Showing posts from October, 2014

Month In Review

After a disastrous month reading-wise in September, I definitely got back into the swing of things in October.  This was mostly due to the announcement of the Giller Prize longlist mid-September.  I always try to read as many books on the longlist as I can before the winner is announced at the beginning of November.  This year, I look poised to read 11/12, my best year so far.

Here is what I read in October (with my GoodReads ratings):

Paradise and Elsewhere - Kathy Page *****
Us Conductors - Sean Michaels ****
Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab - Shani Mootoo ****
The Betrayers - David Bezmozgis ****
Choose Your Own Autobiography - Neil Patrick Harris ****
Priya in Heels - Ayesha Patel ****
Tell - Frances Itani ***
American Innovations - Rivka Galchen ***
My October - Claire Holden Rothman ***


Canadian Book Challenge (7), Diversity in Books (2), TBR Pile (0), Classics Club (0)

What I'm Looking Forward to In November

Christmas books!  I've pre-ordered two Christmas-theme…

"Paradise and Elsewhere" by Kathy Page

The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin.
Paradise & Elsewhere by Kathy Page is an incredible collection of short stories that balance the line between fantasy and reality.  Described as a collection of short fables, the stories in this book take you to far-away worlds, ones that are both familiar and strange.
I absolutely adored this book of short stories.  I’ll admit that I have never been much of a fan, I prefer full-length fiction but this book hit the spot and gave me new appreciation for the genre.  What did it for me was the fantasy element of the stories.  Another genr…

"Plenty More" by Yotam Ottolenghi

Four years ago, Israeli-raised and London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi released Plenty, a vegetarian cookbook.  The book became an instant classic, not just amongst vegetarians.  Ottolenghi’s incredible recipes elevated vegetables to star of the plate status with exotic flavours and incredible combinations.
Now, Ottolenghi has released a follow-up, titled Plenty More, once again giving vegetables rock-star status with flavours from around the world.
How does this sound?
Hot-and-Sour Mushroom Soup Honey-Roasted Carrots with Tahini Yogurt Thai Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chile Oil Buttermilk-Crusted Okra with Tomato and Bread Sauce Bitter Frozen Berries with White Chocolate Cream
Is your mouth watering yet?
This collection of recipes is absolutely incredible.  And what’s amazing is even if the names and pictures make the dish appear difficult, the recipes quickly show you how easy it is to make such great-tasting dishes.  
I picked 4 recipes to try right away: Mixed Vegetables and Yog…

"Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab" by Shani Mootoo

Jonathan Lewis-Adey had an idyllic childhood, growing up in a beautiful Toronto neighbourhood and raised by his mother, India, and her partner Sid.  But one day, at the age of nine, Sid disappeared from Jonathan’s life completely.
Years later, as a grown man and writer of two books, he tries to reconnect with the woman he so dearly loved as a child.  But when he arrives in Trinidad, Sid’s home, Jonathan discovers that she is no longer as he remembered.  Sid is now Sydney, a man.  
Over the next decade, Jonathan continues to make trips to Trinidad to get to know Sydney, hoping to find out why he disappeared all those years ago.  But as Jonathan tries to find his beloved parent within this stranger, he finds himself struggling to understand the effects love and acceptance have on all of us.
Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, by Shani Mootoo, is a moving novel about love and family, identity and acceptance.  Inhabiting both the vibrant landscape of Trinidad and the difficult winter of …

"My October" by Claire Holden Rothman

Luc Lévesque is known as the Voice of a Generation in the province of Quebec.  A celebrated novelist, his combination of books about his Montreal neighbourhood and his separatist views have made him a hero to many.  His wife Hannah, faithfully translates his book into English.  But she has spent her adult life distancing herself from her family, especially her father who was a special prosecutor during the October Crisis.
Hugo is the fourteen-year-old son of Luc and Hannah.  Growing up in Montreal, in a dual French/English household and in the shadow of his father, he struggles with finding his own identity.  One day, when he commits a reckless act at school, the whole family must deal with the fallout.  
My October, by Claire Holden Rothman, is the tale of one family in whom the past and present of a province collide.  A family that is torn apart by history and language, the book explores what happens to a family when they all struggle with language and identity.
What I really enjoye…

"Choose Your Own Autobiography" by Neil Patrick Harris

Famed child actor, star of two hit television shows, Tony winner, popular award show host, husband, father…Neil Patrick Harris has lived a full life and now you can live that life too.  When NPH writes his autobiography, he doesn’t do it in the regular way.  Instead he writes, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography.
It’s pretty safe to say that most fans of Harris’ already know much of his story.  Born and raised in New Mexico, he came into our homes as the boy-genius doctor on television’s Doogie Howser, M.D.  But when the show finished, he was unable to escape the Doogie image.  It wasn’t until he appeared in the 2004 film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle that he was able to shed that image and get on the path to becoming the NPH we all know today.  Read this book and see if you will follow the same path he did.
When I first heard about this book I pretty much thought the same thing everyone else did - “a Choose Your Own Autobiography book? Who other than NPH coul…

Top Ten Tuesday: Top New Series I Want to Start

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
When it comes to Chick Lit books, I love reading a series.  Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series was the first one I read and I loved it.  Then came Carmen Reid's Annie Valentine, Lindsey Kelk's I Heart series, Alexandra Brown's Carrington's and most recently, Katie Oliver's Dating Mr. Darcy.  I just love being able to visit my favourite Chick Lit characters over and over.  So Chick Lit is the genre I look to whenever I'm in the mood for a new series.  
For this I have chosen three series by the same author, Jenny Colgan.  I read her novel The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris and enjoyed it so much, I want to read more.  I'm pleased to see that many of her books are parts of series and I'm having a hard time deciding which series to start with.
Little Beach Street

Cupcake Café
Rosie Hopkins
Have you read any of these series?  Which one do you think I should start with?

"Priya in Heels" by Ayesha Patel

Priyanka Patel has always been the dutiful daughter.  The only child of traditional Indian parents, she has always made choices that reflect her culture and respect for her parents.  She is finishing up her medical residency and has agreed to let her parents find her a man from their community to marry.  But when Priya meets the sexy musician who lives down the hall from her, her perfect life looks to be crashing down around her.
Tyler O’Connor first met Priya in the emergency room where she treated his sprained ankle.  He couldn’t get her out of his head and when he discovered that she was living down the hall from him, he put everything he had into pursuing her.  But Priya’s decision to put her family’s wishes above her own leave him devastated.
Priya and Tyler quickly discover that love isn’t something you can just set aside.  But is it stronger than the bonds of family and culture?
Priya in Heels by Ayesha Patel is a New Adult novel that blends Indian tradition with American cultu…

"Shopaholic to the Stars" by Sophie Kinsella

It is finally happening, Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is moving to Los Angeles!  Becky and Minnie are joining Luke who is managing the career of famous young actress Sage Seymour.  But is Hollywood ready for Becky?
Becky arrives in LA convinced that she will become Sage’s personal stylist and then her career will blow up to include every A-list celebrity.  But when she arrives, things don’t work out the way she plans.  She quickly realizes that the only places that will hire her are retail stores and so in order to achieve her dream, she takes a job as the stylist of Sage’s archrival.  But this development doesn’t sit well with Luke, and when his ex-girlfriend enters the picture, their Hollywood dream is thrown upside down.  Will they survive Los Angeles or will they hightail it back to England?
Shopaholic to the Stars, by Sophie Kinsella, is the seventh book in the Shopaholic series, the adventure-filled stories of the loveable Becky Bloomwood.
Now I know that by the seventh book a …

"You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes" by Chris Hadfield

When Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, he became a celebrity, not just in Canada but around the world, all due to his use of social media while in space.  In his downtime on the ISS, he took photographs of Earth, showing us our planet in ways we have never seen before.  
Now, Hadfield has published a book of his photographs titled You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes.  He has chosen 150 of the most striking images which have never been seen before.  
This is a stunning book and it’s not just for photography or science nuts.  Everyone will enjoy this unique view of our planet.  My husband, seven-year-old daughter, and I all read this book together, marvelling at the beauty.
The book is divided by continent and the pictures are accompanied by not just captions of where they are, but historical, scientific, and cultural explanations of how that part of the earth came to look the way it does.
I was absolutely blown away by the ph…

"The Betrayers" by David Bezmozgis

Baruch Kotler is an Israeli politician whose extramarital affair was exposed by his political opponents after he refused to back down from his contrary position on the West Bank settlements.  Now, he finds himself fleeing the country with his mistress, Leora, to Yalta, the place of his youth.  But what happens there is something he never would have expected.
Baruch and Leora rent a room from a woman they meet at the bus terminal.  After settling in, Baruch discovers that her husband is his former friend, the man who denounced him to the KGB 40 years earlier, which resulted in Baruch being sent to a gulag.  Over the next 24 hours, Baruch is forced to deal with not just the man who betrayed him but those in his own life he has betrayed.  
The Betrayers, by David Bezmozgis, has been short listed for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize and rightfully so.  It is an incredible story of fate, forgiveness, and love.  It is an insightful novel, one that tells the story of a specific group of peop…