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What I’ve Been Reading

The library has inspired me lately.

Their latest post on their website is of 5-word book reviews of some of their favourite books. I simply love this idea of 5-word reviews. (Perhaps I’ll start using it in my Goodreads? Hmm.) I loathe long wordy, overly descriptive reviews that rehash the plot line and characters. Someone has already done the job of writing the book jacket description, no need to repeat it. As I’ve mentioned before, we have some witty librarians here whose recommendations I trust. So from the most recent post I have added a few to my to-read list, as most of them had already been checked out.

After reading that post I went back and read some older posts, to add more to my to-read list. On this post of Ockham Book Award finalists (also 5-word reviews, hooray!) I picked up Baby by Annaleese Jochems (“intense, disturbing tale about millennials”). Overall, not my favourite. The beginning caught me, but I kept waiting for it all to come together to mean something. Or to at least give me some insight into millennials. I went away thinking perhaps I didn’t want the insight, or that my Gen-X self (though I recently read I’ve been changed to ‘Xennial‘ – I even took the quiz) just can’t relate to the disconnected millennials. Because that is how I would describe this book – disconnected. Or maybe it’s that millennial characters are self-absorbed?  Slightly narcissistic? Anyway. The author shows promise and I think as she matures she could write some very good stuff.

As I wandered the non-fiction section searching for a few books on my list, a book set out on display caught my eye with an intriguing title – The Woman Who Wasn’t There by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo G. Guglielmo, Jr. This is an astonishing story of a woman who not only faked being a 9/11 survivor, but became a ‘celebrity’ of the survivors. While the story was interesting, I would have liked it to include more discussion of the psychology behind someone who could do such an unfathomable thing and perhaps more about the stories of the other people in it. It was ok.

A few books that gave me the creeps…

84K by Claire North – A dystopian story where crimes are assigned a money value to repay the debt to society and maintain a certain balance. While I can appreciate her unique style, it didn’t work for me. The storyline was good, the writing somewhat irritating.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay – I wanted this to be something bigger. I was turned off by the descriptions of gore and felt it was a generic story.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – another winner from Gillian Flynn, easy to read and easy to get absorbed in, as well as to be disturbed by people’s behaviour while somehow finding it relatable. Overall a good read that makes me want to watch the TV series.

After the creepy books I needed to lighten the atmosphere in my brain, so I picked up Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson. A quick humorous creative read in the trademark style of the author. It did the trick for restoring my mind to a lighter state of being.

From there I chose to read The Grand Hotel by Scott Kenemore. Another easy read, this one clever and enjoyable, containing many stories within the story. I will have to look for his Zombie series.

That catches us up on what I’ve read… feel free to comment any of your recommendations below!

Here’s my quiz result:

Xennial

You are a true xennial. Well done. You understand modern technology but are not so emotionally needy as to need constant validation from strangers you will never meet.

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New word: Zymology – the Science of Fermentation

Visited the library today. This is what I came away with:

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I have been wanting to try to ferment for awhile now, so I decided to read up on it and give it a go. Plus I spied Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food on a nearby shelf, and just decided to throw that in as well.

I recently read a post titled Vegan Summer Reads: 7 Inspiring Books for Conscious Living. Being mostly (but not fully committed) vegetarian, I dabble with the idea of veganism – meaning I enjoy learning about it, try a dish here and there, but don’t see myself giving up cheese any time soon. However, this list included a few books that would be of interest to more than the vegan community, such as books about plastic and eating for the planet. Learning more ways of ‘conscious living’ can never hurt.

I cannot stand for food to be wasted. At home we preserve extra food, whether freeze, pickle, or dehydrate – time to add fermenting to the toolkit.

Reading tonight, farmer’s market tomorrow.

And if you’re wondering about zymology – Eduard Buechner won the 1907 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for understanding that fermentation occurs because of enzymes produced by microorganisms. So now you know.

What I’ve Been Reading

I have been ripping through books lately. I guess that’s what happens when you’re employed 15 hours a week and too broke to go anywhere besides the library, and it’s freezing cold middle of winter…. Life has been an odd chain of events over the last year and right now it’s in a state of flux, not sure if I’m coming or going or living a dream. Thus, I read.

In the past week I have polished off four books (my Goodreads challenge will be blown out of the stacks this year).

A new hot book, read by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker (do we care that she has a Goodreads account now? Does she actually read or is it a PR thing?), I read My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The story is of a woman who checks out of life for a year by sleeping through as much as possible with the help of a bonanza of pharmaceuticals. I relate to the melancholy, the what-is-the-point-of-it-all-ness, the exasperating exhaustion of other people. My melancholy lasts at most a couple of days at a time, not a whole year, let’s be thankful for that.

There was a portion about 1/3 to 1/2 through where I thought it was a bit repetitive, but the action picked up a bit after that (action may be a strong word – we are talking about a woman who virtually slept a year of her life away) to a satisfying finish. I appreciate a new voice, new perspective, and one I can relate to. I will be going back and reading Ottessa’s previous books and any she has coming out in future.

Disappearing in dystopian works is therapeutic to me, so I went back to David Mitchell. I read Cloud Atlas a couple years ago and thought it pure genius, then read a couple other books of his that I wasn’t that into. This week I picked up The Bone Clocks (loved it) AND  Slade House (yes, two books by the same author in one week! There must be a term for that).

It was a fortunate pairing, because the story of Slade House carries on with some of the characters and storyline from The Bone Clocks. Anyhow, both were thoroughly enjoyable, but I recommend reading The Bone Clocks first. It is another epic David Mitchell style novel, told through five different characters (much respect to you David, for your character development and ability to deliver diverse believable personalities across ages, sexes, and eras). Very enjoyable read. Slade House is a short book as far as David Mitchell novels go, full of imagination and general creepiness. David Mitchell transports the reader to other worlds. Fait accompli.

Finally, I delved into a bit of history and pulled out Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I found this last week on the Used Book For Sale cart at the library and paid a whole fifty cents for it. This was my first foray into Bradbury, and I have to say I was inspired by his ability to simply tell a fanciful story that was also somewhat terrifying. Creepy carnival characters will get me every time. His style will be one that may influence my writing in future.

So there you have it, no boring book reviews full of long quotes and excessive verbiage, just what I’ve been reading and what I thought. If you want to know the plot lines, look them up on Goodreads, or Amazon, or any other site that has already hashed that out for you.

Get off the device and pick up your book. Happy reading.

Free Books For You Screen Readers

Free books will get my attention every time.

You want to make me come running? Put up a sign that says Free Books.

I will dig through piles, searching every title, to feel the triumph of coming across that special find.

So, to find a site that offers free downloads sounded pretty freaking amazing, especially when they are mostly literature with expired copyrights. It’s a virtual classics library.

Except, they’re not real books. I mean they are, but they’re read online. Which sounds cool until you try to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reading screens when passing time in a waiting room, an elevator, a plane, anywhere I may be (for some unimaginable reason) without a proper book. I’ve just found that I can’t get cosy sitting at my computer, or squinting at my phone, reading.

So yes I will download some of these to read, to avoid the panicked feeling of ‘I forgot my book!’ and be thankful to have something in my hands that perhaps I always meant to read but hadn’t got to yet.

For the rest of you who may be just pleased as punch reading your screen, check out Project Gutenberg and read some fantastic books.

You’re welcome.

 

Dystopian Book List

Oh, BookBub – you got my attention now.

20 Dystopian Novels to Read with Your Book Club – except I’d take out the book club part. Too many people, not enough books.

I was surprised to find that I had only read three of the books on this list – so I have added a few to my TBR.

Have you read any of these?

Spreading the Goodreads love

I am a huge fan of Goodreads. I use it to keep track of what I’ve read and find new recommendations, and to see what my friends read (I believe seeing someone’s reading list is a fairly intimate glance into their mind). I highly recommend it to all booklovers. I recently learned a few new tricks, including how to add a link to my local library. Now when I find a book I want to read, I can with one click see if it’s available at my library. How exciting!

So to anyone interested in Goodreads, or already signed up, here is the link to the article where I learned a few new things. I will say I am not generally a fan of BookRiot because their site is full of ads and not at all easy to read, so apologies for that, just do your best to focus on the content and ignore the flash and nonsense.

By the way feel free to add me as a Goodreads friend– let’s see what each other is reading!

http://bookriot.com/2015/09/15/11-ways-to-love-goodreads-even-more-2/

No Schedules, 100 Notable Books and My Top Ten Books of 2015

Well. I’ve been away from my projects for awhile but life is just like that and I’ve decided I don’t have to make myself have a schedule that will only result in my feeling bad when I don’t adhere to it, because feeling bad for no good reason is something I try to avoid. I prefer to live in an undisciplined, do-as-I-please and take-it-or-leave-it style. Just had to get that off my chest.

As a result of being away from my projects, I have a head filled with things to get out into the world! I foresee a smattering of posts getting done today.

To start with, the title “100 Notable Books of 2015” really caught my eye. Oooh, how many have I read? I was admittedly a bit surprised to find that I have not read a single book that the New York Times editors deemed the most notable of the year (as a side note, 2015 is not over yet – poor authors who have not yet published and missed their chance). Needless to say I found a few to add to my To Read list so it was worth a look anyway.

However it inspired me to create my own list as a means to look back on what I’ve read this year. I set a goal to read 50 books and am currently on numbers 44, 45 and 46 so I reserve the right to change depending on what I have yet to read in the next 33 days. In no particular order (that would take me ages to decide) I present to you:

My 10 Favourite Books of 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Worst Person Ever by Douglas Coupland

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

The Dog Stars by Peter

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St John Mandel

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is the Life by Alex Shearer

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry

Cooked by Michael Pollan

There you have it. Apparently I was big on Fiction in 2015. What books are in your Top 10 of 2015?

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