Reading Naturally, Summary 2018

I rejoined “Reading Naturally” with pleasure and it merits a fresh page of updates, since we have arrived all the way to my birth month:  November!  Jane is generous, inclusive of Canadians, which I know as her first year’s winner!  Our natural world and universe having a great deal to do with the spirit of all of us, fits right in with my long-standing “Ethereal“, which she joins.

Jane is an eager, gratifying hostess, taking interest in what we contribute.  She is very engaged and appreciative in a way I hope my guests feel, because this is my aim.  With smaller groups and a longtime one, she establishes a nice community to which I am thrilled to belong.  Any of her themes are well worth joining but I especially value sharing fellow animal and nature advocacy.  Everyone knows our cats are our precious children.

I will read to new year’s eve and add anything that fits this theme amply.  I am finished, with at least three books in each!  I met every item except the Orion book;  a specific niche.  I have one beautiful book about octopus that I won from Jane but want to savour it another time.

I have many new books and continue working on my inaugural list.  Even though no size is set, I made sure every category comprises full books, alongside tiny tot ones that fit the subjects nicely.  Please return to see my explanations of my selections in these categories.  Most of my reviews are ready.  :-)  Sincerely, Birthday Girl, Carolyn!


Exposed to nature:  1-3 books
Engaged with nature:  4-6 books
Immersed in nature:  7+ books.



I love reading short educational spotlights about Canadian history, places, and people and buy a wide variety of them.  I acquire knowledge in easy sips that I retain.  Other than docking marks for focusing on dreary stories and these also sounding repetitive;  the understanding I gleamed of how our police were formed, is valuable.  Indeed, our Mounties helped found Canada, herself, by making it liveable through establishment of common sense laws and building protected outposts.  They comprise as well, companion and working horses.

I doubt anyone doesn’t know Beatrix Potter as the conservationist, unusually-varied animal person, and nature artist that she was.  Her books result from tried and true experience painting animals, plants, and fungus;  which made her an expert in mychology.

Although warped religious aspects poor continuity struck my disapproval, Kevin Donovan’s independent book about saving animals from peril was appreciated by me.

The Mounties:  Tales Of Adventure And Danger In The Early Days
Elle Andra-Warner  2004
The Tale Of Ginger And Pickles”  Beatrix Potter  1909
Billy And His Friends Rescue Betsy Bear”  Kevin Donovan  1996



The Hardy Boys series, started by Canadian ghostwriter Leslie McFarlane, can be counted on for athleticism and animal and humanitarian protection.  Extreme adventurous pursuits take place on land in all seasons and on lakes;  with never-ending camping, hiking, climbing, wood-trekking, and cave-exploring.

I didn’t feel Emily Toll had her stride with unrolling a mystery and putting this novel’s focus where it belongs.  The natural locations are its special highlight:  vineyards and even a forest of the amazing redwood trees.

A kid’s book my brothers & I have had for years that I did not know was exceptionally good and forward-thinking:  I loved Little Audrey’s story more than a look at the cover would have me guess.  When a girl is declined use of a telescope, she and a friend, with some help from her Dad, invent a creative way to convince a boy of their intelligence!

A picture book for the youngest of youth age groups, I admired that it was set in an unusual place, on a one-of-a-kind tourist experience.  The white pass rides between the Canadian Yukon Territory and Alaska, a northern territory of the United States.  Bernd & Susan Richter retired in the latter.

The Mystery Of Cabin Island”  Leslie McFarlane  1929
Murder Will Travel”  Emily Toll  2002
Little Audrey And The Moon Lady”  Harvey Cartoon Studios  1960
When Grandma And Grandpa Rode The White Pass Train”  Bernd & Susan Richter  1988


(03)  ANIMALS.

These are self-explanatory.  While my own precious cat has been missing, I need to read books like the two here.  Any good, positive, and happy facts and testimonies of cats being returned home after a year and being resilient!

Here are some special notes I would like to make, about why the four children’s books are a must.  Wendy Frood Auger’s & Les Drew’s book is a new discovery that will surely become one of Canada’s classics.  It is impressively uplifting, emotional, and representative of our activities in many seasons.

Pamela Conn Beall’s & Susan Hagen Nipp’s story is notable for being a songbook, that is additionally well set-up for performance as a play.  My favourite part about it, that touched me the most, is that each infant or youngster animal asked its Mother why they do specific things.  Their answers are sweet and beautiful, even though they are commonplace and practical.

Caroline Stellings’s sparklingly-illustrated book is a fresh new gem in Canadian children’s literature.  It depicts the history of fortunecookie-making, via Gypsy, the cat, who needs to create a new way of employment for herself, after San Francisco’s stickler new mayor makes a law, against paying for fortunetelling.

Anyone would be surprised at the education level of Jane Yolen’s & Mark Teague’s simply-told board book story.  You might not notice that standard or made-up dinosaur shapes are not dashed off but astoundingly:  are accurate drawings of how each dinosaur species looks!  What’s more, this board book becomes useful to grown-ups, when you spot their actual scientific names in a corner of the portraits!

Great Cat Stories:  Inspirational Tales About Exceptional Cats
Roxanne Willems Snopek  2004
Cat Miracles:  Inspiring True Tales Of Remarkable Felines
Brag Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger  2003
10 Drowsy Dinosaurs”  Wendy Frood Auger & Les Drew  2010
Over In The Meadow (A Musical Story / Play)
Pamela Conn Beall & Susan Hagen Nipp  1987
Gypsy’s Fortune”  Caroline Stellings  2014
How Do Dinosaurs Count To Ten?”  Jane Yolen & Mark Teague  2004



This is self-explanatory too but I want to emphasize that Margaret Atwood’s story is an outdoor mentality at the extreme.  The protagonist psychologically snapped after having enough of overbearing companions and flees them by momentarily throwing off human-made things.

Elizabeth Peters’s most famous Amelia Peabody character, everyone knows, works with her archaeologist husband in late 1800s Egypt.  I favour her modern heroine, the impressive and much more relatable Vicky Bliss.  She is a doctor of archaeology in the 1970s and 1980s and evades villains too, in terrain all over the world.

Carole Nelson Douglas’s début mystery was not very good but one protagonist narrative is of a Las Vegas street cat, fashioned after her boy in real life.

I am a new fan of Martha Grimes.  Each mystery takes place in different English country and both men working on them leap in to all manners of adventures and exertion;  intellectually and bodily.  The policeman makes himself memorable by expressing a love for snow, whenever he can spend time in it.  Martha ought to write a Canadian visit!

Surfacing”  Margaret Atwood  1972
The Lion In The Valley”  Elizabeth Peters  1986
Street Of Five Moons”  Elizabeth Peters  1978
Catnap”  Carole Nelson Douglas  1992
The Old Fox Deceiv’d”  Martha Grimes  1982


(05)  CURRENT ISSUE:  climate change, biodiversity.

This is where I valued making an explanation particularly.  You would not know by any of these covers, nor by their respective genres (coming of age youth, standard adult mystery, and gothic mystery), that they entail admirably serious focuses on biodiversity.  Phyllis A. Whitney’s original hardcover was not of a brooding child but of the wholly forestral experience it is about!  Furthermore, a class of kids trying to get along, study how artificial lakes achieve water conservation.

Our great Howard Engel who features detective cases around Niagara Falls and Ste. Catherine’s, surprised me by tackling the illegal disposal of hazardous waste!  With the concern for the world’s environment risen since 1990, the aspects of this case would receive an exponentially more irate reaction.

Velda Johnston puts a lot of work into gothic mystery personages and her settings, which are throughly-developed and impressively realistic.  In short, her novels are not trite;  even though romance is the surface sideline of this genre.  In this one, an enterprising captain’s son establishes a sugar planation on a French Caribbean island and plans a sugary refinery counterpart for his American town.  Do you see?  You wouldn’t expect any of this content from these bookcovers!  I am thrilled to achieve this specialized category so abundantly.

Nobody Likes Trina”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1972
Dead And Buried”  Howard Engel  1990
The Late Mrs. Fonsell”  Velda Johnston  1972
Penny Visits Oak Hammock Marsh”  Carol & Kristin Szuminsky & Jack Brown  2008


(06)  WATER.

The sweet-looking Scuffy of my childhood suite of books is self-explanatory.  These mysteries by Anne Perry, Simon Brett, and Jo Dereske are started or resolved in various water bodies:  London’s sewer system, a river alongside a retirement home, and a lake.  As usual, Nora Roberts set her drama alongside an ocean.

Bluegate Fields”  Anne Perry  1984
A Nice Class Of Corpse”  Simon Brett  1992
Daring To Dream”  Nora Roberts  1996
Miss Zukas And The Library Murders”  Jo Dereske  1994
Scuffy The Tugboat”  Tibor Gergely & Gertrude Crampton  1972


(07)  NEW:  published 2015 onward.

Jane & I chatted about the difficulty of this category, which is why she accommodates what is new for us.  I am a physical book reader buying primarily second-hand.  These three are unusually new for my home stock, two and three years-old.

Ghost Gifts”  Laura Spinella  2016
In A Dark, Dark Wood”  Ruth Ware  2015
The Other Side Of Midnight”  Simone St. James  2015


(08) DYSTOPIA-FLAVOURED:  emphasizing consequences.

A Canadian classic, based on history:  I did not expect to love Hugh MacLennan’s literature landscsape changer to the degree that I did.  Fictional post war lovers show us starkly, how serious the Halifax explosion was.  A foreign ship carelessly ran into a parked WWI amunition ship at Halifax’s port.  Hugh lived through it as a boy.  The explosion and fires destroyed half the city glass shattered in many towns at a distance.  Then, with people dashing for shelter;  unfortunately, a blizzard hit.

Gabrielle Roy was not only an adult in WWII but wrote her own literature landscape changer two years after it ended.  Her perspective was very current and astute.  At that time, there were Montréalers who were so poor;  signing up as soldiers brought an income superior to what many had, to families!

The great spy authoress, Dorothy Gilman, took us farther back in history and I gained more insight than I expected, into Boston’s defeat of the British.  Her protagonist is a boy, kidnapped from England into indentured servitude.  The city was affected by battle and the king cutting off supply ships.

Past obsession and crimes were built vididly into Sarah Rayne’s mild horror mystery.  Buildings of torture erected when the law excused favoured figures, stain a town decades into the future.  It also affects the socio-economic state of villagers who have become elderly.

Barometer Rising”  Hugh MacLennan  1941
The Tin Flute”  Gabrielle Roy  1947
Bells Of Freedom”  Dorothy Gilman  1963
The Silence”  Sarah Rayne  2013


(09)  EXTREME ELEMENT:  sailing, mountain-climbing.

The Secret Treasure Of Oak Island”  D’Arcy O’Connor  2004
The Mystery Of The Lost Lemon Mine”  Ron Stewart  1993
Extreme Canadian Weather”  Joan Dixon  2005
Little Lost Lamb”  Margaret Wise Brown (Golden MacDonald) & Leonard Weisgard  1945


(10)  SEASONS.

Nowhere are the seasons more prevalent than in northern and inland Canada:  most of our country!  None of these books salute the seasons solely by title.  They all depict the outdoors vividly.  However the first three, Canadian works, incorporate our seasons the most tangibly and directly of all.

The first comprises short stories from my home province, with our infamy of climate and geographical terrain well-sampled.  The succeeding pair are mysterious, by Louise Penny and Gail Bowen, that describe and include the outdoors expansively and keenly.  Seasons are a category homemade for Canadian literature!

Manitoba Stories”  Joan Parr (editor)  1981
The Brutal Telling”  Louise Penny  2009
A Killing Spring”  Gail Bowen  1996
Arthur’s Hallowe’en”  Marc Brown  1982
Franklin’s Hallowe’en”  Paulette Bourgeois & Brenda Clark  1996


(11)  PLANTS.

ILouise Penny’s enthralling mystery takes place at a forest resort but what’s more, the resolution incorporates ants and sugar.  Mignon Warner’s town medium makes special jam and tea brews.  Thomas Kinkade was a prolific cottage, landsape, and garden painter;  even if they looked the same.  Ellis Peters’s medieval Benedictine monk really cuts the mustard of this category!  He is their monastery’s herbalist and gardener!

The Murder Stone”  Louise Penny  2008
A Medium For Murder”  Mignon Warner  1976
The Garden Of Friendship”  Thomas Kinkade  2000
One Corpse Too Many”  Ellis Peters  1979



I would like to emphasize that Lillian Beckwith’s and Constance Walker’s stories in particular, imbue enchantingly region specific wilderness.  The ocean along the Hebrides Islands characterizes Lillian’s autobiographic episodes and dangerous moors in Wales contribute to Constance’s mystery.

Jane Austen whisks us into horseriding countryside.  Elizabeth George takes her police team around farmland and old monasteries, beside a wilderness retreat.  For Dorothy Daniels’ excellent mystery, her hard to access lake and island are the point!

Sense And Sensibility”  Jane Austen  1811
The Sea For Breakfast”  Lillian Beckwith  1961
The Shimmering Stones Of Winter’s Light”  Constance Walker  1991
A Great Deliverance”  Elizabeth George  1988
The House Of Broken Dolls”  Dorothy Daniels  1972


(13)  SPIRITUAL:  emphasizing connection.

Haunted”  Ophelia Julien  2012
Ghosts Of Government House”  Judith Silverthorne  2011
The Strangers On Montagu Street”  Karen White  2011
Arrow Book Of Ghost Stories”  Nora Kramer & George Wilde  1960
Mysterious Brockville”  Nancy Wickwire Fraser  2000
A Ghost In The House”  Betty Ren Wright  1991
Adventures Of A Psychic”  Sylvia Browne & Antoinette May  1990


(14)  SKILLS.

There is a lot of new content for me to adopt into my favourite literature this year!  Victoria Holt’s gothic mystery heroine is an accomplished equestrian teacher and Victoria Thompson’s heroine is an early 1900s widwife.  Rhys Bowen’s Welsh policeman is an accomplished hiker and mountaineer, like many of his small town by practicality.

My other two books require less succinct descriptions.  The Father in Robert Westall’s novel is a historic architecht, restoring a monastary discovered to be older than the extior revealed.  This is woodland and a variety of masonry, cooking, and outdoor skills arise.

Cancer Care Manitoba has worked towards a cure since 1930!  This is a wonderful, keepsake artbook about their most memorable fundraiser, that I saw and on occasion, continue to see personally.  Amateur and professional artists of Winnipeg painted majestic, permanent polar bear statues for company donors!  It brought together mould-making artisans, transportation and storage experts, visual artists, fundraisers, an array of local industries.  Their efforts connected with the medical, scientific, and administrative experts in cancer curing and care.

The Bears Of Broadway”  Cancer Care Manitoba  2005
Mistress Of Mellyn”  Victoria Holt  1960
Murder On Astor Place”  Victoria Thompson  1999
Evans Above”  Rhys Bowen  1997
Ghost Abbey”  Robert Westall  1988



Loving local memories, creations, and artwork again:  Carol & Kristin Szuminsky are a daughter and Mother, authoring beautiful self-published books with Kristin’s artist and convervationist Father, Jack Brown.  I seldom visit Oak Hammock Marsh because it is at a distance and takes time to explore but I remember and value every visit dearly.  It is one of Manitoba’s very important nature and ecology preserves.  It is a children’s book but none fits better.

David Handler is one of few men writers I enjoy and I am a fan of his interracial mystery-solving series couple.  The strong, fit policewoman is a cat-rescuer and her film critic boyfriend resides in a lakeland gated community.  In this mystery in particular, they fight to keep it natural and quiet.

Larry Weinberg’s book has another cover that does not give credence to the fantastically sympathetic dual timeline adventure;  bolstered with impeccably-researched Civil War history.  It pertains to humanitarianism the most but the whole face of the United States, people and land, altered drastically at this time.  There is a tremendous love and respect for horses throughout as well, if this theme required more of that aspect.

The Hot Pink Farmhouse”  David Handler  2002
Ghost Hotel”  Larry Weinberg  1994
The Whispering Rabbit”  Margaret Wise Brown & Cyndy Szekeres  1948



Jean Little is a Canadian born in Taiwan, with missionary parents.  This biography of her Mom’s, also born to missionary parents, shows how she and her husband got into it.  The protagonist’s own parents often acclimatized to foreign countries but also had re-establish themselves with relatives, in Canadian towns or farms.  Jean, legally blind, became an advocate for education about blindness and guide dogs.

Peter J. Peters emigrated to Manitoba as a child from wartime Russia and was extremely well-known in our agriculture and berry-picking industry.  He happened to be a self-published poet, with autobiographical pieces and poems in each of his books.  I don’t like his prose but love the heart about our home turf.

The most self-explanatory name there is on natural, animal, humanitarian, and spiritual subjects:  Jesus!  This energizing, all-inclusive spiritual discussion, accompanies a documentary Janet & Richard Bock filmed called “The Lost Years”.  It shares documented historical facts that the average populace doesn’t know, or strive to know:  the gospel book was edited down.  It was done to the advantage of Constantinople’s religious leanings in 325 AD;  made worse by ruining the invaluable Library Of Alexandria in 389 AD.  There are no arguments and every portion is very respectfully, impartially presented.  There is also a lovely personal element:  their experiences looking for records in India, of Jesus’s omitted life activities from ages 13 to 30.  All of the natural landscapes explored in India are vividly brought to mind and sacred places and experiences related with wonderment.

His Banner Over Me”  Jean Little  1995
Driftwood And Other Poems”  P.J. Peters  1978
The Jesus Mystery (Of Lost Years And Unknown Travels)”  Janet Bock  1980



This is a section I skip because I’m not an award-winning or classic reader.  However, I did not recall the amended definition.  If nature-related books garnering other awards work, I can finish this category as well.  However the ones I have read that fit, serve any other category better.



About RIEDEL Fascination

I cherish animals, plants, reading, music and free spirituality. I welcome you for articles, literary activities, and interaction! Surrounding ourselves with good people is a delight. I occasionally review at The Book Depository.
This entry was posted in Animal Rights, Animals Or Pets, Book / Novel / Literature, Canadian, Cats, Spirits / Ghosts / Haunted and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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