March Books-3 & 4.

Hand Wash Cold Care Instructions For An Ordinary Life by Karen Maezen Miller was a delightful little book of loveliness. A quick and easy read but one that you’ll want to savour and read in bits, so as to not miss anything. This book is hard to describe. What is it about? Life. Simple life. Insights into life as it is. The author takes us through her life’s stages and offers sound advice observations. A nice and valuable read.

I read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate in an evening! So let that be your first indication of my feelings toward this book. On one side of the story you’ve got your ‘river rats’ and on the other you’ve got your “powerful and well to do”. How are they connected? Read the book and find out! The story pulled me straight through -in an evening- and got me thinking about class and adoptions and prejudice and love. Another good read.


Buddhism & Afghanistan

This was my first read this month:

The Lovers- Romeo & Juliet in Afghanistan by Rod Nordland was capably written if not entirely frustrating. Not the writing or the book itself but the situation. This true story tells the tale of a young couple from two different ethnicities who fall in love and then have to fight their families and culture to be together. There are a lot of horrible things that happen to them and others and I find the book hard to read because of that, so be warned. It was eye opening to say the least.

Did you know there were once giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan? This book taught me that. I’m on a mission to learn more about that and I’m grateful for the new knowledge. I had no clue!

Speaking of Buddha:

Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye is my second read this month. A quick read full of personal insights, wisdom and lessons. I follow Timber on Facebook and this is just more detailed versions of his content there. Worth your time, especially if you want to take things in, in small doses.

So far, I’ve read 32 of the 125 books in my reading challenge. I seem to be reeeeeally slowing down but I’m still confident I can finish strong. I’ve got 10 month left to read the last 93. No problem!

Happy Day To You!

Aging Boy Milk

Boy 30529 by Felix Weinberg was a quick, concise read about the author’s experience before, during and after the Holocaust. I enjoyed reading it. This is a book that feels more like it was written for his family than a wider audience and there is a real different feel here, because of that.

Aging for Beginners by Ezra Bayda is a victim of my expectations. I was anticipating this would be a book about aging. It was … kind of. The author talks about things that happen as we age but the topics were not unlike things that happen as we live! Anxiety, depression, pain, etc. and so to me, if felt like reading over the same old ground. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good read. I bookmarked several pages with interesting quotes or valuable information. I was expecting something a little more specific and that is a ME problem 🙂

Milkman by Anna Burns pissed me off. 1. It betrayed me by starting out strong and interesting if not unusual and unique in style and structure. I thought I had a good one here but as the pages went on and the characters were introduced I lost all train of thought and found myself unable to follow the story. I completely lost interest in the end. 2. This was a Hits to Go! book at my library. I went to another library after choosing this book and found another Hits to Go! book and tried to take it out only to learn, one may only have one Hits to Go! book at a time. I wasted my weekly Hits to Go! quota on a disappointing book. Boooo! Anyway, this book gets mixed reviews all over the place. Some people love it, some people hate it. I don’t have such strong feelings either way. It was just hard for me to read and did not hold my interest after awhile. Too much work for this old brain! 😉

These three books mark six books read in February. I’m off to a slow start this month, it seems. BUT I’ve read twenty-five of my 2019 goal of one hundred and twenty-five so I still feel pretty good about that.

How is your reading going this month? Join me on Goodreads!

Untethered Monkeys

And The Monkey Learned Nothing by Tom Lutz is a quick little read, full of travel vignettes. Each story is highly different from the last and not at all typical. A lot of these tales really stuck with me, and got me thinking. I felt a whole range of emotions and books that do that to me get a high five 🙂 A good read.

I read Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer in a day. I can’t say I loved it but I kept reading to find out what the heck happened in the end, so there’s that! The characters were unlikable in my eyes but the story carried me along and I really like what the author was trying to convey. I really liked that a horrible practice was brought to light. The ending was brief and a little too pat. That’s always so disappointing. But I’ll survive, I’m sure 🙂 Not a horrible read.

Three books down in February, no idea how many more to go! I’m craving something that makes me love it. Something that I’m eager and excited to read. Will have to check my holds list and see what I can stir up!

Happy Reading!

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?

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!