Hamilton  2004
“Reflections Of Eden: My Years With The Orangutans Of Borneo”  Biruté M.F. Galdikas  1995
“Great Canadian Short Stories”  Alec Lucas (editor)  1971
“Translations Aístreann”  Tammy Armstrong  2002
“Led Astray:  The Best Of Kelley Armstrong”  Kelley Armstrong  2015
“The Ghost Of Avalanche Mountain”  Julie Lawson  2000
“Lost In The Barrens”  Farley Mowat  1956
“The Recycled Citizen” Charlotte MacLeod  1987
“The Silver Ghost”   Charlotte MacLeod  1987
“The Gladstone Bag”  Charlotte MacLeod  1989
“Mistletoe Mysteries”  Charlotte MacLeod  1989
“An Owl Too Many”   Charlotte MacLeod  1991
“Solace For A Sinner”  Caroline Roe  2000
“Lady Oracle”  Margaret Atwood  1976

Here are Manitoba authors, or previous residents.
“Mozart: A Meditation On His Life And Mysterious Death”  Dr. Stefan A. Carter  2005
“Paddle To The Amazon”  Don Starkell  1990
“The Cashier”  Gabrielle Roy  1954
“The Hidden Mountain”  Gabrielle Roy  1961
“The Road Past Altamont”  Gabrielle Roy  1966
“Wildflower”  Gabrielle Roy  1970
“Garden In The Wind”  Gabrielle Roy  1975
“Children Of My Heart”  Gabrielle Roy 1977
“A Dry Spell”  Susie Moloney  1997
“The Darkest Road”  Guy Gavriel Kay  1986

“Settlers Of The Marsh”  Frederick Philip  1925
“The Lamp At Noon And Other Stories”  Sinclair Ross  1968
“The Mysterium”  Eric McCormack  1992
“The Dragon & The Dry Goods Princess”  David Arnason  1991
“If Pigs Could Fly”  David Arnason  1995


Carolyn’s Canadian Reading

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Honouring Loved-Ones In 2021

It was hard to mourn my dear Mom last January but she prepared us kids well.
It has been unbearable for us to grasp that our precious 16 1/2 year old cat Son, Spirit, ascended to Heaven this January.
It unfathomable, far too much, that our beautiful 11 1/2 year old cat Daughter, Marigold, has ascended to the afterlife with them last week.
She is a precious, tiny Mother to 4 of our children, one year younger.
Her sweetheart Son, Love, ascended 6 years ago.

They all ascended naturally at home, as per our beliefs.  Our family surprises us by how well they live, until they one day suddenly go.  It fools us and makes it hard but encouraging at the same time.

These cat Sons & Daughters are our brightest lights.  Yes, they still are but the grief is that we need them to shine beside us, here on Earth for a far longer span of time than this.  We honour them with all our hearts.  The books I read, occasions I join in on, plants and flowers we grow, the daily life we lead….  through it all, we think of all of you.

Today is Canada Day.  Tomorrow is the birthday of my childhood cat, Thumbelina, pictured with her Mother, our precious, loyal, SandySandy vanished at age 5 but Thumbelina shone her light beside us for 21 years, 19 days.

It so happens that on this day, our dearest McCartney cat Son will tie her and continue being our family’s longest lived cat.  May the rest of our loved-ones – Angel, Petal, Conan, McCartney – and in the future, be well and stay well for comforting durations of time like this.  May Conan soon be returned home to us as well.

There needs to be respect and consideration for people whose difficulties do not comprise this one advertised pandemic.  We are safe.  We do not mind reading at home and wear a mask, the rare time we go out.  The mantra I would prefer:  “May you lose no more family members for a long time”.

Mom had mini-strokes, which intruded on swallowing food and water safely.
Love had heart failure at only 4 years-old, an invisible birth defect.
Spirit had stomach cancer.
Marigold had red blood cell problems from early onset kidney disease.
Dad had bladder cancer from which he is recovering.
Aunt Carol had breast cancer.  She is working on healing extra cells.  I have told her of the herb Essiac, blended by Aboriginals years ago to cure any kind.

May there be publically distributed cures to these serious illnesses in our lifetimes.  May vet care come down in price or offer broad health plans that families can afford.  Many of us hesitate to involve vets or pay for ultrasounds, unless certain something is wrong that needs help healing.

On behalf of Spirit, followed by Marigold, I have started learning energy medicine and feline acupressure.  I will continue it, my dear babies.  McCartney & I are taking the Essiac that we had tried on her.  I am sad I did not know of it while Spirit lived. Something about it these wholesome new efforts helped each of you, as well as us.

We love you as much as you love us, our dearest Spirit & Marigold, Lovey & Mom, Thumbelina & Sandy!  Please always be near us as clearly as you can show us.
Always, Momma Carolyn, Dad Ron, and the rest of our family.

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Carolyn’s Canadian Reading

I am an ongoing member of the Canadian reading challenge run by my friend, Shonna, in Ontario.  I love acquainting and supporting the Canadian arts and frequently find names I had never heard of, at book charity sales.  Some are local to me, self-published, and old.  Canadian work is wonderfully unique and well worth hearing about.  My blog review menu is the place to seek a variety of rare, oddball, and famous authors in a great mix.

Shonna, your portrait of your husband in the north is beautiful and exotically inspiring!  Oh, to stand in such a wondrous place!

In my quartet of reading themes, I always host a Canadian category.  This year 2020, I am taking a break from my groups for the first time since I built them.  My dear Mom has ascended to Heaven.  I need to heal and reflect, when I miss her the most and adjust to the biggest change of a family’s life.  Here is to you, my precious Mom!

~ ~

The books I finished.

The Halifax Public Gardens”  Arthur Carter / The Friends Of The Public Gardens  2008
The Dangerous Dollhouse”  Sarah Gordon  1988
The Sandhills Of Carberry”  John E. Dubois  1976
Anne Of Avonlea”  L.M. Montgomery  1909
Pockets”  Amal El-Mohtar  2015
The Truth About Owls”  Amal El-Mohtar  2014
Regretfully Invited”  Jan L. Mayes  2018
The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag”  Alan Bradley  2010
Wing”  Amal El-Mohtar  2012
(10)  “Madeleine”  Amal El-Mohtar  2015

The Green Book”  Amal El-Mohtar  2010
The Egyptian Mirror”  Michael Bedard  2020
Murder At Malenfer”  Iain McChesney  2013
A Trick Of The Light”  Louise Penny  2011
Extra-Ordinary:  Stories Of Manitobans With Down Syndrome”  Jordan Power & Darnell Collins (photography)  2015
Sleight Of Paw”  Sofie Kelly  2011
Threshing:  The Early Years Of Harvesting”  Faye Reineberg Holt  1999
While The Clock Ticked”  Leslie McFarlane  1932
Anabasis”  Amal El-Mohtar  2017
(20) “Great Canadian Women:  Nineteen Portraits Of Extraordinary Women”  Lisa Wojna  2005

Margot’s Room”  Emily Carroll  2011
Crazy Canadian Trivia 2”  Pat Hancock  2005
The Green Angels”  Nicky Millard  1985
Anne Of The Island”  Lucy Maud Montgomery  1915
Mr. Thursday”  Emily St. John Mandel  2017
Back To The Future:  The Story”  Robert Loren Fleming  1985
The Cat Psychologist:  Understanding Your Cat”  Mardie MacDonald  1990
The Convivial Codfish”  Charlotte MacLeod  1984
Made In Canada:  101 Amazing Achievements”  Bev Spencer  2003
(30) “Burying Ariel”  Gail Bowen  2000

Where Nests The Water Hen”  Gabrielle Roy  1950
Why Do Golfers Yell Fore?  That’s A Good Question!”  Ty Reynolds  1992
Your Body’s Telling You:  Love Yourself!” (“Ton Corps Dit:  Aime-Toi!”)  Lise Bourbeau  1997
The Alpine Path:  The Story Of My Career”  Lucy Maud Montgomery  1917
Bathroom Book Of Cat Trivia:  Humorous, Heartwarming, Weird, & Amazing”  Diana MacLeod & Peter Tyler (illustrator)  2007
Windward Island”  Karleen Bradford  1989
Shipwreck”  (Murdoch #0.5)  Maureen Jennings  2010
The Themis Files Archive File No. 002” (Themis Files #0.5)  Sylvain Neuvel  2017
The Hare’s Bride”  Emily Carroll  2010
(40)  “Ancient Lights”  Algernon Blackwood  1914

~ ~

Previous participation

I used to use my Canadian review menu for this reading challenge.  Here, I will make an ideal place to browse Canadian books I read previously, by year:  beginning with 2019.  I hit upon all of our provinces and territories, except the new geographic division of Nunavut!

Night Travellers”  Sandra Birdsell  1982
Cirak’s Daughter”  Charlotte MacLeod  1982
The Hangman”  Louise Penny  2010
A Fine Italian Hand”  Eric Wright  1992
The Night Gardener”  Jonathan Auxier  2014
The Promise Of The Unicorn”  Vicki Blum  2002
The Gargoyle”  Andrew Davidson  2008
There Was An Old Woman”  Howard Engel  1993
Tunnels Of Time”  Mary Harelkin Bishop  2000
(10)  “Verdict In Blood”  Gail Bowen  1988

The Shadowy Horses”  Susanna Kearsley  1997
Haunted Canada 3:  More True Ghost Stories”  Pat Hancock  2007
Ghost Stories Of Hollywood”  Barbara Smith & Arlana Anderson-Hale  2000
Hallowe’en Trivia:  Ghosts, Ghouls, Skeletons, Vampires, Witches, Graveyards, Spiders, Zombies, Haunted Houses”  Tonya Lambert  2010
Darling, Pass The Darjeeling”  Pauline Lawson  2004
Haunted Canada 2:  True Tales Of Terror”  Pat Hancock  2005
Caramba”  Marie-Louise Gay  2005
The Tree That Grew To The Moon”  Eugenie Fernandes  1994
Safe At Home With Pooh”  Kathleen W. Zoehfeld & Robbin Cuddy  1998
(20)  “From Warsaw To Winnipeg:  A Tale Of Two Cities”  Stefan A. Carter  2011

Dancing Soul:  The Voice Of Spirit Evolving”  Gwen Randall-Young  1995
Ghost Towns And Drowned Towns Of West Kootenay”  Elsie G. Turnbull  1988
Georgie”  Christiane Duchesne (traductrice) & Robert Bright  1944
The Wildlife ABC:  A Nature Alphabet”  Jan Thornhill  1988
Whitehorse, The Wilderness City”  Ione J. Christensen  1989
My Cat:  A Scrapbook Of Drawings, Photos, And Facts”  Marilyn Baillie & Brenda Clark  1993
Birthstones”  James Watling & Laurie Steding  1995
Canada’s Peaceful Places”  Canadian Heritage  1985
Firefly Time:  The Art And Poetry Of Emilee N. Horn (Carter)”  Emilee Carter  2015
Anne Of Green Gables”  L.M. Montgomery  1908
(31)  “Ghosts Of The Titanic”  Julie Lawson  2011

Canadian Literature 2012 / 2013

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I will be all right each Mother’s Day.

My article about the June 18, 2019 Corey Hart concert, a long-awaited sensation to grace Winnipeg, Manitoba exactly a year ago, revealed that my dear Mom had serious pneumonia that night.  I trusted that the rare concert would soothe my terrified soul and that my Mom would survive.  I lived in gratitude thereafter.  Every time I saw my Mom in and out of the hospital:  I told her she was an answered prayer and she loved it.

She worked through temporarily low immobility and energy, which doctors took a perplexing long while to identify as mini-strokes.  Hospital stays from unit to unit, as she got better and went home, had the positive result of visits every week, privately.  A Daughter and her Mom need time alone to talk about whatever they like.  My Mom was formidably strong but mini-strokes persisted.  She ascended to Heaven on January 3, 2020.

I wondered how to announce this.  We had Christmas together, December 30 too, and I greeted New Year’s Day 2020 with my dear Mom as well.  I live out of town and cherished each occasion to be bolstered by all her love and preparedness that I needed.  I would return on January 3 if there was time.  Waiting for Ron to get home from work, something made me say aloud that afternoon, what I planned to tell my Mom.  I spoke to her soul to soul:  that I understood that despite the change in energy, she would still be completely HERSELF.  If her body had had enough, it was okay to go without me being there.  She did:  that hour.

Father’s Day gave me an idea of the writing approach to take.  Ron & I hosted it for my Dad, Uncle, and cousin.  The elder brothers are recent widowers and my cousin, brothers, and I are missing our Moms.  I have no reason to be sad on Father’s Day.  However, I am finally sharing the major news about my Mom, by saying that on Mother’s Day too, I was okay.

The family came over to spend that day with me as well, which made it easy.  But we have a very good Mom, who taught us that bodies are like outgrown clothes we shed.  We exist as much as ever and are still available to each other;  even if we can’t see them.  I have such a sense of my Mom being here, that I have cried little and constantly feel like I am about to phone her, or like she is about to phone me.  I am comforted by the very strong awareness that my Mom is only slightly out of sound and sight:  like a baby secure in her crib, knowing her parents are on-hand.

I am sorry she only lived to age 75 and wish the answered prayer had granted more than 7 months of grace but I used them in gratitude entirely.  I notice a lot of people ascend to the next chapter in January.  It allows healing and time to get used to a big change, before Christmas and our birthdays arrive again.  I think loved-ones in Heaven are relieved we take their transition as well as possible, so they enjoy the reunions and wonders there, with pets and other loved-ones.  If sad, it helps to think:  “I wouldn’t want to ruin her good time, worrying about me”.  Calmness returns.

I did dream that my Mom phoned me recently, after I had needed her.  Thank you for that:  I heard you and appreciate the reassurance!

Posted in Personal / Family / Friends | 2 Comments

Birth Year Reading Of 2020

I love planning my reading around Jane’s themes, especially “Reading Naturally“;  which I miss.  I am here despite unreliable access to WordPress.  My spouse &  I lovingly and excitedly collected abundant books since our childhoods.  The incentive of Jane’s generous, fun rewards, succeeds at getting me to dive into them.

Most difficult:  my precious Mom ascended to Heaven.  I feel fortunate she saw this new year and welcomed it with me, with her sacred Mother’s hugs and kisses.  She knows I love reading, having given me the gift of this love from her, however different our preference in genres.  It will be a balm to the hardest absence in a Daughter’s life.  We pray our son-cat, Conan, is returned to us safely.  My Mom is watching over him and guiding him home to us.  Our open spiritual conversations are powerful and meaningful to me and are the reason we will be all right!

I honoured good old 1972 many times, the year my dear Mom brought me to our world.  Last year, I read four books of 1973, the full year I saw after I was born.  I am bookmarking my inclusion in the fun with this post.  I will choose a year a after I have had a good browse of our well-stocked shelves.

Update September 3, 2020:  I have decided on the year 2011!  This hailed the birth of my dear niece and my parents’ sole human Granddaughter.  The qualifying books I have found at home are these.  When I have read and reviewed them, please follow my links.  Sincerely, Carolyn.

From Warsaw To Winnipeg:  A Tale Of Two Cities”  Stefan A. Carter
Ghosts Of The Titanic”  Julie Lawson
Stories I Only Tell My Friends”  Rob Lowe
The Night Circus”  Erin Morgenstern
A Trick Of The Light”  Louise Penny
Thank You Notes” Jimmy Fallon
Sleight Of Paw” Sofie Kelly
The Cat, The Lady, And The Liar” Leann Sweeney
(9)  “The Haunting” Alan Titchmarsh

Update December 3, 2020:  I finished 5 books!  I draw from literature we have at home, among those I am keen to read now.  Let’s see how many other 2011 novels I indulge in.

December 9, 2020:  I have finished 6 books of 2011!  A fun fact is that 4/9 are Canadian!  Rob Lowe, Jimmy Fallon, Erin Morgenstern, and Leann Sweeney are American.  Alan Titchmarsh is English.

It is Christmas Eve.  I am working on my 9th book from 2011!  I also had a fun realization that a Linda Gillard novel I chose, on-line shopping on Ron’s behalf, is from 2011.  It should arrive this week.  If I receive it later or don’t have time to add it, these 9 books are my firm total.  Merry Christmas, everyone, from Carolyn!

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Dread & Read Selections Of 2020

I love planning my reading around Jane’s themes, especially “Reading Naturally“;  which I will miss this year.  I am here despite unreliable access to WordPress.

Most important and difficult:  my precious Mom ascended to Heaven.  I feel fortunate that she saw this new year and welcomed it with me, with her sacred Mother’s hugs and kisses.  She knows I love reading, having given me the gift of this love, regardless of different preferences in genres.   It will be a balm to the hardest absence in a Daughter’s life.



There are a number of books I hesitate to read, my spouse’s and my abundant home stock, lovingly and excitedly collected since my childhood and his.  The incentive of Jane’s generous, fun rewards, succeeds at getting me to dive into a few of them.

Neither my Mom nor I are keen on general fiction.  She prefers non-fiction.  I love fiction but need cats, the spiritual, paranormal, or mystery as the chief genre to supplement it.  I am wary of historical fiction and classics.  I have proven to love Canadian classics.  Could I relate to these stories or societies, especially way off in England?

Another dread are authors I tried and disliked.  I am a believer in skill and style that improve and series that grow more interesting.  Approaching modernity helps, as well as falling in love with characters and feeling at home with settings.  Disliking one novel does not deter me and owning many series in entirety are encouragements.

Here is my hit list.  Finishing three will be a boon:  to our space at home, my education, and satisfaction with the achievement!  It is the most gratifying, to find that I love them and I endeavour to stretch the momentum.  Thank you for your idea and wonderful gifts, Jane.



Monk’s HoodEllis Peters  1980

I couldn’t bear the slow writing style of the first novel with superfluous, irritating adjectives and adverbs.  I was glad I read the second novel because it was not only a major improvement.  I was surprised to find it action-packed:  even though, ironically, the first novel was a travelling story and the next, stayed around their monastery.  Let’s see if the sequel removes trepidation about reading the rest of Ellis Peters’s series and Edith Pargeter’s other writing!


The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s BagAlan Bradley  2010

To say I loathed the writing style and attitude of the child protagonist in the début novel puts it mildly.  I grit my teeth if I hear “precocious” as a description and found this girl mean and as hated, as other readers.  However, owning the sequel is a large incentive, along with sequels being better in my experience.  I want to like a Canadian author that many of my countrymen and countrywomen favour, so I will give it a fair go.


Sleight Of Paw”  Sofie Kelly  2011

I have dreaded the sequels by this authoress in a series I ought to love:  secret origins of cats.  Unfortunately, the stories are less about this secret and fall into the usual formula of crimes as mysteries, done poorly.  While some scenic and humorous descriptions are lovely, her focus and story-building is wasteful.  On and on she goes about what people are doing with their bodies and routines.  Mysteries should leap to essential plot-building.  Sketching settings and characters should be a heck of a lot more seamless, not pages that drag on.

Delayed since 2014, I will read this entirely because I need 2011 books from home for “Birth Year Reading 2020” and because I already own this as a new paperback, bought years ago.   It dawned on me that it is a perfect item for “Dread & Read Selections Of 2020” as well.



Jane:  please e-mail (RiedelFascination(at)Gmail(dot)com) whenever you obtain items.  Rather than be unknown until mail appears, I would like to cross successful finds off.  Thank you, with earnest pleasure.  :)  Please include a date or year on cards.  Record-keepers and gift-savers like my Mom & I know well, the importance of provenance.

Second hand in at least “very good” condition is swell.  Three gifts I would love are:

the Canadian paranormal novel “Wild Fell” Michael Rowe
the spooky novel “The Floating Staircase” Ronald Malfi
DVD / blu-ray “One Last Dance” Lisa Niemi & Patrick Swayze (region 1 “NSTN”)



The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag” Alan Bradley  2010

I liked this Canadian youth mystery sequel far better than the first!  I have yet to pen my feedback but my grade rose to a surprisingly enjoyed four stars, from the two stars of this series’ debut!  I could not stand the child protagonist, who was mean and disdainful, thinking herself more intelligent and worthy of anyone’s time.  Flavia made no attempt to be friendly, let alone make friends.  Even though there is such a thing as loners and the studious, she had not come off as a child.

In this story, she was very much a child;  enjoying a puppet show and getting heck from her Dad for tardiness and forgetfulness, rather than seeming like an untouchable person.  Flavia was far more compassionate towards people in need and far more helpful like eager children generally, even with a mystery motive for making the offer.  It probably helped that the mystery was more interesting vehicle too.  I no longer hate the girl and I would pick-up the third mystery second-hand, if a look around the house verifies that I do not have it.

Reading this novel was a successful mission and giving Alan Bradley a second chance was worthwhile and rewarded the effort to conquer former dread.


Monk’s Hood”  Ellis Peters  1980

I would call this selection a success.  I will only give it three stars as well because its beginning and ending are slow, not drawing readers into the crux of the storylines.  Ellis Peters spent too long sketching terciary characters and unrelated routinse and events.  The use of needless diminutive words that I loathe like “mildly”, “gently”, “softly” still occur but far less often than the first novel, which I could scarcely read.  I believe I liked the second mystery much better, read in 2018, as much as I loathe stories connected to war or politics.  It is likely because getting to the core of this third one and closing numerous unrelated aspests of it was slow.  However, I find myself able to continue the series; which had been in doubt when I read the début. in 2016

Something my upcoming review will praise was Brother Cadfael’s very believable involvement in solving the case, over personal connections, as well as very plausibly winding up in Wales where the action came to fruition.  I loved the description of the friendly sheep he helped other brothers take care of and how these are not an animal who is killed, allowing shepherds to befriend the beautiful charges and their ewes in their care.


Sleight Of Paw”  Sofie Kelly  2011

This novel was an improvement on the first but most notably because the characters, setting, and premise were established and you could get right to the mystery story.  Unfortunately, Darlene “Sofie Kelly”, still does not know how to craft one.  It was a slog to finish, with descriptions of physical movements passing for what I dub “false action” and every scene having characters order, consume, and put away coffee or hot chocolate.

I am glad two of your groups and gift offerings, our dear Jane, made has this slog worthwhile to me.  I had already bought a few sequels new and do not regret giving this Canadian authoress another try.

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Christmas Clues!

Merry Christmas, my dear blog subscribers, group members, visitors, and friends!

Because I love mysteries and run four reading group themes, I looked for games or riddles to play.  In the internet age, I am excited to have found one that does not reduce the resourcefulness of effort and brainteasing fun, to an instantaneous internet search.

Last year, at Ron’s work Christmas party, I was pleasantly surprised to find a stack of written and pictoral games at our table.  Even though our late arrival resulted in occupying a table to ourselves and thus not having team input;  I was excited to see that I have a good mind for clue-solving in real life!  It was a mystery lover’s delight, for this girl!  We came in third place, without the advantage of working through the large stack as early as others, nor of having teammates.  I love using my brain and not looking anything up on the internet.  I was stumped by a few that evening but worked them all out in the next day or two.

I knew right away that I wanted to share this game with family, friends, and peers alike and took a copy home!  My parents, who know Christmas songs as well as I do, did very well at this clue-solving.  It is nice to know that keen minds run in the family, as well as in the nature of mystery buffs.  Now, the season is here for me to share one with you, dear readers!

This is open to all!  You need not be in any of my reading groups and I am always inclusive internationally.  What’s a little postage between friends?

I offer:  a list of second-hand books and a list of other treats, should the books not be to your taste.  I mainly have mysteries, go figure but other types as well.  The alternatives are cute and useful things like:  greeting cards, Canadian postcards, plant seeds, photo prints, or perhaps a second-hand CD or DVD.

If this sounds like fun and if you know Christmas carols well:
I hereby present 12 fun visual Christmas clues!
Identify these Christmas song titles and e-mail them to me.


Solve as many as you can by December 27.  We live out-of-town and will mail the prize by December 30, ahead of Canada Post’s increase.  Don’t be shy to try!  If entries are gratifyingly high:  I will draw among those who solve them all.  If entrants were few, I would draw among whomever solved the most.  A for effort.  :)  Sincerely, Carolyn.

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Participants Reveal, 2019

Dear Participants:  I am your hostess, Carolyn, from Manitoba!

Thank you for joining my four themes!  I work hard to make them clear, a pleasure, and pretty.  An unresolved problem prevented me from posting updates and activities regularly.  I watched for comments every time I could load my blog, looked at reviews in the linky buttons, and commented;  if you use WordPress or Goodreads.  I am always available to you by e-mail (RIEDELFascination(at)Gmail(dot)com).

My largest concern was my Mom’s health issues.  Praise God that we have honed in on the right problem:  mini-strokes, from one small blood vessel blockage, thankfully.  Instead of going back & forth from independence, to loss of mobility;  a great hospital staff is treating the right thing.  Our Mom is on her way to mending.  :)

There were no comments and some of you missed the review pages.  However, it is up to me to generate interest.  It is not too late.  I am showing the answer to our “My Kind Of Mystery” logo in this post!  I guess I did not parcel out enough clues to solve it.  However, two participants sent a “like button” on this bookcover at Goodreads, when I read this mystery last month.  Perhaps they forgot to e-mail me the title, author, and year.

No one e-mailed by December 1 that they wanted to be in our year-end prize draw.  I will offer another chance in this post.

Next year, I will ask for e-mail addresses, to alert participants of posts.  There are hosts that do it on a monthly basis and I like it.  Games and information need to be seen, to be of use.  It is too much work to search for places to leave messages at Goodreads and I cannot get comments through Blogspot blogs, if you use a captcha.  Please leave a comment to let me know you have read this end-of-year summary.  I love hearing from you anyway!

****  How Is Your Reading?  ****

I am thrilled by the larger number of return guests and new folks who found me this year:  thank you!  Here are my four progress lists.  My “Gentle Spectrums” categories are filled with at least 4 books, most of them double or treble that sum.  I aim to finish with 18 “Celtic Coasts” books.  There are 48 “Ethereal” and 73 “My Kind Of Mystery” books.

Most of us follow the January to December calendar but our groups run February 1 to January 31.  We are freer in January, aren’t we?  If you want to add reviews to our databases, visit other reviews, and add wrap-up links from your blog or Goodreads shelves;  I leave them open well past January.  Toggle the challenge menus at the top of this blog.  For your convenience, here they are.

CELTIC COASTS review and wrap-up links
GENTLE SPECTRUMS review and wrap-up links
ETHEREAL reviews review and wrap-up links
MY KIND OF MYSTERY review and wrap-up links


****  The “My Kind Of Mystery” 2019 logo reveal!  ****

Are you ready for the 2019 logo answer?  You had a good chance of seeing me read it at Goodreads and it is also in my A to L review menu, at the top of this blog.  Here is the clue I provided, upon which I intended to build.

This novel is by an American authoress of gothic mysteries, largely in the 1970s and 1980s.  She died in 1997.  They are set internationally in unique places:  sometimes modernly, sometimes as historic fiction.  I have read three.  Last year’s was published in my birth year and this one was published the year after.

Here are the book’s name, cover, and authoress:  which was published in 1973!


****  Year-End Prize Draw  ****

In the sign-up posts, I said I would draw a prize, among everyone who e-mailed by December 1 to confirm interest.  No one did.  I believe this was an oversight and most of you would enjoy choosing a second-hand book or other treat, from a list of goodies I will send to the winner.

I will give interested parties a second chance to win a prize!  However I want to avoid next year’s postage increase, so this turnaround is short.  PLEASE E-MAIL BY CHRISTMAS EVE.  This will work fine if you choose and reply quickly.  I live out-of-town and will send the winner her mail by December 28.


****  May We All Have A Blessed, Happy New Year!  ****

I will renew my group themes next year.  I’ll be darned if technical issues stop something we enjoy.  I constantly read mysteries, a colourful spectrum of subjects, and things that are ethereal and Celtic.  I love furnishing a place to share them.  Please look for new posts in January, after most hosts roll groups out.  I do not have time before then but am not to be missed.  I think e-mails are the key to keeping each other informed and motivated.

Merry Christmas, happy new year, and God bless you!
Please stay tuned for a Christmas riddle that is a lot of fun, in my next post!
Yours truly:  Carolyn and my family, including our Kitties.

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Connect Five – List J

Kathryn offers a generous bimonthly draw and the chance to win a book is motivating.  I love thinking-up themes.  I have succeeded at finishing eleven connections!  I have been reading up a storm!  :)

Here is “List J”.  Accessing WordPress has had a technical difficulty.  I live for comments but contact me by e-mail, to ensure I receive delightful, important messages.  :)

I hope you host this wonderful activity next year, Kathryn!  I am dreaming up many more themes than I read in a year.  Wonderfully, next time, I can restart those I have finished!


Introduction To Authors.

City Of The Dead”  Toby Abbott  2009
The Turn Of The Screw”  Henry James  1898
Hallowe’en Trivia”  Tonya Lambert  2010
The Secret Of Devil’s Cave”  Jennifer Hale (Frank E. Smith)  1973
A Child’s Garden Of Verses”  Robert Louis Stevenson & Erik Blegvad  1885

“Caramba” Marie-Louise Gay 2005
“The Tree That Grew To The Moon” Eugenie Fernandes 1994


My creative entries continue here!  Follow my date headings.  My alphabetized blog menus, separated into Canadian authors and overall reading, are great resources, too.

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Connect Five – List I

Kathryn offers a generous bimonthly draw and the chance to win a book is motivating.  I love thinking-up themes.  I have succeeded at finishing eleven connections!  I have been reading up a storm!  :)

Here is “List I”.  Accessing WordPress has had a technical difficulty.  I live for comments but contact me by e-mail, to ensure I receive delightful, important messages.  :)

I hope you host this wonderful activity next year, Kathryn!  I am dreaming up many more themes than I read in a year.  Wonderfully, next time, I can restart those I have finished!



“Darling, Pass The Darjeeling”  Pauline Lawson  2004
“The Kiss:  Lovers’ Quotations And Romantic Paintings”  Helen Exley (editor)  1995
“Norman Rockwell, A Sixty Year Retrospective”  Thomas S. Buechner  1972
“The Art Of The Muppets”  Henson Associates  1980
“Flowers:  A Celebration In Words And Paintings”  Helen Exley (editor)  1992


My creative entries continue here!  My alphabetized blog menus, separated into Canadian authors and overall reading, are great resources for my reviews, too.

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Connect Five – List H

Kathryn offers a generous bimonthly draw and the chance to win a book is motivating.  I love thinking-up themes.  I have succeeded at finishing eleven connections!  I have been reading up a storm!

Here is “List H”.  Accessing WordPress has had a technical difficulty.  I live for comments but contact me by e-mail, to ensure I receive delightful, important messages.  :)

I hope you host this wonderful activity next year, Kathryn!  I am dreaming up many more themes than I read in a year.  Wonderfully, next time, I can restart those I have finished!



Enchanted:  The Wedding Story”  Barbara Bretton  2018
Cloaked In Malice”  Annette Blair  2012
Shattered Silk”  Juliet Blackwell  2016
The Witch’s House”  Charlotte Armstrong  1963
“The Letter, The Witch, And The Ring”  John Bellairs  1976


My creative entries continue here!  Follow my date headings.  My alphabetized blog menus, separated into Canadian authors and overall reading, are great resources, too.

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