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!

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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.

Books, Books, Books! August 15.

Not too shabby! 15 books this month.

 

My favourite of the first five was a tie between Addict in the House and Well, That Escalated Quickly.

The two books couldn’t be any different from each other and yet they brought me equally as much delight.-Is delight an appropriate word when dealing with two tough subjects? Sure it is!-  I found “Addict” to be clear, concise and very helpful without being pandering. I also found it honest and straight forward which is such a relief when one is dealing with addiction, as the very nature or addiction is lying and deceiving!

As for “Escalated” I found it to be funny and well written. Very informative and written in such a way that I was educated and not shamed. It left me feeling smarter and empowered to go and be better. Oh my heart!

Torn and Leave were both meh for me. Not horrible just…not for me. I’m not sure if it was content, writing style, my mood…the phases of the moon…I just couldn’t get into them.

Girl in the Woods had me feeling SO many things and it was engaging and pulled me right along. It wins the vote for most interesting and thought-provoking!

 

Green WItch and Most Wanted are my least favourite out of this batch. The characters in Most Wanted annoyed the life out of me, douche husband, childish wife. It didn’t seem very believable to me and was pretty predictable in the end. Green Witch was…I don’t know…bland for me. It tried not to be, it really did! I just found it to be a pretty basic book. I was really disappointed by this because I LOVE Alice Hoffman.

Israel Eats didn’t meet all the hype but it wasn’t horrible. Nice stories, beautiful photographs, interesting recipes. Start Where You Are took me forever to read and was tough to get through. I think it’s just that the topics were over my head frankly, so I struggled a bit to get it read. But there is valuable information within its pages and it is worthy of respect.

“50 Percent” is a local book. Local to this province. For that reason alone, its my favourite out of this batch. It was interesting and funny and touching in the end.

 

 

Dietland was AMAZING! Brilliant, stunning, smart, fierce and oh so familiar to me as a human female. It’s not about diets per se (and OMG on Goodreads the amount of hate towards Plum when she stops dieting is sickening) its more about…never mind. Read it for yourself! I don’t want to ruin in for ya!

Feeding my Mother was OK. I love Jann Arden and have enjoyed her writing on her Facebook page. Its her personal experience living and taking care of her mother as she endures Alzheimer’s disease. Not a horrible read.

Along the Infinite Sea, was lent to me by a friend. I have mixed feelings about this one. One the one hand it was engaging and pulled me right along. One the other hand it was not at all believable and so bloody pat. Ugh.

The Prison Book Club is what we are reading for my non prison book club this month and I am in love with this book! It’s so well written and the author winds and weaves so many different tales effortlessly throughout. All without shying away from the hard truths and yet still writing with deep respect, compassion and care for the inmates she met. I wanna start a Prison Book Club!

“Badass” was pretty good. I started out with mixed feelings about it but quickly warmed up once I got off of my high horse and actually started reading and absorbing what I was reading. There is solid stuff within these pages and it was worth the read.

What did you read in August?

 

 

Everyone Should Keep A List…

of all the little things they love.

I read this once, in a book written by a women living with ALS (Until I Say Goodbye. My Year of Living With Joy. Susan Spencer-Wendel ) And you know, I agree. I think a list like this can help you sort of fine tune your interests and show you what makes you, YOU. I think a list like this can help foster gratitude and appreciation for your blessings and privilege. I think a list like this can help filter out the wheat from the chaff in a world obsessed with things that don’t really matter in the long run. And I think a list like this can help you when you have a sad. Big or small.

I bring you part one of mine. and I want to see yours. Won’t you play too?

Part One-Little Things I Love.

  1. Every dog that lives or ever has.
  2. Ditto cats.
  3. Ditto any pet.
  4. Ditto any animal. Even the yucky ones like slugs and worms.
  5. Maps.
  6. Trees.
  7. Rocks.
  8. Wood.
  9. People who bring me rocks and wood.
  10. The colour blue.
  11. Peaches and nectarines.
  12. Cherries.
  13. Penticton, BC.
  14. Tilley Hats.
  15. Travelling.
  16. Old photos.
  17. Music.
  18. Water to drink and play in.
  19. Good memories.
  20. Waterproof jackets.
  21. Warm and gentle rain.
  22. Homegrown fruit and veggies.
  23. A well stock fridge, freezer and pantry.
  24. Grandchildren.
  25. Love and affection.

Now its your turn. Create your own list. Either share it on your own blog (and if we’re not connected yet , comment and share the link) or share the whole thing here, in the comments! I want to know what you love!

Love&Light