White Fragility

White Fragility – Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo is a book that been on my holds list for some time. I was something like 23 on 97 holds when I first put it on my list! It finally came in last week and it’s my first read book of February, 2019.

White Fragility is a slim book which really surprised me because it wasn’t slim in content. The author starts out by really explaining racism as a system and how while most of us white people (hopefully!) aren’t cool with any of it, and did not ask to be born into it, we sure do benefit from it and unconsciously and consciously do things to maintain it.

This and so much more is all stated and explained in a very non judgemental way. The author is completely open and honest about her own actions, bias and racist behaviors too. The book is written in plain language and is heartfelt and easy to understand. It’s the first book I’ve read on the subject that cleared away the cobwebs for me. It’s a book I want to read again and again, because the lessons are so valuable and I really want them to sink in to my old noggin.

Even if you think you are not racist, this is an important book to read. Actually, especially if you think you’re not racist, this is an important book to read. There’s special bit about so called progressive people too.

I personally have been examining myself and the system I live in for the past few years and while yes it’s been uncomfortable many times, I’ve survived just fine and am smarter for it. I’m still learning as I go too and I am so grateful to the brave men and women who are teaching me how to do and be better.

I give White Fragility by Robin Diangelo a big shiny gold star of appreciation.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Book Brag January- *19

Good Goddess! 19 Books?! I amaze myself.

January is the LONGEST month. Its no wonder I guess. I’ve got 15% of my reading challenge completed. Woot-woot! It’s been effortless thus far. Not having a job will enable that 😉

Who Killed Mom by Steve Burgess was excellent! A Canadian memoir and real love letter. It was tender, funny. clever and wise. One of the BEST memoirs I’ve ever read.

Secret Daughter by shilpi somaya gowda was a real nice read. The story moved quickly and was thought provoking and engaging.

In Search of Buddha’s Daughters by Christine Toomey, was excellent! These women are so inspiring! I was interested the whole way through and found this book to be well written and highly interesting.

How To Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach was another excellent one. A lady after my own heart, Jenny gives us not only really cool recipes but also inspiration to celebrate ALL THE THINGS. I’m totally down with that. A lot of cute stories and a lot of good recipes to try.

Educated by Tara Westover gives homeschoolers the world over a very bad name, ha ha ha. Did I ever tell you I homeschooled my kids? Well, I did. And none of the awful crap that went down in her family, went down in mine. I just feel the need to put that out there, lol. This book was hard to read. But interesting. People are weird. And sometimes, not in a good way. Capably written if not triggering for child abuse. Be you warned, if that sort of thing gets to you.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz was a quick and easy read on an awful topic. A novel by Heather Morris, it’s based on a true life story. It inspired me to start looking up my own Jewish grandmother.

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs was interesting. Steve Jobs was a total dick. I tried to find sympathy for him because he seemed so obviously disturbed and he was human, after all BUT I’m afraid I failed in that department. Just like he failed with his daughter. Ugh. I really felt for the author. She writes honestly about her relationship with her famous father, her mother herself and life growing up between the two.

Aware by Daniel J. Siegal, MD had such great potential. I was excited to read it because I’m a meditator. Alas, I found it dry, repetitive and hard to follow. There is a lot of excellent information here, its just hard to get at.

Let Us Compare by Leonard Cohen was a gift from my hubs. Which is really the only reason I finished this one. Ha ha. I found it hard to follow at times and that frustrated me. It was also a tad pretentious. I stuck it out and found some beauty too so maybe this is a book one needs to go over a few times to fully understand and absorb.

Making Friends with Death by Laura Pritchett was a book I suggested my public library buy. YOU’RE WELCOME EDMONTON! It was SO good! One of the best books on death I’ve read to date. And I’ve read A LOT on the subject. Part work book, part … I don’t even know, this book was practical and heart felt, touching on everyone’s greatest fears in such an honest, friendly, supportive, non judgemental way. I will be adding this one to my bookshelf!

Naked and Marooned by Ed Stafford was alright. A quick read. There was detailed killing of animals throughout so if that is not your jam, be forewarned. This one made me grateful for my creature comforts and in awe of what us humans can do.

A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb was a no for me. Overly simplistic and totally unbelievable. The story idea was great. It was just the delivery that failed me.

Here’s a tale about another dick, My Life with Mr. S by George Jacobs and William Stadiem is about the author’s life working as Frank Sinatra’s valet. People! People, people, people. With their egos and their insecurities. Oy! It was a quick read, capably written. I grew tired of reading about spoiled jerks after not too long.

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman is a book that needed to be written. It passes back and forth between the kidnapping of Sally Horner and the writing of the book, Lolita. (which I have not, nor will read) It was capably written. I found myself grossed out throughout much of it. Why are people so awful?

I loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti and boy did she ever! If you like endless spaghetti recipes, this book by Giulia Melucci is just the thing for you! Recipes for pasta and other things are interwoven through tales of relationships gone wrong. This book reminded me how awful dating is, ha ha.

Epic Hikes of the World by Lonely Planet was not wrong. This book is huge and epic. A shit ton of hikes all over the world to awe and inspire you.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson came my way because of the Netflix series. It’s supposed to be SO scary so I thought I’d better read the book first! I enjoyed it. It disturbed me, not because it was scary per se but because it reminded me of how I get every Autumn with my S.A.D. Is it really depression over taking me or am I being over taken by something otherworldly….who knows! A quick read that still stands.

I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell started out strong for me and has the honour of the only book on death I’ve read, that scared me. We’re dodging death left, right and centre and it was scary to realize that and see it, in action! A good read.

Oh. MY. Heart. I am in love with this book. I don’t even know where to start. and I honestly feel like my words, wont come close to doing it justice. The characters are so well developed and real. The story will break your heart and then give it back to you. My life is better for reading this one.

What are you reading these days?

GoodReads Challenge:2019

Goodreads.com -for those who don’t know- is a site/community for readers. It’s kind of a simplified version of Facebook for books!

I use it to keep track of my reading and connect with my like minded friends. There are groups and contests and all sort of neat things to do on the site. My favourite activity is the Reading Challenge! Every year, readers from all over sign up to challenge themselves to READ MORE BOOKS!

Last year, because I was feeling so poorly, mentally, I “challenged” myself to read 12 books. I had just started to recover and while I was finally able to focus on a book long enough to finish, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with a huge number. I figured I’d at least read my Book Club book, so 12 was a doable number!

Well. I outdid myself. I beat my challenge by 800%! I read 97 books! Woot Woot!

So now to challenge myself! The Hubs suggested I try and read 200 books… yeah, I think that’s crazy talk! I settled on 125 books in 2019. That seems doable AND challenging. So far I’ve got 4 books in, with 2 on the go. Not too shabby!

Are you on Goodreads? Are you taking part in the challenge? Wanna be Goodreads friends?

Book Brag- December *14!

If there has ever been a month built for reading, it has been this past December. 

While weather in Edmonton hasn’t been cold, its been fractious. All I want to do is curl up on my couch and read. Luckily for me, I have eyes that see, legs that walk me to the library down the street and my very own borrowing privileges. Life is good.

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness was a fun read! I see that it’s #1 in a series of 3, and that has me all excited because I really liked it. It’s a book about witches and demons and vampires. It’s romantic and fantastical…and problematic at points- my feminist side was cringing at times- but over all it was a quick and engaging read and I didn’t hate the characters by the end for any of the things that made me cringe, ha! 

When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a true accounting of a dying man’s life. Dude is a young doctor and he’s diagnosed with cancer. I was excited about this one because a. reading about death is my jam b. it had gotten rave reviews c. it sounded like it would be touching and thoughtful. I mean, just look at that title! Unfortunately for me, while I felt sad at times, this book lacked depth and emotion. Perhaps I should not listen to hype. May he rest well, at any rate. 

Now this one, was very different. The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is about the books Will and his Mum read and discuss while going to Mum’s cancer treatment appointments. Its the story of a life, a family. It was thought provoking and tender. Honest and human. I liked it a lot. Twas a good read! 

Ugh! Look! A movie scene cover. I hate that! But I read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, anyway! And you know, it was good. At first I really found the odd format tedious but after putting it down for a bit and coming back to it refreshed, I found it easier to get into.  After that, I was fine. I don’t want to wreck the story for you so I’ll just say this is in an interesting, quirky read with memorable characters. It made me think and want to delve into the history of certain things more. I love it when books do that!

 I know right? Whaaaaat?! The Pornographer’s Daughter by Kristin Battista-Frazee was not nearly as salacious as I’d hoped for. Which I suppose is precisely the author’s point. Its the story of her childhood that wasn’t really all that special except for one thing: her dad distributed the movie Deep Throat, had some legal troubles and then later went on to work further in the industry. This was an alright read. There was some magical thinking at work here that I wasn’t able to connect with but it was written well enough and now I know a thing or two about the movie Deep Throat. Ha. 

What To Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapely is a little book, likened to something written by Nicholas Sparks. I didn’t find that all. The first chapter was great but then it just got complicated and hard to follow. I had to set it down *gasp! 

I’ve been watching The Crown so when I saw this book – 99 Glimpses Of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown- on a book list somewhere, I quickly added it to my list. It came in and I read it in one day. It.was.good! Not your average biography and what a relief at that! This book is such a breath of fresh air in the genre and I really hope other authors follow suit. The author paints an honest picture of a complex person and makes them seem all too human, the good, the bad and the ugly. It pulled me straight through til the end. 

The Wizard And The Witch by John C. Sulak was weird. I guess that’s no real surprise considering the subject matter. More than that, it was boring to read about two assholes who thought most highly of themselves and treated other people like crap.

Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman WAS weird but delightfully so! I enjoyed this book so much, my only complaint being that it was scarce in details I wanted to know more about! A quick and entertaining read.

I had such high hopes for The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. It was a little long and technical for me although it tried not to be. Clearly a ME problem 🙂 It held a lot of vital information within and I’ll probably pick it up again sometime.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is not my usual jam-mystery- but I really liked it. It has a twist that I didn’t see coming at all and deals with a matter that is quite alarming and leads you to think all kinds of things. Love that!

From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein was a fun and entertaining read. I blew through in an evening- New Year’s Eve to be exact-and found it well worth my time. It’s part insight look to a way of life I knew nothing about while being a personal memoir. I liked.

Heart-Breaker by Claudia Dey was a total train wreck of a book. In the best possible way. I don’t know how the author took such a strange and twisted story and made me fall in love with it, but she did. A quick read. A read that will stick with you long after you’re done. Go get it!

Becoming by Michelle Obama. I want to be this woman when I grow up! Do you think she’s really as awesome as she seems to be? I hope so. This was a great read! It was honest and inspiring. She just makes me want to be a better person on the whole. Entertaining and enlightening, this was a great read.

Not too shabby for a month, hey?!

I’ve got one book down for January already and of course, a HUGE pile just waiting in the wings. I’ve signed up for the GoodReads Challenge again but that’s Friday’s post. Until then HAPPY READING!

November Book Brag *11

Eleven Books! Woot Woot! I’m so proud. 

The first book I read this month is not pictured because I’m lazy.

Bleeding Hearts by Scott Hay, a local author, was an interesting read. As a young man something shockingly horrible happens in his family and this book is all about the incident, the after effects and its impact on his life. I found the book to be very … Albertan. The story was something else, and I’m very grateful I’ve not had to experience such a thing. If you want a quick and simple read, this book is for you.

Depression: The Comedy by Jessica Holes was irritating at times, had me laughing out loud at others and in the end left me respecting the author. If you can get through certain aspects of the writing style, this book is a good read for anyone who has a brain.  I learned a thing or two and had a lot of a-ha moments. Always a win for me when that happens.

The Insight Guide : Scotland was one of the best guide books I’ve read in 45 years of living. It was interesting with its friendly and thorough style, not just informative. I felt like I was reading a novel or something.

HikerTrash by Erin Miller was excellent. I’ve read a LOT of books about hiking the PCT but I wasn’t bored once reading this one. Her writing style was descriptive and fun, I laughed a lot and recommend this book if you’re looking for some inspiration to hike something BIG!

35959190

This one ^ was pretty good. That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam Its about a white family who adopt a black child. It had me cringing with second hand embarrassment a lot of the time. It left questions lingering within me after I was done. I just love that. A good read.

Still Mine by Amy Stuart was dark and gritty and weird and human. There are other books in the series – or at least one- and I’m not sure if I’ll read them or even how I feel about the character (who is on the run from her abusive husband and struggling with a drug addiction amongst other things) I have issues with addiction in the content I read because addiction plays a prominent role in my life but that’s personal to me. The book was a quick read at any rate and capably written.

Not horrible. Typical guide book. Not overly inspiring.

Oh my gosh, I love this one! Complicated content laid out in an engaging, easy to read manner. I felt smarter and so much more understanding of our species and the world we live in. I think this one should be required reading for all humans 🙂

 Book Club #1’s book. Its a collection of short stories. Weird short stories. There is a bit of a formula here. They were alright. I’m not a fan of short stories so take that into consideration. Would I recommend this one…meh. It is capably written though. Just not my jam.



Book Club #2’s book. An epic, delightful tale of witchcraft and other things. Not your typical story and not your typical characters. I really liked it. Its a little long but I may have felt that because I didn’t start reading it until a week before Book Club, ha ha. 

Loved this one! LOVED IT! Its written sort of … stream of consciousness style and its just so lovely and kind and informative and heartwarming/wrenching. A very good read on a very important subject.

What did you read in November? Anything good?

October Book Brag *7

I read seven books this month. That is pretty sad…didn’t I read more the month I went away? Let me check…Oh EM GEE, yes! I read 8 books last month. I’m a slacker!

ANYway, here is my round-up for the month of October.

 

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby is about an interesting girl with an interesting dream. Only what happens in the book was pretty damn ordinary in the end. Not horrible. A quick read.

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew is a memoir. It was honest and kind of long-winded. As someone who’s long winded herself, I can relate. Not horrible. I was hoping for something fabulous and profound because I respect and admire this chap’s work in our country. Once again, my expectations failed me 🙂

The Elephant In The Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. This is a book about our hidden motives in everyday life. Basically, your brain is a selfish jerk BUT your brain doesn’t want you to KNOW its a selfish jerk and it especially doesn’t want other people to know! It’s all ok though because ALL human brains can be selfish jerks. Absolutely fascinating. Intelligent and interesting. Not at all dry and written in such a way that the science behind all of this is easy to understand. Highly recommend!

People Tend To Tell Me Thing by Amy Dickinson. Amy writes an advice column and this book is not really about that BUT it’s still a really good book because Amy is an interesting and intelligent person. She’s clever and unique and really honest about herself- She must have read The Elephant In The Brain!- and it all makes for a great read. I felt a kinship with her, as a messy human. Highly recommend!

 

Little Green by Tish Cohen was engaging. Its a story about two people, a marriage and what happens in that marriage when something goes really wrong. A quick read. I had strong emotional responses, good and bad to both main characters but the ending pissed me right off. Read it. Its not a waste of time.

Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart was slow for me at first but then once I settled into it, I found myself quite liking it. Its part of a series of books based on a set of real life sisters, who lived unusual-for the times- lives. I grew to like most of the characters and was irritated by others. I love it when a book makes me feel something, so this one is a win for me.

The Marriage Of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. I think I may be growing out of this author. This is the second book I’ve read of hers that has disappointed me. In fact this one made me openly scoff. It was a long, complicated, fussy story about a family, told in two parts. The first part is mostly about the mother as a young woman and the second is about her son. In between all sorts of other things are woven with people acting like assholes and hypocrites throughout. Maybe it was my mood but this book is a definite nah for me.

Okie dokie! My goal for November is to read ten books. I don’t think this is going to be a problem because you see, I have a real problem! I added waay too many books to my holds list at the library and they’ve all come in at once. Ooops! Wish me luck.

 

September Book Brag *8

Happy October! Can you believe it? Three more months left in the year. I read something about the “C” word the other day and scoffed. Then I started counting and well would you look at that! It really is time to start thinking about the holidays!

I don’t have that many books to brag about for September. Sure I suppose I could have brought books with me on my trip, or you know, read the books I downloaded but…meh… I was either way too tired or way too busy. It was all I could do to record the day in my journal never mind read.

I did managed to read eight books in September which is really nothing short of a miracle.

 

 

The Measure of My Powers was gooood! Not what I expected at all and well written. Its a memoir and I found it honest and empowering. Not to mention interesting and delicious. By Jackie Kai Ellis

The Happiness Curve was my least favourite of the four. I think its written for a very specific audience-even though the subject matter affects everyone, I would think- I think the subject matter is interesting but I wasn’t interested by the writing style.

Indian Horse. This is my friend’s book and I’ve been putting it off because generally this subject makes me white hot with rage. My family history has been affected by residential schools and I need to be in the right frame of mind to read about such things. Why I chose this book as my first one after my trip I’ll never know-the Malarone made me do it?- but I did and you know..it wasn’t bad at all! It was a really special read. Heart wrenching to be sure but not graphic and just so beautifully written. I think, like so many others do that this book needs to be required reading in schools. AND if you get a chance to, watch the movie by the same name. It was directed by Clint Eastwood. Usually I’m a “read the book first’ kind of person but it was either wait nine years or see the movie with my book club, so I went. The book is always better then the movie but watching the movie first adds something positive to the experience because it takes away the disappointment of that truth. ANYway, good book. Go read it.

The Year Of Less was pretty good. The author challenges herself to buy nothing but the necessities over the course of a year while exploring addiction and healthy living in ALL avenues of life. It did inspire me a bit to try the same although I’m not sure I’m as motivated as the author was. A quick read.

 

 

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney was a highly interesting and complex read. Lots of characters, lots of story lines, , lots of emotions and issues and goings on. Very unique.

Everyday Super Food was beautiful to look at but…it annoyed me with its pretension. Which is saying something because Ive never found Jamie Oliver to be pretentious before. I don’t know,  the recipes were fussy and over involved using ingredients in combinations I just couldn’t see and wasn’t inspired by. At the end of the book there was a whole section on healthy living that felt intrusive and annoying. Like what credentials do you have Sir, to include such things?! Maybe I’m just in a mood but I was disappointed and annoyed by this one.

Very Fond of Food by Sophie Dahl on the other hand was great! I too, am very fond of food! The recipes were good and things I think I’d eat and feel bothered to make. The stories accompanying the recipes were funny and heartfelt, interesting too. Worth my time. I even save a few recipes to try.

The Green Witch was alright. A victim of my expectations perhaps. Vague and wishy washy at times with nothing to hate and nothing to love. Were I not hoping to have books to brag about I probably would have set it gently aside, unfinished. Ha ha.