Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My "No Trash" Book List

Updated - December 10, 2010

Two years ago I decided that I would no longer read paperback trash, but would take the time to explore the best books of the day. A very good friend has been a member of a book club for over 25 years and she was very generous in sharing their "top 100". I enjoy searching through the book reviews in the Globe and NY Times and also went out and obtained my first library card since the 70's. Below I have listed the books that I have read and those that I will read in the near future. They are all wonderful in their own right and many were winners or the runner up of the Governor General's award, the Canadian Giller Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Enjoy your reading and send me your thoughts on any of these books that you have read.

History of Love
Kraus, Nicole
A truly great love story. My #1 favourite

In the Skin of a Lion
Ondaatje, Michael
Cdn. Author. Exceptional description of Toronto’s working class in the early 1900’s

The English Patient
Ondaatje, Michael
Cdn Author. An amazing story teller

Elizabeth and After
Cohen, Matt
Cohen’s best novel that took 10 years to write.

Three Day Road
Boyden, Joseph
Cdn. author’s first novel. Amazing story of two young natives from Moose Factory who enlist in the army for WWI

A Complicated Kindness
Toews, Miriam
Cdn. Author, Governor General Award and Giller Prize Short list. A wonderful story of human emotions and the enslavement of a Mennonite community in Manitoba.

Typing: A Life in 26 Keys
Cohen, Matt
Cohen’s autobiography written before his death in 2001. Reads like a great novel.

The Book of Negroes
Hill, Lawrence
Cdn author. Winner of CBC’s Canada Reads and Giller Short List. An excellent story written around historical facts.

Through Black Spruce
Boyden, Joseph
Cdn. author’s second novel won the 2008 Giller prize. Characters are 2 generations after Three Day Road. Very insightful, descriptive.

DeNiro’s Game
Hage, Rawi
First novel for Lebanese Cdn author. 2006 short list for Giller prize and GG award. He writes of the dark side of worn torn Lebanon and the life of a young teen aged boy. Gripping.

The Road
McCarthy, Cormac
2007 Pulitzer prize winning novel. Dark and all encompassing. McCarthy at his best.

Lives of the Saints
Ricci, Nino
Cdn. author’s first novel and winner of GG award. Exceptional insight and description of a poor Italian village, post WW1

The Gathering
Enright, Anne
2007 Man Booker Prize winner. The narrator (Veronica) says out loud what many of us only think, but would never say.

Hage, Rawi
Second novel for Lebanese Cdn author. 2008 short list for Giller prize and GG award. The dark side of a middle eastern immigrant struggling in Montreal.

The Origin of Species
Ricci, Nino
Cdn Author. GG award winner. A lost man and his travels, emotions and lost loves.

Saramago, Jose
Translated from Spanish. Science fiction, different but well written. Made into a major motion picture

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Hosseini, Khaled
A follow-up to his first novel “The kite Runner”. An enthralling story of the tumultuous lives of two Afghan women.

The White Tiger
Adiga, Aravind
His debut novel and winner of the 2008 Man Booker prize. Shows the contrast between India's rise as a modern global economy and the working class people who live in crushing rural poverty.

The Kite Runner
Hosseini, Khaled
A best selling first novel and movie that opens eyes to life in Afghanistan through the Russian invasion and emergence of the Taliban..

Jeffrey Eugenides
The 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner. A wonderful story of a young woman who discovers as a teen that she is a hermaphrodite. The story begins with her Greek grandparents and their journey from Asia Minor to Detroit Michigan.

Bel Canto
Patchet, Ann
A 2001 prize winning novel Based on the Lima Crisis, this book is about a group of terrorists who hold high executives and people of high political standing hostage. It explores how the terrorists and hostages cope with living in a house together for several months. Many of the characters form unbreakable bonds of friendship, while some fall in love.

The Year of the Flood
Margaret Atwood
2009 Giller Shortlisted by a leading Cdn author. Atwood at her imaginary best, but not my cup of tea!

Mistress of Nothing
Pullinger, Kate
Cdn author and 2009 Governor General award winner. The romantic story of a maid in 19th century Britain and her travels to Egypt with her employer.

Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout
2009 Pulitzer prize winner.
A very interesting compilation of stories centered around the central character, Olive Kitteridge.

The Inheritance of Loss
Kiran Desai
2006 Man Booker prize winner.
Set in the shadows of the Himalayas, a young girl is orphaned and is sent to live with her aging Grandfather. We see the comparisons of rich and poor in northern India that leads to rebellion. It was an enjoyable read and at the same time an inspiration for literary students. The author highlights so many issues in a brief manner; such as how the beauty of nature gives an immensely powerful feeling with intensity.

Late Nights on Air
Elizabeth Hay
Cdn Author. Winner 2007 Giller Award.
Great Canadian literature that paints a realistic picture of life in the Canadian territories, the foibles of CBC Radio and the dangers of a trans-arctic gas pipeline.

Marilynne Robinson
2004 Pulitzer prize Winner. Started but have not finished.

Books I want to Read

McEwen, Ian
McEwen won the Booker for a previous novel, Amsterdam

The Shipping News
Proulx, Annie
Pulitzer prize winner

All the Pretty Horses
McCarthy, Cormac
Winner of a national Book Award for Fiction

Life of Pi
Martel, Yann
Cdn author and winner of 2002 Man Booker Prize

Moore, Christopher
Recommended by a friend

The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
Translated from Portuguese. 65 million copies sold. A modern classic

A Gate at the Stairs
Lorrie Moore
2009. Stunning review in the NY Times. A must read.

Land of Marvels
Barry Unsworth
2009. Well reviewed.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Diaz, Junot
2008 Pulitzer prize Winner

The Sentimentalists
Skibsrud, Johanna

2010 Giller Prize Winner

Harding, Paul
2010 Pulitzer prize Winner

The Finkler Question
Jacobson, Howard
2010 Man Booker Prize Winner

Friday, September 17, 2010

LCBO Vintages Release for September 18, 2010

This Release has some great Italian and Portuguese selections. I've also highlighted an LBV Port for $18.95 ...so if you are a Port lover this is a must try ...especially for the price at $18.95.

For each release, I am trying to highlight a few wines that apply to those of you that have a temperature controlled wine cellar. While, there are many great wines that we can buy and drink right away, you will only get to experience those truly amazing wines if you have patience and proper storage facilities to let them age to perfection. I have personally built two wine cellars in previous homes and in both cases they would hold 1,000 bottles, stored the wine at a perfect cellar temp of 56F to 58F and were built for under $2,500. For those of you that don't have the space or are on a tighter budget, there are many stand alone refrigeration units available for between $500 and $2,000. In particular I really like the 200 bottle unit that Rosehill Wine Cellars retails for under $995.

Montepeloso Eneo 2006, lgt ToscanaTuscany, Italy#114660 Rating - 93 $44.95 This is a classic wine that needs to age for at least 6 years. Best after 2016.

Concha Y Toro Marques De Casa Concha Carmenere 2007, Rapel ValleyChile#169862; Rating - 90; $19.95 Excellent length and awesome value. Set aside for 2 years. At its best from 2012 to 2020

San Fabiano Calcinaia Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, lgt Toscana
Tuscany, Italy
#181420; Rating - 91 $22.95
Full bodied, with a long beautiful finish. Best after 2011 to 2016

La Lecciaia Brunello Di Montalcino 2004, Docg; 375ml
Tuscany, Italy
#180083 Rating - 91; $24.95
Please note this is a half bottle. Save it for a night when your better half is out! Drink now through 2012

Fattoria Di Basciano Il Corto 2007, lgt Rosso dei Colli Della Toscana Centrale
Tuscany, Italy
#134775; Rating - 91; $27.95
A sangiovese-cabernet blend. Full bodied, intense and flavourful in a Super-Tuscan style. Drink now or hold for five years.

Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2007, McLaren Vale
South Australia. 375ml (1/2 bottle)
#180430 Rating - 90; $11.95
Full bodied with a great finish. Drink now, but good for 4 to 6 years.

Bon Cap Organic winery The Ruins Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Wo Robertson
South Africa
#18739; Rating 90; $14.95
An excellent choice for a fall dinner of pot roast or braised meats. David Lawrason says to try it with Liver and Onions (yum)

Paringa Shiraz 2008, Riverland, South AustraliaAustralia
#180422; Rating -89; $14.95
David Lawrason describes it as follows: "It's full dense, sweet, rich and quite opulent ...a great buy at $15 ...excellent length."

Benmarco Malbec 2008
#657601; Rating - 90; $17.95
Medium bodied with a long finish. Drink for up to 5 years.

Vineland Estates St. Urban Riesling 2008, VQA Niagara Escarpment
Ontario Canada
#38117; Rating - 90; $19.95
A beautiful wine that is off-dry, light, vibrant and with great finish. Try it with some Asian fare.

Ferreira LBV (Late Bottled Vintage Port) 2000, Doc Douro, Bottled 2004Portugal#675751; Rating - 90; $18.95LBV's are typically ready 4 to 6 years after bottling. This port is ready now but you could wait another year. Get some nice blue cheese and enjoy this weekend!