Whether you knew Donna personally or through the various online communities that she belonged to, I’m sure you will agree that ‘inspirational’ comes easily to mind when you think of her. At this point I can almost hear a self-deprecating objection: can’t you just hear her say something along the lines of “Well if I’ve managed to inspire a few people to drink more good red wine than plonk, or pick up a book occasionally instead of vegetating in front of the telly box then my life won’t have been entirely wasted”?

She had an eclectic range of interests, which were reflected here (deserved recognition for her blog with those awards): good wine and good food, yes, and good books and good music and poetry and science and the world beyond her garden fence. But her true consuming passion was education, her own adventurous life will prove that point beyond doubt.  She was  highly aware and concerned about the power of education to change lives, especially the lives of the otherwise so under-privileged. Therefore it will come as no surprise to anyone that her chosen bequest is for a charity that aids some of the least privileged people in the world. It sponsors children in Rwanda through school and vocational education. If you feel inspired by Donna’s example in this matter as in so many others, then please look at the website of the Nu-vision Ministry or at a report on their work. To sum up: expanding horizons was one of her mottos, and didn’t she succeed there?

In the meantime, perhaps you would care to leave a comment on how Donna expanded your horizon?

I can set the ball rolling:

I’ve been a reader all my life, but Donna encouraged me to take my reading more seriously, be more thoughtful about my choices, assess what I’ve read and keep a journal.

Her blog was the first one that made me realise that a blog could be so much, much more than rather self-obsessed twitterings: she often led me to places on the web that I would never have visited otherwise. The New Scientist for example: amazing, since I have a bit of a gene defect when it comes to science. When I was considering starting one myself (a blog that is, rather than a science),  she was helpful in forcing me to think carefully about what I wanted to achieve, who I wanted to reach, what my purpose was.

She inspired me to go back to school: I’m currently engaged on a course at the Fernuniversität (German Distance Learning University) working towards an MA in a mixture of history and literature. I would never have started this without Donna’s example. Mind you, I sometimes wonder if it was a good idea, especially when coming up to exams!



by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894)

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Donna died yesterday. Please revisit some of her poetry, and remember with me a warm, inquisitive, spirited, subversive intellect. She will be sadly missed.

An obituary may be found here

This is hard: CdnReader has hit what she calls a ‘brick wall’. There will be no more ‘prodding and poking’, no more scans, investigations, examinations, no more surgery, no more, no more, no more. She has moved to a private room in a palliative care unit and care will now concentrate on pain management.
Nevertheless she wishes to point out that this does not mean she has given up, and she may well be around for a while yet. Spunky as ever. Indomitable spirit.
I’m sure you will join me (Karen again from A class act) in wishing her courage and fortitude for the loneliest journey. I wish, I wish there were more we could do. But I do know she has taken strength from the kind words and thoughts from her many friends all over the world. Thank you.

From Readers Digest Condensed Books

Banners of Silk – Rosalind Laker, 4/5
The Road – John Ehle, 1/5

I Heard the Owl Call My Name – Margaret Craven 


The Anatomy Lesson (unabridged) – Philip Roth, 3/5

The Counterlife (unabridged) – Philip Roth


From Readers Digest Condensed Books

One Man’s Medicine – William Morrison Gibson.  2/5
Octavia’s Hill – Margaret Dickson. 4/5
The Red Fox – Anthony Hyde   2/5
The Tilsit Inheritance – Catherine Gaskin.  2/5 

Banners of Silk – Rosalind Laker


The Ghost Writer (unabridged)- Philip Roth, 4/5
The Year of Magical Thinking (unabridged) – Joan Didion, 3/5

The Anatomy Lesson (unabridged) – Philip Roth

From Readers Digest Condensed Books

Cloud Nine – Luanne Rice, 3/5
Another Winter, Another Spring – Louise de Kiriline Lawrence. 2/5
Jennie About to Be – Elisabeth Ogilvie, 2/5

One Man’s Medicine – William Morrison Gibson

Short Story (from The New Yorker Magazine)

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders – Daniyal Mueenuddin, 4/5


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (unabridged) – J.K. Rowling, 4/5

The Ghost Writer (unabridged)- Philip Roth

From Readers Digest Condensed Books:

Mrs Pollifax at the China Station – Dorothy Gilman, 3/5
Crescent City – Belva Plain, 3/5
A Very Private War – Jon Cleary, 3/5
Arnie and a Houseful of Company – Margarete Sigl Corbo and Diane Marie Barras, 4/5
The Toothache Tree – Jack Galloway, 3/5

Cloud Nine – Luanne Rice


The Restoration of Emily (Between the Covers CBC Podcast) – Kim Moritsugu, 4/5
Ascension (Between the Covers CBC Podcast) – Steven Galloway, 4/5
Spies (abridged) – Michael Frayn, 4/5
The Bluest Eye (abridged) – Toni Morrison, 5/5

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (unabridged) – J.K. Rowling.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.