Showing posts from May, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 4: Non-Fiction

Before I started blogging I was reading mostly non-fiction.  I was a History and Political Science major in university and that has always been my interest.  After leaving school and becoming a stay at home mom I actually missed all that studying so reading non-fiction books kept that connection for me.  There is so much I want to learn about and so many interesting things happening in our world, so I really enjoyed reading non-fiction.  A few of my favourites before my blogging days include Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Autobiography of Malcolm X and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
Here are some of my favourites from my blogging days:
The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala Falling Backwards by Jann Arden
Funny People Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling Teaching: It's Harder Than It Looks by Gerry Dee
Social Issues Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong Half the Sky by Nicholas Kr…

Author Interview: Bailey J. Thompson

I am excited to introduce my readers to a new, young Canadian writer named Bailey J. Thompson.  She has just released her first novel Yellow Socks & Blood Spots and is stopping by here today for an interview.

Please introduce yourself Bailey.

19-Year-Old. Author. Photographer. Dreamer.

Tell us what Yellow Socks and Blood Spots is all about.

Yellow Socks and Blood Spots tells the story of a 17-year-old girl named Isabelle with a tough decision to make.

Abortion is a difficult topic.  What made you want to write about it?

I was just noticing that there aren't as many books out there as I think there need to be. Women go through the decision-making and the procedure every single day, but their literary support is limited.

Why were you originally going to publish it under a pen name?

Two reasons. I wasn't sure how people would react to the book, particularily because of the intensity of the topic and the content of the book, and I feared that it would hurt my reputation as an emer…

Armchair BEA Day 3: Literary Fiction

So I've mentioned before that Literary Fiction is one of the genres that I read a lot from.  That wasn't always the case.  For years (mostly my school years) whenever I had the time to read something that wasn't a textbook I went for easy, light reads.

There was one book however that I read in high school that made a great impression on me - In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje.  It takes place in Toronto in the 1920's and 30's and is about the immigrants who physically built this city.  To this day, whenever I drive under/across the Bloor Viaduct (which is very often) I think of the book, even though I read it over a decade ago.  To me, that is what is wonderful and beautiful about literary fiction.

It wasn't until I started blogging that I really began to get into the genre and a world of authors and stories was opened up to me.   Some of my favourite books from years of blogging:

The Long Song by Andrea Levy
The Sky is Falling by Caroline Adderson

Armchair BEA Day 2: Blogger Development and Genre Fiction

Blogger Development

When I originally started blogging I didn't think I would be as involved in the community as I am.  I didn't think I'd have a twitter account, participate in read-a-thons or read-alongs, host giveaways, or probably ever meet other bloggers.  I figured I'd just write my reviews and that would be it.  But now I'm doing all of the above and more.  I'm still kind of private (I think my face has appeared on my blog only once) and I don't have a whole lot of time to get out to events and such but I am starting to branch out into the community.  It's funny that I'm so outgoing in person but when it comes to my online personality, I'm kind of introverted.  But I like how things are going so for the foreseeable future I plan to keep things the way they are.  Maybe I'll break out of my shell a little bit, if you force me out of it.

Genre Fiction

I'm a pretty eclectic reader here, there are some genres that I won't touch with…

Armchair BEA Day 1: Introductions & Classic Literature

Since attending BEA in the US can only be a dream for me I am thrilled that the book blogging community has their own event - Armchair Bea.  Let's get started with the introductions.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My name is Shan, I'm a mum of 2.  I have been blogging for 3.5 years now.  I started because friends of mine were always asking me what I had recently read, in search of a good book to read themselves.  But as I would list every book I had read since the last time we spoke, their eyes glazed over.  I realized I read more than most people I know, and I remembered the personal blog I kept on Xanga all those years ago and I thought a blog would be a great place to put down all my thoughts on books.  Little I did I realize that there was such a wonderful book blogging community or that my blog would become what it has.

2.  Where in the world are you blogging from?  Tell a random …

"It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
This past week was packed with stuff to do but unfortunately reading wasn't really one of them.  That is okay though, I'm hoping to get back on track soon.  
What I Read Last Week The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook (review here) Studio Saint-Ex by Ania Szado (review coming soon)
What I'm Reading Now
I have been hearing so many great things about An Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra so I'm very excited to be reading it now.
What I Plan to Read Next The Offering by Angela Hunt is about a woman whose husband dies while she is acting as a gestational carrier for another family.  A few years later she sees a photo of the child and realizes that they may have actually been her own biological child.  Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight is about a mother piecing together her daughter's last day through her technological history after she gets information that her daugh…

"Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun" by Daphne Oz

Daphne Oz may have a famous father but she is quickly making a name for herself in the food and health industry.  As a co-host of the television The Chew, she is committed to making food that is nutritious and delicious as well as living a life that is authentic and purposeful.
In Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun, Daphne shares her tips for living a life that is worth relishing.  To her, Relish is "about seeing your potential and reaching for it.  It's about waking up to the reality of those areas of your life - physical, mental, emotional - you're doing right and those you could be improving." (p. xiii)
The section on food isn't just recipes, she includes tips on stocking your kitchen with both food and tools and how to navigate the supermarket.  The recipes are varied, covering everything from meals to dessert to cocktails.  There is something here for every type of eater.  I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but most of the pages in m…

"The Aftermath" by Rhidian Brook

It is 1946, the Second World War is over, and the country of Germany has been divided into four zones - British, French, Russian, and American.  The city of Hamburg is in the British Occupied Zone and it is here that Colonel Lewis Morgan is one of the top people in charge of rebuilding the city.  As a higher-up in the military, Colonel Morgan has been requisitioned a house on the banks of the Elbe River to live in with his grieving wife Rachael, and their son Edmund.
But while others are forcing the German owners out of their homes so they can live in them, Colonel Morgan can't bring himself to do it.  Instead, he proposes that the owner, a widower and his teenage daughter, remain living in the home with his family.  This decision leads to a charged atmosphere in which everyone in the home must confront their grief and misconceptions head on.
The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a novel about war, loyalty, passion, commitment, and betrayal.  Inspired by the real life story of Brook'…

"Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze met and fell in love as teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria.  Their days were filled with typical teenage going-ons but life under a military dictatorship was no easy one and all of their friends dreamt of going overseas.  When Ifemelu is granted the opportunity to head to America to study, she takes it, planning that Obinze will join her there as soon as he can.  But immigration has changed since 9/11 and America won't let him in.  Instead, he heads to England, where things don't turn out the way he thought it all would.
America isn't what Ifemelu expected either but after suffering a few setbacks, she makes her way through.  The only thing she can't shake is something she never had to deal with back home - the issue of race.  Life for an immigrant Black is much different for Blacks born in America and Ifemelu begins to document these differences in a blog that eventually becomes known as "Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Former…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
It's Victoria Day here so it's a holiday Monday and there is no school and everybody is home.  The weather is fantastic so very shortly we'll be heading outside and not coming home until the sun goes down!  And I will definitely be taking a book with me.  Now that the weather is nice, I'm going to have to head out to the balcony and get it all fixed up to be my summer reading spot.  
Last week was the Bout of Books read-a-thon.  It wasn't my best read-a-thon (I think I say that about every one I participate in) but I got some good reading done.
What I Read Last Week Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an interesting look at race and the immigrant experience in America and will for sure be one of the best books I read this year.  It Happened At the Fair by Deeanne Gist is a historical romance novel set at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
What I'm Reading Now The Afterma…

Vegan Cookbooks

First off, I don't label myself when it comes to the food I eat.  I like food and I like for it to nourish my body.  I also like a big bag of chips and a ice cold glass of cola (I'm not picky as to which kind.)  So I don't label myself because I don't need someone calling me a hypocrite when they see me walking into a fast food burger chain (to umm...use their washroom...yeah.)  However, the majority of my diet is plant-based.  So I thought I would share some of my favourite books on eating a plant-based diet, ones that are great for people who are just dipping their toe in the world of veganism, as opposed to people who have been swimming in the pool for years (but these books are still good for them.)

To me, The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer, RD, is one of the best places to start.  This book covers everything.  Chapter by chapter it walks you through the world of whole plant foods.  My favourite part of the book is the numerous, easy to read charts that lay o…

"In Calamity's Wake" by Natalee Caple

When Miette's adoptive father passes away, she sets out to find the woman who abandoned her.  In the late 1800's and the North American West, she comes across madwomen, thieves, minstrels, and ghosts as she crosses the country in search of her mother, the notorious Calamity Jane.
In In Calamity's Wake, Natalee Caple blends history and fiction to create a novel that transports you to a different time and place and brings to life the Wild West that fascinates us all.
I have never been a fan of Westerns, film or book.  In fact, I've only ever read one other Western book, Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers.  I read it because it was nominated for the Giller Prize and while I loved it, it wasn't enough to draw me to the genre on a whole.  I decided to give it all a try again with this book because I liked the idea of it being about Calamity Jane but with her in the background and not the narrator of the book.
The book jumps between two perspectives, Miette and Marth…

Classics Club Spin #2

It's time for the second Classics Club Spin!  The premise is simple - you make a list of 20 books from your Classics Club list you haven't read yet and the wonderful people at The Classics Club will pick a number and you read that book.  Last time I ended up reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (and it was a great read.)

The first time I picked books from different categories but this time I decided to choose 20 books that I have at home on my shelf or on my Kindle.  The number is picked next Monday and I have until July 1 to read.  So here is my list:

The Age of Innocence - Edith WartonUncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher StowePamela - Samuel RobertsonNever Let Me Go - Kazuo IshiguroAlias Grace - Margaret AtwoodCat's Eye - Margaret AtwoodNative Son - Richard WrightThe War of the Worlds - H.G. WellsThe Time Machine - H.G. WellsThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan DoyleJourney to the Centre of the Earth - Jules VerneSense and Sensibility - Jane Austen…

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

In the near future, firemen don't put out fires - they start them.  Books are outlawed and when anyone is found in possession of them, the firemen arrive to burn them and the home they were found in.  
Guy Montag is a fireman who does his job happily and doesn't question what he is doing.  But a chance encounter with his 17-year-old neighbour Clarisse changes that for him.  As she makes observations about the world they live in, he puts up with her but when she asks him if he's happy, it plants a seed in his head.  When Guy and the other firemen arrive at the house of an old woman who has a collection of books, he is stunned by her choice to start the fire herself and go up in flames with her books.  But before all is destroyed, Guy hides one book to take home with him.  This sets in motion a series of events that sees Montag running for his life when he refuses to continue to follow the status quo.
Fahrenheit 451 is the classic dystopian novel written by Ray Bradbury.  Publ…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
This past week wasn't a good one reading wise for me.  Scratch that, I read a lot, just not really novels.  I started a couple but unfortunately had to return them to the library before I could finish them.  I've also been reading/flipping through a lot of books about going vegan.  I flip back and forth between periods of eating meat and being vegetarian.  And now I'm in one of those vegetarian periods, but this time I decided that I wanted to try going more toward vegan.  I won't label myself that because I don't want to deny myself a bit of dairy when I'm out, but when I'm home and cooking for myself, I'm trying to do all vegan.  I'll post about the books that have been helping me on my journey later this week.
What I Read Last Week Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Huack is a lovely story about a woman who unknowingly falls in love with an actual prince.  The Littl…

Bout of Books 7.0

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is a week long readathon that starts tomorrow and I'm signing up to participate!  It's pretty simple, you have a whole week to challenge yourself to read more than you usually do and to connect with other book bloggers who are doing the same.

Generally I read about 3 books a week.  Some weeks more, many weeks less but a good week for me is three.  So for this I will be aiming to read 4 books this coming week.  Most importantly what I will be challenging myself to do is set aside one hour each day to commit to reading, one hour in addition to what I usually read in a day.  I'm thinking the hour of 10-11am will be a good one for me.  I will be checking back here each day to post my progress and see how things are going.

Are you ready to read?


Total Pages Read: 1192
Total Books Read: 2 - It Happened at the Fair; Americanah

Pages Read: 170
Books Finished: 0

Pages Read: 299
Books Finished: 1 (It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne …

"Just What Kind of Mother Are You?" by Paula Daly

What would you do if your friends child disappeared while under your care?  

Lisa Kallisto is just plain overwhelmed.  A mother of three and tireless worker at an animal shelter, she is always on the go and always exhausted.  One freezing day in December, in the Lake District of England, Lisa is going through the motions and when she takes her eye off the ball, thirteen-year-old Lucinda goes missing.  And not only that, she's the second teenage girl to go missing in two weeks.

Lisa is consumed with guilt and sets out to do everything she can to find her.  Lucinda's family publicly blames Lisa and she takes that on herself.  But when the first girl turns up and Lucinda doesn't, Lisa begins to discover that the small, quiet town she lives in has many secrets and friends may not be who they appear to be.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is the debut novel from Paula Daly. This  book takes every mother's worst nightmare and turns it into a fast-paced thriller.  Beyond the my…