Friday, December 31, 2010

Final books of 2010

I haven't gotten around to reviewing these books yet-but I did read them this month:
Unless by Carol Shields, Be Good by Stacey May Fowles, and Resurrection by Tucker Malarkey.

...which means in 2010 I read 72 books-down a bit compared to 75 in 2009 and 77 in 2008!!

Reverb 10: Core Story

December 31Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

My response: Hmmmmm. Well The first 3/4 of 2010 were very much about me, enjoying old and discovering new hobbies and more sports/physical activity. However the last few months have really been centered around our family and our future. We're expecting our first child, my husband will have a new job, and we will be moving to Alberta-and although all these things will happen in 2011, all the decisions behind them happened in the last part of 2010. How do I share it with the world. By talking (and blogging) about it to anyone and everyone! I am basically an open book, so if it's going on in my head, I'll be talking to someone about it shortly!

I have to say that 2010 has been a truly wonderful year, but 2011 has so much excitement to offer!  I know 2011 will be challenging but I also know that it will be totally worth it and can't wait to see how it will all unfold!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Annual Review

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Booking Through Thursday December 30, 2010: What’s the best book you read this year? Worst? Favorite?

My answer: EASY QUESITON!!
Best AND favorite: Lev Grossman's The Magicians
Worst: Jonathan Franzen's Freedom

How about you?
Also, stay tuned for my Top Ten Books of 2010!!

Reverb 10: Gifts

December 30 - Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What's the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

My response: I don't really like this question. How about I just say that I have been thoroughly enjoying hanging around in my some very cozy Christmas gifts-homemade knit socks, moccasins, and cat pyjamas!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reverb 10: Dec 21-29, 2010

I was in Winnipeg for Christmas for the past week and am thus behind with Reverb. I don't want to spend an hour typing so I will give some shorter answers for the ones I have missed:

December 21Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

My response: I almost answered this before I left on vacation but couldn't think of a good can you give yourself advice for the future? I don't have any!! I would tell my younger self that although it felt like university took forever and cost way too much, it was all worth it!!

December 22Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

My response: I went to the Dominican Republic with my sister, camping along Lake Erie with my husband and friends, took a road trip to Montreal, and  back to Winnipeg to visit family in the summer and for Christmas. Next year I will be moving to Red Deer, Alberta sometime in the spring so I hope we get to travel around that area and explore our new surroundings!

December 23New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

My response: I wouldn't. I like my name and I don't like to pretend to be someone I'm not.

December 24Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

My response: Hmmmm...I feel like my life motto could be that things always work out for my husband and me when they need to" , but if I had to pick one moment, I guess it would be when he was offered a job in Red Deer, Alberta, and even though we'll be apart for a little bit, we know he will have a stable income and an excellent job so that when the baby comes EVERYTHING WILL BE OK, and I can be on maternity leave!!

December 25Photo – a present to yourself
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

My response: I love this picture because it shows me doing one of the things I love best-playing baseball!! I hadn't played for 9 years and joined a co-ed slo pitch team with a friend from work and had so much fun!! The pictures was taken by Jenn! THANKS JENN!! If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have reconnect with an old love!! (BASEBALL!!!)

December 26Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

My response: This is a really hard question because for the past 3 months I really haven't felt like eating anything!!I am surprised because I thought with pregnancy I would be eating my face off-especially sweets and I can barely stand the sight of chocolate! Let me think back.... I had the most amazing tacos at a mexican place on the danforth...I think it was tacos barbacoa...Marcia or Bronwen if you read this please correct me if I am wrong!! Also there were some delicious margaritas involved-another thing that I can barely stand to think about without feeling icky!!

December 27Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

My response: Ummmm...I think every single time I looked outside while at Lake of The Woods this summer brought me joy! I love that place!!Also playing in the waves with my husband while camping on Lake Erie-SO FUN!

December 28 Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

My response: Honestly-I want to be a good mom!!I don't know if I will achieve it or if I do if I will recognize it!! I can't really experience that feeling until the baby comes soooo.......I guess we'll have to just wait and see!!

December 29Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

My response:  Hard question!! I guess when my husband and I decided that he would take the job in Red Deer. As I mentioned before I will be here for a little while so I can try to go on maternity leave, but other than that, we are really excited to start our new life there-especially with a baby on the way! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reverb 10: Beyond avoidance

December 20 - Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

My response: I can't think of anything...can you think of something I avoided for the above reasons?

On an unrelated note- ONE MORE DAY OF WORK AND THEN I'M ON HOLIDAYS!! Winnipeg here I come!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reverb 10: Healing

December 19Healing What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

My response: I'm not sure if my response will qualify as needing to be healed,but it's the best I can come up with. My husband is amazing. He really is. Even more so since I've been pregnant. At almost 14 weeks I have been battling exhaustion for a good 7 weeks at least. I don't just mean tired! I am always more tired at this time of year and can always use more sleep. I am currently getting between 10-12 hours of sleep a night and my body is still exhausted. And trust me-it's not because I am getting too much sleep. And no, exercise will not help because I am pretty sure I would just crumple to pile of dust on the floor if I have to do more than climb up the subway stairs!! As far as the healing is concerned my husband is fully supporting my basically constant need for sleep and has been cooking ALL of our suppers (all of the ones that we eat at home at least!), pretty much does all our laundry (which can be up to 8 loads and you have to go down the main lobby where there are only 4 machines for 11 floors), cleaning, back massaging, foot rubbing, pretty much anything and everything. If it wasn't for him I honestly don't know how I'd get through the days right now! Thanks love!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reverb 10: Try

December 18Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

My response: What do I want to try next year...parenthood!!! And it's happening!! Something I tried in 2010...playing on a co-ed softball team after not playing ball for 9 years. What happened? We won the championships!! It was awesome!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reverb 10: Lesson Learned

December 17Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

My response: Hmmmmm....The lesson I learned this year is that I can do anything I set my mind to as long as I give myself a way out if things don't go well. This doesn't mean being a quitter, it means accepting that sometimes things don't go as planned and that it's ok to stop/change/do something different. By setting myself a timeline "i.e. two days, months or years" I know that I can try something new and if I am not happy then I have given myself permission to move on to something else!

Booking Through Thursday: Character

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Question for December 16, 2010: If you could be a character from any book, who would you be? And why?

My answer: Hmmmm this will take some thought......I kind of always wished I could have been one of the Pevensies from The Chronicles of Narnia Series, maybe Lucy because she and Edmund get to go most often! The whole idea of being transported to a different world with your siblings and getting to be the kings and queens, mythical creatures, and fight great exciting!!!

How about you? If you could be a character from ANY book, who would it be and why??

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: Children of God

I am feeling lazy and hoping to be in bed by 8pm, so this is a cop-out review for Mary Doria Russell's Children of God.

From "Children of God is the sequel to Mary Doria Russell's 1996 The Sparrow, which saw a Jesuit mission to the planet Rakhat end in disaster. The sole survivor of that mission, a priest named Emilio Sandoz, returned a beaten and broken man, having suffered rape and mutilation at the hands of enigmatic aliens. Now the Jesuits want to go back to Rakhat, and they want Sandoz aboard the new mission. But Sandoz has renounced his priesthood and even found a measure of happiness with his new wife and stepdaughter. Meanwhile, on Rakhat, contact with the humans has thrown the local culture into turmoil, precipitating a war between Rakhat's two sentient races. As forces conspire to send Emilio back to Rakhat--and toward a possible reconciliation with God--the planet verges on genocidal destruction. Children of God is a more polished novel than The Sparrow, and the story is equally compelling."

More polished, I disagree. I actually found this book sort of boring. It dragged on and on, and I almost didn't finish it because I kind of didn't care. But since I loved The Sparrow I thought I would finish it. The most interesting thing about this book is that the coy I got from the library was sort of falling apart when I got it and in the end the last 20 pages and the  back cover flew off while I was on the subway-it was sort of embarrassing.

Reverb 10: Friendship

December 16Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

My response: This question is intense! How do you pick just one friend?? Ok I pick Marcia. I hope you're blushing when you read this!! I suppose it isn't new to this year specifically but Marcia is one of the nicest people I know!! She has shown me that no matter what is happening in your own life you can always be there to support your friends 100%!! From shopping trips,  joining a class with a friend (knitting or Spanish) to coming to watch me at my Dragon Boat race or play baseball, to teaching me how to appreciate (And I mean APPRECIATE) wine and all it's glory-Marcia is always there for me and all her friends! She has taught me how to be less judgemental about other people and how to find a smile every morning no matter how grouchy I am by looking at her cat a day calendar!! Thanks Marcia!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverb 10: 5 minutes

December 155 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

My response: No thanks. I don't want to have to pick and choose. And the thought of losing my memory is too much like the awfulness of Alzheimer's to be honest with you. I want to remember everything and come across those memories from time to time! So I will be opting out of this one.

Reverb 10: Appreciate

December 14Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

My response: One thing? I am going to go with friends. I've really appreciated the friendships I have here in Toronto. From work, to dragonboat, baseball, and book club, I've met some really amazing people. My friends are fun, funny, understanding, supportive, generous, they let me be me and love me for it! Right?? So thanks to all my Toronto, well I guess GTA are irreplaceable!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reverb 10: Action

December 13Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

My response: Next step-GO TO BED and get a good night's sleep!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reverb 10: Body integration

December 12Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

My response: I was taking a pilates class from October 2009-around May/June 2010 given by my friend Meghan. I stopped at that point because I was also doing dragonboat and baseball, and it was getting to be too much in my schedule, and then summer came along and then I didn't end up going back and I miss it. Pilates definitely helped me have a better connection between my mind and body and I felt more alive and stronger in multiple ways after each session. I was also following a few Stott Pilates videos once or twice and week and felt more connected to myself. Since I haven't been going I can feel a difference in my "mind-body balance" (Stott words!) and I miss is, unfortunately I really don't have the energy for it these days because ***get ready for it*** I AM PREGNANT!! I think all of my close friends and family know this (but if you don't please forgive me!!) . I'm about 13 weeks, due in June and have been utterly exhausted for the past 9 weeks basically! And NO doing some exercise will NOT make me feel better-my midwife even said so herself!! SO with that being said, I expect to also feel  more cohesion between my mind and body in the months to come!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reverb 10: 11 Things

December 1111 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

My response: As I was thinking about this post I wasn't sure what to put down...I feel like the wording of this is negative, I'd rather do the opposite and write about 11 Things I NEED in 2011. These are things that I need from others and things that I need to cultivate in myself. 

  1. Support
  2. Understanding
  3. Patience
  4. Strength
  5. A washer and dryer (seriously!!)
  6. Time to make my own mistakes and learn from them
  7. Community
  8. Health
  9. Kindness
  10.  Love
  11. Sleep

Reverb 10: Wisdom

December 10Wisdom What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

My response: Hmmmm.... I didn't answer this question yesterday on purpose because I wanted to think about it. I have been and will be making some big decisions in the next week or so, which will hopefully be my/our wisest ones of the year (or ever), but I don't really want to get into that on here just yet.

Instead, I will maybe talk about another decision that I am really happy about and that was playing baseball again after 9 years!! I joined a mixed slo-pitch team with a friends from work this summer. I used to play fast-pitch softball fairly competitively in high school and at the  beginning of university, and had never played slo-pitch or on a mixed team. I was a bit nervous about the fact that I hadn't played in 9 years, and about playing with men!! During one of my first practices I was pitching to my friend;s boyfriend and he hit a hard core line drive at my face-I managed to get my glove up right away but it was so hard it knocked me over and split my glove!! I am really happy that I started playing again because it was so much fin, and the team was really supportive. To top it all off we ended up winning the championship game beating the team that has been undefeated for 2 years and in playoffs for like 6 years!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Crappy

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December 9, 2010: Inspired by this post: Do you ever crave reading crappy books?

My answer: Yes! Although I don't know if I would use the term "crappy". Maybe "chick lit" or mindless reading. Sometimes I want to read a really easy book that doesn't make me think to hard or learn any lessons! I've always enjoyed Maeve Binchy books because I find them to be very quick reads that are generally enjoyable and don't make me feel sad. I don't, however, enjoy the "Shopaholic" type books because I find them to be way too similar and the female characters always seem sort of pathetic to me.

How about you?

Reverb 10: Party

December 9Party  What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

My response: My (step) sister-in-law got married in Winnipeg this summer and boy did I have a good time. I new it would be enjoyable but since I didn't know a lot of people there I didn't think it would get too crazy. Boy was I wrong!! My husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and his girlfriend spent the entire night together interspersed with the bride and groom and my other (step) sister-in-law. We had sooooo much fun, danced all night, roamed around The Forks, and drank WAY TOO MUCH!!! My husband and his sister were dancing on the chairs, the groom put the bride's veil on my husband (at least I think that's how it got there), my brother-in-law's girlfriend (the first time we met her!) caught the bouquet, all in all one of the most fun nights!! My mother-in-law picked us up from the wedding and had to take care of not just me but also my husband! Fairly embarrassing but did we ever have a good time. The wedding itself was beautiful, the dinner delicious, and the speeches were good too!! I almost forgot-we had flown in the night before and my luggage ended up in Vancouver and they were able to get it to Winnipeg like an hour and a half before the wedding!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reverb 10: Beautifully different

December 8Beautifully Different Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

My response: I asked my husband for help on this one and he said "Well, your smile lights me up" and that I have "..a happy personality and you're generally positive". What a sweetheart. The "generally" is true because I can sure be grumpy!! I can be stubborn in my opinions, but I like to think that I try to see both (or multiple) sides of a situation. I think I'm really good at being the devil's advocate at least when it comes to other people's lives! Although I don't know if that makes me more or less beautiful to others :) I think I can be fun and funny, and I'm never at a loss for words (again this may make me more OR less beautiful!). I also like to read A LOT, like A LOT!  I'm not sure if this makes me "different" but it's what makes me ME!

What makes you different and lights people up?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reverb 10: Community

December 7Community Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

My response: I have discovered the blog community this year or the "blogosphere" as it is sometimes referred to! I also engaged more with my book club in "real life". I'm not too sure about which community I'd like to connect with in 2011...if I think of something I will come back!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reverb 10: Make

December 6Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

My response: The last thing I made was a scarf. Technically I started it February (see here) when I took a knitting class but I just finished it a few weeks ago-it's awesome. It's made from a 50% acrylic 50% wool blend of Mille Colori Big yarn and it looks like this:

My next project will be a blanket. It's not so much that I need to clear some time but that I need to go buy the wool!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reverb 10: Let go

December 5Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

My response: Hmmmmm.....I think I was finally able to let go of the need to finish every single book I started to read. I always said that because I read so quickly and so much, it's  not a big deal to stick it out through a not so good book. I also kind of equated it with giving up and I do not like to be a quitter. But then I realized that it doesn't matter!! Why am I wasting any of my time doing something I don't love doing if I don't have to!!I mean sure, there are responsibilities like cleaning, and laundry that I don't love doing but I NEED to do those things, I don't NEED to read a crappy book!!

 As for next year (although this isn't part of the question but I think it should be), I need to let go of what I can't control. I can't control other people's thoughts and actions, I can only control myself and how I respond to others! This is quite honestly something I've been thinking about over the past year already, but I hope to put a bit more effort into it next year!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reverb 10: Wonder

December 4 – Wonder
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

My response: I didn't initially like this question-and this time it's not due to grumpiness. I thought about for a while and then went to the Reverb 10 website to peek at what some other participants wrote. So I am borrowing an idea.
I don't know that I necessarily "cultivated" a sense of wonder, but where I definitely felt its presence was during some traveling this year. In March I went to the Dominican Republic with my sister and it was beautiful. We went on a speed boat tour to Paradise Island and through the mangrove trees that grow from the coral out of the water, as well as did a bit of snorkeling-it was amazing!! I also feel a sense of wonder whenever I am at Lake of the Woods-it's so beautiful and relaxing!! Finally, over Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving) my husband and I took a road trip to Montreal and we were dazzled (yes I said dazzled) by the city! So that is how I cultivated or experienced wonder this past year!!

Book Review: Girls of Riyadh

The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Al-Sanea was recommended to me by the same friend who suggested Room. Jennifer S. you have good taste in books!!!The Girls of Riyadh is told in emails sent to a listserve of people in Saudi Arabia by an unknown woman describing the lives of her four best friends. These emails are seen as incredibly outrageous as it portrays what Al-Sanea as an author, and then  unnamed narrator would consider a more realistic impression of what life is like for "some" Muslim women in the Middle East-specifically Saudi Arabia. The Girls of Riyadh was definitely intriguing (I think I use this word a lot when describing books!!). It's hard not to judge the lives and choices these women make without comparing them to the Western world and I don't think that's fair, religion, culture, and society are different, which doesn't necessarily mean better or worse, just different!
The Girls of Riyadh is kind of like Sex and the City meets the Muslim world (I think my friend might have described it that way to be honest), and definitely had me thinking about friendships, relationships, men, love, and relationships!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #202

It's time for Friday Fill-Ins (<----click here to go to the website/blog). My answers are in red! we go!

1. The best thing about a birthday celebration is Jeanne's cake.

2. I can't get over how quick the passage of time.

3. I went shopping recently and the most interesting thing I bought was Cinnamon Green Tea.

4. My favourite child's game was Candy Land and we never had it-I used to make my cousins play when I babysat and the kids when I worked at a daycare!!

5. The reason is because I said so.

6. I don't miss Winnipeg's snow and cold.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to eating Kenzo Ramen, tomorrow my plans include maybe Christmas shopping and Sunday, I want to sleep and read!

Book Review: Sacred Hearts

Sarah Dunant is well known for her Italian Renaissance novels the Birth of Venus and In the company of the Courtesan-what YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THESE BOOKS!!! Well you should! Incidentally The Birth of Venus was the VERY FIRST book review I ever did!! I just reread it and I was apparently not as in love with it as I remember...but I think that's because it reminded me of another book I had just read, so that isn't actually Dunant's fault :)

Sacred Hearts is Dunant's most recent novel Sacred Hearts is even better than the last two!! It is set in the convent of Santa Caterina in 16th century Ferrara Italy.  I am feeling lazy and don't feel like writing a more detailed synopsis of the book so I will borrow one from the author's website:

"Serafina, a willful, emotional & furious girl, has just been ripped from her proposed marriage and sent by her noble family to Santa Caterina. During her first night inside, such is her violent, incandescent rage that the dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana, is sent to her cell to calm her with a draft of herbs. Thus begins a complex relationship of trust and betrayal. And while outside the convent walls the forces of the Counter-Reformation push for ever more repressive changes, Serafina's rebellious spirit challenges not only Zuana but many other nuns who have made peace with the isolated life."

If you think a novel set in a convent could be boring YOU ARE WRONG!! The novel begins with "Before the screaming starts, the night silence of the convent is alive with its own particular sounds". I was hooked!! would I recommend it-YES!

Reverb 10: Moment

December 3Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

My response: I had to think about this one for a little bit but it finally came to me!! The moment I felt most alive this year happened while we are at Lake of the Woods. My husband, sister, and parents were at the cottage/island of family friends and between the 8 of us we put on a $900 fireworks show (I blogged about back in September). My husband and my sister's boyfriend organized and set-off the firework show and we got to sit back and enjoy as they shot off the dock over the lake. It was unbelievable. We had at least 2 going off at a time and many had 50+shots so they sky was filled with fireworks and we could here them echoing back at us. At one point we could hear cheering coming from somewhere down the lake because our show was so spectacular. The air was crisp and smelled like smoke from the fireworks. The part where I think I felt most alive was just after one of the 100 shot fireworks tipped over in the barrel and started shooting back toward us over our heads. I remember jumping up and knocking my sister's glass of wine all over her as I dove behind my mom's lawn chair because I thought they were coming right for us. Nobody else was too concerned besides me and my sister but I remember that each time we thought it as over  another series of loud crackling fireworks would shoot over our heads. Our hearts were pounding as we laughed and laughed over how I spilled all of her wine in my attempts to save myself and get out of the way when we weren't really in any dangers. It was so good to be with my family, and Lake of the Woods is my favourite place to be!!

Do you have a moment where you felt most alive this year? I'd love to hear it!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: First

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Booking Through Thursday December 2, 2010 question: "How about First Editions? Are they something special? Or “just another book” to you?"

My answer: Disclaimer-In my previous post today I mentioned that I was feeling grumpy. I still am -this may have impacted my answers. First Editions-who cares! Not me. I don't collect books so to me it makes no difference. Wait-unless we're talking about scholarly material, then the 1st edition is the oldest and there is likely newer more relevant information available in which case I will take the most recent edition thank you.

Reverb 10: Writing

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

My response: I would like to start this post off by letting you know I am grumpy. My day started off with the subway power shutting off for 1/2 of my ride and had to walk from Castle Frank Subway Station to Donlands Station-about 20 minutes of brisk walking in increasing wind and snow with no shuttle bus in sight. Not cool. Then on the way home everyone around my smelled like they had just rolled in an ashtray and now I feel super icky.

With that being is my response to the above question: I don't like this question. I don't actually think it's a particularly good question to be honest (I said I was grumpy!). This doesn't really encourage reflection or send out "reverberations" for next year!! And unless you consider yourself a writer (which I don't) I don't think this is a very accessible question (that's not exactly the right way to say it I know, but remember--->GRUMPY). I "write" when I want to and not when I don't. There isn't anything holding me back and nothing I would eliminate in order to "write" more. That's all I have to say on the topic. Maybe I should come back to this on a less grumpy day...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10: One word

My December goal: Reverb 10 "... is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we'll do both."

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

My response: My word for 2010 would be CREATIVITY. In the past two years I have been exploring my creative side, but I feel like I've really embraced it this year. I've taken a knitting class, done some beading (for jewellery-and the garland for our Christmas tree), tried to take more pictures and actually print them and put them in albums, as well as starting this blog. I wanted to do some writing for a few years now and realizing that I'm not a good writer I thought a blog would be a good start and so Reading, Beading...and more Reading was created on January 17, 2010!

My word for 2011....hmmmm...I would say EXCITING. I am expecting a few significant changes for my husband and myself next year and I am very much looking forward to what 2011 has to bring :)

What are your words? (Mom I know I can count on you for this one...but who else will play along?!?!)

Canada Reads Independently 2011

As I mentioned yesterday, Kerry Clare at Pickle Me This is hosting Canada Reads Independently 2011 and put up her selection today. I am in! Here it is:

  • The Book: Play the Monster Blind by Lynn Coady The Champion: Sheree Fitch
  • The Book: Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King The Champion: Nathalie Foy
  • The Book: Still Life With June by Darren Greer The Champion: Chad Pelley
  • The Book: Home Truths by Mavis Gallant The Champion: Carrie Snyder
  • The Book: Be Good by Stacey May Fowles The Champion: Robert J. Wiersema 
 Luckily for me all books are available at the good old TPL! I have put all of the Canada Reads  and Canada Reads Independently 2011 books on hold-don't worry they are all inactive so they won't come all at once! I think I will try to read one book from each list at the same time/alternate between the two lists.

First up to become "activated" (that means I want them NOW!) are:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Canada Reads 2011 Finalists

The Canada Reads 2011 five panelists and their selections were announced last week! Hurray!! The five books and their defenders are:
  • The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis Defended by: Ali Velshi
  • The Birth House, by Ami McKay Defended by: Debbie Travis
  • The Bone Cage, by Angie Abdou Defended by: Georges Laraque
  • Essex County, by Jeff Lemire Defended by: Sara Quin
  • Unless, by Carol Shields Defended by Lorne Cardinal
I've read Ami McKay's The Birth House, but I haven't read the others-looks like I have a new challenge! For those of you who don't don't know, Canada Reads is celebrating it's 10th anniversary and is a series of debates between the panelists defending their selection as the best Canadian book of the past decade. Canada Reads is hosted by Jian Ghomeshi and will air on CBC Radio One on February 7, 8, 9 2011. I plan on reading the books above and hope to listen to the debates! (Last year I was on vacation and missed the debates!!).

A blog that I follow (Pickle Me This) will be hosting Canada Reads Independently 2011 which features some more independent presses, it is as Kerry Clare puts it: "more about reading on my own terms". Clare will posting her selection of books and panelists on her website tomorrow-and I may read those as well! We'll see!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Room

I actually had no intentions of reading Emma Donoghue's Room. I had read a few reviews about it and although it was intriguing, I thought it would be way too disturbing. I was only sort of right.

Room is written from the perspective of 5 year old Jack, a boy who has grown up in Room with his mother. His mother you see was kidnapped 7 years ago when she was 19 years old by "old Nick". Jack's whole existence is limited to one room and the TV-but his mom's told him that everything on TV is fake, and he doesn't truly know about "Outside". I don't want to say anything more because it would really ruin the story if you want to read it.

The mere thought of a story told by a young boy growing up in this kind of environment was enough to deter me from picking this book up on my own. A friend from work lent it to me and am I ever glad she did. After the first 30 pages I wasn't sure I could finish it at this point and thought I might have to return it and borrow it again at another time, but I decided to give it the ride home on the subway on Thursday night and am I ever glad I did. I have no idea how she did it, but Donoghue did an amazing job of writing this novel from the perspective of a 5 year old boy who only knows Room. Simply amazing.
I promise-this book is worth reading!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Thankful

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Here is this week's Booking Through Thursday question: "It’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. of A. so … What authors and books are you most thankful for?"

My answer: I'm going to be a bit off topic with my answer:  I am thankful for the ability to read. Period.  I am thankful that my parents always encouraged my reading and never censored it...except for that one Stephen King book  my mom thought was so horrendous I think she actually threw it out..I can't remember which one though....hmmm. I am thankful for the public library-both growing up in Winnipeg and now in Toronto. I am thankful for the second hand book stores in my neighbourhood as well as the independent stores. I am also thankful for the "big stores" like amazon  and chapters for making book buying convenient. I am thankful for every single person who asks me what I'm reading and then answers the question themselves. I am thankful for YOU my blog readers for following my reading adventures and for all of your comments and even for the comments that you think to yourselves but don't post on here!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I remember hearing quite a lot about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when it came out last year, and quite frankly, I thought it sounded weird. It is portrayed as a  hybrid novel of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with Seth Grahame-Smith's addition of Zombies. I think I listened to a a few of Austen's novels on audiobook years ago and they have kind of all melded together in my brain, so I can't say 100% for sure how true the novel is to Austen's original Pride and Prejudice. Although it's safe to say that all parts pertaining to Zombies and Zombie slayings are all new additions!

Grahame-Smith and Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was interesting. I liked the style of writing-very Austen-and I am fairly sure that the characters of the Bennets, Bingsleys, Darcys, Mr. Wickham etc. are probably fairly true to Austen's original. The addition of Zombies and of those avowed to fight them-especially the aptly trained Bennet sisters added an element of excitement and action! Reading this book has made me want to read Austen's Pride and Prejudice to see precisely where the similarities lie.

An overview of the novel from the publisher's website: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton-and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers-and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 10 wonderfully graphic illustrations, this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans."

So would I recommend this book? YES!
Would I read it again? Possibly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: People of the Book

I read Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book last week and it was great! Brooks' novel follows Hanna Heath a rare books expert as she is brought to Sarajevo to examine the Sarajevo Haggadah (the illuminated manuscript that contains the illustrated traditional text of the Passover Haggadah which accompanies the Passover Seder-thank you wikipedia!). The story jumps between1996 with Hanna's discoveries in the Haggadah - an insect wing, a missing clasp, wine stains, saltwater, a white hair- to the stories of how each made it's way into the book working back in time from 1940-1480.

I liked the parts in the story that explore Hanna's personal life, her relationships with her mother, father, and those involved with the Haggadah, but I really enjoyed the history of the Haggadah. I thought it was fascinating how much information you can get from what are basically old stains-if you have access to the right equipment!!

In book club last week one of the members used the criteria "would I read it again" to distinguish a really good book...soooo would I read this book again...hmmmm probably not-but I would definitely recommend it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #200

It's time for Friday Fill-Ins! My answers in RED! we go!

1. Why does David's breath smell so bad? (He said it himself!!)

2. I would love to see the world.

3. Thank you for reading my blog!

4. Christmas is my favorite holiday because of too many reasons to list.

5. I am SO excited that we got a new bed!

6. I don't get this one.....____make up our minds to be.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping in our new bed, tomorrow my plans include looking for new pillows and maybe hanging out with Meghan, and Sunday, I want to set up our Christmas tree!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Borrowing

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This week's Booking Through Thursday question: Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a Friend? (Or don’t your friends trust you to return their books?) And, DO you return books you borrow?

My answer: Both. I love to borrow books any way I can!! I can't afford to buy all the books I read so if I can get my hand son them any other way I am always grateful! If I am looking for a specific book I usually ask friends if they have it and if they don't then I go to the library! If it's a new and popular book I'd rather borrow from a friend because the holds list at the library can be super long! I always return books (right Marcia?) and read pretty quick so I don't USUALLY hold on to books for more than few weeks (right Marcia??). Although the opposite question wasn't asked-I don't have any problem lending out my books to friends. I think I might actually try to push books that I loved on others so that we can talk about them!

How about you? Do you prefer to borrow books from frinds or from the library?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: The Sparrow

I read Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow last week and it was really different! The chapters skip back and forth between 2019, 2039, and 2060. In 2019 a group of four Jesuit priests, a male astronomer, a female doctor and her engineer husband, and a female computer expert depart on the first journey to an alien planet, Rakhat. In 2039 we follow their exploration of the planet and it's inhabitants. In 2060 we follow Father Emilio Sandoz, the only survivor of the expedition who was found in a very compromising position as he tries to take control of himself again and is forced to explain what happened on Rakhat. The Sparrow was a really interesting piece of fiction AND science-fiction. Russell did a good job of building the suspense by moving the story between times and characters. The ending was equal parts predictable (I realized early on the Sandoz is not likely responsible for his or his fellow traveler's demise) and surprising (how one action changed everything).

If you like science-fiction, and even if you don't, The Sparrow is a great read!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #199

It's Friday answers are in we go!

1. When pigs fly is a weird saying.

2. Summer is really over...seriously?!

3. Call me if you wanna chat!

4. I like to sleep if you know what I mean.

5. The most entertaining person in my life is David because he makes everything more fun!

6. OK...who's next?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out at home, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and Sunday, I want to relax!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: War Stories

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This week's Booking Through Thursday question is: It is November 11th, known here in the U.S. as Veteran’s Day, formerly Armistice Day to remember the end of WWI but expanded to honor all veterans who have fought for their country, so …
Do you read war stories? Fictional ones? Histories?

My answer: I don't read war stories per se, but I do LOVE stories set during World War I or II, especially in England, and especially love stories and I really like Charlotte Bingham!! I like to read about the people whose lives were affected by the war that were not necessarily the ones fighting. I find it interesting to read about what it is was like for the people "left behind". Actually one of my favourite books as a kid was by Kit Pearson about British kids sent to Canada to be safe during the war. I also like anything to do with the experience of the Jewish people and the Holocaust.

How about you readers?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Canada Reads 2011-Top10

CBC announced the top ten books from 40 today! The five celebrity panelists and their selections for Canada Reads 2011 will be announced November 24th.

The top are:

  • Bottle Rocket Hearts, by Zoe Whittall
  • Essex County, by Jeff Lemire
  • Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
  • Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson
  • The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis
  • The Birth House, by Ami McKay
  • The Bone Cage, by Angie Abdou
  • The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill
  • Three Day Road, by Joseph Boyden
  • Unless, by Carol Shields
I think I will probably read the final five again..anybody else??

On another note-the winner of the Giller Prize will be announced tonight!
**UPDATE: And the winner is...Johanna Skibsrud for The Sentimentalists!!**

Book Review: Secret Daughter

I read Shilpi Somaya Gowda's Secret Daughter last week/end for my November book club. As usual, I like to save my thoughts for my book club selections for my meet ups but I can't say NOTHING...

I loved this book!!! At first I wasn't really in the mood to read another book set in India because I feel like I've read quite a few lately but this was fantastic. The story is set partially in the US and partially in India and follows the lives of an American couple trying to conceive that ends up adopting a little girl from India, the husband homeland, and the woman who gave her up. It was fantastic and I HIGHLY recommend Secret Daughter!!

One last thing to share with you is a passage from Secret Daughter that I thought was just perfect:

"But her mother always said the key to a successful marriage was for each spouse to give as much as they thought they could. And then, to give a little more. Somewhere in that extra giving, in the space created by generosity without score keeping, was the difference between marriages that thrived and those that didn't." (p. 270)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #198

IT'S FRIDAY!!!! My answers to Friday Fill-Ins are in RED as usual.... we go!

1. Sometimes, I wish I could sleep ALL DAY!

2. I could eat just about the whole thing.

3. Small things make me smile.

4. Reading is very enlightening.

5. I keep meaning to clean up my desk.

6. I haven't seen snow on the ground...yet.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing, tomorrow my plans include a BBQ with friends and Sunday, I want to enjoy setting back the clocks an hour!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Good or Bad

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This week's question: "I’ve seen many bloggers say that what draws them to certain books or authors is good writing, and what causes them to stop reading a certain book or author is bad writing. What constitutes good writing and bad writing to you?"

My answer: Plain and simple: Good writing is when you are so absorbed in a book you can't put it down, bad writing is when you have to re-read passages over again because they don't flow, repeated use of the same more unusual adjectives within a few pages, and poor plot and character development!

Short and sweet this week-what do you think?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I ordered Jonathan Franzen's Freedom a few weeks ago after coming across numerous reviews  (ie: here) AND the fact that it was named as the new Oprah book club selection. Wow am I disappointed that I actually bought this book. I abandoned it yesterday after trying  to get into it for like 3 days!! I'm not sure if it's the writing or the characters but I found Freedom to be soooooo pretentious!! I could not get into it and found all of the characters basically loathsome! So I put it down and may not get back to it!!

I also want to mention that I loved the Oprah book club selection from the past-I think I read over 80% of them. My book club is even called the "Oprah type book club"! But the past few years-basically since 2007 have been very disappointing!!
To be specific: (my comments in GREEN)
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen - pretentious

Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan - still on hold at the library so no comment YET

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski - terrible!!!
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle -terrible-I know this book was meaningful to a lot of people but I just could not see why!

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - okay this was fantastic
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez -  terrible-the movie was awful too
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - also fantastic
The Road by Cormac McCarthy - I totally did NOT get this book!!
The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier - I read it but it was not memorable

Oprah-what happened??

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Review: The Stormchasers

I read Jenna Blum's The Stormchasers over the weekend-it was great!! I have always loved big loud thunderstorms-watching the lightening and the rain, and am fascinated by people that love crazy weather so much that they actually seek out storms-especially tornadoes!! In Blum's novel The Stormchasers, Kareena ends up going on a stromchasing tour because she gets a call from a medical facility about Charles her twin brother who she hasn't seen in 20 years! Charles is himself a stormchaser, but he is also bipolar. Kareena is desperate to find her brother and joins a stormchasing tour as part of the media (she's a journalist), and ends up having to drive her own car as the tour's van is full. At the eight of the first storm she is terrified and bails on the tour-and ends up having Kevin, one of the tour guides join her to make sure she stays safe!! There is romance in the air, but as Kevin reveals that he knows Charles, and that something terrible happened between them a few years ago and that they have not spoken since-we learn that Kareena and Charles have some dark history of their own. This was a fantastic book that deals with honesty, family relationships, love, and stormchasing!! It was pretty easy read-but I definitely had a hard time putting it down!! I highly recommend it! Also interesting-Blum is a stormchaser herself-COOL!!

Book Review: The Help

Kathryn Stockett's The Help was my book club's selection in October, but since my sister was here that night I didn't go and ended up reading it last week.

For some reason I thought the Help was set in was not! It was set in the Mississippi in the 1960s during the height of racial tensions. I usually find books set in this time and place quite intriguing-and The Help was no different. The chapters in this story are told from various perspectives of three characters-two black maids Aibilene and Minny, and Miss Skeeter, a white woman anonymously writing the stories of black maids in her community. I couldn't help but feel that it was a bit unrealistic that Miss Skeeter wanted to write this book considering (at the beginning at least) she doesn't really seem to care about the plight of the black people in her community and that she is interviewing the maids of her best friends!  Maybe unrealistic isn't the right word, but it did feel a bit artificial to me. Although I have to say Stockett's portrayal of Aibileen and Minny was phenomenal. Such strong women yet so different. I enjoyed the help and will definitely be searching the web to see if there were any books published at that time describing the day-to-day lives of black maids and the families they worked for!

Friday, October 29, 2010

feeling lazy

I didn't do Booking Through Thursday OR Friday Fill-Ins this week!!! I just wasn't feeling any of the questions/fill-ins. Plus I'm feeling the motivation to do either is basically non-existent! I do hope to have a review post up by the end of the weekend for The Help, and potentially for The Stormchasers as it is very possible that with this laziness will come more time for reading!

Have a great weekend-oh and I guess Happy Halloween...sorry I'm not a huge Halloween fan...I will likely carve a pumpkin if I can still find one (Metro was sold out tonight), but in case I don't here is a picture of the pumpkins my dad and sister carved!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Books to read after Harry Potter

 Oprah has listed the top books to read after Harry Potter.
 Awesome! Let's take a look at her list, and how I feel about her picks:
  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins - haven't read it
  2. Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan - saw the movie, it was great
  3.  The Magicians by Lev Grossman - LOVED IT!! 
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - Loved all of the books-and the movies so far!
  5. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Enjoyed the ones I read, and the movies were exactly as I pictured things in my head!!
  6. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling - haven't read it 
  7. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - Fantastic! The movie of the first book was great-unfortunately I don't think they're making any more!
  8. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - this is one of the books that got me interested in sci-fi thanks Dad!
  9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick - on my to be read list
  10. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini - another great series, looking forward to the 4th book

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review: beatrice & virgil

I read Yann Martel's celebrated Life of Pi years ago, when it first came out, which would have made me 19. I definitely did not "get" the books-especially when I heard that the animals were supposed to be people. What kind of craziness is this I thought. I wasn't (well I'm still not) the most discerning reader around. A few weeks ago I listened to a podcast where Martel was interviewed and he discussed how readers are open to interpret the ending in one of two ways-either that the main character Pi was in fact on a raft with animals, or that these are people. Martel intended to leave that up tot he reader. OK, that's great, I can see how that could work, and maybe if I read Life of Pi at this stage in my life I would "get it".....maybe not.

 These were my feelings as I picked up beatrice & virgil, Martel's newest book. I actually hadn't planned on reading it, but it was available on the "new" shelf at the library. Again, animals play an integral part in this novel, and again, I didn't get it. Well I shouldn't say I didn't get it, I think I got it, but I didn't really enjoy it. I think this is likely a great novel, but just not for me. I guess maybe it took some effort not to just take beatrice & virgil at face value, but to look deeper into it. That's I do think I got it, but I don't know, it just didn't resonate with me. As such I don't care to go into greater detail, and I think wikipedia sums it up quite well: "an allegorical tale about representations of the Holocaust. It tells the story of Henry, a novelist, who receives the manuscript of a play in a letter from a reader. Intrigued, Henry traces the letter to a taxidermist, who introduces him to the play's protagonists, two stuffed animals—Beatrice, a donkey, and Virgil, a monkey".  One last thing-there are a number of "games" at the end of the book that are alluded to earlier in the novel that while potentially thought provoking are just downright disturbing.  Not the best thing to read just before falling asleep!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #196

Friday Fill-Ins!!! My answers are in RED!! we go!

1. One of my strongest beliefs is things happen for a reason.

2. This city is huge!

3. The sky is cloudy with a threat of rain and wind and cold, so I want to curl up with a blanket, a good book, and a cup of tea with the window open just a little bit.

4. My husband is comforting to me.

5. I always thought I'd be living in Winnipeg forever. Not true!

6. Everybody was acting crazy and then I went outside to look at the full moon.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my husband, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and relaxing and Sunday, I want to do more of the same!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

my favourite canadian books

This week's Booking Through Thursday question asked about favourite foreign books. I am pretty sure it's an American site so I answered with books that were neither American nor Canadian-see here for the list. I had a new visitor to my site, a fellow Canadian with an interesting blog of her own-and on her reply to that question she mentions that she can't think of any Canadian books that she loves. Well let me help  you Ms. C!!! Here is a list of my favourite Canadian books!!
  •  The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
  • The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
  • The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor - Sally Armstrong
  • The Summer Tree - Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo - Stephen Galloway
  • Good to a Fault - Marina Endicott
  • L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gable series
  •  Come, thou tortoise by Jessica Grant was amusing
As for Canadian short stories, (I've recently discovered I like short stories)
  • What Boys Like by Amy Jones
  • Once by Rebecca Rosenblum
SEE!! SEE!!! Plenty of amazing Canadian fiction!! If you have any other MUST READ Canadian books please comment below. Unless you suggest Miriam Toews. I'm sorry I just don't like her work.

Booking Through Thursday: Foreign

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It's time again for BOOKING THROUGH THURSDAY!! "Name a book (or books) from a country other than your own that you love. Or aren’t there any?"

My answer: I have a few -outside of Canada AND the US- they are:

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Spain)
  • Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (France)
  • The Forgotten Garden AND The House at Riverton by KAte Morton (Australia)
  • Anything written by Maeve Binchy (although her older stuff is better) (Ireland)
  • All the Harry Potter books by J.K> Rowling (Great Britain)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis (Ireland/Great Britain)
How about you my blog readers? Any books you love that were NOT written in Canada or the US?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

that's it I QUIT!

Reading two books that is!! I rarely stop reading books I don't like (but I do!) especially if I'm more than 100 pages in. HOWEVER, this month alone I've quit two books!! A.S Byatt's The Children's Book and Janice Kulyk Keefer's The Ladies Lending Library. I just could NOT get into these books so I decided to allow myself to move on to greener pastures. I just started Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil and am very intrigued. I read Life of Pi when it first came out and I was way too young to "get it" so I didn't think I would read anymore of his work. I was at the library picking up some books on hold (including The Ladies Lending Library) when I saw B&V in the new books section. So I picked it up and here we are!
this is from the brickworks this summer-isn't it pretty?

Hope you're having a good week-happy reading :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Review: The Mistress of Nothing

My mom recommended Kate Pullinger's The Mistress of Nothing MONTHS AGO and I finally got it from the library last week. I loved Pullinger's story set in 1860s England and Egypt, yet another novel I find myself reading that is based on a true story, that of Lady Duff Gordon. Sally, a lady's maid accompanies her mistress to Egypt in order to help relieve Lady Duff Gordon's tuberculosis. Along the way Lady Duff Gordon hires Omar, an Egyptian man who becomes guide, translator, servant, cook, and general go-to man. While Lady Duff Gordon throws herself into society, she desperately misses her family. Sally on the other hand absolutely loves Egypt and the sens of freedom she feels in this new life.

The Mistress of Nothing's first chapter is a rather cryptic beginning to this novel: "When I did wrong, I was dismissed, no I was no longer of use to her....She hated me for finding love when love love had deserted her. She hated me for creating a family when she had lost hers. She hated me for living when she herself faced death." I was eager to find out who is this person and what did/does she to do become the source of so much anger. I was particularly interested in the Arabic lessons because at work I currently have a patient who only speaks Arabic and it is VERY challenging trying to help someone recover their language and speaking abilities when you do not speak the same language! I have been learning the numbers 1-10, some of the alphabet, yes, no, and thank you-so I was interested to see what Sally and Lady Duff Gordon would learn as well. I also love historical fiction-especially books set in Victorian England and the addition of Egyptian life at that time was incredibly interesting! Another book I highly recommend-and a very quick read too!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book Review: Once

So remember a little while ago when I said I didn't really like short stories? What you don't remember...well here is a refresher, and another. I was wrong. I do like short stories. Sometimes.

Rebecca Rosenblum's Once is the perfect example. I'm not sure how to go into a summary of this collection without dissecting each story, and I don't feel like doing that because I think I'll end up making the stories less interesting than they actually are. And that would unfortunate, because this is a collection worth reading!!  I used to always want more from short stories, but I am learning to take them for what they have to offer. In this case, I felt like I was part of each character's life, watching, listening...kind of like spying on them. Rosenblum writes such rich characters, I felt like there was something familiar in every story that reminded me of myself or someone I know (or knew). I like that. And I like Once. I think I maybe even LOVED it. Check it out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #195

It's time for Friday Fill-Ins! My answers are in RED!! we go!

1. Wow, it's the middle of October already!

2. The trees are so beautiful.

3. My favorite way to start a day is sleeping in and waking up without an alarm.

4. (This i one is weird) He went out to pick up supper and he walked in the door holding a pumpkin.

5. I look out my window and see sun shining and lots of yellow leaves.

6. Sleeping in is what I've been thinking about lately.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my sister, tomorrow my plans include hanging out with my sister and Sunday, I want to be lazy as usual!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Rewrite

It's THURSDAY which means it's time for BOOKING THROUGH THURSDAY:

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Question: If you could rewrite the ending of any book, which book would it be? And how would you change it?

My answer: I LOVE THIS QUESTION!! I think this is one of the best BTT questions. The one book that jumps to mind is Wally Lamb I Know This Much is True. I thought this was a  fantastic book but was disappointed that Lamb wrapped everything up with a neat little bow at the end! I'm a little fuzzy on the details now, the last time I read it was September 2008 but here is what I would change (SPOILER ALERT-SORRY):
  • I wouldn't have Dominic find the translator for his grandfather's story again
  • Dominic's relationship with Ray later in life is too close for what they went through
  • Dominic wouldn't get back together with his wife
  • Dominic wouldn't find out who is father was and Thomas his brother and Ralph his half-brother wouldn't have known all along without saying anything
  • Dominic would have nothing to with the casino and no money from it
  • Dominic and Dessa wouldn't have ended up with Joy's daughter and everyone getting along so easily
  • I would end things around when Dominic's brother Thomas passed away  OR at when Dominic finds out who his father ends. PERIOD. Nothing else!!
Again, I love this question!! How about you? Are there any books that you wish you could change the ending? I would love to hear about it!! SERIOUSLY!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


"The Great Typo Hunt is a humorous, insightful tale of adventure, misplaced apostrophes, and the open road. It describes how we took a two-and-a-half month drive around the United States to fix typos in public signage, toting an arsenal of typo correction that included markers, Wite-Out, and chalk—and how we were later summoned to federal court for defacing a historic sign at the Grand Canyon."
(Quote taken from The Great Typo Hunt website)

I totally want a Typo Correction Kit. I can't help but cringe at the spelling of Wite-Out, but that's how the company spells it!!!

I know my friend Janelle will LOVE this!!

Happy Thanksgiving-A day late

Dave and I took an impromptu road to trip to Montreal over the weekend. If you know me, you know that I like to plan things to death. This was incredibly spontaneous for me- we didn't even have a hotel booked when we set out!! I am thankful for having such a fun loving husband!! Although we didn't have turkey (unless you count the turkey in our clubhouse sandwiches) we did go to Tony Roma's and Krispy Kreme for our Thanksgiving dinner back in Toronto on Monday. Here are some pictures of our awesome trip"
Our hotel: Armor Manoir Sherbrooke, excellent location on Sherbrooke between St. Denis and St. Laurent

Notre-Dame Basilica-amazing

View from Mount-Royal

Habitat 67 - modular apartments built for Expo '67.

People were surfing in the rapids on the St. Lawrence river behind Habitat 67. CRAZY!!

The Biosphere from Expo '67

Driving on the Grand Prix Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Dave made vroom vroom sounds, for real.

Olympic Stadium from the 1976 Olympic games
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #194

It's time again for Friday Fill-Ins!!! Yay Friday!!! My answers are in RED!! we go!

1. My favorite month is August because it's usually hot in Toronto AND Winnipeg-and we go to Lake of the Woods!!

2. We keep our windows open almost all  year because we love a fresh breeze.

3. I love to sniff fresh cut grass.

4. Waffles from Over Easy is what I like to have as a treat for breakfast.

5. The hobby I enjoy most is READING!!!

6. Oh me oh my!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the beginning of the LONG WEEKEND, tomorrow my plans include a last minute decision getaway and Sunday, I want to sleep in!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Travel

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This week's Booking Through Thursday question is: When you travel, how many books do you bring with you? Has this changed since the arrival of ebooks? 

My answer: When traveling I like to have a book on the go  (especially on the plane)- so that I am already into the book and don't have to work at it-because I'm usually excited tt go on a trip and often have a hard time starting something new at the same time. I usually bring at least one other book with me. When I go back to Winnipeg I don't end up bringing anything else because one of two things happens: 1) If it's Christmas I always get at lest one book as a gift and 2) OR my parents usually have something that I want to read and end up bringing back more books with me!!
This has NOT changed with the arrival of ebooks because I don't have an ereader!

How about you? 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Definititons #3


Apostasy: Abandonment of one's religious faith, a political party, one's principles, or a cause.

Theocracy: A government ruled by or subject to religious authority.

Concupiscent: A strong desire, especially sexual desire; lust.

Crenellate: to supply with battlements.

Scrofulous: Morally degenerate; corrupt.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

I began Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie with trepidation. I remember that both my mom and my friend Jesse liked it but had reservations about the main character.

Flavia overhears her father having an argument and later that night/first thing in the morning she comes across a dying man in the garden uttering "vale".  Her father is the only suspect and is quickly arrested, leaving Flavia and her older sisters in the hands of Dogger their "jack-of-all-trades" handyman and Mrs. Mullet their housekeeper. So begins a tale of how Flavia's knowledge of chemistry, incredible sleuthing and skills of deduction enable to clear her father's name, find the real killer-as well as solve a crime from her father's childhood.

Flavia Sabine de Luce, an incredibly precocious 11 year old self taught chemist and detective. Flavia is just WAY too clever to be a believable 11 year old. At times I either pretend she was ageless or maybe 17. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie appears to be the first of  the series - the second book came out in March. Interestingly enough this past week's Booking Through Thursday question (my response here) was about whether or not people will continue to read a series if one novel is "jumping the shark" or taking a downturn. Although I found The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie a quick and easy read, it was only ok, and I have no intentions of reading any other books in the series.

Friday Fill-Ins #193

 It's been a while but here we go ...FRIDAY FILL-INS!! My answers are in RED:

1. My back is getting stronger because of pilates.

2. I used to love the water slides at wet 'n wild.

3. Leaves are falling all around, well actually not really, they are mostly just yellow and red.

4. I use my calendar as much as possible to avoid missing things because of forgetfulness.

5. Healing is moving forward.

6. Reading is what I've been up to lately!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to celebrating my husband's birthday, tomorrow my plans include sleeping in and Sunday, I want to be incredibly lazy!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Series

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Question for September 30, 2010: If you read series, do you ever find a series “jumping the shark?” How do you feel about that? And, do you keep reading anyway?

Answer: Hmmmm...well I have NO IDEA what "jumping the shark" means. My best guess is that it means leaving stuff out...let's go to Google to find out.....according to wikipedia: "Jumping the shark is an idiom used to describe the moment of downturn for a previously successful enterprise... "It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now's all downhill".

Ok so now that I know what "jumping the shark means"  I can answer this question properly.  I do read series, in fact I LOVE to read series (serieses??). A few series that I have read include:The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Earth's Children (Jean Auel), The Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon), The Josephine B. Trilogy (Sandra Gulland), His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman), Twilight, Rashi's Daughters (Maggie Anton), Magic Kingdom of Landover (Terry Brooks), The Foundation Series (Isaac Asimov), The Finovar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay), and I suppose I just started the Millenium Trilogy. Ok so I think that's every series I've ever read...pretty good!

So now to answer the question-the only series that I didn't  LOVE LOVE LOVE was the Twilight series-I enjoyed it, but I don't think I was necessarily the target audience, but I read them so fast it wasn't a problem to finish them. I think that if I am more than one book into a series I would tend to keep reading. I actually can't think of any series that I felt was "jumping the shark"-no wait!! The Diana Gabaldon Outlander series is for sure going downhill, but I will read any all books that come out in the future!!

How about you readers?? Have you read any series that you stopped reading because it was going downhill?

Also did anyone else know about the term "jumping the shark"? Ten points to whoever can tell me which television show inspired this term!!