Monday, June 28, 2010

Quotes: Crow Lake

I am writing a separate post for 3 quotes I loved in Crow Lake because I find that when I read other blogs and there are posts that go on forever I tend to stop reading. So hopefully you'll read two posts instead!!

Page 5: "Tomorrow is forever, and years pass in no time at all."

Page 213: "I hope she knew we were grateful to her. No---I'll rephrase that. I hope we were grateful to her. I have an uneasy feeling we weren't, at the time. But maybe it didn't matter. She wasn't doing it only for u."

Page 289: "...I have become familiar with books and ideas you never even imagined, and somehow, in the process of acquiring all that knowledge, I have managed to learn nothing at all."

Book Review: Crow Lake

I loved Mary Lawson's Crow Lake. I was able to get completely lost in the setting, the characters, and the emotions.

Crow Lake was an amazing tale of tragedy, sacrifice, perseverance, loyalty, and above all else, family. Four siblings: Bo (2yrs I think), Kate, 7, Matt 17, and Luke 19 lose there parents in a car accident. what follows is the story of how they continue on with their lives, their devotion to one another, the mistakes they make, and the eventual strain and separation of a family.

The characters were so well written I felt like I knew each one of them and how the would act in a given situation. I can see myself laying in the grass examining the ponds with Kate and Matt; standing behind Bo and Kate as Matt and Luke fight in the living room; beside Kate as she comes across Matt and Marie, and felt utterly shocked by Marie's words to Kate, because I too was focused on the apparent tragedy of Matt's life!

As my parents were visiting last week it took me much longer than usual to read Crow Lake-and I think that this was a very good thing. It allowed me to truly absorb everything about this novel and reflect, instead of devouring it all at once. I tend to read the same way I eat chocolate-consuming it all at once without savoring the taste/read.

I highly recommend Crow Lake and would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this fantastic piece of Canadian fiction!

My week off in Toronto

Here are some pictures of what I was up to during my "hiatus" last week!
We took our bikes to the Toronto Islands (and my parents rented bikes) for a gorgeous 20km ride!!

We went to the Don Valley Brick Works-now known as the Evergreen Brick Works. again super hot day!! We had a really fun time watching the million little fish swarm and jump out of the water trying to get bits of food.

I had a picture from the Dragon Boat Festival but somehow it went away and Blogger is giving me and my pictures a VERY HARD TIME!

Some other things we did while my parents were visiting:
  • got pedicures (well just my mom and me)
  • went shopping to Vaughan Mills
  • walked down the waterfront
  • walked past all the crazy fencing (while we were still allowed to be in the area)
  • went bowling
  • played bocce ball
  • drove up to north york for burgers before my baseball game which ended up being canceled because it was POURING rain!
  • ate out at a vegetarian restaurant, thai-vietnamese, italian/pizza, and a steakhouse
  • drank beer, wine, and a gross recreation of a delicious shot we had one time at the James Joyce
  • watched the World Cup (while drinking the above)
  • chatted

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins: Vacation


I came across this neat meme (not actually sure what that word means by the way) the other day. So I'm going to try it out! It's called Friday Fill-Ins. It's kind of like mad libs-they give you some info and you fill in the rest!! I will be using RED FONT to fill in the blanks.

1. On vacation, I like to sleep in and read books!
2. I get welts on my body when I swim in the ocean.
3. One of my favorite vacation spots Lake of the Woods!!!
4. Tonight there is a full moon.
5. Up, up and away we go!
6. Bananas in pajamas are running down the stairs.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to eating Pho Rex with my parents and falling asleep, tomorrow my plans include grocery shopping and maybe some bowling and Sunday, I want to enjoy my last day with my parents here and win our baseball game!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Book reviews

Question June 24, 2010: Do you read book reviews? Do you let them change your mind about reading/not reading a particular book?

My answer: I don't go out of my way to read book reviews-unless they appear in NOW or on blogs that happen to include them (although I have been reading more reading blogs which are predominantly book reviews-so now I look like a liar...anyway...).
If a book that I know I want to read is being reviewed I may purposely not read the review so I am not disappointed. If it's a bad review I will probably still read the book if it's one I am very interested in-with the exception of Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed. I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love, but when I read a review of her new book, along with an interview of her and an excerpt of the book (Committed)-I realized that I simply could not read anymore of it!! I could not stand her!!
If I happen to read a glowing book review of I book I was not previously interested in-then I often put that book on my to be read list!

What about you? Do you read book reviews- and if so-do they sway your opinion of whether or not to read a book?

Booking Through Thursday: New or old?

Question June 17, 2010: Do you prefer reading current books? Or older ones? Or outright old ones? (As in, yes, there’s a difference between a book from 10 years ago and, say, Charles Dickens or Plato.)

My answer: New ones I guess. I would have to say that most of the books that I read have been published within the last 20 years. I think the oldest books I've ever read are probably Isaac Asimov's Foundation stories-which I just learned were first published in the 1940s. I do like books that are set in the present day and deal with current issues-on a FICTIONAL basis-but I also love books set in the past-historical fiction included.

I don't have an aversion to older books-so if you have any suggestions-as always-let me know!!!

Book Review: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

I read Alice Monro's book of short stories last week entitled: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. It was ok. I mostly liked the first story: same title as the collection, and then last story: The Bear Came Over The Mountain-which I soon realized was made into the movie Away From Her. It's a sad, frustrating, well-written tale about a woman's decent into dementia. I liked this collection more than I expected to considering I have been adamant about not liking short stories-but I did like the length of these. I didn't feel like I needed more from the stories, they were just the right length, but I felt frustrated with the actions of most of the main characters-all women-and had a hard time relating to the characters and the subject matter.

I am definitely willing to give short stories another go so if you have any suggestions PLEASE let me know!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Sorry for the total lack of posts-it might not be much better this week! It was Dave's graduation on Monday the 14th and his Dad was in town until Thursday, Thursday night I had book club, and then my parents came in on Friday and will be here for 10 days. I have the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival this weekend as well as my usual baseball game on Sunday night. While I am on vacation this week-I may not be posting much. SORRY!!

Hope you're enjoying the beginning of summer-I know I am!!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book Review: The Glass Castle

This book has come up a few times over the past few months, and I couldn't remember if I had read this or not. turns out I had-although a long time ago-pre2007 when I started keeping track of the books I read.

Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle is my book club's selection for our meetup next week. Although I have been making more of an effort to write more about the books I read as well as my opinions, I don't like to do too much of that for my book club selections, because, well that's what my book club is for!

With that being said: Did I like this book? That's a hard question to answer. I had a general feeling of discomfort while reading this book. This novel is based on Walls' life, and it was so hard not to judge her parents and their actions. I felt that her parents actions were often selfish and lazy. I felt frustrated and powerless-and in my opinion this alone is a sign that the writer did a good job. I think Walls was courageous to be so open about her past. Her writing is clear and articulate.

On another note: This copy actually belongs to my aunt who lives just outside of Winnipeg (I'm not sure if she know I have it actually!!), my sister brought it for me when she came to visit in May, and it will be returned to my aunt via my parents who are coming to visit it 6 DAYS (although it will have to travel through Quebec and then down through the states, hopefully making it's way back to my aunt in July).

My next reading selection, based on a recommendation from my friend Angela to try out another collection of short stories, is Alice Monroe's Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage.

New template

Blogger told me they had new design templates so I decided to try it out!! I wasn't 100% happy with what I had before and I like this new look. Let me know what you think!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Can I have your autograph?

Question: June 10, 2010: Do signed copies excite you? Tempt you? Delight you? Or does it not matter to you?

Answer: I have to admit I think signed copies are pretty cool. I do think it's special if you got to meet the author in person to get the signature/autograph-as I did with Kate Jacobs (for The Friday Night Knitting Club AND Knit Two-at The Purple Purl knitting store nonetheless!). I did buy a book for my dad last year for Christmas and when I saw that I could get a signed copy for the same price-I thought that it was pretty neat!! It was one of the Giller prize books-I think Linden MacIntyre's The Bishop's Man. As I said, I thought it was pretty neat-not sure it really mattered to him though!!

What do you think? Do you have any signed copies? Does it matter?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I came across a list of words I meant to look up while cleaning up my desk tonight. I don't remember which books these came from, but figured I wrote down unknown words, I should look them up and make them known (to myself at least!!). Definitions from

1. Bloviating: To discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner.

2. Autodidacts: A person who is self-taught.

WAIT NOW I REMEMBER!!! I was reading Her Fearful Symmetry!! I remember (FYI-I first typed "remember" as: trmrmbrt) looking up autodidacts on wikipedia too!!!

3. Particulate-based on context I think it must be: A substance or suspension composed of such particles, such as sand or smoke. (My guess: able to see particles in the air).

4. Discomfited: To make uneasy or perplexed; disconcert (My guess: to make people uncomfortable-pretty close!!)

5. Hirsute: Covered with hair; hairy (ewwww).

What words have you looked up lately??

Monday, June 7, 2010

Living life to the fullest

A quote I just read in the Oprah Magazine (yes I read O) that struck a chord:

"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well."
- Diane Ackerman

Book Review: The Patron Saint of Liars

Bel Canto was the first (and only other) book I read by Ann Patchett. It was very different from other books and was hoping that The Patron Saint of Liars would strike me the same way. And it did, sort of.

The quote on the front cover by the New York Times Book Review was "A fairy tale...a delight". I couldn't disagree more. What do you think of when you read the words "fairy tale"? I think magical, wonderful, and happy. I know there is tragedy in many fairy tales but that is not what I generally associate the words with. This book was quite depressing to be honest with you. Here is a quick recap with some potential spoilers (I'm warning you!!!).

Rose is a young woman who is unhappy with her marriage. Growing up a fairly devout Catholic she hoped for a sign from God to let her know if she should become a nun or get married. She married a man who she thinks might be right, but realizes pretty early on that she isn't happy. Then she finds out she is pregnant. What does she do? Runs away. Leaves her mom (with whom she has a close relationship) and her husband a note and then asks her priest for information on where she can go to have this baby. She drives from California to Kentucky to a Catholic home for unwed mothers. She marries Son the caretaker-45years to her 24ish and ends up keeping her baby and moving into his house (yes she is technically married to 2 men). Rose is a distant mother and wife as the years go on and she has a touchy relationship with her daughter Celia-who is not aware that Son is not her real father. Fifteen years later Rose's first husband tracks her down by letter to inform her about her mother's ill health. When Rose reads he is coming to speak with her in person what dose she do, ups and leaves husband #2 and her 15 year old daughter. Oh and in the past 15 years she has moved out on her own but in close proximity to her husband and daughter. Strained relationships through and through!

It's all really weird to be honest with you. I didn't really like any of the characters and I just found Rose's actions incredibly cowardly. I fully believe that everyone should be happy, and I also realize that sometimes other people's lives and happiness may be sacrificed for that, but I don't think it's acceptable to just leave. In my opinion the mature, responsible thing is to confront those issues-I'm not saying stay somewhere you aren't happy-but have the guts to deal with it and not just run away. People deserve the truth, and they deserve to be treated with respect. I do know though that this is definitely easier said than done!

Not my favorite book-and definitely no fairy tale in my opinion!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

To do list: write blog posts

Sorry for the lack of posts!! I had a crazy fun weekend and didn't have much time. I did the 25km Ride for Heart this morning in the cold rainy wind with some friends and finished in an hour and a half!! I was terrified I might not make it and was super happy to finish in much less time than I was hoping. Our 5 person team Clotbusters was able to raise $1,350 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Many to thanks to our supports both financial and emotional!! This evening my slo-pitch team The Fockers had a game and we won 12-5 or 6 I think. It was a really great game, and I'm happy to be playing baseball again after a 9 year hiatus!

Coming up this week: at least two reading related posts, Booking Through Thursday, and potentially a beading related post!!

Way to go teams: Clotbusters and The Fockers!! (p.s. four fifths of team Clotbusters are also part of The Fockers!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Short or Long...STORIES!!!

June 3, 2010 question: Which do you prefer? Short stories? Or full-length novels?

Answer: FULL LENGTH NOVELS!! Hands down, no thought required. I'm not a big fan of short stories-I always want more!! Even when it comes to novels, I've always enjoyed LENGTHY books. Or even better, series-so the story keeps going. The best-LENGTHY books in a SERIES!!!

I have to admit, I've only really read one collection of short stories in the past the past ever I guess. They were good, but I wanted more. I read on a blog somewhere that you need to read short stories with a different frame of mind-maybe I'll have to give them another chance!

How about you guys? YES YOU!!! Do you prefer full length novels or short stories??