Showing posts from October, 2011

"The Free World" by David Bezmozgis

In 1978, three generations of a Latvian Jewish family arrives in Rome. It is here that they, along with thousands of others just like them, will spend a half year waiting for visas that will take them to a new life in North America.
Samuil Krasnansky, the patriarch of the family is a Red Army veteran and devout Communist. He and his wife Emma have come along with their two sons and their families, the travels being of more importance to the younger generations. During their time in Italy Karl, a father, finds himself drawn to the black market, while Alec gets a job with an immigration agency which to his surprise aids in his womanizing ways. Their time in Italy may be short, but it is a time of great importance - of limbo, of passage to a new and unknown life.
The Free World by David Bezmozgis chronicles a half-century of the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe through the three generations of the Krasnansky family. Rich in history and strong in story, the book is a fascinating l…

"Seriously...I'm Kidding" by Ellen DeGeneres

It's been pretty hard to miss Ellen DeGeneres these past few years. Whether it's dancing on her hit television show, judging on American Idol, or striking a pose in a Cover Girl commercial, Ellen is everywhere. And now she's back on bookshelves. In Seriously….I'm Kidding, Ellen takes on everything from the best way to fall asleep to the difficulty of being royalty with her trademark humour.
The book is comprised of short essays filled with witty observations on celebrity culture and life in general. It seems that Ellen can find the lighter side of almost anything as well as the absurdity of almost anything. Some of the essays give the reader some great and important thoughts on life (for example her chapter about courtesy) and some of them are meant for nothing but laughs.
I must say though, for as funny as Ellen is on her talk show it didn't completely translate on to the page for me. Some of the essays had me laughing out loud, but for the most part they just…

Welcome to the 24 Hour Readathon!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon is underway!
Well as I mentioned before I went to bed, my snooze button and I have a wonderful relationship (though it seems to be a bit one-sided.) I didn't get up to finish my reading this morning, kids waking up in the middle of the night had me pretty tired when my alarm went off. So my total for my first readathon is:
3.5 books 748 pages 12 full hours spent reading.
Can't wait to try and better those totals at the next readathon!
End of event meme
Which hour was most daunting for you? I'd say the last hour I was awake, it was getting to be a struggle to admit I needed to put the book down and go to sleep Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia was a great one for me. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I can't think of one thng but I …

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

I have decided to participate in my first 24 hour readathon. Starting at 8am tomorrow I will read for 24 hours str....ok let's be honest here, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to read for 24 hours straight, but I will be trying to read as much as I possibly can in 24 hours. I will be getting all our meals ready tonight and letting my husband know that he gets to handle all matters with the kids.
Here are the books I have chosen to read:
Tales From the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia My Life and Lesser Catastrophes by Christina Schofield The House of Hope by Elizabeth Gifford
The first two I have chosen from my to read pile because they look like they will be easy reads (One Crazy Summer is a book aimed at tweens) and the second two are books I have been given to review. Should I actually finish all 4 tomorrow, then I will dive back in to the Giller Prize shortlist.
So head back tomorrow as I'll be checking in to let you know how I'…

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop, I'm so pleased to see so much interest in CanLit! And thank you to Leeswammes for hosting the giveaway.
The winner is: The Book Whisperer!
In your comment you said you would love to read The Last River Child, congratulations! You will be contacted by email soon.

FIR '11: How Large is Your Book Collection?

It's Week 4 of the Fall Into Reading 2011 Challenge. I haven't read much from my list but that will change once I'm done reading through the Giller Prize shortlist! This weeks question:
How large is your personal/family collection of books? And where do you keep them?
I think most people would say that my collection is pretty big. That is if I could ever get it all together in one place. I have one bookshelf next to my bed which is now spilling over onto the floor. It consists of recent books I have been reading. My children have a very large collection of books, so big that last year I donated 1/3 of the books to my daughter's school and the bookshelf is still overflowing. And now we're adding French books to the collection.
But the majority of my books are in boxes. We live in a two bedroom apartment and don't have much space for our books. My husband used to work in the warehouse of a major publishing company and was allowed to bring home any damaged …

"Touch" by Alexi Zentner

Stephen, an Anglican priest, has returned to his hometown of Sawgamet, a northwest, north-woods boomtown gone bust on the eve of his mother's death. As his family settles in, Stephen finds himself confronting his past, its mysteries and its losses.
Alexi Zentner's Touch is a beautiful story of a pioneering family, the three generations that carved their place in the wilderness and the ways in which the wilderness remains forever imprinted on their lives. Monsters, witches and golden caribou roam the woods as the townspeople face love and death amidst the crippling cold of the logging town.
Evocative, stunning, haunting, page-turner - the perfect words to describe Zentner's debut novel. From the beginning I was drawn in and could not put the book down, which surprised me. From reading the book jacket this did not seem like a book I would be interested in at all but I gave it a try because of its Giller Prize nomination. This book proves once again why I love the Giller …

Light Sunday Reading

Here a few literary stories that caught my eye recently:
* Wouldn't you love to see these libraries popping up in your neighbourhood?
* Move over recycled paper, there's a new way of publishing eco-friendly books.
* Comic books are the next to make the jump to digital husband is excited to finally be ahead of the trend!

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

I am so excited to be participating in the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop, hosted by Judith at Leeswammes' Blog. There are over 50 participants hosting giveaways on their blog between October 15 and October 19. Be sure to hop around and check out all the awesome giveaways!
My Giveaway
Award season is underway in the Canadian literary world and to celebrate I would like to send someone some fabulous Canadian literature. One lucky winner will be able to choose which book they would like me to send them. Here are the choices (click on title to find out more about the book):

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (bought at library sale) Life of Pi by Yann Martel The Last River Child by Lori Ann Bloomfield The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (bought at library sale)
Two of the books were bought at a library sale as mentioned. They are still in good condition but are obviously well-loved and do still have the library stickers on them. The other three have bee…

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Friday! It's time for the Book Blogger hop, hosted by Crazy For Books. It's a weekly get together of book bloggers to get to know each other, discuss new books, and meet new people.
This week's question is: What is your favourite spooky book?
Answer: Thinking about it, I don't really read spooky books these days. I honestly can't think of one I have read recently, not even a mystery. However, back in the day I used to love reading Christopher Pike books and some of those were pretty spooky given the age I was when reading them. Here are a few of my favourites:

The covers bring back such memories! I'm going to have to head over to my mom's house and see if I still have my copies.
What are your favourite spooky books?

"Better Living Through Plastic Explosives" by Zsuzsi Gartner

Evolution, international adoption, motivational speakers, real estate, terrorism, the movie industry. Nothing is off limits in Zsuzsi Gartner's Giller short-listed collection of short stories Better Living Through Plastic Explosives.
Modern manhood is threatened when a redneck moves onto an upscale cul-de-sac. Angels are inhabiting the bodies of teenagers. Someone is killing motivational speakers. People are speaking IKEA. In Zsuzi Gartner's Vancouver, truth and science fiction have given birth to a very strange child, and nothing is funnier or more convicting.
Gartner's short stories are impressive. Her take on society, the way she easily forces the reader to turn their own eyes on society and see the absurdity that truly exists, is skillful. Some stories are stronger than others. Some had me laughing my head off, some had me shocked and some had me confused. But the strong ones, the ones that had me laughing my head off not because they are funny but because the…

FIR '11: E-books vs. Physical Books

Oops, I've been a little MIA when it comes to the Wednesday questions so I'm hopping in at the third week. Fall Into Reading 2011 is hosted by Callapidder Days. It's all about getting some good reading done during the fall and connecting with other book bloggers each Wednesday to find out about their reading habits.
This weeks question: On what devices, if any, do you read books? Or are you strictly a physical book reader?
Well, for the past year I have flip flopped on whether or not to purchase an e-reader. Each time I'm at the store I stare at them from a distance, a few times I've gotten close enough for a quick touch. Part of me was drawn to them, most of me was stubborn and felt that books should be a physical thing.
Then my husband bought himself a tablet computer. He got it so he could read graphic novels. I was drawn to it, so I downloaded a few e-reader apps and eventually read my first e-book on it. And I loved it! I must say though I think I prefer …

"Mum on the Run" by Fiona Gibson

Laura Swan has never been a fan of the sports day at her kids' school. After having three kids, her body just isn't what it used to be and unfortunately the same can't be said for the other mums at school. But this year she has promised her daughter Grace that she will participate in the Mum's Run. Things start out well but soon Laura finds herself collapsing in a heap before the finish line. And to add insult to injury she looks up to see that her husband Jed and his sexy new colleague Celeste have witnessed it all.
It's the last straw for Laura and she soon decides to join a support group for people looking to lose weight. There she meets Danny whom she instantly clicks with and they decide to take up running together. Soon, things are about more than running and Laura finds herself questioning her marriage. Will she be able to get everything right in her life or will she end up running away from it all?
Mum on the Run by Fiona Gibson is a fun chick-lit …

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

Happy Thanksgiving! I can't remember a Thanksgiving as beautiful as this years. The temperature today is 24C (75F) and I plan to take advantage of it by sitting in the sun on the balcony with a few good books (I think I'll skip the tea though since it's so warm!)
It's Monday What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Here's how my reading is going lately:
What I Read Last Week:
Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner (Giller Prize finalist) Married Mom, Solo Parent by Carla Anne Coroy (for Faith Filled Reading)
What I'm Reading Now:
Touch by Alexi Zentner (longlisted for the Giller Prize) Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby (For Faith Filled Reading)
What I Plan to Read Next:
The Free World by David Bezmozgis (Giller Prize finalist) The Antagonist by Lynn Coady (Giller Prize finalist)

"Grub" by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry

These days you can find organic food and health products everywhere, even on the shelves of discount grocery stores. More and more consumers are purchasing organic food for a myriad of reasons. If you are one of these people, or someone who is considering making the switch, then Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry's Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen is the book to read.
This book covers everything you need to know about organic foods including an expose on the industry (who knew most of the major organic brands were owned by companies like Pepsi and Dole?) and how-to's for creating an affordable organic kitchen. Aimed at the urban dweller, this book has something for everyone. Grub also has unique recipes and dining lists, organized around seasons and cultures and includes some very good soundtracks to go along with it.
Anna Lappe comes by her credentials naturally. Her mother is writer Francis Moore Lappe who in 1971 wrote the bestselling book Diet for a Small Planet which …

Giller Shortlist

The Shortlist for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced yesterday. I'm excited because this year I have a good chance at reading most of them before the prize is announced. So far I have read one, am reading one and have two sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. The winner will be announced on Tuesday November 8. Here are the finalists:
The Free World by David Bezmozgis Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje (my review here) The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt The Antagonist by Lynn Coady Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
I am also excited to read Half Blood Blues and The Sisters Brothers. In addition to being shortlisted for the Giller, they are finalists for The Rogers Writer's Trust prize and The Booker Prize. They must be fantastic novels!
Have you read any of the finalists?

"The Cat's Table" by Michael Ondaatje

In the 1950's, an eleven-year-old boy boards an ocean liner in Sri Lanka, bound for England. At mealtimes he finds himself placed at the "Cat's Table," furthest away from the Captain's table and designated for the least of the passengers. At the table he is surrounded by an eccentric group of characters including two other young boys. As the ship makes its way through open waters and port cities the three boys find themselves immersed in the lives of the others who inhabit the ship. And it is at night as the boys slink around the ship that they discover the most fascinating inhabitant of the ship - a shackled prisoner whose crime and fate are a mystery that will stay with them forever.
The Cat's Table, by Michael Ondaatje, has been long-listed for the 2011 Giller Prize and rightfully so. It alternates between the childhood and adult life of the narrator, eleven-year-old Michael, and weaves an incredible tale about childhood discovery and the knowledge and…

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! I don't know what it's like where you live but outside it is definitely Fall. Cold, wind, rain....oh how I love it! Seriously, dressing warm and cozying up inside with cups of tea and bowls of soup are something I absolutely love.
It's Monday What Are You Reading, hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, is a weekly meme for book bloggers to share what their reading progress currently looks like (click on Book Title for more information)
What I Read Last Week: Into the Heart of the Country by Pauline Holdstock (long-listed for the Giller Prize) The Last Woman Standing by Tia McCollors (for Faith Filled Reading blog)
What I'm Currently Reading: Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner (long-listed for the Giller Prize) Introverts in the Church by Adam S. McHugh (for Faith Filled Reading)
What I Plan to Read Next: Touch by Alexi Zentner (long-listed for the Giller Prize) Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby (for Faith Filled Reading) Better